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.
I used the top part of the dress I made to make the lace and lining, then bias bound them at neck and arm holes. This is probably my best bias binding till date and I am feeling proud. Again, I used the same soft cotton lining (malmal) as used here, here and here. I’m adventurous, I know.
Fabric: I got 1.5m of the lace from Arbuda matching centre for Rs. 250 / m and used about 1m. Leftover fabric for lining. Total cost Rs. 375 (~$7)
Total time: 3 – 4 hours (I went slow esp with bias binding)
Another grainline studio pattern. What can I say, they are nice and the instructions are fantastic.
Some key things –
1. The fly front steps (and tutorial) for this skirt were great and even though this was my first time making one, I didn’t think it was too bad. It was actually going fantastically well till I realized I’d sewn in the zipper upside down! That was a aaaarrrghhh moment and I had to re-do it all over again.
2. I’m not sure how to add that little mark where the fly shield, front etc all are to be sewn together at the bottom of the curve. My needle just wouldn’t move. Maybe it all got a bit too thick?
3. The automatic one step buttonhole on my machine would only do one round and it took me a while to figure out how to get it down right, so my skirt was sitting around without a top button and I was very tempted to just put hook and eye closure. I searched high and lo to find a solution but it worked out in the end. The trick was to not put my machine name in when googling and viola, a video which said that you also have to move the length to the F – 0 setting. And done. I only re-did the buttonhole four times after this. What can I say, I’m a quick learner.
Fabric: Fabulous linen from Arbuda Matching Centre in Ahmedabad for Rs. 200 / metre and bought a total of 2m as the width was a bit less. Could’ve done with1.5m in the end. Pocket lining from scrap fabric from some other project.
Notions: Zipper for Rs. 10 and thread for Rs. 5, for a grant total of Rs. 215 which is $3.5 (although I should add the pattern which was for $9 I think, but it is nice to delude myself in to thinking I made it for $3.5)
Time: 6 – 7 hours, includes redoing the zipper and time spent swearing
I’ve made another dress based a Club Monaco dress I own. Here are the results. For comparison, I’ve added a photo of the original dress also.
I added the gorgeous jacquard (which I dyed (got dyed ie) in dark navy blue) for some interesting detail and the printed underlining at the hem, for the slightest hint of fun. This was my first time using jacquard fabric and I think I am in love! Look at how utterly gorgeous it is and it has such a nice feel to it too. I also inserted the invisible zipper (with lining for the first time) which turned out quite well, imo.
Unlike the original dress, I lined the entire garment as the yellow/mint was too sheer, so the dress overall feels a lot richer. Also, I got lovely mum to hand stitch the printed underlining at the hem – I’m so lazy when it comes to hand stitching. She did such an amazing job – I honestly can’t tell even a single thread from the front even when I look at it closely, even though she just used a simple running stitch. She says it’s because of the jacquard weave. Maybe.
One smallish issue that caused a little frustration was that the skirt and skirt lining turned out to be a lot bigger than the top waist and had to re-stitch the seams to crop quite a bit off. I must’ve messed up while cutting because the pattern seems ok. Next time will keep this in mind.
Time: 8 – 9 hours, including drafting the pattern
Fabric: Super soft cotton in yellow/mint for 200php / yard and needed a total of around 2 yards (as I made the lining with it as well). 2m jacquard fabric that I got dyed for a total of Rs. 200 and 1/2m for the hem lining for Rs. 50 from Sanskruti, Ahmedabad. Invisible zipper from Fabric Warehouse, Mannila for 10 php
Total cost: Rs. 780 (~@$13 vs $220 for the original and I actually like mine a lot more). I’ll say that was a success!
And once again, another grainline studio pattern. I may or may not be crazy in love with her patterns. Anyway the key things –
1. I used this most gorgeous ikat chiffon found at my new favourite fabric shop – Arbuda Matching Centre in Ahmedabad. I cut it sandwiched between old newspapers and it cut great (almost). Finished all seams (except sleeve) using french seams and hand rolled the neckline hem as I didn’t want to add bias binding after my last disaster. I think it will take me a while to try bias binding again.
2. I elongated the sleeves using this tutorial and also cut a slight boat neck vs the round, although I think the front part became a bit too low but eh, whatever! I added two small pleats in the front and a string in the back to bring back some balance.
Here are photos, some in my favourite buddha position!
Probably my best french seams and hem (on delicate fabric) by far
Fabric: Beautiful chiffon ikat from Arbuda Matching Centre in Ahmedabad for Rs. 250 / metre and bought a total of 2m as the width was a bit less.
Notions: Thread for Rs. 5, for a grant total of Rs. 505 which is $8 (+ the pattern for $6.5)
Time: 4 – 5 hours
I think Grainline Studio is fantastic. Their patterns, tutorials, and their past clothing line – hound, all of it. I was browsing around the web and came across a pretty tank top from hound, which looked to be a similar cut to the “tiny pocket tank” by Grainline. I cut a triangle at the fold, added seam allowance to the tiny pocket tank pattern, and just like that, a new pattern was born. Here’s the result.
Fabric: 1m reddish-pick and 1m white butter crepe fabric. Both for Rs. 50 / metre from a “matching centre” in Ahmedabad. I was lazy and couldn’t be bothered to come up with a new colour combination although I did think about it which should count for something
Time: 7 – 8 hours! This was also my first time sewing with crepe, which more than tripled the amount of time required. I also did french seams all over. I wonder if there is an easier way to do bias binding with crepe fabric – that was one horrendous part. I ended up swearing at the machine a couple of times which is no fun. The top right bit of the triangle in the front is so messed up and so is the entire neckline. I realised too late that I forgot to understitch!
Anyway, while it doesn’t look as nice as the hound version and the top of the triangle doesn’t match, it will do for now.
2 of them which are named, Cebu, the bear and Manila, the elephant! I made them using felt I found in Taiwan for 40 TWD. I made the bag using soft white cotton / muslin-ish and added a nice bright yellow cord for some colour. The elephant legs and trunk took some pushing and probing to come out but in the end they did.
Will post a photo of her playing with them when I get one.
PS: The plushies are
copied made based on saracarr’s designs