Are Pakistani brides actually ready to pay up to Rs66,000 for one night’s wedding makeup?

Published: February 17, 2016

I’m sure all these artists invested quite a bit of their time and effort in creating the name that they have but is Rs200,000 really the amount we should be spending on makeup? PHOTO: AFP

Everywhere in the world, winter comes with chilly days and hot chocolate but in Pakistan it brings along wedding season. It is my friend’s wedding this season also and as all the wedding plans were materialising, the last thing on my friend’s mind was her makeup costs. Unfortunately, amidst all the instructions and warnings that were pouring down from the whole family regarding clothes, food, set-up, no one addressed the skyrocketing costs of salons these days.

Searching for the right place was rather easy; making peace with the costs of the right place was not.

We came across the rates of Natasha Salon’sShamainBina Khan and a few other competitors. Their rates left me flabbergasted; I couldn’t even comprehend how one could simply pay between Rs55,000-Rs66,000 for one night!

Adding up three events to almost Rs200,000!

I’m sure all these artists invested quite a bit of their time and effort in creating the name that they have but is Rs200,000 really the amount we should be spending on makeup?

Considering that weddings are already a nightmare in our society for girls and their families, do we really need one more element of extravagance?

Ask a girl anywhere else in the world the most important aspect for her wedding ceremony and she will probably say the presence of the guy or her happiness, while for most of the girls in our sub-continental culture, it would be the worry of the debt their fathers will have to bear, the amount of jewellery that will be extremely necessary in order to make the in-laws happy, the expenses of the brand new imported furniture, the bridal dress cost and the car or the bike. Such is the story of every girl coming from the lower or middle class, maybe even the upper middle class.

Your wedding day is the one day where everything needs to be a picture of utter perfection. Isn’t that the dream? Every petty detail: the décor, flowers, food, dress and even the right shade of lipstick – not just yours but your family’s too.

This is the day where no one has any right to talk ill about any of your family members or how you didn’t spend enough over the most inconsequential of details. A lot of times this peer pressure leads many of us to believe that it’s okay to rob our fathers.

I’m sure many of us can relate to statements like:

“We only get married once”

Aik hi toh beti hay” (I have only one daughter)

Betiyon ka toh haq hota hay” (Daughters have a right)

Yes, it is true that most of us will get married only once. And yes, we’re daughters but does this really entitle us to weigh our fathers down with the constant worry of the debt they have accumulated?

Even from the salons, makeup is not our only worry. All the “considerate” people around us have fed us all sorts of negativity about our skin, complexion, hair, eye-brows, fat and cellulite. So there we are, poor perplexed souls, entering the salon wondering about all the things we’ll need to get done in order to put up this façade of perfection, score the hash tag ‘prettiest bride ever’ and prove all those aunties wrong.

We are bombarded with packages and all the services we will absolutely have to get done. The salon’s reasoning is that all brides are getting this done. We, in a state of bewilderment and disorientation, pick up the package we feel can offer us the most services in the least amount of money yet which even when being the cheapest usually goes up to Rs15,000-Rs20,000.

Wait! This is just the beginning of the salon expenses.

Let’s talk about makeup. Most top-of-the-line salons are charging similar prices, some even higher for some glitter on your eye lids and colour on your lips.

Whenever the conversation turns to the cost of wedding makeup, people respond that they charge for their talent. Cribbing about it is belittling their work, but I’m actually shedding light on the worth of those few high-end products and 45 minutes of “artistic” work.

Sure, artists deserve to be paid for their art. I, myself, love the art of makeup.

But the astronomical prices these makeup artists are charging is simply exploitation of their customers. No matter how excellent they are, they have created a “beauty mafia” and this equals to looting. Unfortunately, it seems we are willing to be taken advantage of.

I, for one, will not fall for the “perfect bride mantra”. I believe every bride is perfect on her D-day. The100-watt glow (as advertised by one beauty artist) should be happiness not artificially created to last one evening only.

Forgoing unnecessary expenditures can only enhance the beauty of the bride simply because it replaces the stress and worry!

Would you be willing to spend Rs66, 000 per night for makeup on your wedding?

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Maham Idrees

Maham Idrees

The author is currently studying Psychology at Szabist and plans of becoming a successful clinical psychologist aiming to eradicate child sexual abuse from the society.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • SamSal

    If one can afford it, then why not?Recommend

  • Gurion

    Almost missed the wedding makeup part of the sentence :PRecommend

  • Adeela

    That being true, at the end of the day it’s a choice right? The brides/family are choosing to go to an expensive makeup artist, choosing to buy an expensive bridal dress, choosing to have a large wedding with 400+ people. It isn’t a salon, a designer or event managers responsibility to cater to every persons needs, they advertise to expand their business, as does any brand all over the world. You choose to buy into that or not. And FYI, the prices the top names in Pakistan are charging in any medial related field, doesn’t even begin to compare the prices top names in the rest of the world charge. At the end of the day the whole spending an exuberant amount of money on weddings themselves is ridiculous, but to each their own right?Recommend

  • Adnan

    winters bring wedding season only in karachi, not in the entire country. get your facts rightRecommend

  • Princess

    So there is someone who highlighted this topic…they really are a ‘beauty mafia’..can’t agree more! Brilliantly written!Recommend

  • Sadaf

    I wouldn’t mind paying IF the makeup was actually worth it. Honestly, all the bridal make up in Pakistan looks the same to me from years. Every few months, new trends and techniques are introduced, particularly in the west and europe, which the makeup artists have to pick in order to remain up to date and to bring variation in their makeup. I highly doubt these big names in Pakistan invest money to travel every few months to learn with experts around the globe. Also, there is no concept of trial makeup in Pakistan, which is pretty unfair to the client who’s paying so much. Trial makeup is not even offered by these so called big names. I understand the artists knows what they are doing as it won’t be their first time doing makeup, but it’s a first for me so I would still like to know what to expect and how my face would look like on MY big day. Recommend

  • zahid

    Makeup is not a necessity… The saloons are free to charge and you are free to choose!Recommend

  • Mary

    PKR 66,000 in Karachi?! in Lahore its much more expensive at the top notch salons! around 85-100k!
    A rip off!!
    I remember contemplating on paying 50k for makeup on my wedding day (and that too from an above avg salon…Not the best in town)… I wasn’t too comfortable paying this amount, but ended up doing so :/ peer pressure.Recommend

  • Moorat Gopi Chand

    Brilliantly written!! But the truth is everyone will vote for NO but will eventually end up spending that amount of money on their big days.Recommend

  • Patwari

    Great. Good for you. Glad your special day was great.
    As they say, to each, their own.Recommend

  • Hn Queue

    The keyword is “luxury.”

    People would pay for makeup, or any other service that appears to be a little “extravagant” just as they would have a cup of tea for Rs. 350/- or a dinner for Rs. 2,500/- per head from an expensive hotel. But the dilemma here is that no one would bat an eye while having an expensive cup of coffee, but rather target and criticize service providers that are essentially providing a “luxury” that is absolutely one’s own choice to opt for or not.

    Also, I would like to politely disagree with the part where you mentioned that the said amount is spent for something that lasts only for one evening.
    One of the reasons decent photographers are providing their services on weddings is so that the memories (including expensive makeup) in the form of photos and albums can be preserved for a lifetime, and if the love remains between the couple, and their families, for them to be enjoyed each and every time whenever they’re viewed.

    It’s all a matter of perspective. It’s very easy to criticize people that have worked hard to reach a level where they earn what they want to and call them a “beauty mafia.”

    The reality is that we’re all a victim to this class system, because of the fact that it’s rooted in every society. However, if one doesn’t want to get their makeup done for Rs. 60,000/- for one evening, their are other less expensive options as well, just as there are options for less expensive bridal dresses, wedding decors, halls/marquees, etc.

    Yes there is definitely lot social pressure on the bride and her family, but truthfully we’ve brought this up on ourselves. It’s time to change that. Recommend

  • Amy

    Very well said,hope those extravegent also understand that…Recommend

  • uzma saleem

    Salam. I think people have excess of money otherwise I don’t think so a girl like me as a middle class family could afford these useless expenditure well for me 20,000 is also a lot. 66,000 tou rich people can afford who have too much monet.
    saloon should charge not more than 10,000 that is more than enuf for one day.Recommend

  • Brain Think

    Come on, its the wedding day and if she can afford it then why not.

    Pretty positive the author wouldn’t mind a hefty set of makeup for her special day too no matter how much it cost.


  • Karim Javed

    LOL i went for a expensive salon on my engagement day and asked him that my friend is getting married and i want a party makeup. That saved me thousands :DRecommend

  • Moorat Gopi Chand

    Finally someone is highlighting the actual side of bridesRecommend

  • Sane

    Very correct.Recommend

  • Sarah

    My sister got her bridal makeup done in August 15′ by Natasha and she paid 60,000 for one function. I see she has increased her rates within a few months. By the time it’s my turn to get married, she’ll probably charge 1 lakh! SighRecommend

  • Saaliha Obaid

    Oh, and I regret paying 2000 Dhs for pre marriage medical and court fees which were definitely a must. Lol. Glad that I didn’t spend a single rupee on anything. Got married in court (wearing my jeans and t shirt) and in laws(5 people) were invited over to my house for a home cooked dinner. 4 years of marriage and never regretted for even once not having a function Recommend

  • Saaliha Obaid

    How about also donating a few hundred bucks so you have prayers of poor with you?Recommend

  • Ghostrider

    Wondering if these “artists” are taxed or not. They sure rake in millions during shadi season, but do they pay their taxes??Recommend

  • rationalist

    Not only that, make up is against Islam.Recommend

  • Dxb chick

    That’s my question too. Only salaries person is Payibg tax. Not the businesses. Recommend

  • Emma

    I think people forgot Mariam Khawaja saloon in Lahore. She is charging 1 lakh and 15 thousand for one day. Ouch! it hurts!Recommend

  • Emma

    Exactly! Now the rates are even higher for example 115k for barat. This thing needs to be highlighted at government level like one dish ban this must also have some check and balance. because they even don’t quote rates in written.Recommend

  • Shajee Fareedi

    Very true! Most of people spent so much extra money on branding thing and makeup on their wedding that is totally waste of money .Recommend