Continuing on from one of my previous posts about keeping things in perspective, today I bring tips for all you bride-to-be’s.
I am in NOWAY an expert, so this is based on my own (ongoing) struggles with money matters. It is so easy to get caught up in all the fluff associated with weddings – trust me, I know! Here is a list that I hope will help you (and me) to stay on budget.
- Know Your Budget
Whether your family, you or your fiance is paying for the wedding, always know your budget. Who hasn’t watched the bride and groom argue about their budget on an episode of Wedding SOS or Rich Bride Poor Bride? Yeah, you don’t want that. If you’re both on the same page, it will help you both know what you can and cannot have. Checks and balances!
No doubt, your venue can be one of the largest costs of your wedding. While places such as the Royal Ambassador are gorgeous, you might want to steer clear of it if you’re on a budget. Your venue will make a drastic different to your cost – especially if you are having a standard sized desi wedding (with guestlists ranging from 300 – 1000 people). There are great budget friendly venues. Here are a few around the GTA that I like:
- Chandni Banquet Hall: There are 3 different banquet halls that can hold from 50 to over 400 guests. I really like Chandni because their food is great and the halls are pretty. The person I dealt with, Jimmy, was great and really took his time showing me around. A major plus (besides the yummy food): the halls are not really massive so your wedding will be the only one there. Yeay to not sharing lobby’s! 🙂 A very reasonably priced venue
- Woodbine Banquet and Convention Centre: I know, you’re groaning and rolling your eyes because you’ve been to 900 million weddings here. Nouman and I were totally against Woodbine – we like being different and the fact that almost every desi wedding has atleast one function at Woodbine, was a huge turn off for us. BUT, after some intense venue hunting, we realized that Woodbine is a really good option – the chandeliers are different, the carpet is passable (although I think they changed their carpets recently and it seems too busy for my liking), the entrance is nice for the baraat and their food is fine.
- Versailles Convention Centre: Again, very reasonably priced and a nicely decorated banquet hall. The main outdoor entrance is awesome – especially for baraats and grooms that want to make their entrance. It’s also great for rukhsati time – for those couples who want to show off their fancy cars. The food is fine (from what I remember) and the overall look of the hall is good (minus the black, pink and green carpet)
- Bombay Palace: The main hall is really nice – it has a nice dance floor and the overall look is very chic. Apparently, the food is good too. Ghazal didn’t like the uncle we dealt with – I think he thought he could rip us off because we were girls. Booo!
- Platinum Convention Centre: If you go with the large hall, it is slightly pricier (by around $5/person) than the above halls. The smaller hall is not too great – when Nouman and I visited the place, the smaller hall had crystals missing from many chandeliers, a few tiles missing from the dance floor, etc. Manny, the owner, assured us that they were renovating the hall – including changing the colours to make it more neutral. I really loved the main hall – it was gorgeous and can accomodate around 600 people. The entrance is nice as well as the lobby. I have never tasted the food, so can’t say much!
- Some other reasonably priced halls: Sagan Banquet Hall, Sangam Banquet Hall, Swagat Banquet Hall, Maple Banquet Hall, Fuzion Banquet Hall, Capitol Banquet Hall – the list is endless.
This is the most obvious, yet probably the hardest, method of cutting costs. The lower the number of attendees, the lower your cost. I know how hard it is to cut down on guests – especially if parents have a say – but it has to be done. Your neighbours aunt and uncle don’t have to be invited to your wedding – simply tell everyone that you are having a small wedding.
Another option is to invite only the Mr & Mrs – no kids. I’m not a big fan of this idea because I think children should experience weddings but I can understand those who opt to do so.
Or, if your family is really good friends with Uncle A and Aunty A but barely know their children – who are all married but live in the same house as Uncle & Aunty – go ahead and just invite Uncle & Aunty.
In my opinion, this is one of the best ways to reduce your cost. There are 2 things to consider:
A) Typically, May to October is high season for weddings – which means prices are sky high and customers have minimal bargaining power. Many venues offer amazing (we’re talking about a $10 – 40 difference) discounts for weddings after October.
B) If you really must have a spring/summer wedding, you can cut costs by having a weekday wedding or host a weekend lunch instead of an evening reception. Similar to an off-season wedding, the second option will also save you between $10 – 40.
Invitations are SO expensive. Especially if you are desi and have multiple wedding events – each additional insert adds up! A great alternative to the traditional invitation card is E-vites or wedding websites. I really love the concept of having your own wedding website – it’s a great way to keep your guests up-to-date on all the happenings surrounding the wedding.
Another large chunk of your total wedding cost – the decor. Instead of going with a well established decorator, look for new comers into the business. They might not be well recognized, but giving them a shot will probably pay off!
Fresh flowers also increase costs drastically so opt for either no flowers or if you really must, choose in-season flowers.
Similar to decorators, another great way to save is to use newcomers for things such as photography, videography, makeup, hair, cake/desserts, DJ, etc. While there is a certain level of risk involved with going for someone new, it’s generally worth it. Instead of selecting someone with no experience, you can always look at vendors that have a few events under their belt – it gives you a better idea of their work and saves you $$$.
I think Knowing My Budget is helping me the most to stay on track. There are things that I so wish I could have, but having a number in my head allows me to stop myself. I love numbers so it’s great for me to try and re-work my budget everytime I think I want to splurge a little more or less on something.
While I wish I could apply more of these to myself, I can’t due to family preferences. Although, I must say that I am using around 4 or 5 of the listed pointers – every little bit helps, right? 🙂