Indian weddings are extravagant—filled with rituals and ceremonies lasting for 3 to 5 days. As weddings are a once-in-a-lifetime event, couples often go above and beyond their spending capacity. This leads to racking up unnecessary debts. Having a budget will help you avoid it.
Setting a wedding budget is the first step in planning a wedding. You must consider what type of wedding you can afford. A budget will give you a broad idea of what to include and how to save money. Following the estimated budget will avoid unnecessary expenses and financial crunch after the wedding.
This article covers everything you need to focus on while preparing a wedding budget so you can start your married life with the right financial footing.
Tips for planning wedding budgets
- Plan your wedding budget at least six months in advance. Avoid keeping things to the last minute.
- Book your favourite vendors like wedding photographers, caterers, decorators, event planners, etc., at least 5 to 6 months in advance to avoid last minute booking fees.
- Discuss the budget with both the families (bride and groom) and consider their views and desires to avoid bitterness.
- Decide with your partner and their family about who pays for what, or you will divide the expenses equally.
- Start saving for your wedding to avoid taking up huge wedding loans.
- If you happen to save money on your wedding expenses, instead of making another wedding expense, invest it for future life goals.
Factors affecting wedding budget
You are mistaken if you think external circumstances will not affect your wedding. Apart from your dream wedding goals, several factors affect your wedding budget. It is essential to consider them when planning your budget. The factors are:
The location of the wedding plays a huge role in determining your wedding expenses like venue, décor and catering costs. Metro cities are expensive when compared to tier-2 cities. Also, a location at the heart of the city will cost you 5x more than the one at the outskirts. So select the location accordingly.
● Number of events
Mehndi, sangeet, reception, and the number of ceremonies keep increasing, so does the cost. The number of events determines the number of days your wedding ceremony will extend. It also determines the cost of different decors, guest accommodation and a lot more.
● Number of guests
Your guest list is a big determiner of your wedding costs. You will have to book a venue with a high capacity if you have a long list of guests. Your guest list will not only affect the venue costs but will also affect accommodation and transport costs.
● Wedding date
Every couple wants to get married on an auspicious day. However, the venue costs are highest on auspicious days, especially during the wedding season. If your wedding dates happen to be on weekends, you can expect 1.5 to 2x venue costs.
● Market conditions
Yes, economic conditions like inflation, supply chain disruptions etc., affect marriage costs. They affect the average wedding costs in the country. You have to consider them when planning your wedding budget.
Now that you know the factors affecting the budget, let’s dive into planning the wedding budget.
How to plan a budget wedding in India?
1. Have a tentative budget in mind
The first and foremost step in planning a budget is deciding on a tentative budget based on your current financial conditions. This is just an estimate that might change as you list the specifics. But having it in mind will help you allocate better.
2. Make a list of expenses
The next step is to list all the potential wedding expenses and allocate the budget accordingly. You need not allocate a specific amount—a percentage works. Here’s a list of potential expenses to consider.
- Wedding venue – Venue will comprise the highest proportion of your wedding budget, around 15-20%. Try not to spend more than that on the venue. You can book party plots or hotel ballrooms—make an informed choice that fits your budget.
- Catering – Nowadays, people spend a lot on food and drinks. They include different cuisines, a variety of drinks, 50+ dishes and whatnot. However, it isn’t necessary. You can stick to dishes crowd relish while heavily weighing the quality. Consider spending 5-10% of your budget on catering.
- Décor – Décor is an important part of any event. In the case of weddings, couples plan for themed decors and splurge a little extra on them. However, keep in mind that décor is temporary. Think of making better use of your money elsewhere. Ideally, allocate 5-10% of the budget for décor.
Note- Avoid spending more than 50% of your budget on venue, décor and catering. These are the costliest items but should not overtake your entire wedding budget.
Other wedding expenses include
- Music and entertainment (5%)
- Wedding photography and videography (5%)
- Guest accommodation (10%)
- Transportation (5%)
- Wedding clothes and jewellery (15 to 20%)
- Wedding invites and gifts (3 to 5%)
- Wedding makeup (5%)
- Priest and wedding registration (2 to 3%)
- Miscellaneous (3 to 5%)
3. Have the budget written or printed
After having allocated the budget, get the estimates printed or written down to keep in view while negotiating with vendors
4. Negotiate and finalise the vendors within your budget
Not all vendors will fit in your budget. It is essential to see the quality of their work and finalise them within your budget. If you feel the need to exceed the budget, cut down on another expense.
5. Be prepared for unexpected expenses
Weddings are extravagant affairs, and you might have missed considering certain factors. Always keep aside a contingency fund for unforeseen expenses. It will avoid any last-minute hassle and stress.
While the above are necessary wedding expenses, there are additional expenses you can consider if you have the financial capacity.
Additional wedding expenses (optional)
- Pre Wedding shoot
- Personalised invites and hampers for guests
- Grand destination wedding at a resort
- Theme wedding
- Foreign honeymoon
Indian weddings are extravagant. It does not mean you need to spend above your capacity and start your married life with no financial roots. Always plan your wedding budget and spend accordingly. A proper budget will ensure a hassle-free marriage.