Picture courtesy: Siddharth Sharma Photography
1. TRY TO AVOID GETTING MARRIED ON A SATURDAY
The other day I went to make a wedding booking on behalf of my client at a 5 star hotel in Powai, Mumbai. My clients wanted to get married on Saturday, so they asked me to book the venue for the entire weekend. Turned out, the venue was fully booked, so I started looking for other alternatives. Since I knew the venue manager personally, he called me later to ask if my clients could push their dates for the next day, ie, Sunday and assured me that they would save at least 30% on venue costs.
I was surprised by his candidness, 30%? I asked. But in retrospect, why was I surprised? Saturday is the most common day to get married. It’s convenient, it’s traditional, and it’s what most people are used to. And because it’s the most common day, it’s also the most expensive. Many venues will charge up to 50% less if you book their banquet/lawn for a Sunday or Friday. Why? Because they typically don’t get weddings for those days, it’s like extra income for them and everybody wins. This is not always true though, and it’s not necessary that you will get a discount if you get married on a slow business day like Sunday. But there’s no harm in trying, right?
2. CONSIDER ALTERNATIVE VENUES
I’ve said this before. And I will say it again. Get creative, think out of the box and consider non-traditional venues for your special day. Apart from being a breath of fresh air for everyone attending it, it will also help save a great deal of money. Think temple complexes, a newly built hotel or a private farmhouse and other such places that don’t typically host weddings. They may offer you a good deal, and your guests can enjoy a unique experience.
3. CHOOSE ONE VENUE INSTEAD OF TWO FOR DIFFERENT FUNCTIONS
If I’ve learnt anything about saving wedding cost in India, this is an easy and convenient way to do so. The venue gets more business, and you can take advantage of the situation. Negotiate deals like all-inclusive plans (especially amazing when planning a destination wedding in Goa or any other location) or waive off the venue rentals etc.
4. HAVE A DAY TIME WEDDING
I recently attended a close friend’s South Indian wedding that took place from 8am-11 am. Then the guests were served a traditional south Indian lunch and the couple got the rest of the evening to themselves (good to get to spend some time with each other on your wedding day, isn’t it?). But how does this save cost?
Well wedding lunches are far less expensive than wedding dinners. It can save you as much as 300-400 rupees per plate at non 5 star hotels and a whole lot more at 5 stars.
5. GET MARRIED OFF SEASON
Winter weddings are most popular in India. It is also the most expensive time of the year to get married. December and January are the peak wedding seasons, followed by November and February. If you choose to get married Mid-Feb onwards till September, it is highly probable that you will be able to strike a kickass deal with your favourite venue. This way you are away from the wedding crowd, and end up with big savings! (wink! wink!)
If you cannot manage any of the ways of saving costs mentioned above, at least make sure you negotiate with the venue manager for the best deal possible. Don’t be in a hurry to close the deal. I have seen it time and again when it comes to bargaining for a good price, persistence pays 😉