While weddings are a costly affair, the financial brunt need not be borne by your parents alone. If you’re one of those couples considering paying for your own wedding, read on to find out what you need to keep in mind
Simple weddings are a thing of the past, and in an Indian context even more so. Between the pheras and the host of myriad functions, an Indian wedding could give any Bollywood movie a run for its money. But any production comes with a price attached. In the current scenario, where most brides and grooms are working professionals, couples are opting to finance their wedding as opposed to passing on the buck to the parents.
In case you and your partner decide to finance the entire proceedings, it’s best to start as soon as possible. “Planning your budget and finances is ideally the first step in the wedding planning process. You should know how much you want to spend in each area as per its importance to you,” says Candice Pereira, Co-founder and Creative Head, Marry Me-The Wedding Planners. She also recommends choosing your wedding planner before any major decisions are made like selecting the venue. “Having your planner from the start ensures you see a variety of options for each area, include your planner in the negotiations, and most importantly have your planner in the wedding planning meetings with vendors to ensure all crucial questions are asked and all the fine prints are read,” she explains.
Speaking from experience, a PR executive who recently got married suggests that you should get down to the details as soon as possible. “My parents insisted that they pay for the actual wedding ceremony. However, my husband and I wanted a fun party for our friends and youngsters in the family where we could just let our hair down. We thought it would be only fair to pay for it ourselves. I also helped chip in for the smaller functions like the mehendi.” She began planning the wedding with her husband a year in advance. “We cut down on unnecessary expenses like fancy lunches and dinners. I also began thinking twice about shopping randomly. Instead, I decided to collect a substantial amount and shop just before the wedding, which only adds to the excitement. Between the two of us, we managed to save quite a chunk and ended up having some excess amount for our honeymoon as well.”
Candice believes most couples are quite clear when it comes to budgeting. “Knowing that they have a certain amount to spend, couples are more realistic about how and where to spend it. This makes the entire process much easier, as we then narrow the vendor choices based on budget and style.” According to her, if the couple is planning to pay for the entire wedding, the best way forward is joint account, in which savings can be made every month. “Moving forward, couples can list all areas of the wedding and rate them based on importance. This lets you then judge how much and where you would like to allocate your budget,” she advises.
While taking up the responsibility of funding the entire wedding might seem like a daunting task, a little bit of early planning can facilitate the proceedings. The early bird, after all, did get the worm!
Gaurav Mashruwala, financial planner, shows you ways to plan ahead: Once the date of the wedding is fixed, the couple needs to work towards their financial goals; and once the budget is fixed and it’s decided how much of it the to-be-wed couple and how much the parents will take care of, the couple needs to look at their existing funds and figure how much they can arrange. You can begin strategising once you arrive at the shortfall figure.
Mutual funds: Different mutual funds invest in different categories such as stocks, gold, bonds, debentures and government security. Before investing, keep in mind that the returns are subject to the performance of the sector. If your marriage is within a year, invest in a debt-based mutual fund, which invests in government security and corporate bonds. If your wedding is three to four years away, invest in a mutual fund that is a combination of debt, equity and gold. So choose a scheme, based on when the marriage is. The benefit is that you can withdraw the funds anytime. Also, if you cross a year, the tax implications are less.
Fixed deposit: You must consider the fact that the interest is taxable. Psychologically, you may feel bad breaking it before maturity, so in that sense, it is safe. If you’re a meticulous planner, you may face psychological hurdles breaking it before the term. Ensure that the maturity date is a fortnight to a month before the wedding. If the aforementioned options do not fulfill your fund requirements, the only other option is a personal loan. However, that’s not very advisable; instead, cut back on a function or two. But if you want a very fancy wedding and end up taking a loan, remember that paying the EMI will hurt once the festivities are over!
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