South Asian Weddings

Money-saving tips

So, girls...

Since we're all big on saving money for our big days, what measures are you taking to ensure you save some cash for your wedding festivities?

Are you walking in instead of being carried in?
Are you making some events at home?

I am trying to figure out how to scale down as much money as possible...and we're not even engaged yet! Share your tips!!!

And, how far off your budget are you?

Re: Money-saving tips

  • Bhanu&AnujBhanu&Anuj member
    edited December 2011
    I'm trying to not shop (I'm a shopoholic and I love fashion....) as much.  Before I got engaged I would shop a lot (to embarassed to say how often).


    *edit to make this addition*

    Another big trend I've seen is to have your wedding day decorator come to your house and decorate - we aren't doing that to save money
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  • meelabeelameelabeela member
    edited December 2011
    I've been doing a few DIY projects to TRY to save money.  We also scaled back on our floral decor and the stage decor to save a little.  It just seems like whenever we save money on one thing we end up spending more on another though lol
  • edited December 2011
    We're trying to save money where ever we can. We're going to make our own invites, we got great deals on our wedding attire (between buying the ceremony outfits in India and using coupons and sales where we can for our reception attire.)

    I am really excited to say that all four outfits for the two of us cost less $1500. That would be a sari, a matching simple sherwani, a Banana Republic suit and a JCrew wedding dress. YES!

    We also bought our paper items on sale at Staples with a coupon and am using coupons when I buy things from AC Moore (craftstore) to DIY our invites and other items.

    I am also excited to have gotten the glass jars, scoops and tongs from another local Knottie for $100 for our candy buffet - that would be a total of 22 jars and the tongs and scoops to go long with it!

    Another thing we did was go super simple on our wedding bands. I really, REALLY wanted the blinged out wedding band, but what matters to me is that it's the ring that he puts on my finger the day we are married. That is what really matters, so I am more than happy to do it with a simple platinum band.

    We're also tracking our estimated vs. actual budget in a spreadsheet as we go along. Right now we're tracking at coming in under budget. SCORE!

    I am a super bargain shopper. We were joking with my parents today that if you gave me $100, I would spend it, but I'd get $500 worth of stuff for it ;)
  • SonaliPopSonaliPop member
    edited December 2011
    I think we are trying to cut down on flowers and things as much as we can. At the wedding, I think we'll decorate a lot with Ganesh murthis on stands with mini garlands on them as opposed to flower arrangements, or bowls with flower petals and floating candles.

    Maybe for a gift for my friends, I'd buy identical baskets and buy cute things to fill them with wherever I saw a reasonable deal. Or, maybe I'd go to the Coach outlet store near me and get them each a wristlet. I always get online coupons from the store and I think that'd be a good idea.

    I really admire the bride here who told us she made her own garlands. They were beautiful. I think I may try to do that at home to see if I can do it sometime. That'd be a really good thing to save on.

    As far as reception decor, I'm not trying to do huge centerpieces everywhere. Maybe I'll mix between two kinds, some a little bigger and fuller, some glass vases or cylinders with water and flowers curled inside of them. I have seen some beautiful ones.

    I'm not sure. I am already trying to see how I can factor in savings before we start to plan. I nkow that I am not crafty enough to make my own invitations, but I can try to start to do something ahead of time to try.

  • edited December 2011
    He keeps fighting me on the whole concept of not spending a fortune on it. His family has high standards or something like that. They've got money, so they expect nothing less than the best, and it's hard for me - being that I DON'T come from money and I was raised to be practial - to not look at the family weddings he's described as too showy. I'd rather spend $7,000 on a simple event that's authentically us, than $100,000 on a splashy event designed to suit his family's expecations, nevermind what the family thinks. I'm not about to take crap from anyone about how our wedding didn't fit the mold; I'd sooner elope than deal with all that.

    So, in the interest of keeping the vision alive and affordable (I am absolutely NOT willing to let his family hold "But we helped pay for your wedding!" over my head), I'm doing everything I can to keep the cost down. Such that:

    ~Our venue is my mom's back yard.
    ~We're buying a canopy gazebo from Home Depot,, taking off the ugly brown canopy, and calling it a mandap.

    ~We're probably going to forgo the havan kund in favor of a small table-top brazier or just a bunch of candles.

    ~Instead of spending $300 on a priest to do a religious ceremony we don't want, we're filing the paperwork at the courthouse ourselves and having his best friend officiate the ceremony we wrote (costs about $120 to do it that way).

    ~I'm trying to find a cake vendor who can do what we want for under $700. f I can't find one, that may wind up on our DIY list too (see below).

    ~We have a long DIY list - paper stuff, favors, flowers and decor, music (iPod and a laptop), food (considering a buffet line with finger foods like the one at my friend's wedding we went to on Saturday)

    ~Considering a "casual" sari (which is still pretty fancy by American standards) over a sari or lehnga dripping with beads. Definitely going to forgo the dupatta - we're not marrying in a temple or a church or having a religious ceremony, we both hate my hair covered, and it only adds to the expense.

    I'm sure there's more I could list, but it's after midnight and my brain goes to bed at 10.
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  • SonaliPopSonaliPop member
    edited December 2011
    Thank you :)

    Why not do cupcakes and make them DIY? I have a family member who had a budget issue so they went to a baker and asked them for just the cake. They have people with steady hands in their family, so they iced and decorated the cake themselves. Go to a cake supply store - a lot of times people at bakery supply stores are INCREDIBLY handy and can help you out for a fraction of what you'd normally pay. And, they can offer you lots of great (and economical) DIY ideas.

    I really admire the fact that you guys are sticking to what you want. I am learning quite a bit what it means to compromise with family and I know that's half the battle. It's a good thing and a hard thing, but it's the right thing...sometimes :) 
  • edited December 2011
    I just got married 3 weeks ago, and here is what we did to save money:

    -the number one thing: keep the number of guests down! It can be difficult with an Indian wedding, but we decided to have the wedding where my husband and  I live now, not where we grew up (and surprisingly, our parents were on board). So our parents invited whoever they wanted from our hometowns, but only the people who really cared about us made the trip. We ended up with 160, rather than the 400 or 500 that it might have been otherwise! It was perfect for me since I always wanted a smaller wedding.

    -for favours, we gave out our favourite recipes since we love to cook together- people loved that it was personal and the only cost was the paper and the ribbon to tie it together

    -having the ceremony in a temple really helped, since the mandap was already built in and decorated with silk, and the temple itself was already so beautiful it hardly needed any enhancements. Plus it was cheap to rent.

    -I did my own makeup and got a friend to do my hair, and it turned out exactly how I imagined

    -having the wedding on a Friday helped, our venues and our DJ and photographer all charged us less because it was a weekday.

    -we did have a wedding planner, which was definitely an expense, but she got us a lot of discounts with vendors as well 

    -for the reception, we focused more on candles and overlays and had less elaborate flowers which was much cheaper overall (not to mention less wasteful)

    -our florist was also a decorator, which saved us from paying two separate set up and take down fees

    -having the mehndi and other events at home
  • kpwedkkkpwedkk member
    1000 Comments Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    This is what we did to keep the costs down:

    For the guests:
    - book group rates with three hotels so that our guests could spend less.
    - give coupons from costco/sam's club for car rentals
    - put the kayak chart and luggage prices for airfare.

    For us:
    - some of the hotels/rental cars/airfares we had to book, we made sure that a lot of guests were on the same flight for a group discount - 20% off total!
    - the mehendi, haldi events were held at our parents' home.  Groceries were bought for relatives to help cook for Wednesday-Friday, and Sunday events.
    - my aunt helped with the mehendi for guests, and a friend did mine, the bride's.
    - we had a lot of friends helping with picking up guests from the airport and shuttling them around - this was planned a few months in advance.
    - having a schedule, of when vendor deposits, and final payments helped keep us from spending a lot
    - for the wedding lunch, this was cooked in house.  The plates were from
    - our florists were our family - aunts and cousins.  The flowers was from, all petals, and flowers were used! (over 1500 - carnations, gerbera daisies and calla lillies )  - guests took home flowers :)
    - favors and cake boxes were assembled in house
    -wedding invitations, wedding programs and favor boxes were created and edited by me, via microsoft word/publisher, and sent as a proof for the printing.
    - for the wedding lunch, everything was disposable plastic, which after rinsing was recycled.  We splurged a bit in the reception dining ware, and cutlery. 
    - day of wedding coordinator had an inventory, and we just borrowed them, free of charge for the centerpieces.  She and her staff assembled them, with written instructions.
    - Our kirtan for the wedding music came from Toronto, New York and Florida.
    - Our DJ was also the MC and Dhol player for the wedding/reception

    Things that we did without -
    (it's so much easier to say what we did without than with)

    - No wedding party, or bridal party (folks that were recognized were parent of the groom, and parents of the bride)
    - No bridal shower - but I did take a shower/bath :)
    - No Bachelorette or Bachelor Party
    - We didn't have a Best Man Groomsmen, Maid of Honor, or Bridesmaids
    - I didn't toss a bouquet, because I didn't have one
    - I didn't carry a bouquet, or have corsages
    - we didn't do a prenup
    - we didn't elope
    - No cutting of the cake, in fact no special wedding cake, except for my mum's Caribbean rum cake, which was given as a favor in these boxes.

    And everything was saved in Microsoft Excel!  It's like a Desi wedding planning dream- modified checklists, which guests are coming, where are they coming from, do they have a ride, how long are they staying, and where are they staying!

    How far off were we?  we realized that we saved a few grand when or vendors gave discounts and consolidated things.  We also gave them the names and phone numbers of all the vendors we used so that in the future they could work together!  They had a blast, and so did we!

    What did we do with the mula - put it towards the down payment of the new-to-us house :)

    "The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched, they must be felt with the heart." ~ Miss K ~
  • mbuhpathimbuhpathi member
    edited December 2011
    The main advice I can give you to have a nice wedding but still keep the costs managable is to limit the guest list. This is very tough for indian weddings obviously but it enabled a very nice wedding with the family and friends closest to us. We didnt have to worry about feeding and entertaining acquantances.
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