Weddings are expensive in today’s glamorized world of weddings. It doesn’t help that an average Desi wedding has 3-5 events and 200+ guests! There are plenty of hacks and ways to save money as you plan your dream wedding.
Budget-Friendly Wedding Decor
- Rent props from décor companies: Décor adds up quickly, so regardless if you choose to outsource every event to a decorator or only some of the events, we highly recommend asking for an itemized list of what they are including and for how much. You can save a lot of money by seeing the big items and finding ways to negotiate these down or replace them with something cheaper (e.g., replacing a floral archway with a decorate gateway). You can also rent décor from external décor companies to save $$$. In Texas, check out Rent My Dust for vintage décor, Brides of North Texas Vendor Platform, and PRASHE Decor for inspiration or Tyohar for Desi-inspired props.
- DIY décor: DIY has become both budget-friendly and a way to personalize your special day. For events that you are hosting at home, have a group of friends / family come over and help you assemble these over some wine. You’ll find some incredibly sophisticated and fun ideas on Pinterest, Martha Stewart (Tent Decorating Ideas), Wedding Wire, and NooZay Décor.
Saving on Wedding Flowers
- Flowers from Wholesalers (or even Costco): Costco actually has an option to work with them and build out your wedding flower package! Also, look into flower wholesalers, likes Blooms By The Box and Fifty Flowers, that might be able to provide you with cheaper bulk flowers than your decorator. If you are looking at optimizing your budget, always look for in-season and locally available flowers.
- Artificial silk flowers: Nowadays, artificial flowers can look just as good as real flowers, especially from far away. You can either run with all artificial to save major $$s on flowers, or integrate artificial flowers with real flowers. Artificial flowers are especially great to replace non-seasonal, international flowers that are difficult and expensive to find locally. Amazon has some great options.
- Reuse your wedding ceremony flowers for your reception
- Add in greenery like ferns, myrtle, and eucalyptus to fill out arrangements. As Dhruti Bhagat notes, adding real or artificial greenery like ferns, myrtle and eucalyptus can help fill out arrangements without adding significant costs.
Digital “Save the Dates” and Wedding Evites
When you account for printing invitations and postage to mail them, it can be less expensive, environmentally friendly, and easier to track RSVPs through evites. Invitations can cost upwards of $5-7 in the US and $1-3 in Motherland, and sending one envelope with cards for 3-5 events can easily cost $3-5+ per envelope to mail. You are looking at a total cost of $4 to $12+ for an invitation. Alternately, evites through sites like Minted, Paperless Post, and Customizing Creativity, and cost as little as $1-2 all in (sometimes even free)!
How to Save on Wedding Cake
In Desi weddings, a multi-tiered cake looks beautiful in your pictures, and while an official cake cutting is always to look back at, none of the guests will remember your cake! People often spend $1000+ on their cake as slices can cost $5-15 per person. Is it worth is when you’re serving other desserts and by the time cake is served, most of your guests are already deep into dancing or aunty gossiping? Consider below tips to cut down on your cake cost, and check out the best Cake and Dessert vendors in Dallas or Houston on The Desi Bride!
- Faux cake with 1 real layer supplemented by sheet cake for guests. We recommend sheet cakes from Costco. None of your guests will even guess which of the tiers are fake or that you served them cake from Costco! In 2018, NYTimes featured an article about NY Cake, a NYC bakery that actually has classes on decorating faux cakes. Etsy has several sellers that sell customized faux cakes. Pinterest has all sorts of ideas, so if you’re artsy or have a parent / sibling / friend who is willing to help, consider spend a few hours creating your dream faux cake. The best thing is these never go bad, so you can have it arrive or make it a few weeks your wedding day.
- Order 20-30% fewer slices than guests. Especially in Desi weddings, where couples normally have other desserts, a lot of people don’t actually eat cake. You can have guests come pick up cake slices from a “dessert” table instead of serving it to everyone to avoid wastage as well as cut slighter smaller slices for each guest.
- Consider “naked” or minimalist cakes. Labor and décor is what makes cakes so expensive.
- Decorate cakes with real or silk flowers to avoid expensive sugar flowers.
Playlist vs DJ for a Budget-Friendly Wedding
Use a playlist instead of hiring a DJ for all of your events: For pre-wedding events and even the wedding, you can create a playlist ahead of time and make sure a friend / family member is on point to play songs. Just make sure speakers are set up in advance and wirelessly attached to the source of music. Spotify has several playlists you can leverage (Ultimate 2020 Wedding Playlist, Indian Bride Collection, Bollywood Wedding Songs), or you can crowdsource song ideas from guests and build yours from scratch. If you choose to hire a DJ for some of your events, find the best DJs in Texas on The Desi Bride.
How Can You Save Money on Alcohol at Weddings
Southern Living has several tips to save on beverages.
- Purchase your own alcohol in bulk. Not only do you get to choose your favorites, but this also is much more economical, and if you buy from somewhere like Costco, you can always return leftovers.
- Offer a couple of signature cocktails instead of a full bar. Having a signature way is a fun way to customize your reception. You can even a “Bride” vs “Groom” favorite cocktail or come up with a personal story behind your cocktail. Indian Wedding Toolkit and The Knot have several fun cocktail ideas that you could personalize for your own.
- Limit liquor to cocktail hour and maybe through dinner. As the dance floor opens up, switch to beer/wine. Once people have started drinking, they no longer care what they’re drinking.
- If you do have a champagne toast, consider having the servers fill the glasses on 1/2 full instead of the normal 3/4. Most guests already have a second drink and may not even finish their champagne. The Plunge mentions while an average bottle serves 6 people, the ½ hack may be able to get you 8-9 servings per bottle, which means a 50% savings in champagne!
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