‘My great Indian budget wedding’
Newly-wed Namita Shargaonkar rented her jewellery, sent out e-invites, brought her wedding forward to March and even combined a couple of pre-wedding functions to cut costs
You want the best at your wedding, but add up the costs of the venue, the clothes, the caterer, jewellery, the cake, the flower arrangements, the decorations (ok, we’ll stop here) and you may have to reconsider. So how do you lower your expenses without severely impacting the splendour of the occasion? Namita Shargaonkar (name changed), 29, who married over a year ago, says, ‘Growing up, I wanted an enormous wedding, but I had a financial setback a few months before my wedding. In my situation, it would have been impractical to spend a lot of money on a single party. I also didn’t want my parents to spend their hard-earned money on a function, so we cut out what was unreasonable. What we were left with was just a great Indian budget wedding. I don’t think I missed out on anything.’ Here’s what she recommends:
March wedding: The wedding season is twice a year, in May and December. There’s no need to follow the trend, though, particularly since wedding-related services are more expensive then. Namita says, ‘We were to be married in May, but brought the wedding forward to March. This alone saved us some money, on the hall and the decorations. Plus, it’s easier to get the caterer and hall you want, because they are not as busy.’
Cut down on functions: It isn’t just a wedding – there’s the mehendi and sangeet, and even a cocktail party for some. You can save much money by simply combining a couple of functions. Namita says, “We combined the sangeet with the mehendi and didn’t have the haldi at all. We had a cocktail party, but just invited a few close family members to a relative’s house. Even the sangeet-mehendi was in the afternoon, so that brought down our cost, too.’
Faraway wedding: Instead of having a large wedding in the city you live, you can have a reception there, but the other functions in a small town. Namita says, ‘We considered having our wedding celebrations in Pune, where my husband is from. We figured this way we could significantly reduce the number of guests to just the close friends and relatives. Basic things are also much cheaper there. For example, the photographer was nearly half of what it would have cost us here.’ Namita also didn’t have a videographer at her wedding, as she believes no one is interested in watching the footage anyway.
Rent what you can’t afford: Instead of buying expensive jewellery, just rent it. If you’re thinking that jewellery is also an investment, think again. Making charges can be quite significant. It would, in fact, make more sense to rent the jewellery and simply buy gold or gold exchange-traded funds as investment. Namita says, ‘We had no idea you could rent jewellery, until a college friend recommended it. Saved me a fortune.’ Namita spent Rs8,000 renting a gold necklace from a local business. She adds, ‘I did look online for jewellery as well, but was afraid what was finally delivered wouldn’t be as it looked online.’ If you aren’t afraid to shop online, though, you can check out www.shaadikitayaari.com and www.rentjewels.com. You may also rent expensive designer clothes from www.secretwardrobe.in. The biggest designers, from Masaba Gupta to Maheka Mirpuri, Sabyasachi Mukherjee to Rohit Bal, have their clothes put up on this website. You don’t need to worry about things such as wearing used clothes as they follow a strict hygiene policy which you can read about on the website itself. Since you will be browsing and placing your orders on a website, no one will know your secret either.
Use technology: If you have relatives and friends abroad, there is no need to have extra cards printed and bear the burden of postage fees. Instead, email them the official invite early and ask them to RSVP via email or phone. Namita says, ‘I sent 45 cards to friends and relatives abroad via e-mail. Most of them had told us they couldn’t make it anyway, so we didn’t think it was rude. I think the elaborate cards for Indian weddings are an unnecessary expense.’