Getting married? A checklist! (Must Read)

    Tying the knot? Here's a wedding checklist!

    So you're ready for the ol' ball and chain? To tie the knot? To take the plunge?

    If we haven't scared you off marriage already and you're determined to have a wedding in the next few months at all costs (and believe us, it will cost you!) we ( present the marriage checklist.


    Yes, unfortunately, the unpleasant part comes first.

    When you're planning a wedding, the first thing you need to sit down with your partner and discuss finances. No, not just after the question has been popped and your poor fiancè has blown a year's salary on a giant rock of a ring. If you do that, he just may decide that it's not too late to take it back.

    But yes, you need to decide how much you both can collectively spend on your wedding and engagement reception -- the latter is optional, by the way.

    Parents usually do save up a nest-egg of sorts for their children's weddings but you are the best judge of your personal finances. If you and your fiancè are planning on buying a house of your own, for instance, you may consider a very small do instead of the Big Fat Indian Wedding.

    It is best in such situations that the couple have a one-on-one discussion after separate discussions with their respective families. If it turns into a free-for-all, it's very likely opposing parties may have different budgets and opinions and things may take an unpleasant turn. So arrive at a conclusion with your own folks and then get together.

    When you have consulted with your families and arrived at an amount, you need to take into consideration marriage factors other than the budget. Namely (in order of importance):

  • Guestlist

  • Venue(s)

  • Catering

  • Decorators/florists

  • Trousseau

  • Miscellaneous expenses (gifts for family members etc)

  • The guest list

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    Both the bride and the groom need to come up with guest lists, depending upon how large (or small) a reception they are planning.

    If you're looking at about 200 invitations, for instance, you may consider close friends and family. On the other hand, if you're planning on hosting a bash for 500 people or more, the cat next door may score an invite too.

    It usually happens that one side's guest list is longer than the other's. In such cases, you will need to split catering expenses accordingly. If the difference is of just a few people, don't be too miserly -- just split the tab down the middle. If it's a huge difference of 50-100 guests or more, the party with more guests should be gracious enough to offer to pay the balance. If they don't, you may reconsider your marriage into such a set-up!


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    Once you know how many people are to be invited to your reception, you need to start looking at booking a venue with the same capacity.

    Use your common sense as far as this is concerned. Don't book a huge place just to keep up with the Joneses when you know you'll be having fewer people in attendance. A scattered crowd is no fun. On the other hand, don't try to squeeze a large crowd like a can of sardines into a smaller ground. Your venue needs to be pleasantly filled but comfortable.

    Also, try booking a venue where you will get your money's worth. There are always the ultra-posh places where you'll pay X-amount for only the use of the area and extra for decoration, lighting, seating, catering etc. That jacks up your expenditure considerably. On the other hand, a lot of places offer lighting, decoration and seating all inclusive in the booking cost. Some venues can only be booked if you plan to avail of their in-house catering services, like sports clubs, banquet halls etc. So make thorough inquiries before you finalise your booking.


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    If you zero in on a venue where you have to avail of in-house catering, all you have to do is choose your menu according to how much you're willing to pay per guest (be sure to figure out your veg to non-veg ratio).

    If, on the other hand, you need to book a catering service, you can choose between a buffet and a sit-down dinner, which cuisine(s) you want served and what will be on the menu.

    If you're planning on serving up alcohol at your reception, you need to discuss whether the venue will take care of it or it will have to be ordered from outside (usually a cheaper option). You may have to pay a corkage fee at the venue so that you can bring in your own supply of alcohol. If possible, you can have your caterer supply the booze. But the most economical option is to bring your own bottles and have them served up, in spite of a corkage fee.

    Decorators/ florists

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    Grooms, sit up and take notice. Women usually get carried away with this part of the wedding checklist!

    If your venue needs to be decorated, make sure you set a budget beforehand and ask your florist to work around it even after he/ she shows you an album of alluring arrangements that cost the earth. Don't go overboard because the price of flowers shoots up, conveniently enough, every wedding season.

    And ask your married friends who have splurged on floral arrangements how they felt after it was all over. They'll say the biggest waste was spending so much on flowers! It's not even like you'll take them home -- your guests will pluck them off the walls first! It's enough that you've fed them and shown them a good time, so remember, easy on the dècor! Have just enough to keep things looking festive and no more.


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    The budget for your trousseau should be created keeping in mind the overall expense. While everybody wants to look special on his/ her big day, keep in mind that it's just an indulgence. It's also highly unlikely that you'll wear your wedding outfit ever again.

    It's usually Indian custom for the groom's family to present the bride with her wedding outfit and jewellery. It does make sense, however, if the bride's parents chip in too, maybe returning the favour by gifting the groom something suitable.

    Miscellaneous expenses

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    Besides the major expenses mentioned above, there are dozens of Indian rituals and routines that involve wedding expenditure -- gifting all the ladies in the family saris, distributing sweets and dry fruit to all and sundry etc. You need to decide how much you'll spend on such customs and go about it sensibly.

    Also, you may want to splurge a bit on the honeymoon, so you need to calculate what it will cost as part of your wedding expenditure -- remember, it will come right after.

    Bottom line -- don't get carried away with spending money. Remember, it's hard-earned and while your wedding day should be special, it should also be planned according to the contents of your pocket. Don't try to make a social statement by stretching your budget -- it will only cause stress, which inevitably leads to unpleasantness. wishes you Good luck!