I won't go on about how your wedding is the most special and cherished occasion of your life, and how you want everything to be perfect—all that is a given. But there is one undeniable fact we all know about weddings—They. Are. Expensive.
And while we want our special day (or days, if you're South Asian) to be perfect, there are some of you who tend to also experience a nagging sense of discomfort at the idea of how unbelievably out-of-pocket that you, and possibly your entire family, will be due to your grandiose event. And that's perfectly okay, if not highly commendable.
Here are a few tips and tricks to shave off some expenses from the mountain of bills that will be your wedding, especially from your wedding couture.
All that glistens is not gold, and it doesn't have to be
Once you have the venue and food out of the way, the biggest expense at any wedding is hands-down the jewellery. In fact, the really extravagant bride might just be wearing bling that exceeds all expenses at the wedding, look like a giant, golden disco ball the entire day and then never use the over-the-top ornaments ever again. What on earth is the point? Yes, I know giving gold is a tradition, but so is child marriage in this part of the world—just saying.
At the end of the day, there are much better things to invest in, so if you really want to save your parents and your in-laws a gargantuan and completely unnecessary expense, just forget the outdated status symbol that is gold. Chandni Chawk and its silver jewellers will be your best friends in this endeavour—use silver for your main jewellery set because it's easier to make more delicate designs with the metal, but feel free to use even cheaper metals for stuff like the giant bangles you'll never wear again.
If you want, you can always take the jewellery back and turn it into its original silver colour again and wear it regularly, and you'll sleep well knowing you've saved tens of thousands, if not lakhs, with this simple substitute. And of course, there will be people who will know that what you're wearing is 'fake'--but why exactly do you care?
Dump the designer duds
I understand—when all you've been talking about is sari, sari and sari (or lehenga) and you've looked at 50,000 different styles, colours and prices, you reach a point where you look at a sari with a couple of lakh price tag and think it's a perfectly reasonable cost for an outfit for the most important day of your life. But hang on, that's exactly what it is—one day of your life, and you'll never, ever wear it again.
So take my advice, forget the designers, forget Kolkata or Mumbai or wherever else people go nowadays—and just go to Mirpur. Especially if you're looking to wear something more traditional, Mirpur Benaroshi Polli is perfect for you. If you take your time and do proper research, you can even channel your inner Chanel and approach the weavers directly with your own design—and it'll be completely affordable.
Go rogue, go local
Speaking of your own design, if you're thinking of wearing a lehenga, I highly recommend finding your own weaver, using Mirpur Benaroshi silk and turning up in your magnificent, deshi finery—you'll look like a Mughal queen on your big day. If you want to have that added oomph going without throwing a bucketload of money at someone for it – add more embroidery or karchupi as we call it to really make your outfit unique.
For this, one of the best places to go is Mohammadpur Bihari Camp and the area adjacent to it. You will find weavers who will do the most beautiful embroidery for you at bargain prices. The only setback to this is that you will have to bring your own designs, so really put your thinking cap on and do your research on what you want. Pinterest will be your most faithful companion in this.
Put on your own war paint
If you are a makeup aficionado yourself, there is absolutely no reason why you should pay tens of thousands to have someone else do your makeup. I know it can be nerve wracking (what if you do it wrong?) and you will have so many things on your plate, but it really is a good investment to make. And there is genuinely every makeup tutorial under the sun available on YouTube, so again, a little research can go a long way.
If you're not confident you can do it yourself, recruit a friend who can. Just make sure they know exactly what you want, and definitely do some trial sessions. A close friend will be more likely to make you look more like yourself, and a personal experience like this will only add to your book of wedding memories to cherish.