Shaadi mubarak: The wedding saga
A wedding is an event anticipated for ages and planned for years. It may be just one big day but hundreds of small details go into the countdown to the event — and a number of unexpected expenses as well. Even the simplest of weddings incorporate an entourage of people and services which fit together like a jigsaw to make a picture that will be remembered for a lifetime.
Needless to say, the foremost priority is the bride. She needs to go from girl-next-door to super model — not something she can achieve overnight. Therefore, most young girls go through sessions of facials and ubtan massages to iron out all their skin foibles before their big day.
Samina is a 30-something who free-lances as a small-time beauty expert. She makes house calls for waxing and facials all through the year
but wedding seasons are the most profitable. “Most brides have regular ubtan massages for a month for which I charge Rs700 per session.
The procedure is popular because it’s relaxing and the results on the skin are phenomenal.”
Brides with major skin problems know that there is no room for zits on the wedding day and subject themselves to vigorous acne treatments which may cost as much as Rs5,000 per sitting to be performed every week or fortnightly at popular beauty salons. Laser hair removal and whitening treatments may also be considered if the budget allows.
For the wedding day itself, top-notch beauty salons offer packages of bridal makeup and services often going up to Rs30,000. This may seem a small fortune to some, but considering that the most popular and expensive places are booked solid, often up to six months in advance, many brides are willing to pay the price. “However, small beauty parlours offer such services for a fraction of this price,” shares Sarah whose best friend recently got married. “Such parlours are perfect for the bride’s hair and makeup for the small functions at home and even for the family members to get decked up on the special day.”
Intricately painted henna is the mark of a bride — the deeper the hue of the henna, the more love she hopes to receive in her new home; or so
they say. Apart from beauty salons and meena bazaars, there is a popular trend of getting ‘mehndiwalis’ at home to apply henna. These ladies charge anything from Rs5,000 onwards for the bride’s hands and feet and an upwards of Rs500 for family. The bride’s family also often shells out for henna application for the bride’s friends and this comes to about Rs80 per hand.
Gold jewellery rates continue to touch the sky with every passing day thus most jewellery pieces passed on to the bride now tend to be heirlooms. Your family jeweller has a role to play when old-fashioned sets are reset into more chic styles — at a price, of course. Artificial or silver jewellery with gems to match the jora has also become acceptable and decent options start at Rs15,000.
One person who is pivotal to the success of your wedding is your designer or darzee. The bridal jora can range from designer wear soaring up to lakhs of rupees to a trendy bridal boutique jora starting from Rs50,000. If your budget doesn’t allow that, some markets even offer a variety of joras starting from Rs10,000.
The preparation of a bride’s trousseau is perhaps something which employs the most time and effort. If a bride can afford a designer trousseau that’s well and good but that also includes lengthy tête-à-têtes with the designer to make sure she is getting her money’s worth.
The average bride will pore over magazines and spend hours at shopping centres to select material and laces and instruct her tailor painstakingly as to how she wants each suit stitched. This, accompanied with accessories like shoes and hand bags, certainly requires a wad of cash. “My trousseau of 21 joras along with accessories cost me nearly Rs150,000,” reveals Salma who tied the knot at the beginning of the year.”
If you are privileged enough to hire a wedding planner or event manager, then you just hand over your worries to this person — along with a large chunk of cash. From now on it is their problem to deal with the printers, decorators, florists and caterers while staying within the budget.
In principle, the wedding invitation may just be a piece of paper to inform the guests about the date and venue of the event; however it cannot be taken lightly as it is the precursor to the affair. Cards at printers start from as low as Rs7 and can go up to stylish designs for Rs20 and above. Then there are exorbitant designer cards which can be customised according to the theme of your wedding and may even be accompanied with wedding favours or souvenirs.
The venue of the wedding is a prime concern — hotels and top-class marriage halls offer packages like Rs800 per head, which includes the catering and decoration. However, stylish wedding gardens charge from Rs80,000 to Rs3,00,000 just for the venue. It is up to you to decide if you wish to choose the caterer and decorator the establishment offers or outsource these elements.
The food is something every guest will remember, thus choosing the right menu is crucial to the success of the occasion — summer and winter menus differ. Caterers begin charging from a minimum of Rs150 per head and the rates rise according to the reputation of caterer and the variety of dishes on offer.
Moiz who is a wedding planner says that there is something for every social strata. “The stage or platform where the bride and groom will be seated — the focus of the event — may range from Rs2,000 to 2,00,000…the kind of flowers you choose, the marquee, the carpeting, all come in a variety of ranges.”
Capturing memories of the magical day is an element which cannot be ignored because, when all is said and done, it is those celluloid (or digital, as the case may be) memories which will be handed down from generation to generation. Photo studios charge amounts like 100,000 but there are free-lance photographers who churn out an acceptable and visually appealing portrait album and family photo album along with a movie of the event for around Rs40,000.
So many ingredients need to blend and mingle to make the wedding day one to be remembered. But perhaps the most essential element is the attitude of the couple tying the knot and their families. Just arm yourself with a generous quantity of hope and optimism and brush up the skill to make everyone feel special — you are sure to have the perfect wedding.