Recently I was reading a magazine article entitled “100 Ways to Cut Costs on Your Wedding.” I thought it was a nice idea. After all, we’re all looking to cut costs and save money these days on practically everything and anything. Sadly enough weddings fit in to this category as well. Weddings can be awfully expensive affairs. The average Indian wedding costs around $24,000 and you better believe it because it all adds up! The biggest cost tends to be food. This ties in with the guest list. The more friends and family coming to your wedding the more mouths to feed and the more cost of food. The price range of food per head ranges vastly from $10-$100. It all depends on when and where and what you get. There are many great ideas and ways to eliminate unnecessary costs at your wedding but you should definitely know where to cut costs and especially where to NOT! Brides and grooms often make stupid and silly mistakes that they regret later. They may have over 500 guests at their wedding and spend money on food and favors for them but then to cut costs the clothes they were are simply not bridal material! How many times have you been to a wedding and felt that the bride was underdressed right? So, we’ve compiled our own list of a 100 ways to cut wedding costs but this list also includes specifically where to cut costs and where to not! Follow these Do’s and Don’ts to avoid making a big mistake that will ruin your special day.
1. DO splurge on your wedding clothes! Especially your wedding day outfit. Whether you wear a sari or lengha it must be exquisite. After all, you wouldn’t want someone else to be better dressed than you at your own wedding?!
2. DON’T borrow your clothes or jewelry! You’ll regret it later on. Even if you don’t have to give it back; it will still become a part of you.
3. DO wear something reusable. This doesn’t mean that it has to be less lavish because most wedding clothes can be worn again and if you do choose to do so then at least you’ll know you’re truly getting your money’s worth.
4. DO your own hair and makeup. This is a great way to save hundreds of dollars! You can read up how to go about doing so and even take lessons. Seek help from family and friends and be sure to do a trial run prior to the big day!
5. DO make sure your wedding clothes fit NOW! Just because you ‘plan’ to lose weight by your wedding day doesn’t guarantee it will happen and you don’t want to be left with an expensive outfit that you can’t even wear!
6. DON’T rent a tux or suit. It is best to go traditional on the wedding, even for the groom and if he chooses not to then all suits look the same and any one will do! No one is going to tell from looking at it what brand it is!
7. DO find a reliable printer. It is cheaper to get your invitations printed overseas such as in India. The downside to this is they can easily mess up unless you’ll be there to look over them. Any mistakes can pose an added cost.
8. DO wear real but practical jewelry. If you’re going to wear real gold on your wedding but never wear it again because you normally prefer the faux counterparts then don’t bother to spend the extra thousands for no reason. If you do buy real jewelry though, in hopes of wearing it again, then make sure it is practical for future events.
9. DO skip the reply card. It will save extra costs associated with added paper and stamps.
10. DO use regular and not square envelopes. Square envelopes pose an extra postage charge.
11. DO print your own invitations but make sure they are not tacky.
12. DO use anything provided by your hotel or banquet hall. Sometimes hotels will throw in free centerpieces and linens. If you use theirs you’ll save a lot as opposed to paying a seperate vendor for special ones.
13. DON’T carry a bouquet. Here is an extra added cost for no reason. The bouquet is not traditional in Desi weddings anyway and will pose an unneeded threat to your budget.
14. DO choose in season flowers. They will be a lot cheaper than their counterparts.
15. DO use faux flowers for decorations. Faux flowers are a great option for decorating the stage. Covering an entire stage with real flowers will really drive up the cost.
16. DO invest in garlands. Haars or garlands will complete a traditional wedding.
17. DON’T have place cards. Who needs them anyway? Desis like to sit wherever they want!
18. DON’T buy personalized favors. Who wants a bar of chocolate with your name anyway?
19. DO have wedding favors. Small satchets of nuts and candy are traditional. There are many inexpensive favors that will even go with your color scheme.
20. DO have a color scheme but DON’T make it so unusual that it becomes difficult to coordinate with. The traditional red is an easy going and low cost choice.
21. DON’T go overboard with your centerpieces. They can run between $40-$200 each, give or take!
22. DO have a focal point but it doesn’t necessarily have to be a stage. A small stage or a nicely decorated area will create a center point for the ceremony.
23. DO get married at home. Such as your parents house. It will save on the cost of renting a hall.
24. DO utilize your mosque, temple, church, or place of worship. Chances are it is a lot less costly to hold your wedding there than at an outside venue.
25. DO have a buffet.
26. DON’T hire waitstaff. The buffet option is a lot cheaper.
27. DO serve dessert.
28. DON’T have a wedding cake just because you feel you have to.
29. DO have mithai! No wedding is complete without it. Buy just one or two kinds to save on costs. You can even double the mithai as the favor!
30. DO make your own mithai or have family members do it. This is a lot cheaper than buying it by the pound.
31. DO have sheet cakes. Yes, have a small wedding cake and sheet cakes on the side! This is much less costly than a big tiered cake.
32. DON’T have a grooms cake. There isn’t really a need for it.
33. DO bake your own cake. It may save you money but it won’t save you time!
34. DON’T serve alcohol. You will save A LOT of money!
35. DON’T have an open bar! You will save hundreds, even thousands of dollars!
36. DO have an early afternoon wedding. So that it’s not at meal time. That way you don’t have to serve a meal. Appetizers will suffice!
37. DON’T buy matching jewelry. Just because your clothes are red, pink, or whatever doesn’t mean your jewelry has to match exactly. Gold will go with everything and will be reusable much more often later on.
38. DO wear family jewelry. That way you won’t have to buy any.
39. DO have a coffee bar. This is an excellent replacement or option instead of alcohol.
40. DO serve appetizers. This is especially important if you are serving a late dinner. They don’t have to b expensive but it’s a really nice gesture to keep your guests from being bored and hungry!
41. DO a photography/videography package. Packages are cheaper than not. Sometimes they will throw in free albums and photo shoots.
42. DO hire a photographer/videographer. This is a much smarter choice than relying on friends and family!
43. DO give your photographer a list of shots to take. You want to make sure you’re getting everything you’re paying for.
44. DO hire someone who is reliable. You wouldn’t want him or her running off with your pictures!
45. DJ’s are cheaper than a live band.
46. DON’T have a DJ. Playing your own music is cheaper.
47. DO have entertainment. It doesn’t have to be music. People can give speeches. But have something to keep your guests entertained!
48. DON’T get married on a Saturday. Unless you don’t mind paying the highest cost of the week.
49. DO consider Friday or Sunday but…
50. DON’T get married on a weekday even though it’s the cheapest. No one will want to come.
51. DON’T get married in the summer. Summer weddings are the most expensive.
52. DO avoid wedding season between May and September.
53. DO consider a winter wedding.
54. DO plan ahead!
55. DON’T get married in February. Valentine’s Day will drive up the cost of everything.
56. DO stock up on Christmas lights on clearance after the holiday.
57. DO your own decorations.
58. DON’T hire a florist. Or limit the use of one.
59. DO make sure your guests are comfortable.
60. DO mail out thank you cards to each guest after the wedding. Even if they are simple thank you notes that you pick up from the card store. It’s the thought that counts.
61. DO write your own thank you notes. It’s more personal.
62. DON’T feel like you have to wear a lengha. Bridal lenghas can cost thousands and sometimes can’t even be worn again!
63. DO wear a sari. They are gorgeous and underused. They are also practical and reusable for the future.
64. DON’T wear a salwar kameez, unless you’re Punjabi. It’s just not that elaborate for most traditional weddings.
65. DO shop around for a good deal.
66. DON’T buy your wedding outfit online unless they have a good return policy.
67. DO try before you buy!
68. DO use a credit card. It’s okay as long as you pay if off and make sure they offer some kind of reward points!
69. DO utilize cash in Little India. Sometimes they will “forgive” the tax!
70. DO learn to bargain. You will save not only money but embarrassment!
71. DO clip coupons. They speak for themselves.
72. DO consider a small wedding. The guest list is the number one thing that will drive up the cost.
73. DON’T have a destination wedding. Flying out somewhere is a huge expense and most guests won’t be able to participate.
74. DO consider hiring a wedding planner. Sometimes they can find good deals.
75. DON’T hire a wedding planner if you can pull it off on your own. Seek help from books, magazines, family, and friends. Watch Indian movies and learn!
76. DO register even if you’re not going to use the registry. You don’t even have to tell anyone about it. However, after your wedding the store may let you buy everything you “registered” for at a lower cost!
77. DON’T write “no boxed gifts” on you wedding invitation!! This is huge NO! It is against wedding etiquette and manners. It is a tacky new trend that is going around and it is unacceptable and lame.
78. DO inform friends and family if you are moving somewhere else. A better option to writing “no boxed gifts” is to have a family member verbally request that they not bring you any. This is acceptable if done correctly and people will appreciate it more.
79. DO greet all your guests at your wedding. Yes it’s a hectic day for the both of you but no that does not mean that you make anyone will unwelcome. You want them to know that you appreciate their presence.
80. DO get your mehndi done.
81. DON’T feel like you have to have a mehndi “party.”
82. DON’T feel the need to pay for all your friends and relatives to get their mehndi done. If you don’t have a mehndi “event” then this need won’t arise!
83. DO get Indian mehndi. It is much more traditional than Arabic and better suitable for a bride.
84. DON’T get Arabic mehndi. Trends come and go. Do you really want to look back at something that’s out of style later on?
85. DON’T buy a trendy outfit. It might look great now but it won’t be reusable later.
86. DON’T get what’s called “bridal mehndi.” By this I mean don’t get mehndi all over your arms and legs. It looks tacky anyway and costs way too much.
87. DO get mehndi done on your palms.
88. DON’T hire a mehndi artist if you have a friend or family member who can do it for you.
89. DO shop around for the right mehndi artist and beautician.
90. DO ask for referrals and hire people you can trust.
91. DO keep track of all your expenses.
92. DO have a budget.
93. DO wear matching bangles. Your look will be incomplete without them.
94. DO serve Indian food at your wedding. If you serve another cuisine than you’ll end up having two cuisines and doubling your food costs!
95. DO shop around for the right caterer.
96. DO sample the food that will be served at your wedding. You should always know what you eat!
97. DO serve accompaniments with your food. Chutney, achaar, kachumbar, and bread are must-haves!
98. DO put effort into planning you big day.
99. DON’T stress. It will show on your face!
100. DO look beautiful and HAVE FUN!!