The Big Fat Indian Wedding. We’ve all grown up watching it and being a part of it. Sometimes, we’ve been an up-close participant or sometimes just a distant observer. But the one thing we are all aware of is that weddings are not just a simple affair, especially the load your wallets have to take. We love going overboard.
“Stressful” and “expensive” are the two most common words surrounding a wedding. You can’t pull off your dream fairytale wedding without putting in months of effort.
An average middle-class wedding in India can cost somewhere between ₹2 lakh to ₹10 lakh. But that’s just an assumed figure; wedding costs in India can range anywhere from ₹10,000 to ₹10 crores and maybe even higher than that.
But millennials these days are becoming more and more independent and are realizing how much they should actually spend at their weddings given the other expenses they deal with.
Here’s a list of things you could look at while considering your wedding expenses:
Location: Whether it’s a destination wedding or the farmhouse on the outskirts of the city or just a regular wedding hall, the location of the wedding is very important not just for the photos but because it is a considerable chunk of the total wedding expense. Most experts expect you to choose a hotel on the outskirts of the city as it costs much less than those in the city centre. If you own a house or know somebody who owns a house with a huge backyard, you could just use that as your venue, saving a whole lot of money
Date and Time: ‘Shaadi’ season in India is approximately between September to March. This is the time when the price of services and venues is at its highest and you usually need to start booking everything quite in advance to get the location at the date and time of your choice. Instead of trying to fit your wedding into this ‘shaadi’ season, you could have an “off-season” wedding. This could get you a few discounts and will definitely cut down your expenses. Having your wedding on a weekday instead of a weekend could also help you save a good deal.
Guest List: The basic rule is the larger your guest list, the more expensive your wedding. Everybody knows how “important” it is to invite your fifth cousin or that distant aunt that you saw once in your life in second grade. But cutting down on your wedding guest list could save you some serious bucks. Cut down on anyone who you think is an unnecessary addition. Keeping your guests limited to your immediate extended family and family will make your wedding much simpler and more enjoyable.
Wedding Invites: Ditch your traditional wedding invitation cards. Use all your creativity in making personalized e-invites. Yes, we know you have a lot of old relatives that are not that tech-savvy and do not check their emails daily. You could print out a few cards for those sets of people. But going digital will help you save a huge chunk of money that you would otherwise spend in printing and dispatching the wedding cards.
Simple Menu, Please: Weddings these days have a huge food buffet with about 5 different cuisines and 50 dishes. Nobody is going to eat all of these dishes, so, instead of going all out on food, you can limit your menu to a few good dishes. Experts say that not wandering into Chinese or Italian territory and just sticking to Indian cuisine with a few fan-favourite and classic dishes can help you save about ₹500 - ₹600 per plate. Another good thing you could do is that instead of wasting leftover food, you could donate it to an NGO or a nearby old age home. Also, if you plan on having an open bar you could limit the drinks to a few well-known types rather than spending a lot on international brands. Less drunk people is equal to less unnecessary drama and chaos.
Décor: You’ve all seen the huge fresh flower walls and flower bouquets everywhere at weddings. These cost a ton especially if you go for those international dahlias, orchids and tulips. Instead of choosing a flower-based décor, you could go for plant-based décor. If candles, lanterns, paper art and lights are used correctly, it can make your wedding décor look prettier and classy whilst saving a lot of money. You could also use local craftspersons to help with your wedding décor.
Wedding Attire and Jewellery: Typically, brides or grooms don’t wear their wedding outfits more than once. Neither do the dresses nor the jewellery come cheap. Renting is an option that is being explored by a lot of young couples. You could rent a designer outfit or jewellery and save up to 50% - 60% of the cost that you would have spent buying it. You could look over your favourite designs and get them stitched by a good and trustworthy tailor. Even though this might take some time, it could also help you save a lot of money. Borrowing your mother or your father's outfit and revamping it by adding or removing a few things can also look like a reliable option.
Use your Contacts: If you have creative friends and family who are ready to help you, then use their help, wherever possible. If you have a wedding planner on your contact list, then you could use their services. You could dump DJ duty, choreography for ‘sangeet’ night duty, photography, makeup and ‘mehendi’ duty on friends and family who know can pull it off on their own without creating issues. That way, a lot of money is saved on the services which would have cost you a good sum of money if you would have hired professionals.
Number of Events: Indian weddings are known to go on for days with multiple events and each event comes with a cost. This might sound like a bit of stretch but if you could club two events on the same day at the same venue, this will save a great deal of money or if you can eliminate an event altogether, then you will be surprised by the amount of money you will end up saving.
Now that you know how to cut down considerably on your wedding costs, you need to stick to the decisions you make. There will be a lot of societal pressure around you to spend more unnecessarily but at the end of the day, it's your money and the final say is yours.