Heading the pre marital investigations team at Alliance One’s Mumbai Head Office, I am very excited to write for the ‘Wedding Tips’ section on our blog every other day because first of all it lets me take some time out from my super hectic schedule, sit in a corner without any distractions, grab a latte and get creative and let the words flow on the keypad. Writing is something which I love but which in the past I haven’t much of a chance to explore! Thanks Atin! Putting down wedding pointers and tips for our website’s visitors go a long way in helping them ensure a smooth wedding ceremony and reception.
With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility
Most of our clients are in the preparatory stages of their wedding and as such they would do well to bookmark our ‘Wedding Tips’ section or even take print outs to help them plan the wedding. That is of course after we give them a green signal! With great power comes great responsibility – says Pete Parker’s Grandpa in Spiderman. It is something that we do not take very lightly.
We go the whole nine yards of sari when doing a background check! Bad Pun I agree! The responsibility of checking the background details of a potential bride or groom weighs heavily upon our conscience because it is ultimately on the basis of the final report that we submit to the client that will decide whether the wedding will take place or not. Gosh! Sometimes when I think about it I feel overwhelmed. Two people who could go on to marry, raise kids, go on vacations, buy a house, get old together (well not always!) – all cancelled because of a background verification report that went against what the other person claimed! Lets get on with some tips about budget planning today.
Even if the bride’s parents are strict traditionalists and insist on paying for the wedding, you will face significant expenses and need to start setting up a realistic budget right at the start.
You need to decide together:
- How much money you currently have which can be used for starting your wedding fund
- How much you can manage to put aside without living on dal chawal (you need to keep up your strength and complexion), and
- What contributions you are certain to get from loving and better-off relatives.
That’s all you can really count on and, of course, some urgent expense or the non-arrival of a promised cash gift may require a quick and significant change between now and the big day. Make sure that you stick within your budget unless there is some unexpected development. Maybe you can think of ways to increase the available amount?
Emphasize the Essentials
It’s time for another list! This one is very important because it will save you time and help you to keep within your budget. You need to list every relevant item that each of you can think of which you need or want to buy between now and your wedding. Then, draw all the essential expenses into a new list. Things like supplier’s accounts, stationery, minister’s or pandit’s fee, hiring of venues, registrations, passports, insurance, accommodation (for guests and the honeymoon) etc.
Now you should review the remaining items together and remove any that are very low priority, then save the remainder on a list called something like “if possible”. Your budget needs to have an untouchable cushion as well as the amount set aside for each item in the two new lists. If you manage to reduce the cost of something you listed, move the amount actually saved to the cushion or use it to promote something from the “if possible” to the must have list”.
If you are unsure, then put it aside for a while.
Who Pays for What
Like many things that were laid down as L-A-W for all weddings in past days, the decisions about who pays for what are observed to varying degrees by people today who are more realistic and decide who pays according to ability and whether the couple actually need or want help in that area. The bride’s parents traditionally paid all the expenses of the wedding but that was really a relic of the old view which had a girl worth less than her brothers. The bride’s parents either paid the expenses or a dowry (cash or cattle) to the groom for taking her off their hands!
Times have changed my Friend!
Many times, both sets of parents share the costs or the bride and groom pay the bulk or all of the expenses themselves. It depends on the ability and willingness of each to contribute. If someone can’t or won’t, that doesn’t mean they don’t love you as much as the other parents. Accept their position and set your plans in line with what you have.
If you decide to get some debt to ensure you have the sort of wedding you really want, make sure that it’s a joint decision because you will both have to live within the reduced income until that debt is cleared. One advantage that comes from paying for your own wedding is that you don’t have the burden of any obligations that sometimes come with large sums of cash.
If you feel that a parent or other relative has put emotional strings on their cash, talk to them before accepting the gift. Thank them for the money and ask them to understand that you will have full control of how the money is used. Otherwise, you’re probably better to get them to pay for a specific item, like the catering or keep the cheque so you avoid any ongoing obligation.
This can be more complicated with second and subsequent marriages, which seem to be increasing. There can be no reason to believe that any parents have any obligation to contribute substantially to second or third marriages. Some will without being asked. And it’s probably more responsible and caring not to ask those who don’t.
Cutting Costs Without Pain
The first thing to do is to talk to all the people involved. If someone promises you a contribution, either you or your partner must follow up and sort things out. That’s a task for whoever is more closely related to the person or couple that made the promise.
But, understand if their circumstances, or their priorities, change. You will have a, hopefully, long-term or even lifetime relationship with them, and starting off with a heated discussion about money is not a good omen. On the other hand, don’t accept an obligation to pay some expenses or for a gift for someone where you don’t think it’s reasonable.
Outfitting the Wedding Party
The mothers and family members of the bride and groom will choose their own dresses and pay for them themselves. You might be able to get a better deal from the bridal salon if you all buy the same style at the same time. But, you can also check out other dress shops and even factory outlets in your area. I don’t recommend buying dresses from online auctions because of possible delays, bad descriptions and the ever-present possibility of fraud.
Be particularly careful to choose shoes which are supportive and they must be comfortable. Many venues have floors which suck the strength from your legs over a few hours. Waking up the next morning with aching legs is not a good way to start your marriage. Maybe you could wear more stylish, but less comfortable shoes for the ceremony and change them for a pair which look after your feet better when you get to the reception venue.
Children at Your Wedding
If it is a second or third marriage for either of you, then you may have children. You will want them to attend the wedding and the reception. You will also need to involve them in a meaningful way with the preparation and put their name(s) on the invitation. If your children are still getting to know his children, there may be some unsettled tensions.
You could include them in the ceremony but only after discussing it with them and gauging their real attitude, not just accepting their verbal agreement. If the children are truly willing, arrange for them to be part of the ceremony but never push. It’s obviously important to be even-handed and a small but valuable memento of the occasion for each child could help to smooth over any remaining tensions in the following weeks.
Other People’s Children
You may not want guests to bring their children to the wedding or reception even though you will have yours there, of course. That should be okay with any reasonable person and, especially your friends and relatives because Indian wedding ceremonies and receptions can get really boring and children being hyperactive may just ruin the place and make the event noisy and bothersome for you and the guests. If your guests do bring children along, welcome them but tell the parents that you hope they will still enjoy the function while keeping an eye on their little Attila. It is not your responsibility!
If you decide to let guests bring their children, you’ll need to provide them with some appropriate food, distractions like puzzles or games, and entertainment or a couple of wranglers ….. I mean child sitters. Children love to be entertained and most good entertainers charge fair fees but they probably will only attend for a set period. If that fits your budget and program, it’s worth considering. You might be able to hire or persuade a couple of reliable teenagers to look after the children for the duration. See if you can get an extra, smaller room at the venue for a small additional cost. It could be well worth it to reduce stress and interruptions to your “main event”.
Check with the parents about any allergies or other conditions which you and the minders need to be aware of.
You might be an dog lover as also your guests but pets are banned at weddings! Period!
I hope these above tips will help you in planning to plan the budget for the wedding and take away some tips that you may have overlooked. To learn more about our Pre Marital Investigation Services please click here.
Tania Verma is the Head of Operations at Alliance One’s Mumbai Head Office. A mechanical engineer by education, she has a wide variety of experience in various fields such as manufacturing, consumer products and services and the Retail Sector. A strong operational person Tania gets the job done however tight the deadlines and however tough and arduous the task. She excels under pressure and maintains excellent relationships with our corporate clients as well as high networth individuals all over India who have used the company’s services in the past and continue to do so. Having married recently she feels strongly about untruthful people taking advantage of others and has taken a deep and abiding interest in our pre marital investigation services in Mumbai and leads our able team from the front.