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Super Sweet Ways To Include Doughnuts In Your Wedding

It’s goodbye cake and hello doughnuts (or donuts)! These super sweet treats are all the rage right now in wedding world. Couples are embracing this trend and serving them in the most delightful ways. Whether it’s on your dessert table, or as a bespoke wedding favour, there are plenty of ways to include these scrumptious […]

18 Ways To Budget For Your Wedding

18 Ways To Budget For Your Wedding | The Maharani Diaries

A recent article published in Australian bridal magazine, ‘Bride To Be’ magazine suggested that the average cost to have a wedding now in Australia is estimated to be over $65K. Just a little over 2 years ago, the average was around $36K which indicates that the cost has almost doubled. The article was based on a survey that the magazine had been conducting since 1997 and wedding watchers say that there are many contributing factors to the rise of wedding costs.

There is a rising popularity in couples opting for destination weddings, purchasing couture made bridal wear, pre-wedding photo shoots, hiring photo booths, dessert buffets and not to forget the fact that traditional hens and stag parties are turning into weekend long parties or overseas getaways.

Save The Date | The Maharani Diaries

PLANNING THE PERFECT WEDDING DOESN’T HAVE TO BE A FINANCIAL STRUGGLE.

The way in which couples choose to approach their weddings has taken a dramatic shift from the days of hiring your local community hall down the road to massive function venues in hotels, resorts, vineyards and even palaces. It’s all about the ‘wow-factor’ and creating something magical and everlasting for not just yourself, but for your family and friends as well. 

Yes, it’s true. Planning a wedding never comes cheap and it’s difficult to stay within budget. Many couples often have to seek financial support from their parents or dip into their own savings accounts in order to cover costs. But, the truth is that your perfect day shouldn’t have to be a financial struggle. It is possible to plan the perfect wedding on a budget. It is also important to remember that weddings shouldn’t be about showing off how much money you have or about making comparisons about whose wedding was better. Traditionally, Indian weddings are about the joining of two families and spending it with your loved ones.  That is all that it should eventually come down to.

Your parents are around to support you.

YOUR PARENTS ARE AROUND TO SUPPORT YOU.

Of course Indian weddings have their own challenges. It can sometimes be difficult to convince your families that this day is about you and your fiancé. They may prefer to focus on the religious aspects whereas you on the other hand want to make sure everyone has a memorable time. Try to strike a compromise. Nowadays, couples are more inclined to take charge of their own weddings but do ensure that families have their input. Nothing will happen unless you have their support. My advice is to break it all down. Break down the events, costings and components. Start a spreadsheet and perhaps even draw up a timeline as well. This is especially relevant given that Indian weddings run over several days. So it’s essential to discuss aspects such as finding a priest, ceremonial costs and mehndi/henna artist hire. But, for now, let me share a few tips and ideas on ways you can save or budget on one of the most important days of your life.

via Marigold Tales | The Maharani Diaries

1) Host your pre wedding puja’s, religious ceremonies and parties at home

These events do not have to be over the top and perhaps invite only your closest friends and relatives. If your house is too small to hold a sangeet or mendi party, host it at a friend’s house or a well equipped and acceptable looking local community hall. When I say ‘well equipped’, I mean with kitchen facilities. I also suggest that you seek assistance from your relatives and friends to help with decorations and if need be, song and dance routines.

Pinterest | The Maharani Diaries

Pinterest Inspo | The Maharani Diaries

2) DIY or purchase decorative items

Often wedding decor is expensive to hire. But items such as candle votives, candelabras or mason jars are not difficult to source yourself and are often cheaper than hiring. Collect them or try purchasing them online, at the local dollar store and op-shops.

Pinterest (as in above images) is a great tool for creating an inspiration board or brainstorming image boards. It’s free to use and is possibly the most popular website for future brides seeking inspiration for their own weddings. Through Pinterest, you can narrow your likes and dislikes and it can certainly assist you with DIY decorating ideas. However, don’t go overboard with do it yourself decoration. Trying to include every single cute Pinterest idea will make your venue look tacky and over the top. One thing I learnt during my wedding and event work experience, is that ‘less is more.’

Bridal party tug of war | The Maharani Diaries

3) Small bridal party or none at all

A modern day dilemma that all Indian brides face these days, is whether to have a bridal party or not. It isn’t actually a part of Indian tradition, however times are changing and modern, western values are becoming a norm for south asian weddings. I suggest you really think hard about whether having a bridal party is really going to make a difference for your wedding. Your family and friends are going to be around anyway to help. You don’t necessary need a label for them.

Understated wedding decor also makes a beautiful statement.

UNDERSTATED, SIMPLE WEDDING DECOR MAKES A BEAUTIFUL STATEMENT.

4) Don’t go overboard with flowers

Wedding flowers are expensive. But, some florists are very accommodating and often suggest floral arrangement options that fit within your budget. Selecting floral arrangements which are smaller or at the less expensive end of the spectrum as your centrepiece isn’t always a bad thing. As an alternative to flowers, choose candelabras as your centrepieces. It all depends on the overall look or theme that you’re trying to achieve. Often wedding venues may be able to include centrepiece or floral arrangement packages or offer recommendations to florists or stylists that they have affiliations with. But do your homework and shop around for the best deal and remember to choose flowers that are within season as well.

As for bouquets, paper flower or plastic ones look just as impressive and much cheaper. Don’t believe me? Check out this link for proof – http://liagriffith.com/diy-paper-rose-wedding-bouquet/

5) Don’t hold your wedding on a Saturday

Did you know that more and more couples are now opting for a Friday or a Sunday wedding? Not only because it’s cheaper, but you could also cut back on numbers if you’re after a more intimate wedding. 

Other factors such as the season makes a huge difference as well. Summer is the peak season with Spring coming in a close second.

6) Opt for local wedding vendors

This is a no brainer really. Interstate wedding vendors are always going to charge more for travel, time and transport.

This Kikki K wedding planner file was a life saver during my wedding planning.

A WEDDING PLANNING FILE SUCH AS THIS ONE FROM KIKKI K IS USEFUL FOR PLACING ALL YOUR VENDOR
BROCHURES, BUSINESS CARDS, DEPOSITS, RECEIPTS ETC.

7) Keep a diary or planner and set up a wedding savings account

As mentioned earlier, draw up a spreadsheet and break down your wedding costings. Purchase a planner or notebook and write everything down. This will ensure that your sanity is in check and that you’re not wasting unnecessary money. Stationary aficionado’s like myself will know that Kikki K produce beautifully presented notebooks and planners that keep you inspired. Use the planners to keep on top of your budget and keep track of deposit due dates as well.

Setting up a wedding savings account is a brilliant idea and is certainly something I wish I had thought of during my own wedding. Every week leading up to the wedding, set aside a certain amount of money for the big day. It doesn’t matter how much it is, just remember that every little amount goes a long way. If you can avoid it, try not to use your credit card.

Indian wedding buffet | The Maharani Diaries

8) Save on catering

Catering is a delicate topic when it comes to Indian weddings. Many couples don’t even know where to begin with this. After venue hire, food and beverage is the next biggest expense. In my opinion, I don’t believe that you should cut costs on catering. After all, what is an Indian wedding without delectable curries right?

What you could do though, is cater less. You can save on costs by reducing the amount of food and alcohol you serve. Indian food is generally heavy so it makes sense to do this. For my wedding, I opted for a basic beverage package and a few canapés, some starters, a couple of meat and vegetarian curries, naan and rice. There was of course dessert and the cake as well.

Try to restrict the amount you serve and you can of course discuss this with your caterer as they would know best.

If you’d like to serve a signature cocktail as well, then perhaps eliminate a couple of other drinks or one food item from the menu.

Indian wedding cake | The Maharani Diaries

9) How about the wedding cake?

Ask your cake decorator to make a cake that is just about the right size and has enough servings for your guests and yourself to enjoy. For example, for 200 guests, a 3 or 4 tier cake should be sufficient.

It is also entirely up to you if you would like a cake or not. You could opt for cupcakes instead or just a dessert table. Why not save on costs by asking a friend to bake the cake for you? I’m sure everyone knows of a friend or family member who is a keen or avid baker.

10) Hold your wedding and reception at the same venue

Venue hire is expensive. Don’t forget to factor in travel costs for your vendors and family and friends who are coming from interstate/overseas. How about holding your wedding and reception at the same venue? 

The beautiful RACV Club set in the winery region of Victoria, Australia was the perfect backdrop for my outdoor fusion wedding ceremony.

THE BEAUTIFUL RACV CLUB SET IN THE WINERY REGION OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA WAS THE PERFECT
BACKDROP FOR MY OUTDOOR FUSION WEDDING CEREMONY.

11) Choose a beautiful venue

I hate to say this, but opt for a wedding venue which doesn’t require too much decorating. This way you don’t have to spend a fortune on styling it. For instance, a venue that is visually appealing and has sweeping views would make a great choice.

On a side note, remember that lighting is costly. You can be quoted up to $1000AUD or more for ambient or mood lighting. You can definitely create ambience by simply telling your venue coordinator to dim the lights at the venue. Candles or tea lights create a romantic atmosphere as well.

12) Involve family and friends

Delegate tasks to family and friends. Accept help when it is offered, but be organised.

13) Save on wedding wear

I know the dream for most Indian brides is to wear a Manish Malhotra, Sabyasachi or Tarun Tahiliani creation on her wedding day, but reality is that you’re looking at paying upwards of $2000AUD for a couture lehenga or sari. There are alternative options. Elegant and classy Indian bridal wear isn’t difficult to source and I will discuss this in future posts.

14) Design your own wedding stationary or don’t have it at all

If you have the time, I would seriously consider this. If you have an eye for design or have a clever graphic designer friend, by all means opt for this. Design can take time, but it is a huge cost saver.

Otherwise, there are some great online wedding invitation businesses out there that offer great packages for you and can work within your budget. Just don’t forget to double check the spelling.

Another option is to create a wedding website which might not even cost a thing. The only risk here is that some guests might not even bother to check their emails.

Decide if you want to have programs or a wedding guest signing book. Guests will look at these things if they are there or if an announcement is made, but I don’t think they will notice if these two items are missing.

Finally, after returning from your honeymoon, it’s important to snail mail or email thank you cards to guests for all of the generous gifts and for being a part of your special day. Thank you cards are simple to design and/or print. Simply type out the same gratitude message for everyone and send them off. For your online alternative, take a look at Paperless Post. 

15) Don’t include wedding favours

Wedding favours add a nice personal touch to your wedding, especially if they’re DIY. But if you are really on a tight budget and don’t have the time, then eliminate them all together. In the end, all that really matters is that you host an amazing function with delicious food and peppy music and your guests won’t even know.

Wedding guests | The Maharani Diaries

A SMALLER GUEST LIST CAN UNDOUBTEDLY SAVE COSTS.

16) How about a smaller guest list?

I know your parents are probably insistent on inviting Uncle Raj or Aunty Renuka or some distant relative or friend you haven’t seen in years. The truth is that you don’t know who they are. Is it really necessary and will you be paying them regular visits in the years to come? You could really save on costs here. Catering for one person these days can cost upwards of $100AUD per person. Try and come to some sort of compromise on this with your parents.

Ace wedding and event planner, Sonia Sharma.

ACE WEDDING AND EVENT PLANNER, SONIA SHARMA.

17) Hire a wedding planner

If you really don’t know where to start or are extremely time poor, I suggest hiring a wedding planner. Your wedding planner will complete all the note taking for you, create schedules and timelines and ensure everything is running accordingly.

An experienced wedding planner will offer you smart advice and provide you with some sort of direction. They will only work with trusted vendors and will also be able to work within your budget. Some of the more experienced and celebrity wedding planners will obviously cost an arm and a leg, so take some time to shop around for the best deal. I recommend contacting up to four or five wedding planners.

You won’t believe it, but a wedding planner can save you time and money. You won’t have to worry about whether the cake has reached the venue on time and spend more time focusing your efforts on enjoying the wedding day with your family and friends.

18) Save on photography, videography and entertainment

I’m sure you have a photographer or videographer in mind whose work you absolutely love but can’t afford their charges. One option could be to ask them if they have an associate photographer or videographer who will photograph your wedding for less. Opt for one of both as well. Two or more photographers or videographers will set you back thousands of dollars.

In terms of entertainment, hire a smaller band or just one DJ. If you’d like some Bollywood dancing as well, I’m sure you could coax some friends into performing at your sangeet party or reception without charging the massive fee.

'2 States' | The Maharani Diaries

In the end, you know your budget, your needs and wants. Try and save on money where you can. The Indian culture is so rich, colourful and vibrant. Try and save where you can but my advice would be to not hold back on food or entertainment.

Are you planning a wedding soon? What are your budget tips? Let us know in the comments below.