Marriages are the soul of the Indian culture. In India, parents start saving for their children's marriage from the time their child is very young to spend lavishly later during their marriage. It is deemed one of the most special occasions in Indian families. Now, special occasions involve special costs. Organising a wedding without proper planning burns a hole in the savings of Indian families, and more so, among the middle-class income groups.
Despite inflation, the average middle-class Indian wedding cost has increased multifold in the past few years. At Indian weddings, there will always be many areas to spend on.
No wonder this business has grown into a billion-dollar industry and is still growing! Thus, a sensible move in such cases is to make a spreadsheet of expenses and then invest in a good savings plan. Let’s understand the different expenditures involved in a wedding.
Venue and destination
In today’s time, couples have the option of choosing between a local or destination wedding. Venue costs vary based on this choice. From a small banquet, five-star hall to a farmhouse, the costs of venues differ. A hotel banquet venue usually costs between ₹25 to ₹50 Lakh with minimal decoration. Five-star banquets charge higher due to branding, usually above ₹50 Lakh. The number of functions also plays a part in the cost of venues.
A piece of advice here is to host small ceremonies at home rather than booking halls for each function. Also, while booking a venue, one can always negotiate for more discounts, extra rooms, or other requirements.
Contrary to popular belief, destination weddings, if planned properly, have proven to be a cheaper option than local traditional weddings. Most hotels in a destination wedding provide an inclusive package, including accommodation, catering, and decoration. The costs of venues in not very densely populated destination cities, like Jim Corbett or Mussoorie, tend to be lower compared to metropolitan cities. Sometimes, families want a close-knit wedding. Hence, they organize weddings at a distinct location with a few people. This reduces the overall average Indian wedding cost.
Minimalism is the latest trend these days. Again, it depends on individual preferences. From enhancing the entrance with a variety of lamps, candles, and centrepieces to beautifying the stage and mandap with many floral decorations, there are endless decor options, from simple to luxurious, to choose from.
If it is a beach wedding, the sunset view and the beautiful sand naturally amp up the decor, reducing the decoration cost. With farmhouses, one can experiment more with the natural greenery and a well-lit pool and highlight only specific areas to beautify the entire space. This way, the overall decoration costs tend to decrease.
However, if you want extra decoration, every banquet or hotel provides different plans from silver to platinum, and you can choose as per your preference and savings.
Most decorations amount to 8-10% of the total Indian wedding cost. A simple, elegant decoration will usually cost around ₹ 2 Lakh.
No Indian function is complete without good food. Satisfying the taste buds of guests plays a key role in Indian weddings. Hence, compromising in this area is never a good idea.
Like decoration, there is no end to the variety of food you can have. Indian cuisine is not the only cuisine served now. With different cuisines forming part of the package, there are a lot of options to choose from. From street food stalls to Italian cuisine, it depends on how much you want to spend on catering.
The cost of catering varies with the number of plates you want. The number of plates depends on the number of invitations. Usually, basic catering with two main courses and one sweet dish costs between ₹ 400 to ₹ 700 per plate. However, if you are looking for several salads, various snacks and cuisines, this cost may vary from ₹ 700 to ₹ 2500 per plate. Overall catering costs range between ₹ 1.5 Lakh and ₹ 5 Lakh.
Wedding clothes and Jewellery
With so many exhibitions specifically catering to Indian wedding dresses for bride and groom, we see their importance in Indian weddings. People tend to spend as much on their wedding ensemble as they would on catering.
A bridal lehenga easily costs between ₹ 50,000 to ₹ 1.5 Lakh, while a groom’s sherwani would cost between ₹ 15,000 to ₹ 70,000. An alternative to saving on these costs is to get them stitched. Also, in Indian weddings, buying clothes is not restricted to the bride and groom. It involves gifting each other's family and relatives. Inclusive of everything, the cost of clothes usually goes up to ₹ 5 Lakh. However, if you are not overly sentimental about your bridal or groom attire, nowadays, many shops offer exquisite designer clothes on rent.
A wedding ensemble is not complete without jewellery. Usually, Indian families start making arrangements for their children's jewellery from their childhood to beat inflation. Nowadays, however, brides don't want to waste money on heavy jewellery since it’s seldom used after the D-day.
Some even opt for artificial jewellery on their wedding day. Like clothes, even jewellery can be taken on rent. Hence, now there are many alternative options to have a great wedding within a budget without using your entire savings.
It is said that memories last forever. Choosing a good photographer has become as important as choosing a wedding ensemble. Pictures are not limited to traditional photographs. These have transformed into pre-wedding videos, candid shots, drone photography, and much more.
Photography cost depends on how many functions you have planned, how many albums you want, etc. The photography budget can go as high as ₹ 5 Lakh. If you don't want to spend a huge amount, there are many freelance photographers in the market today. These days, small coffee table albums have replaced big heavy albums, reducing costs and making storage more practical.
When you start planning a wedding, we do not plan for many hidden costs. From Pandit Ji’s fees to wedding invitations and sweets, you need to have an extra budget for additional costs. These days, a makeup artist charges ₹ 30,000 for bridal makeup and a minimum of ₹ 5000 for party makeup. If it is a destination wedding, you will also need to incur travelling and accommodation costs. One of the ways to handle additional invitation costs is using e-cards instead of paper wedding invites.
Another way to plan for these costs is to invest in a saving insurance plan. Renowned companies like Tata AIA Life Insurance offer Fortune Guarantee Plus (UIN -110N158V02 ) plans that allow you to fulfil your marriage dreams, along with safeguarding the savings of a middle-class family. It also provides life cover protection in case of unforeseen circumstances. With varied Tata AIA Life Insurance policy payment models, you can avail of flexible premium payment options based on your preference.
A wedding day is supposed to be fun, but managing the wedding arrangements tends to be stressful. To combat this, many people hire a wedding planner to take care of all of the arrangements, keeping their budget and style in mind. You can find many hardworking wedding planners offering their services at reasonable costs to build their reputation in the market.
To conclude, we can say, a perfect Indian wedding on a budget is not a distant dream anymore.