The Indian wedding industry is the second largest in the world, in terms of size and expenditure, with an estimated value pegged at about $40 – 50 billion, according to a 2017 KPMG report. It is second only to the US, which is estimated to be worth $70 billion. With such large sums of money shelled out for one day, it is clear that Indians take their weddings seriously, in fact, pretty seriously. This year has changed everything, though, and with the world economy taking a steep hit, weddings might not turn out to be the week-long elaborate affairs that they used to be. However, that doesn’t and shouldn’t stop anyone from investing, financially and emotionally, in what would be the most special days of their lives. Even if budgets are slashed owing to the coronavirus-related slump, employing these simple, mindful ways will help you save when planning.
A major attraction for any bride-to-be, hands down, is her trousseau. As all eyes on D-day are going to be fixated on the bride, it’s natural for her look to hold top priority. What follows is the pressure to get it right. “I knew what I wanted for my wedding—an eye-grabbing, yet affordable ensemble. I wanted my saris to reflect my traditional and cultural roots. That’s when I started scouring through small, upcoming local boutiques and from my native town,” shares Sanskruti Rai, who recently got married in Mahabalipuram. Now more than ever, brides and grooms are strongly rerouting their shopping to more local and homegrown labels, which is easy on the pocket and gives a sense of giving back to the community. “A local, hardworking artisan will pay more attention to detail and put in more work in making your dream wedding dress into a reality. That personal touch and interest appealed to me more,” adds Rai.
Also, brides-to-be shouldn’t shy away from being practical and opting for a rental bridal outfit. “It made a lot of sense. That outfit is going to be a one-time wear, mostly, and to think of spending a fortune on something I might not use every so often didn’t seem economical. Besides, you can rent designer wear at a fraction of the cost and still have a memorable wedding,” says Aditi Patel, who chose to rent her bridal outfit from a popular fashion rental website. After all, the memories will be captured in the pictures! Another way of saving up would be to trousseau shop during non-season sales.
Take The E-route To Invitations
At a time when ‘e-weddings’ have become the new nomenclature, taking an online detour to your invitations could be a step in the right direction. Extra points for sustainability and being eco-friendly! Resort to sending e-invites, thereby avoiding fancy invitation card packages. Save the dates or cocktail party invites look regal, personalised and appealing to the eye, but they also gouge a deep hole in your bank balance, not to mention their serious environmental impact. Go paperless, considering these invites are only going to the bin post the event. An added advantage of e-invites is that it allows you to use personal videos to set the tone and mood! “The pandemic was just a happenstance. We had already settled for sending out e-invites as that would save us time, packaging and design costs, travelling and many more added responsibilities that came with it,” Rai shares.
Be Wise About The Venue
Who does not want Priyanka Chopra Jonas’ royal Jodhpur wedding or Anushka Sharma’s serene Italian wedding? But realising that kind of a dream could prove bank-breaking. So, scout the venues that fit your budget, and go low, instead of exorbitant. For Rai, it was a temple wedding. “Although I come from Karnataka, I am fascinated with Tamil Nadu’s temples and architecture, which is why I chose one of the shore temples. The cost was not even close to what a full-blown destination wedding would have cost me!” With only 50 people in attendance as per government mandates, Rai’s wedding encompassed everything she envisioned. Other economical options could include a country club, public event space, recreational centre, campground, a family member’s or friend’s space, a local restaurant or even a public park after acquiring proper permissions.
Budget Your Honeymoon
When you get married, you step into a different phase in your life. Finances, families, emotions and even your lifestyle need to be adjusted, keeping both of you in mind. At such times, planning for finances in the long run and not just for that brief wedding period is important. Rishabh Parakh chartered account, and founder and chief gardener, Money Plant Consultancy, says, “Once you have an idea of the amount that you are planning to allocate for your wedding, you can start investing for it in the appropriate products. In the same way as budgeting and saving for your wedding, you can plan for your honeymoon as well. The more exotic or expensive your dream destination is, the more you will need to invest for your honeymoon.” He also insists that you ensure you integrate this thought with your financial planning and budget for it appropriately. “Today, in a buyer’s market, you can get a lot of offers and save on a lot of money if you are smart and can spot the right offers coming your way.”
CA Rishabh Parakh shares tips for newlyweds for a happy financial life:
• Know one another’s goals and find a way of combining them.
• Discuss one another’s existing investments and align it with future common financial goals.
• Choose your investment products wisely. Have a good asset allocation.
• Set up an emergency fund to at least cover six months of expenses at any time.
• Buy adequate insurance for yourself, spouse, family and properties.
• Update all nominees.
• Set some money aside for entertainment and leisure. After all, you are newly married!
Come October, and the air is agog with festivities and celebrations. Some of our most important festivals fall in this month, and the mood all over is always celebratory. While Femina is back with its annual festival special issue, we now take you through on how to make the most of everything in the ‘new normal’.
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