Less is more for Pakistani couple whose "dream wedding" cost $144

Rizwan Pehelwan. (Photo courtesy: social media)
Updated 25 December 2018

Less is more for Pakistani couple whose "dream wedding" cost $144

  • Made a conscious decision to keep it simple by focussing on good food and great company, groom says
  • Reports of the wedding have gone viral on Twitter with several commending the initiative

ISLAMABAD: The year was 1981.

The bride — who would go on to become a global icon — was a pre-school teacher, while the groom was the oldest son of Queen Elizabeth II.

Their wedding was the most-anticipated event of the year, drawing in thousands of viewers from across the world who were glued to their TV screens as Prince Charles and Lady Diana said "I do" to each other.

Those two little words cost the exchequer $48 million or $110 million in today's times. 

It also went on to make their wedding the most expensive in history.

Fast forward to 37 years later when Asia's richest man, Indian tycoon Mukesh Ambani, came very close to claiming the title when he got his only daughter, Isha, married at a whopping cost of $100 million on December 12.

Fast forward to a few weeks later when Pakistan's Rizwan Pehelwan and Palwasha Minhas decided to take the opposite route by getting married at a cost of $144 or Rs20,000 — a story that Twitter has fallen in love with.

Pehelwan and his wife, Palwasha, who are both photographers by profession, said that they invited only 25 guests to their "dream wedding", which included their parents and friends. 

The venue was Pehelwan’s house, with the rest of the arrangements falling through with the help of their family and friends.

"We decided in one day that this is how we are going to do it. It took two days to plan and we got together all our friends to pitch in wherever they could," he told Arab News, adding that the most surprising aspect of the initiative was to "plan the wedding with only 25 people".

"I can only imagine what it's like for couples planning a wedding with hundreds of guests. Palwasha and I are both wedding photographers and we cover tons of big weddings, and we see the stress that the bride and groom go through," he said.

The idea, he says, stemmed from the fact that "nothing else was working out".

"Someone's brother or sister wasn't getting time off and couldn't attend. So we decided, 'okay let's just do it in a very simple and quick way'. Since my brother couldn't make it, I thought 'great I don't have to invite other family members I haven't met in three years'," he said as he laughed out loud.

In one of the posts shared by Pehelwan on the social media site, he expresses happiness that a few of his friends chose to fly down for the low-key affair. 

Reiterating that he and his wife planned the wedding in a manner that brought them immense joy, Pehelwan said that neither side compromised on the things that matter the most -- good food and great company.

Pehelwan’s posts went on to detail the outfits they wore which were gifted by his mother and sister. The only glitch? When the guest list had to be chopped down to 25 from 250.

"In the beginning it was a bit tough. My dad had a guest list of about 250 people, but I told them only the first 50 can come (laughs). They didn't take it too well in the beginning because of course, 'log kya kehenge, rishtidar kya kehenge' [what will people/relatives say]...people will stop inviting us," he said before adding that eventually everything fell through. 

"It's the most intimate day of our lives so we only wanted people at the wedding who care about us."

Pehelwan wrapped up the thread with a photo of himself from the event in his "wedding attire" -- a simple shalwar kameez -- with fairy lights gifted by his father working as the perfect backdrop. 

"There was no stress about our clothes, lights, or the food -- none of that really matters when you think about it. It was a simple pajama party with our friends over. We remember every minute of it because there was no stress," he said.

The reactions on Twitter ranged from tweeps congratulating the couple to some saying that they respected the decision taken. 

One commenter did wonder if Pehelwan had cut costs for Palwasha's wedding ring too, to which he responded: "My wife bought her own ring. I bought a $5 metal ring for me. They're just objects???"

Other commenters shared their own experiences, with one user posting a photo of his wedding which took place in a hospital following an accident he was involved in. 

The only "tradition" that Pehelwan did stick to in his modern fairytale wedding was to sign off on the Twitter thread by posting his version of "happily ever after" -- "Khush Done!’ [Happy! Finished!]," he wrote.


Disney tops earnings estimates ahead of streaming launch

Updated 10 November 2019

Disney tops earnings estimates ahead of streaming launch

  • Revenues in the past quarter were boosted by a 52 percent rise in Disney’s studio operation
  • Disney has become the biggest Hollywood player with the acquisition of studio and TV assets from Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox
SAN FRANCISCO: Walt Disney on Thursday reported better-than-expected quarterly results, fueled by the release of blockbuster films “Aladdin” and “The Lion King” as it prepared for its new streaming television service.
Disney profit in the recently ended quarter was $1.05 billion, down from $2.3 billion a year ago, on revenue that grew 34 percent to $19.1 billion.
The slump in profits came as Disney absorbed key film and television operations of 21st Century Fox and geared up for its launch of the streaming service Disney+ that aims to compete globally against Netflix and others.
“We’ve spent the last few years completely transforming The Walt Disney Company to focus the resources and immense creativity across the entire company on delivering an extraordinary direct-to-consumer experience,” said Disney chief executive Robert Iger.
“We’re excited for the launch of Disney+ on November 12.”
Iger said the company reached a deal for the service to be on Amazon’s Fire TV platform, the latest distribution agreement for Disney+.
Disney shares were up more than five percent in after-market trading following release of the earnings figures.
Revenues in the past quarter were boosted by a 52 percent rise in Disney’s studio operations with box office hits “The Lion King,” “Toy Story 4” and “Aladdin” fueling gains.
The entertainment giant expects revenue in the current quarter to be boosted by the forthcoming release of a sequel to “Frozen” and the final installment of the “Star Wars” film saga.
It will thereafter take a “hiatus” from “Star Wars” box office films but has an array of spin-off shows planned exclusively for its streaming service.
Disney has become the biggest Hollywood player with the acquisition of studio and TV assets from Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox.
However, integrating Fox into Disney has cost more than expected and the newly added studios have brought in less money than hoped.
Disney saw smaller revenue gains in its cable and broadcasting operations as well as its theme park division.
Iger would not disclose details of pre-sales of Disney+ subscriptions, but said the price — $6.99 monthly — has met with “great enthusiasm” by consumers.
The Disney+ online streaming service will debut in the United States, Canada and the Netherlands before gradually expanding internationally in Europe then rolling out worldwide.
Its films and TV shows will be available, along with the library it acquired from 21st Century Fox. That includes the “Star Wars” and Marvel superhero franchises and ABC television content.
Disney+ will also combine offerings from powerhouse brands including Pixar, with content from Hulu and sports network ESPN.
Apple last week launched a streaming television service that features a budding library of original shows starring big-name celebrities, aimed at winning over its gadget lovers at home and on the go.
The Apple TV+ on-demand streaming service launched in more than 100 countries at $4.99 per month.
Original Apple TV+ shows have so far been met with lukewarm early reviews, but the low subscription price and an offer of year-long memberships free with purchase of the company’s devices was expected to encourage viewers to tune in.
Netflix, meanwhile, has budgeted $15 billion this year for original shows, on top of the billions it has devoted to exclusive productions in recent years.
Amazon, which has deep pockets thanks to its e-commerce and cloud services, has also poured cash into original shows for its Prime Video service.
This sets up a potential spending war among the major streaming players, according to analysts.
Even more competition looms on the horizon, with AT&T’s Warner Media to launch its “HBO Max” in early 2020 after reclaiming the rights from Netflix to stream its popular television comedy “Friends.”
NBCUniversal’s Peacock service is also launching next year.