Affair of heart, not wallet

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Affair of heart, not wallet

It was a stunningly low-key wedding for such a high-profile multibillionaire. Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and chief executive of Facebook, married his long-time girlfriend Priscilla Chan on Saturday in the backyard of his California home with fewer than 100 guests attending. Instead of a diamond, he chose a simple ruby.

Appropriately enough, the news only became widespread when the Zuckerbergs changed their relationship status on the social networking site to “married,” leaving the gossip mongers and world press little to chew on, but much to stew over, as they rued missing the opportunity to discuss brand-name dresses and which celebrities might show up.

The guests arrived at the event thinking they were coming to celebrate Chan’s graduation from medical school on Monday, the same day Zuckerberg turned 28.

The humble wedding followed Friday’s historic initial public offering of the social networking site that now boasts almost 1 billion users. As the single largest shareholder, Zuckerberg now ranks as the world’s 29th richest man according to Forbes after the IPO gave Facebook a valuation of $104 billion, eclipsing other technology giants like Amazon.

Meanwhile, in just seven hours of the couple posting a wedding picture on their Facebook page, 580,000 people clicked “like” on it and added congratulatory blessings. The simplicity of the event augmented the genuineness of their relationship and touched the hearts of Facebook fans around the world.

Their modesty contrasts sharply with Korean society’s obsession with extravagant and exhibitionist wedding ceremonies. Weddings have become burdensome for today’s young couples, families and guests alike. Such profligacy has generated various social problems, including conflicts among families, while the practice of giving cash gifts has become a major expenditures for households. One recent survey by a life insurance company showed that more than eight out of 10 retirees over the age of 50 felt burdened by the cost of attending weddings and funerals.

The government has been campaigning for simpler wedding and funeral spending and formalities, but its efforts have drawn a lackluster response. The Ministry of Gender Equality and Family concluded that the campaign would be successful only if people can change their perception of what is important. In the end, cases like the Zuckerbergs, who could have rented a private island but opted for their own backyard, could be more effective than any campaign.
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