I recently got married to a British guy and we had a small (by Indian standards – 150 people) wedding in Bombay. It was a mix of Indian and western traditions and overall I am quite pleased with how it all went.
This blog post is intended to help future brides and grooms with some, what I am going to call, real advice. When we were doing research, I felt the majority of articles were fairly superficial without actual details or figures. This is a long post so get a cup of coffee, or better – a drink.
- Get a full blown wedding planner: We paid 2.3L (fixed cost) for ours and they made our life SO easy. You may wonder if you really need them if you are going for a small wedding but there are so many elements to a wedding (licensing, sound, light etc) which you (or I, at least) have no knowledge of. This was the best money we spent in my opinion.
- Outfit and makeup: I got a famous designer to design my wedding lehenga which cost 2.8L. Also got an amazing make up artist who charged 75k for me, 40k for my mum and sister. Exorbitant? Yes. Is this really necessary? No. Does more expensive mean better? Also no.Why did I do it? Because I admire the designer, her couture work is like no other I have seen and it made me feel special. I would say, go for whatever makes you feel great given your budget.
- Groom’s outfit: We got a suit made – total cost was about 1.5L.
- Venue: We knew we wanted to get married in Bombay and considered Ali Baug but as a lot of his family were flying down they / we felt it would be a massive hassle to ask them to travel again. Once Bombay was decided, we knew we did not want to get married in a hotel or a banquet hall, and wanted it to be outside. This cut down 95% of available venues. Now, I did not know this, but you cannot play music outside in Bombay past 10:30 pm. Never mind that I have been kept awake multiple nights by blaring music from somewhere, that’s the rule. After a few days of stress, we agreed on the perfect venue – outdoor and indoor – where the party could go on till dawn (indoor part). Rustic and just the way we liked it. All very lovely until you get to the cost. 7.5L. Yup, not even kidding. This cost is without any help in terms of their staff, parking, valet, not even generators. Was it worth the price? I think it’s ridiculously expensive but given the lack of options, we are very pleased we found this.
- Hotels: Of course we have to pay for all guests to stay in hotels. We got rooms at the Taj Colaba (his side) and Four Seasons (my side) for a grand total of 13L.
- Transport: How can people be getting their own taxis or uber and going around town? We need to provide them with cars of course. Total cost 2.5L. Rate – Rs. 2500 for 8 hours. Airport pickup and drop off at Four Seasons Rs. 1500 vs Rs. 2000 for the Taj.
- Food: We got eclectic Indian food with, what my parents thought was a very limited selection (only 10000 things vs 1000000000000000000000000) for a total of 11.8L. It was delicious though.
- Alcohol: 4L. Depends on how much people drink. Full – open bars are a must at Indian weddings. This was for 100 people drinking. The oldies in my family don’t drink.
- Decor: The most useless waste of money EVER. 9L we spent on buffet fabric, tables, candles, tea lights, flowers, signage, chairs, bar construction, stage, etc. I would say half of it was justified, rest was because “lagega ke kutch decor he nahi kiya hai”. Battle lost.
- DJ and band: 4L. Personally, I would skip the band and just get the DJ (1L with all his equipment)
- Other (7.5L):
- Photographer (60K), Videographer (0) – didn’t want / need that
- Licensing (1.5L)
- Sound (~1.5L)
- Light (~2L)
- Generators (1.5L)
- Wedding Favours (50k) – Mum thought I was very cheap. I thought I was generous by even giving any wedding favours.
- Wedding Invite and other stationery (15k) – I designed them myself. Cost was just the printing cost.
- Misc (7L) – Stuff like production tempos, f&b for crews, first aid kit, crockery and cutlery, garbage disposal truck, bartenders, service staff, valet team, wheelchairs, varmalas, buzz off patches etc. It all adds up!
Let’s see the damage: 70 – 75 Lakh. Still want to get married?
For all those looking to shame me for the budget, don’t bother. I am already ashamed of how much was spent.