Culturally, weddings hold immense importance in India. Families collectively plan and budget for their children’s weddings decades in advance. And why wouldn’t they? Weddings are a great, joyful coming together of family members – often becoming occasions we fondly recall for years.
We also splurge large amounts on weddings. According to research, Indian parents spend a fifth of their life savings on their children’s weddings. This is a significant statistic. Large, expensive weddings are encouraged and are also seen as status symbols. The belief is that weddings are rare, happy events and there should be no holding back on expenditure.
What if we were to reverse this culture? What if we put the onus of funding a wedding on the marrying couple? And what would the marrying couple need to do to climb this financial Everest?
For starters, marrying couples could think about simplifying the occasion which would lead to the cutting of costs. As a culture, we must question the need for large, expensive weddings which put a massive strain on every family’s long-term finances. It is possible to plan compact, low-cost events without taking on undue financial pressure.
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How much should you spend?
Each person has their own spending capacity. Some are satisfied with spending Rs. 5 to 10 lakh on a wedding, whereas others might want to spend crores. Where do you fit on that spectrum? Start by taking stock of your financial situation and estimating what amount you can comfortably spend without disturbing your personal financial health.
Ideally, you should start saving for your wedding months or years in advance. A dedicated wedding fund helps you prepare an adequate corpus for the wedding without disturbing your investments and savings meant for other goals. Once you are ready with the corpus, you can move to the next step of budgeting and spending.
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Prepare the wedding budget
A wedding is the sum of a million little tasks, each task having its own expenditure. Broadly, there will be expenditure on lodging and catering for guests, transportation, jewellery, clothing, decoration, and gifts. You must make an estimate of how much you wish to allocate for each of these broad expenses. Try not to allocate more funds than you have decided.
Raising the funds
Once you’ve decided a wedding date, start saving up for the wedding. You should put your money in liquid instruments that offer safety of money and instant redemption. Liquid Mutual Funds, Fixed Deposits, Recurring Deposits, and high-interest Savings Accounts are all good options for storing your money. You can make monthly contributions to this account and also park your bonus and seasonal earnings into it to make getting to your target corpus a little easier.
Now, let’s take a look at some cost-cutting measures.
Have an off-season wedding
Bookings and service providers are hard to get during a busy wedding season. You may start planning months in advance but still struggle to book a marriage hall during wedding season. How about having an off-season wedding? This is a time when marriage-related services are not in as much demand and bookings are easier and cheaper to make.
Head to the courthouse
Even temple weddings, these days, aren’t the compact affairs that they used to be. Getting married in a courthouse should be the way to go if it’s a lean wedding you’re looking for – a small, intimate event with close family and friends. Complete your signature and paperwork at the court and head for lunch. If you’re on the fence about whether to have a large wedding or a compact one, you can arrive at a decision by looking at the potential costs of a large one.
Make your event list compact
Indian weddings are a series of small events complementing the main event. Before the wedding, you may have an engagement, sangeet, and an assortment of small rituals, functions, and celebrations depending on your culture. After the wedding, there’s the reception, of course. Why not opt for a compact wedding where all these little events are compressed into a small time-frame of one or two days? With greater focus, you can also settle on a smaller list of must-have rituals, thus doing away with ones that don’t fit into your schedule and budget.
Control the menu
Food is a very large and very important part of the Indian wedding experience. Unfortunately, it is here that there’s an enormous amount of wastage. To reduce wastage, prepare a compact menu that covers the essentials of a wedding feast but leaves out its excesses. A good healthy meal will matter more to your guests than any extravagances. A careful headcount before the preparation of each meal will further help reduce wastage of food. The point about food pairs well with having a compact event list. The fewer events you have, the smaller your catering needs, and greater your savings. Do consider the costs of having alcohol on the menu. If offered, it should be available in limited amounts, considering its high cost.
Rethink the clothing
Wedding clothes and jewellery are often expensive, forming a sizeable chunk of the wedding budget. While jewellery may still offer you returns on investment in the long run, your clothes will most certainly not. Keep in mind that you’ll probably never use the clothes again after wearing them once on your wedding day. You could consider simpler clothes to cut down on costs. You may even consider renting outfits for the occasion, allowing you to not only save costs but also not have to worry about what you’ll do with the clothes after the wedding.
While you and your family will have to take charge of the wedding arrangements, there will be those in your family and social circle who might offer to help – with their time, money, or in any other way. While you should be self-reliant to the greatest possible degree, do consider accepting all the help you can get. This will help reduce the wedding planning burden and also ease your cash crunch.
Assorted cost cuts
Here’s a list of smaller cost cuts to consider.
- Employing reusable or plastic floral decorations will help you cut down on decorating costs.
- If you have a day-time wedding, you can forgo the cost of decoration lightings which are needed at night.
- If you live in a community with its own hall, make use of it. It will be provided to you at a cost lower than venues outside your community.
- Send out digital invitations instead of elaborately printed cards. This will not only save printing and postage costs but it is also environment-friendly.
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With these tips to save on your wedding, you’re sure to have a bit of cash to spare. Thinking about using it to invest in a home? Home Loan offers are just a click away.