In a matter of hours, the celebratory mood in hundreds of families preparing for weddings scheduled for this week and the next turned into anxiety as they were suddenly faced with the daunting task of arranging for currency notes of Rs 100 denomination to pay vendors ranging from florists to mehendi artists who generally accept only cash.
One resident of Mumbai, who is getting married this week on conditions of anonymity said, “We have had to rethink the entire planning. The smaller vendors will not take card payments and all the money withdrawn by my family is useless. You can’t expect us to make large payments in Rs 100 notes. We are also planning to send out e-mails requesting guests not to give us money during the wedding as it will only add to our problems in case they give us notes that are no longer in circulation.”
Several couples getting married over the next few days said they had just withdrawn large sums in cash from banks to make payments to vendors.
Prachi Srivastava, who is getting married in Lucknow on November 21, added that during weddings, money is especially required for last minute purchases which are usually made from local grocery stores. “They don’t accept cards. Moreover, how do you pay the pandit who performs the ceremony. You can’t give them a cheque or tell them you will pay online. I am not against what the Prime Minster is trying to do but it it turning out to be inconvenient to those of us getting married,” she said, adding the move had especially hit those in smaller cities and where card payments are accepted by only a handful of vendors.
Sonal Somani, who is getting married on November 21, said she had issues with payment to the beauty parlour where she was supposed to go for her bridal make-up. “It is not possible to get a huge number of Rs 100 notes to make such payments. This is just one of the problems, you give money to relatives which is again a problem. I don’t have a father so all the arrangements are being made by my uncle and brother. This is the time you are supposed to enjoy your wedding, instead everyone is tense,” she said.
Wedding planners have also been facing the impact of this changed scenario with requests being made to defer payments or to have smaller affair to cut down costs. Raj Shah founder of Exotic Wedding planner, which does events, anchoring, choreography for mainly sangeet functions, said, “Our clients have called to defer payments because the little cash that they have, they want to use for urgent payments. We are also trying to cooperate in such cases.”
According to Harish Sukhani, from Koncept events, people have been offering their company extra money if they take payment in Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes. “They are also asking to cut down the scale of events to ensure the expenditure comes down,” he said.