A wedding in the family can drain finances faster than reckless bidding in the Options market. So what do you do if money is tight, prices are hitting a new high and the big day is looming forebodingly close? Here's how to have a fabulous wedding by cutting corners, but without sacrificing style.
1. When you are selecting the flowers for the décor, remember that seasonal blooms are much more cost effective than those that are imported or not in season.
2. If you want to have a toast at the reception, it is not necessary to serve champagne. There are many sparkling wines on the market that offer both good quality and good value. However, be sure to serve sparkling wine as chilled as possible. This dulls the flavour and makes it harder to tell apart from champagne. Remember, hardly any of your guests are going to be wine experts.
3. If you are hosting the wedding ceremony and are a vegetarian, you can get away by having a vegetarian menu.
4. Nothing saves costs like cutting down on the number of functions. Many couples opt to have the wedding earlier in the evening, followed by the reception, so they needn't have a separate function. Similarly, you could combine the mehendi with the sangeet.
5. If you still want to host two functions, keep the wedding small and intimate and follow it up by a grand reception.
6. Make use of the talents of your friends. If someone is knowledgeable about music, let him be the disc jockey at your sangeet, so you don't have to hire a professional.
7. Consider alternate wedding venues. Many couples opt to get married in a temple. Similarly, farmhouses can be more reasonable than five star hotels. Speak to friends and relatives who have large gardens and find out if you can have the functions there.
8. Find out if it is possible to use flowers from a friend's garden, so you don't have to buy them.
9. Get married out of town, in a nearby, quaint destination. For example, if you are in Bombay, consider holding your wedding ceremony in Lonavala. Book rooms in a comfortable hotel and have a blast, surrounded by your closest friends and relatives.
10. Unless you plan to be wearing a heavy-duty designer outfit, the general rule of thumb is the more material used, the more expensive the outfit. Straight, fitted lehengas are very much the rage these days, and a much more elegant option (not to mention economical!).
11. Get a second, light chunni made to match your wedding lehenga, so it isn't a one-time-wear outfit.
12. Instead of having flowers as centerpieces, place a bunch of grapes, a pear and an apple in a bowl and spray it with gold paint. After they have served their purpose of decoration, simply dunk them in a tub of water, and munch away!
13. Get married off-season; it's great value for money. Venue prices will be slashed, caterers won't be serving a mish-mash of leftovers from the last wedding and guests won't go, "Oh no! Another one bites the dust!" when they receive your card.
14. Stick to one type of menu. It's a lot classier than having Chinese, Moghlai, Thai and Continental all together and expecting guests to fill up their plates with noodles one side, and daal on the other. Instead, have a different menu every function.
15. Finally, do your bookings well in advance. Get several quotations while making arrangements and use them as a basis for negotiation.
Remember, if you want everyone to have a great time at your wedding without overextending yourself, you have to make a budget and stick to it. It's very easy to go overboard and there's no limit to the amount you can spend. Know when to draw the line - and draw it.