Your Wedding Planning Journey Begins!
Calm yourself, take a few breaths and relax; before you immerse yourself with finalising the designs, colors and it all!. Staying organised is very important, and this is best done through spreadsheets. You just have to feed in the numbers and the rest is taken care of. The budgeting process is shockingly short, for the sole reason that it does not require calculating big numbers or other complexities. At the forefront is staying organised, and tracking all of it is how you manage it. If you put aside time to correctly set it up, everything will go stress free.
Here you will understand the traditional and modern approaches to managing and sharing budgets and learn how to prepare and track expenses and stay within a budget on a timely basis. We will also shine light on the drawbacks of borrowing finances for the occassion, and a way to self-discipline yourself to stick by it. Not to worry, there is only a 10 percent chance that you’ll go overboard, so relax.
The wedding is something that the whole family is involved in regardless who swipes the card, everyone would like to pitch in the best way possible- it all boils down to your preferences and priorities. Budgeting is dynamic and thus will change when you and your significant other are the only one’s spending. Parents may volunteer or are expected to pay part of it (if not all of it), so it would be best if they made their contributions known as early as possible.
Matters regarding money go along better when discussed individually with each set of parents rather than together, but this changes if there are large number of guests invited, then cost are encouraged to be discussed as a group.
Parents can decide to pitch in a fixed amount or a type of expense they would like to shoulder. Before agreeing to a certain amount they would wish to know how much they are going to spend, this is where an estimate comes in handy. There’s always a chance where the parents cannot pitch in at all, others may be curious as to what the other set of parents are contributing as well.
On an average, Rs. 20,00,000 is the cost of a destination wedding in Goa, which is the bare minimum for a 3 night’s event. Parents may pay more or pay less for different aspects or pitch in even more if it were a hometown wedding. All of these factors will influence your decisions on the budget considering all these aspects and balancing it out.
Reaching a stalemate over certain items in the budget is not a rare occurrence, a way out it is to see whether it’s about the money or priority. These could take a turn for worse and turn into an argument which can be completely avoided by not indulging onto it at all. Here’s where ranking priorities comes into play and it helps identify what is important and what is not. But you cannot deem everything as high priority, which would just be silly and defeat the whole purpose.
This same method can be used by everyone that is involved. Each time a disagreement arises over certain expenses, take a look at the sheet. If it isn’t a priority, is it really worth fighting for?
“Flowers, Liquor, Orchestra, and Photography”, or ‘FLOP’ is something that we would encourage to those families that want to split the bill right down the middle. Preferably the groom’s family would spend toward the Flowers, Liquor, Orchestra, and Photography. They would also foot the cost of the rehearsal dinner as a side expense. In the olden days, the honeymoon was something footed by the groom’s family, but now is taken on by the couple themselves and further adding to it through some of the gift money they receive. The bride’s family will pay the rest.
This is just one approach, dividing the bill with both sides works well. But there are times when the parents and the couple decide on paying individually for their own invitees. This helps in narrowing the guest list. It can also be divided depending upon parent’s interests and connections. If one of the parents knows a good photographer or owner of a venue, a discounted price could be a possibility. Today it is very common for the bride and groom to pay the expenses themselves or just accept a certain fixed amount that they allocate themselves as needed.
A PLEA FOR RESTRAINT
If your parents are contributing, please make sure that they don’t end up in debt for years. If borrowing is something that you are considering, aim for a realistic a sum that is payable in about a years time. There could be other financial liabilities that may arise, like money kept aside for buying a house, or loans; a large burden of debt will only put a strain on the marriage. Take into consideration the interest rates on credit cards before charging your card with something that you cannot afford. If at all you feel that you won’t be able to cover the expenses then look for alternative methods of finance well in advance, there are ways which are less expensive. It is best if you open a separate bank account only for this purpose, it will be of great help to keep track of expenses.
PREPARING A BUDGET
It is now time to get on with the main event. Every bill that you get, every item that you spend at must be tracked. This includes everything from deposits made for the sound, or decor, to charges to the tailor. A simple way to keep record of all this is to carry a small notebook and jot down every expense and later transfer it to your sheets. You could make up your own chart or get some templates from the web, there are a ton available. If you plan on doing it on your own, then there are few important columns to add. One will be the estimated costs, another for advance/deposit amounts. One more would be space for you to add notes, other extras, changes, etc. Be sure to plan the chart in such a manner that particular items can be easily deleted or added if the budget needs to be roped in a bit or gets increased. Make the sheet a part of your daily life routine, which will habituate you into keeping the sheet up to date. Update the sheet immediately or on a weekly basis, would suffice.
A CONVENTIONAL BREAKDOWN OF COST:
- Church fees and decor
- Dresses for bridal party and bridal gown
- Photographer and Album/Prints
- Floral arrangements at the ceremony and venue
- Accommodation for attendants
- Hair & Makeup and other Accessories
- Event/Wedding Coordinator
- Save the dates, Invites, Thank you cards & other stationary.
- Cost of hiring venues for reception and ceremony.
- Engagement Ring & Wedding ring
- Bouquet for the bride and family Favors
- Accommodation for attendants
- Honeymoon booking and expenses
- Wedding party’s gifts
- Bar Costs
- Costs for transportation
- Licenses and Permits
IT IS ALL RELATIVE
You will have to choose the method of accounting that you are most comfortable with, you will need to impart quite a lot thought and planning into it. Be realistic and rationalize, say you put Rs. 12,00,000 towards the venue and Rs. 3,00,000 towards that stunning gown you’ve wanted, while having just Rs. 18,00,000 to work with, given that this is a bit far-fetched for an example, but other aspects such as the bar, entertainment, etc. cannot be covered with just 1/6th of the leftover funds. Not missing the big picture, it would be very difficult to make allocations at times, however you need to keep returning to check your priorities and the guest comfort as well. Given below is a template of an allocation based the average spending for weddings in Goa.
The Budget –
- Catering, Drinks, Hiring of Reception Venue : 42%
- Photography & Photobooth: 8%
- Rings & other Jewellery: 8%
- Rehearsal dinner: 6%
- Fresh Flower Arrangements : 6%
- Video-shoot: 5%
- Clothing: Gown/Bridesmaids dresses: 5%
- Live Band/DJ’s: 4%
- Groom-wear: 3%
- Bridal Make-up and hair along with makeup for the bridal party: 2%
- Save the Date’s, invites, Thank you notes and other stationary : 2%
- Cake (preferably tiered), Snacks at the church & takeaways: 2%
- Transportation : 2%
- Decor Arrangements: 2%
- Favours: 1%
THE SPLURGE WINDOW
Planning and organizing everything to the dot is all well and good but there are thousands of things that will tempt you along the way, a special photo session, or personalized takeaways for the guests for example. It’s no sin to succumb to these temptations. For this exact reason there’s a 10% cushion kept a side as back up. This cushion also helps to overlook certain expenses or those that have already been missed while budgeting.
THERE ALWAYS ARE OPTIONS:
Weddings in Goa can be how you want them to be, grand, quaint, cosy, private, etc. It’s all based on your priorities, and decisions on allocations. The couple may want to spend a lot on the décor, and would be content with low key entertainment. Or another instance where the couple wants a special performance by a renowned personality, and wouldn’t mind serving a buffet course with no snacks. There’s no harm in wanting any of this, but you should also keep in mind the comfort of your guests. Don’t cut corners that will have them leave hungry, tired, frustrated or uncomfortable.
One simple trick to this is to put yourself in the shoes of your guests. Attend your own reception as a guest, will it make you uncomfortable or frustrated? If so, then there’s no point arguing against it, is there?
There are certain niceties, items that may be spectacular but would usually go unnoticed by most guests, like monogramed napkins. As these items wouldn’t really make a difference, they should be struck off the list. There are many alternatives that can be explored like personalized notes for the guests on their respective tables. Put the guest first, because this is ow they will enjoy your wedding celebration to the fullest.
IF YOU ARE LOOKING TO CUT COSTS HERE ARE 10 WAYS THAT YOU CAN
If you observe closely, you will come across many ways to do things without burning a hole in your pocket. This can only be done by sticking to your priorities and standing firm, not being swayed on what to spend on and save on.
- If the overall budget is on your mind then shorten the guest list, trim costs per head.
- A beach or a scenic location will help reduce décor costs as it will have natural elegance.
- Fully functioning reception sites will have staff, cutlery, seating and the power arrangements already in place. This would reduce venue costs further.
- To lower alcohol costs, have a limited bar with aerated drinks and a signature cocktail, beer and whiskey.
- An evening reception would have a higher bar tab as compared to an afternoon wedding as guests would consume less alcohol in the afternoon.
- Venues and vendors would charge less on weekdays rather than weekends as they are in less demand on weekdays.
- Serving that bubbly to raise the toast may not be economically sound especially when the guest list is huge. It would be better to have them toast with whatever drink they have with them at that time.
- Another cost saver is personal notes instead of favours.
- You will be surprised with the effects that you can achieve with the traditional offset printing for less than a fraction of the cost. Instead of spending a lot on stationery for items such as engravings and letter pressed prints.
- For your music hire a DJ instead of a band, the DJ can create a special playlist that would suit your crowd.
MAKING ROOM FOR TIPS
The case with most vendors is the margin that includes gratuities in the bill, or maybe mentioned separately. This will vary depending on the location and size, role the vendor has played, and the travelling time. Tipping maybe optional, but it is a gesture of a well-executed job. Professionals who own their own business don’t necessarily need to be tipped, but a personal note or a good review of their services mean a lot more.
SPLURGES THAT MUST BE INDULGED IN-OUR TOP 5 PICKS
After all the meticulous planning and budgeting, you may not have room for this, but if you do, these would definitely get you your moneys’ worth.
- In Goa a typical caterer will have 1 waiter for 3-4 tables. But when their short staffed it leads to one side of the guests in the venue being served while the other half is still awaiting their snacks/drinks. Therefore hiring extra wait staff would really help.
- Have a professional take care of the lighting. The standard lighting of the venue will not give the venue that mesmerising look that will make people stare in awe. Professional lighting will also get you stunning photographs.
- Have a DJ perform when the band is taking their breaks, this will help keep the tempo of the party up and make for a continuous flow of entertainment.
- Work a deal with your photographer on charges for extra prints, these could be sent out as thank you notes.
- Guest menus are a great way of customising and are beautiful keepsakes as well.