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How to invest less and make the shaadi an extravagant affair

Here are some tricks to cut on lavish budgets, expensive flowers, grand mandaps, and still make the wedding an extravagant affair

'Use smart mix of real and artificial flowers'
MANISHA PAMNANI
Specialisation: Floral decor
In the business for: 20 years
Celeb account: Zia Mody's wedding in Goa; Piramal wedding in Mauritius

"Ditch imported flowers for local varieties like mogra, chrysanthemum and marigold. They have a charm of their own. Choose what area you wish to focus on — entrance or stage backdrop and centrepiece. While the entrance is hard to compromise on, the backdrop can be worked on cleverly, with a mix of artificial and real flowers, the former being used at higher levels beyond eye and hand reach. We can work with leaves and ferns too."

'Instead of fancy decor, invest in lighting'
KUNAL AVANTI
Co-founder, Magnanimous Weddings
Specialisation: Wedding planning
In the business for: 10 years
Largest assignment: Week-long shaadi in Mumbai with 2,000 guests including Bollywood actors, corporates and politicos

"The obvious trick is to pick up a smart banquet hall over a three-or five-star. Cut down on the functions. Keep the wedding puja at home and save Rs 1 lakh in mandap cost.

Invite your closest friends and relatives, a group of about 20. Club the mehndi and sangeet. Why get guests to dance into the night at the sangeet and turn up early the next morning for mehendi? Skip the extravagant floral decor and invest in good lighting. It can miraculously transform a drab venue into a fab one. All of this will help you plan an intimate 150 guest-wedding put together with home-grown resources, just the way it used to be in the good old days.

'Ditch candid photography'
MONISHA AJGAONKAR
Specialisation: Wedding photography
In the business for: 9 years
Largest assignment: Two simultaneous weddings in Dubai with 500 guests from around the world
Celeb account: Mukul Deora, Shweta Salve, Komal Hiranandani, Pia Trivedi

"The costliest bit is candid photography. If you are on a budget, choose which function you wish to photograph. A candid photographer would charge you between Rs 60,000 to Rs 80,000 per day.

A traditional photographer would cost Rs 10,000. Videography can't be fancy. To make a wedding movie trailer and film would cost Rs 4,00,000. So, opt for a traditional videographer who'll charge Rs 15,000 per day."

'Employ iPhone photographers'
TINA THARWANI
Shaadi Squad
Specialisation: Wedding planning
In the business for: 4 years
Largest assignment: 800 guests in Jaipur, across two heritage hotels

"On an average, nearly 5% of the budget goes towards lavish wedding invites. Send out e-invites. They are cost-friendly, eco-friendly and easy on logistics. Limit the cost of giveaways to Rs 250 per head.

Nowadays, personal hangers are a popular giveaway. Try them. Limit photography cost by employing iPhone photographers. It saves the cost of renting lens and lights. The detachable lens meant for iPhones can ensure superior quality pictures and photo adjustments."

'Serve Prosecco, not champagne'
VIKRAM MEHTA
Mpire Weddings Specialisation: Destination weddings
In the business for: 4 years
Largest assignment: 1,000 guests at a Jaipur wedding
Celeb account: Ankit Kedia's Goa wedding hosted by Varun Dhawan

"For destination weddings, a trend followed abroad is to have guests pay for their travel and rooms. In India, typically, people book at least 100 rooms, escalating cost.

Choose a venue that's fancy to begin with, cutting down on decor needs. Alcohol is a money guzzler. Opt for Prosecco over champagne, and a good basic whiskey instead of single malts. Live music costs the moon. Set up cheaper entertainment options like a giant jenga, beer bong or a fooseball table."

'Call in local maharajs'
SAMIR LAKHANI
Lakhani Caterers
Specialisation: Wedding catering
In the business for: 18 years
Largest assignment: 1,000 guests in Udaipur

"The menu will be a basic one, with two main course dishes, two starters and two desserts. The artefacts, installations and other food-related décor need to be skipped. Use cheaper cutlery. A premium wedding usually has a staff of 200. Cut it down to 50.

Instead of five-star hotel stewards, opt for regular ones. Chefs from Amritsar and Agra will have to be replaced by local maharajs who can pull off the same quality of taste."

email id - kusumita.das@midday.com

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