Working on a Budget: A Framework that is Realistic

Breath In, Relax and Breath Out: before you dive into the details of choosing colors, designs, there are a few spreadsheets that you to content with. All you have to do is feed in the numbers and everything will take care of itself. We keep the budgeting process very short the reason being that as we firmly believe that the process does not require a number crunching nor a hundred-page tome. Being and staying organized is the foremost aspect to it all, and keeping it all tracked is what constitutes managing it. If you spend time in setting it up in the correct manner, you will save yourself a whole lot of headaches.

Here you will learn the approaches to modern as well as traditional approaches to sharing and managing budgets and how you can go about preparing a budget and tracking expenses from time to time. We also go to highlight the drawbacks in borrowing to finance the big day, how you can self-discipline yourself to sticking by it. Don’t you worry, there is a 10% window that your go overboard with, so don’t panic!

The wedding is a family affair and no matter who decides to foot the bill, everyone would like to get involved in the best manner possible- its all depends on you on the extent of it. This dynamic does change when you and your beloved are the only ones shelling the cash. Parents can be expected or may have volunteered to foot a part of it as well (if not all of it), so it would be nice to know at the earliest about the contribution they wish to make.

Money matters are best discussed individually with each set of parents and not together, however, this does change if the guest size is large in number, where the discussion must be encourage to be had in a group.

Parents could decide to contribute a fix amount or even highlight the type of expenses they would like to bear. Having an estimate in place would put them in a position to decide on the how much they can shell out or before they agree to a particular amount. There is always the possibility that they might not be able to contribute at all, other may want to know what the other set of parents are willing to contribute as well.

The reality is a destination wedding in Goa would cost you in the range of Rs. 20,00,000 and your estimates may total to something just under. Some parents may up the contribution if it would be a hometown wedding, or pay be pay more for one aspect and lower for another and your alternative would be to then settle for a location that balances everything out.

Getting Stalled over some items in the budget is very common, the best way forward is to identify whether the likelihood of the about the money or about a priority. There are instants were this could brew up an argument, which can be prevented is to spend less time dwelling about it when they arise and getting a better sense of clarity about in terms of priority. Ranking priorities on what is most important to you will better help the situation. If you cant have everything termed as ‘high priority’; it would defeat the purpose.

A similar exercise must be requested to be carried out by everyone that is involved in make the contribution. Each time you find yourself in disagreement over a particular spending, quickly glance over the sheet when you can. If it isn’t in your top three, decide whether it is worth the fight.

Who’s Paying

We encourage the FLOP concept if you are among those families that would simply split the expenses right to the middle. One side preferably the grooms contributes towards expends that include Flowers, Liquor, Orchestra and Photography. As a side expense they also foot the cost of the rehearsal dinner as well. In the past, the grooms family would pay for the honeymoon expenses but now a days this expenditure is generally taken up by the couples themselves adding to it by some of the gift money they receive. The family of the bride will foot the rest.

Although this is one approach, a division that best work for both sides is always a winning one. There are instances where the couples and their parents decide upon paying for ‘their’ invitees individually; very helpful in narrowing down the guest list. Expenses can also be divided by the parents based on their interests and connections. If one of the parents is well connected to the owner of the venue, getting a competitive price wont be any trouble, hence it makes it a much natural fit. Very common today is the bride and the groom footing the expenses themselves or simply accepting a fix sum that they go to allocated themselves as needed.

A Plea for Restraint

If you are looking for contribution from your parents, ensure that they don’t end up in years of debt. (as they may have already retired). If you are considering borrowing, keep it to a sum that can be paid off in a year’s time. A large burden of debt will add strain to marriage due to other financial liabilities such as student loans or savings towards buying a house. Think twice before charging your credit with purchases that you know you cant afford. The rates of interest charged on the credit card are among the highest, it all you feel the need opt for alternate methods of financing that are less expensive such as home equity loans. For managing finances, having a bank account opened solely for the purpose will be beneficial to keep track of the spending.

Setting A Budget

Now let’s dive into the meat and the bones of the entire exercise. Every expense that you incur will have to be tracked to accomplish the right results, this includes everything from the deposits made to the venues to the trials fees paid to the hair stylist, easy way to simplify it to carry a pocket sized notebook and scribble each expense and then add it to the tracker when you get home. There are several charts available on the web that are highly comprehensive or you could also create your own. If you plan on doing so, it must have a column the displays estimated costs and another for the deposit amount. Another column would the space where you would add your notes, upgrades and other extras. Plan the sheet in a manner that individual items can be easily deleted if the budget needs to be trimmed. Working the sheet into your routine is the best manner in which you can create a habit to update and manage it. You could opt for to work on it on an immediate basis on even once a week would suffice.

What a traditional budget breakdown looks like:

A traditional budget is to give you a general idea of what would a typical budget looks like, this outline would differ from each family to another depending on what works for you.

Grooms’ Side

-Stays of the attendants of the groom

– Brides rings for the engagement and the wedding

– Family favors for the entire family, brides bouquet and the wedding part

– Gifts to the wedding party

– Honeymoon trip

– Bar and Cocktails

– Fees for the licenses and officiants

– Transportation costs

Brides’ side

  • Stays for the brides attendants
  • Bridal gown
  • Accessories
  • Cost of the Church
  • Floral spending
  • Ring of the groom
  • Stationery
  • Entertainment and Photography
  • Reception and venue costs
  • Wedding consultant

It is all Relative

Choose an method of accounting that you are most comfortable with, the exercise will need certain amount of forethought. Rationalize and be realistic, if you are working on a Rs. 18,00,000 lakhs budget don’t go to allocate Rs. 12,00,000 towards the venue and Rs. 3,00,000 on the gown that you have your eyes on. Although this is an extreme example, as many other aspects such as the catering, bar, entertainment, etc cant possibly be covered with one-sixth of the remaining funds. Keep the big picture in mind, this would be difficult at times to make an allocation, but keep circling back to your priorities and at large the guests comfort as well. Below you will fund an allocation which is an based on an average spending for weddings in Goa that you can use as a template.

The Budget to the Wedding

Reception venue, food, bar : 42%

Rings/Bands: 8%

Photographers: 8%

Floral Arrangements: 6%

Rehearsal dinner: 6%

Gown: 5%

Videography: 5%

Entertainment: 4$

Groom’s outfit: 3%

Hair and Make-up, bridal party included: 2%

Stationary: 2%

Ceremony Site & Décor: 2%

Cake & Takeaways: 2%

Transport: 2%

Favors: 1%

The Splurge Cushion

In reality, cost would be a more than what you may anticipate. There also are a ton of temptations that come along that would be difficult to resist. That fine bottle of bubbly for instance on dainty monogrammed takeaways. Yes, it is only human that you will succumb for to it for which a 10% cushion is kept aside as back-up. This extra cushion will also help you in meeting expenses that could be overlooked or may have been overseen when budgeting.

Making choices:

In Goa, weddings can be hosted on small as well as large budgets, based on what your priorities, these decisions on allocations must be made. The couple may want to splurge big on entertainment which may be a top priority to afford the cost of the band, they would be content on serving just the main course buffet without the snacks. On the other hand there could be a couple big on food planning to serve a five course meal, by are fine to keeping the entertainment low key. There is not harm done here, but before you decide to make the allocation ensure that you have the comforts of your guests at large. Do skimp on items that will have them be uncomfortable, tired, hungry or frustrated.

One simple way to gauge this is to put yourself in the same position if you were to attend your own reception as a guest, will it cause you to grumble? Is so, there is no really a good argument against it.

There are also the niceties, the items that appear to look pretty but no one would reach even know, such as monogrammed napkins or favors. Such items must me the first to be struck off the list as they really wont make a difference. There also are alternates that you can explore, a welcome note can be replaced instead of the welcome bags. Put the guest first, period. If you do so, people will enjoy themselves to the fullest.

10 Ways You Can Cut Costs

If you notice closely, you will have come across ways to scrimp as there are to make a hole in your pocket. But, the key to wisely make the right allocation is to be firm about what you should spend on and what you can save on. This, without being have to comprise on the whole show coming together;

  1. If your considering overall budgeting, shorten the guest count to trim the cost per head.
  2. A natural elegant venue or location will help reduce décor cost such as the beach or a scenic location.
  3. Venue expenses can be further reduced if the location is off-site. Fully functioning reception sites will have all the seating, cutlery, staff and power arrangements already in place. The other items would be such as rent and décor would be negligible.
  4. In afternoon wedding would add up to lower bar tabs as compared to an evening reception as people consume less alcohol in the noon.
  5. A limited bar with a signature cocktail, beer and whiskey along with aerated drinks would lower alcohol costs as well.
  6. Venues and vendors included charge less if the wedding is on a Sunday or a weekday, vendors are less in demand on weekdays than at the weekends.
  7. Serving champagne to raise the toast may not be economical especially when the guest list is huge. Instead have the guests simply toast with whatever they are drinking at that time.
  8. Hire a DJ instead of a band, work with the DJ on creating a playlist that would suit the crowd.
  9. Stationary costs can easily escalate with engravings and letter-pressed prints; you will be surprised with the effects you can achieve with the traditional offset printing for less than a fraction of the cost.
  10. Personal notes instead of favors is another cost saver.

Tippers Table

Most if not all vendor have a margin that includes gratuities in the bills, it may be separately mentioned in the bill or would be inclusive in their estimate. This varies according to the size and location, the traveling time, and the role the vendor has played. Although tipping is optional it is a norm as a gesture for a job well executed. Professionals who own their own business need not be tipped, a personal note even a nice review of the services they provide is worth its weight in gold to them.

The Top Five Best Splurges

You may not may not have to the room to dive into a few splurges after you allocate for parents guests, entertainment, décor and the floral arrangements, but incase you do, these are splurges that would are definite to give you value for your money.

  1. Hiring extra wait staff for the serving the drinks and also the meals. A typical cater in Goa would have a single waiter for every 3-4 tables. When the staffing is short, it leads to one side of the guests already served their snacks and awaiting their drinks as the wait staff then circles the other side of the venue. Having 2-3 waiters per 3-5 tables will bring about faster service.
  2. A professional to manage the lighting. The standard lighting that comes with venues doesn’t always make the venue pop-out. With the right lighting arrangements a simple venue can be come alive adding dimension and vibrance to the room. Professional Lighting will also makes for great hues for photography. (more on this later).
  3. A continuous flow of entertainment make for a great party. Bands usually take 3-4 breaks during their performance which kills the tempo with people having to leave the dance floor. Having a DJ play match the bands tempo during band breaks will have everyone carry on burning the dance floor.
  4. Guests menus adds a great degree of customization and makes for wonderful keepsakes as well.
  5. Speak to your photographer for charges on extra prints, these could be then send out as thank you notes.

Well, if you very expecting large and unrealistic splurges you would find the list disappointing. The list will more to help you keep your budget in check and also better plan the finer details.