Your wedding is one of the most important events in your life. Most of you look forward to it and all the fun and hope that it entails.

What you probably don’t look forward to is the cost of the wedding. Indian weddings with their multitude of ceremonies and traditions are notoriously expensive. An expenditure of a few crores is not unheard of.

However, having a wedding worth remembering needn’t be an expensive affair. Here are a few smart tips for your dream wedding that does not break the bank.

#1: Start a wedding fund

Whether you are the bride or the groom, as soon as you start earning, it might be a smart idea to start a wedding fund along with an emergency fund.

For example, if you start earning at the age of 24 and save just Rs 3,000 a month for your wedding, in five years you can save Rs 1.8 Lakhs; not counting interest.

While the amount you save might not be enough to cover your entire expenses, whatever you can contribute to help your parents manage the wedding budget better, helps.

#2: Wedding decided? Prioritize the budget

The best way to save is to get a budget in place. Decide the overall budget you and your partner along with your families are comfortable with.

Now decide what you want to spend on each aspect of the wedding such as clothes, venue, food etc.

Prioritizing how you are going to spend the money budgeted for your marriage helps in figuring out the areas where you can cut costs from.

#3: Go for the off-season wedding

You can cut costs simply by choosing dates, when possible, during off season. This will help you get discounts on everything from venues to caterers.

It has the additional benefit of your marriage dates not clashing with other marriages.

#4: Go with a professional planner

Weddings can be really stressful due to the amount of planning and execution that’s required. A wedding planner can really help deal with these headaches.

Find one who understands your budgetary considerations and can work with it. Bonus points if he can provide a few references who can vouch for his services.

#5: Rationalize your guest list

Invite guests who you really want to be present on your special day. Your guest list decides a major chunk of the wedding cost since it affects venue cost (larger guest list requires more spacious venues), catering cost (the charge is typically per plate), accommodation cost and so on.

Large guest lists should be strictly optional unless you can really afford it.

#6: Save on wedding stationary; go digital

Go with e-mail or electronic invitations, except for specific guests such as family elders. Electronic invites look smart, can be made interactive, and are inexpensive.

#7: Try to look at alternative wedding venues

A wedding venue need not be an expensive hall in a 5 star hotel. It can be a beach or even a sprawling farm house. Look at unconventional options which can get you much better rates on locations.

#8: Ditch the concept of multiple venues

Try and have different ceremonies in the same or nearby location. This makes life easier for guests and cuts your decoration, accommodation, and transportation costs.

#9: Look at alternatives to buying wedding jewelry and attire

There are ways these days, mainly via websites, to rent rather than buy expensive designer wedding jewelry or clothes. If you have to buy, look for discounts that are often given during off season.

#10: Be design smart

Design and decoration can be expensive but if smartly planned they can offer savings. Flower based decorations can be expensive so look at greener but cheaper options such as plants.

Candles and paper art can be innovative alternatives to traditional decorations; so experiment. Let your guests see your creativity and experience something unique.

#11: Don’t waste food

Weddings are notoriously wasteful when it comes to food. Be smarter with a simplified menu that emphasizes taste over variety.

Go with options such as Biryanis or Pilafs which are meals by themselves and simplify logistics for the caterer. Also, choose more salad options to make the spread look big.

If you have an open bar, strictly limit alcohol variety to cut costs.

#12: Be smart about Photographers and DJs

Go with a photographer who will provide exact service based on what you want. Don’t buy entire packages which you might not need. Look among your friends who are photography enthusiasts and who might be willing to help out.

If you can manage it, get your own music along with a music player with an audio out. Rent the speakers if you don’t have them. Make sure your audio player is compatible with the speaker beforehand.

Ask your friends or someone from your family to play DJ. You will get a much better musical experience if the music played at your wedding is what you and your friends like to listen to rather than generic wedding tunes.

Can you think of more ways to save on weddings? Why not share?