Having a lavish wedding might seem unimaginable these days, but with a few tweaks in your budget, you can plan a fun, memorable, and safe event despite COVID-induced restrictions.

7 Tips to organise a wedding during the pandemic

COVID-19 has altered our lifestyle in unimaginable ways, with masks and hand sanitisers becoming indispensable and social distancing becoming the new normal. Another thing it’s taught us is to learn to compromise and cut down on excesses. This pandemic also changed the concept of the big fat Indian wedding, making it leaner and more austere.

Making wedding arrangement can be stressful at any time, but planning one in the midst of a global pandemic makes it even more challenging. If you hoped to get married in 2020 or 2021, COVID-19 might have derailed your original plans – but you can still have the wedding of your dreams if you’re willing to make some minor adjustments. This involves working out a new budget to accommodate the changes.

Couples look forward to having a dream wedding, but often struggle with budget constraints to execute their ideas properly. The good news is: with some planning, you can have a glorious wedding day without burning a hole in your pocket. 

Let’s take a look at what the Indian wedding checklist entails in the new normal…

1. Trim the guest list

This one is quite obvious. Fewer  wedding invitations during COVID means less expenditure. Cutting down on your guest list is the easiest way to significantly reduce costs. Thanks to mandatory social distancing, venues can no longer accommodate as many people as they could in the past, but on the other hand it’s now easier to limit the number of guests without offending anyone. Slashing your guest list frees up your budget to spend on other things that may be more important to you. You could send virtual invitations to those left out of the list, and to those who may not be comfortable attending in person. Consider livestreaming your wedding ceremony via a videoconferencing app for guests to participate remotely. For this budget-friendly plan, all you need is a good internet connection and a laptop. 

Related: Commonly Forgotten Wedding Costs That Can Burst Your Finances

2. Reconsider food options

Food makes up a major chunk of wedding expenses, and more so if you have functions lined up spanning several days. With multiple food counters and an open bar, your catering bill can shoot up. However, having a traditional buffet with multiple counters is not safe during COVID. You may want to consider other cost-efficient ways to serve food to your guests. If you’re planning to hold the function at home or a small venue, ditch the buffet and opt for a set menu from a home catering service. Not only is this a more economical option, serving plated meals also reduces the risk of spreading the virus.

3. Make your own invitations

Couples usually end up spending money on professional invitations and sweets in elaborate packages to hand out to friends and family. This is a waste of money that could be allocated to something else that matters more to you as a couple. Sending digital invitations to save the wedding date via email or WhatsApp is ideal in times of COVID and won't cost you anything. If you still want to send out physical invitation cards, get creative on a budget. Use free software and affordable printing services to make your own invitations. With the pandemic curtailing your guest list, handcrafting invitations for a small gathering of guests won’t be too time-consuming. Enlist the help of relatives; you can finish this DIY job in a couple of hours and save yourself from a hefty bill. 

4. Opt for minimal decorations

You may have scaled down your wedding due to COVID, but that doesn’t mean you have to compromise on its aesthetics. With a smaller guest list, chances are you would have chosen a smaller venue. This means the wedding decorations are likely to cost a lot less. Ditch extravagant styles and go for something subtle yet elegant. You can find plenty of inspiring decor ideas and themes on the internet to suit your taste, and they can be executed without spending a fortune. Think fairy lights, chalkboards with love quotes, candles, and elegant floral arrangement from locally sourced flowers that cost a lot less than exotic ones but still look great.

Related: Getting Married During COVID-19? Here Are 6 Things To Keep In Mind

5. Skip the DJ and go DIY

What’s a wedding without some music and dancing? After all, grooving to peppy numbers with friends and family at the after-wedding party and dancing to Bollywood songs is something all of us enjoy. But if you’re wondering how to ensure your guests have a good time when you are on a tight budget, don’t worry. Instead of shelling out money for a DJ, curate your own playlist of the most popular songs, hire some speakers, and you will be all set for a fun party. 

6. Delay the honeymoon 

You’ve probably been shortlisting dreamy honeymoon destinations with your significant other. Travelling in these circumstances might not be exactly wise, so it’s best to postpone your honeymoon till it’s relatively safe. Not only will you be more comfortable deferring your travel plans, if finances are limited you can make use of this time to accumulate some savings and get your money’s worth for the honeymoon you have always dreamed of. 

Related: 6 Money Mistakes You Probably Don't Realise You're Making

7. Open a savings account

Sound financial planning months before your wedding can take some pressure off your wedding budget. If you, as a couple, start with your wedding plans early and invest in a low-risk, high-return investment avenue or a savings account, you can earn a good amount of money in the form of interest that you can dedicate for your wedding expenses. Even if you don’t generate enough returns by the time of your wedding, having some money set aside can provide a good start for your new life ahead as a married couple. 

Your wedding plans may not go as originally anticipated because of COVID, but the love and support from your friends and family will totally make your big day a roaring success. It’s important to adapt to the changing scenario. No matter the scale of your wedding, costs can add up quickly. But downsizing and making other changes can help you save money that you can set aside for your future together. Here's how to plan your honeymoon on a budget.