Weddings in India are a big, lavish and grand affair with various rituals and celebrations. Every ritual either pre-wedding ritual or a post-wedding ritual has special importance and is enjoyed thoroughly. An Indian Wedding is often referred to as a “big fat Indian wedding” due to huge arrangements, exotic preparations, pomp, and show along with the unlimited expenses involved in it.
Our country has a vast culture and people of different communities have different traditions associated with weddings. The food, rituals, and arrangements of a Punjabi wedding are completely different from that of a Gujrati or a South Indian Wedding. However, what stands common among all weddings in India today is the huge and lucrative expenditure involved. Weddings in India have become a matter of competition, display and flaunt of money, power and unnecessary social show-off. With the concepts of theme weddings, destination wedding, pre-wedding photo-shoot, extravagant arrangements for wedding functions, the “big fat Indian wedding “is growing bigger and fatter with time.
Spends on various wedding functions
Indian wedding functions are lavish and Indian families spend a huge amount on the different functions of the wedding functions. The major portion of wedding finances is allocated for the functions and rituals associated with weddings. Indian weddings have several functions which might be pre-wedding or even post-wedding but are a huge affair.
According to various surveys, a normal Indian spends around one-fifth of the total wealth which he has earned during his lifetime. The Indian Wedding industry is growing at a very rapid rate and accounts for over Rs. 1, 00,000 crores at present. An average Indian wedding would cost Rs. 20 lakhs to 5 crores and the different areas for which this wedding finance is allocated are mostly Venue, Décor, Food, Dress, Accessories, and Ceremonies or the functions. Out of all these areas, the major part of the wedding finances is spent for the wedding functions or the ceremonies.
Usually, it starts with the ‘Roka’ ceremony for some communities whereas it can be termed as the ‘Ring Ceremony’ or ‘Engagement Ceremony’ for some other communities. Some other important pre-wedding functions in most of the Indian communities include the Sangeet ceremony accompanied by the Mehendi and Haldi ceremony. Today, Indian weddings have a taste of both the western and Indian culture which is experienced by functions like cocktail parties, bachelorette parties, grand reception, etc. All these wedding functions need enormous arrangements and a huge amount of expenditure as well.
An Indian wedding is never a single-day affair; rather it is a three or a four-day affair depending on the culture of the community. Every function of the wedding has its own set-up, materials and apparel, venue, food, and other arrangements. On average, the cost of a single wedding function or ceremony is approximately within the range of Rs. 6 lakhs to Rs. 10 lakhs. There are many other additional costs too such as photography, flowers, music, etc. Many times, the families even tend to increase the number of wedding functions for more fun and get-together of the families. This is sure to increase expenditure as well.
Saving money for your wedding expenses
In Indian society, the wedding is an important life goal and an average middle class Indian will always start saving for his big day in advance. There are various investment options or saving plans available for those who are saving for their wedding.
Let us have a look at some of the options by which you can save money for your wedding finances.
Investing in SIP’s and mutual funds
SIP is otherwise known as a Systematic Investment plan and is an easy method for making investments into your favorite mutual funds. You can keep on investing a certain fixed amount at regular intervals of time. By SIP, a fixed amount would be deducted from your savings account according to the frequency opted by you and the amount would be directed towards the mutual fund which you have chosen. SIPs and mutual fund investments can be started by making a low investment of Rs. 500 even. These investment options give higher returns than Recurring Deposits and since the interest is compounded it ensures long-term benefits.
There are special mutual funds that have been designed in such a manner that they are meant for those investors who are planning for a wedding. Some of the mutual funds like SBI Mutual Funds, BNP Paribas, etc. are designed considering wedding planning and even many SIPs have high returns up to 28%. These investments will add to your requirement of cash during weddings.
Investments in Gold
Gold jewelry and Indian weddings are inseparable from each other. Gold jewelry forms a very important part of Indian weddings. It is quite wiser to purchase gold jewelry over time and invest in purchasing gold coins, bars as well. These gold coins or bars can be used to make jewelry later according to your requirements. Many reputed jewelry stores in the country such as Kalyan Jewelers, The TBZ group, etc. offer a various exclusive range of gold jewelry, gold coins at reasonable prices and attractive discounts.
When you have very little time to plan for your wedding and you wish to have a lavish wedding, the best option is to avail of a Wedding loan. Wedding loans are simply personal loans which can be re-paid in installments. Many financial organizations such as ICICI Bank, Tata Capital, etc. provide wedding loans at very low interest rates like 10.99%. These wedding loans can be a great help in fulfilling your wish of a big fat Indian wedding.
Some financial organizations have set up the below-mentioned eligibility criteria for obtaining a wedding loan.
- Your minimum salary should be Rs. 20,000.
- Your minimum CIBIL score should be 750.
However, many banks do not have any eligibility criteria for granting wedding loans and makes obtaining wedding loans easy.
Planning about wedding finances in advance
If you wish to save for your big day, you will have to make certain basic plans for your wedding finances in advance. You can discuss your wedding finances with your partner in details and decide about certain important topics like:
a. Determination of methods to pay for wedding finances
Arrangements for the wedding finances can be stressful and if you are overspending on this; it might be stressful for your new relationship. It is essential for you to discuss with your partner and decide about the way you want your big day to be. You can keep it simple or a lavish one, you can make careful budgeting, start saving from the moment only for the wedding finances, seek help from family members, etc.
b. Financial goals as a couple
As a couple, you should be aware of each other’s financial goals and include saving for wedding finances in those goals. You and your partner should analyze your finances and prepare a saving plan for your wedding.
c. Splitting of the wedding finances
Splitting of wedding finances between the couple is a common thing nowadays. You both can open a joint account and pay off for the wedding finances by this account. At the same time, both of you can have independent accounts to finance your discretionary spending for the wedding.
How to manage your wedding spends?
A lavish and extravagant wedding can be your dream but an exotic décor, excellent catering, splendid venue, etc. all will cost you an extravagant amount as well. The arrangements and expenses can make you feel stressed, but the most important day of your life should not be a stressful one. However, you can avoid having such stress on your big day; if you plan your wedding according to a budget and follow some simple, smart methods which can make your wedding graceful without making additions to your worries.
Let us have a look at some of the ways by which you can be able to manage your wedding spends.
Analyze your financial situation in detail
Every function or ceremony depends upon the finances for its success. So, before you start preparing for your wedding it is necessary to analyze your finances and financial situation in detail. The wedding finances must be put to proper use without any unnecessary spending and frivolous spending. You should also be completely aware of your financial responsibilities and expenses which would arise after the wedding.
Deciding over the venue
It is advisable to book your wedding venue in advance as it would be less expensive. Moreover, you can opt for a wedding venue which is near to your home as it would help in keeping cab hire fares low. Also, some of your pre-wedding functions like pujas, parties, get-together, etc. can be organized at your home. This can help you in avoiding unnecessary expenses associated with pre-wedding venue and décor.
Flowers and decor
Flowers make the wedding venue look beautiful but unlimited use of flowers at the venue can increase your budget. You should try and keep the use of flowers for the decoration limited and this will manage your budget for wedding finances as well.
The major part of your wedding finances is used for the decor of the venue. You can try and limit the décor expenses to maintain your wedding budget. If the wedding is at a banquet hall, the backdrop is already beautiful and will not need much decoration. Affordable decorative items like mason jars, candle votives, etc. can be used to have good decoration at nominal prices. You can also involve your family members and friends for implementing various DIY ideas for the venue decoration.
Purchases can be made during the off-season
You can try and purchase your wedding dress and accessories during an off-season. Prices of bridal wear and accessories are low during the off-season and even you can get a discount if you are purchasing your dress in advance. This would be a win-win deal as you would be able to buy your preferred designer bridal dress and at a minimal cost.
This is an important part of your wedding preparations and also a major chunk of your wedding finance is used for this. You should plan for completing your jewelry shopping in advance so that you have ample time for making any changes if needed. As per our Indian traditions, gold jewelry is a must at the wedding; however, you can combine gold jewelry along with artificial stone jewelry or other authentic Indian jewelry. This combination would look good and also will help you in maintaining your wedding finance budget.
Rational guest list
Try including those guests into your list who are really important and must be a part of the wedding. A huge number of guests at the wedding would not make much fun but rather would make it chaotic and difficult to manage.
Hire a professional wedding planner, caterer
When the entire wedding planning is yet to begin and you are totally confused with no idea about how to begin the preparations; the best solution is to hire a professional wedding planner. They are experienced and will give you the best advice related to organizing the wedding within the budget. They can help you in bringing out the best in the limited budget as they have good connections and the required knowledge.
Food is the most important part of any Indian wedding and it is not a wise option to make adjustments into the part of the wedding finances allocated for food. You can select an experienced and reputed caterer who does not compromise on the quality of the food supply. Also, you can discuss with the catering manager in detail and decide on the menu for the wedding.
The conventional method of inviting friends and relatives by sending actual printed cards is no longer in use. The modern digitized age helps in sending quick, creative and customized invitations to your guests for the wedding. You can design wedding cards online and send them by mails or post them on social media. This would help you in saving a lot of time and money even.
Even video invitations are something that is very popular these days.
Advance planning and go with the season
Wedding preparations can never be made in a hurry and when done in a hurry, you tend to spend more than estimated with a lot of wastage as well. So, it is wise to make all the plans and arrangements well in advance; the venue booking, caterer booking, photographer, etc. should be done before time. This will help you to stick to your budget and execute everything in a cost-effective manner. Moreover, you should avoid including certain items that are out of the season such as a flower which is out of the season for décor or an out of the season fruit or vegetable in the catering menu. This would increase the charges and cause inconvenience too.
Save on photography and entertainment
You can think about implementing this idea for maintaining your budget for wedding finances. Instead of hiring a DJ, you can ask your friends or any family members who is a pro with music to do this. Wedding numbers can be selected for the playlist and your DJ friend can make the set up for you. This can help in maintaining the budget and also in some savings.
Similarly, for photography, you might have selected the best photographer but the charges do not fit into your budget. So, you can opt for asking the assistant photographer to take up your assignment. This will help you in reducing the expense and maintenance of the budget even.
Keep records of the wedding finances
This is the most important task at the wedding as it is necessary to keep track of the expenses. You can make a spreadsheet and note down the expenses that are being done. This would act as a tracker and will help you in avoiding any unnecessary expenses if done. Also, by a tracker, you can ensure if your arrangements are being done properly on time or not.
Hence, your wedding is the most beautiful and special day of your life and you deserve all the happiness on this day. There should not be unnecessary factors which can cause stress for you or hamper your celebrations. With the wedding industry becoming highly commercialized and competitive, it is essential that your wedding plans are made in such a manner that nothing is missed out and your budget for wedding finances is also maintained.