Feature: Soaring inflation drives up wedding costs for Turkish couples-Xinhua

Feature: Soaring inflation drives up wedding costs for Turkish couples

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2024-05-13 22:14:00

Newlyweds are seen in Ankara, Türkiye, on May 13, 2024. (Mustafa Kaya/Handout via Xinhua)

by Burak Akinci

ANKARA, May 13 (Xinhua) -- With the arrival of summer, the Turkish wedding industry would typically be gearing up for a bustling season. However, the country's soaring inflation is driving up the cost of tying the knot for Turkish couples, leaving them in a dilemma between getting married or not.

"We have been saving money for nearly two years, but still the expenses are substantial. Getting married nowadays is a challenge," Munir Sirca, a 26-year-old car mechanic from capital city Ankara, told Xinhua.

Sirca said he and his fiancee Nese Ozcan are lucky that their parents will chip in for their wedding costs as they are unable to afford it on their own.

"We are not looking for a lavish wedding, just a decent event in a decent venue where we can invite family and friends," the groom-to-be said, complaining of the high cost of living in Türkiye.

"There are very serious price increases in all products and services due to the increase in exchange rates and high inflation," Bendevi Palandoken, the head of the Confederation of Turkish Tradesmen and Craftsmen, said in a statement in late April.

According to Palandoken, the average cost of a wedding now stands at 500,000 Turkish liras (about 15,500 U.S. dollars), covering expenses such as the ceremony, white goods, and furniture for a new home.

For Sirca, whose monthly income at a car repair workshop slightly exceeds the minimum wage at 22,000 liras, this expenditure is insurmountable. "Even if I do manage to get a loan from the bank, I would have to repay it for several years," he lamented.

In Palandoken's view, some young people will be forced to delay or cancel their weddings due to the runaway inflation in the country that has fueled in recent years a cost-of-living crisis unseen in decades.

Renting a wedding hall is one of the most significant expenses for newlyweds. For an event with approximately 300 guests, the total cost, including venue rental, soft drinks, and appetizers, can go beyond 70,000 liras.

"When the astronomical increase in wedding hall rents, price increases in home appliances and electronic goods are taken into account, our young people could delay marriage due to economic reasons," Palandoken stressed.

According to Ilker, the manager of a wedding hall who preferred not to disclose his surname, the cost for organizing a wedding has increased by over 50 percent since last year due to the skyrocketing prices of all commodities and services.

As a result, many couples are now opting to cut down on nonessential wedding services such as big cakes or photographers.

In 2023, the Turkish government announced a plan to provide loans up to 150,000 liras with 72 months maturity and two years grace period for newlyweds as part of a plan to support the wedding sector.

But it looks like the government's incentives aren't quite hitting the spot for the economic concerns of the young couples.

Türkiye's annual inflation climbed to almost 70 percent in April and is expected to rise to 75 percent, before decelerating in the summer, according to government forecasts.

"Taking all expenses into account, we have narrowed down our budget to organize our wedding this summer. I fear that if we don't have it this year, next year will be even harder," Sirca said with a wry smile.

A woman is seen at a bridal store in Ankara, Türkiye, on May 13, 2024. (Mustafa Kaya/Handout via Xinhua)