How to split wedding costs? This is a question that is often asked pre-wedding because India is a changing society where both the bride and the groom have a career and a bank bank balance. But unfortunately in the millennium of progress and liberty we still see families draining their bank accounts for the big fat Indian wedding. In the age of Badrinath Ki Dulhania we are seeing a tortoise-like exit from the culture of dowry.
The traditional wedding has a lopsided expense sheet where either the groom’s side or the bride’s side is seen bleeding money. How much should the brides parents pay for the wedding? What do the groom’s parents pay for the wedding? These are questions that people find very difficult to answer because the wedding cost is a very touchy topic of discussion. It is important we reassess our traditions and make necessary modifications to fit our claims of progressive thinking. So let us ask the rhetorical question: Should the bride and the groom split the wedding cost? Yes! Why? Read on.
How To Split Wedding Costs?
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Traditional wedding costs are usually not divided. The brides parents pay for the wedding and the groom’s parents pay for the reception but in a patriarchal society like India, often the bride’s parents are expected to bear a part of the reception costs as well. In a Christian wedding it was a given that the bride’s parents would bear the wedding costs because the groom is expected to buy a home and support the bride. But times have changed as well and Christian wedding costs are also split.
In an age when both the position of the bride and the groom are same in the society then the best thing to do is have a marriage expenses list and split the cost of the wedding between the partners. These are the ways you can split the wedding costs and this is why you should split it.
1. Take responsibility
Both of you are financially independent, earning the bucks and earning your living. It is only fair to divide the expenses between yourselves. It does not matter if traditions require the wedding to be taken care by the bride’s side and the reception by the groom’s.
It is a union of two sides and that must not turn into a tussle between them. Take responsibility for the life decision you have made and own up to your share of the damage. And the only share that makes sense is the equal one.
2. Be forthright about your expectations
Our customs and traditions don’t always fit into a logical framework. Sorry, I meant mostly do not fit. Sorry again, rarely fit! The bride’s side in the old traditions have to bear the cost of the wedding which includes the ludicrously priced rituals, guests from both sides and often a hefty amount of dowry or ‘gifts’. The bride’s father is the typecast victim of giant expense as the groom’s side are entitled to royal treatment. Everything that goes wrong in a wedding starts from this biased split of money bills. It is a common notion that money creates irreparable rifts in any relationship; marriage is not immune to that.
So how to split wedding costs? Be forthright. Even if it is an arranged marriage the bride’s family should be forthright with their expectations. In fact, the bride and groom in their pre-marital talks should make splitting of the marriage costs one of the key discussions. They should arrive at a decision and then only tie the knot.
3. Let your parents retire in peace
Your parents are either retired or on the verge of it. It is a social heredity that passes the burden of an expensive wedding to the shoulders of ageing parents, as if inflation is not enough to trouble their retired life. The decision of two young, responsible and earning adults should not be governed by unequal customs.
Rather than pushing your parents to break their fixed deposits to fill the plates of guests, why not take up the expenses yourself and split it to cushion the shock? It should not be a competitive show of wealth where both parents stretch their budget beyond sense and cloud their future with debts. The expense should preferably be borne mostly by the bride and the groom; one should cut their coat according to the cloth. Then neither parents nor the newly-married couple have to deal with debt.
4. Set an example
You are now one big family and what can consolidate the bond more than splitting the fat wedding bills? Remember Ross and Emily getting married and the parents fighting over the expenses? That wedding was troubled even before Ross said the wrong name at the altar! Yes, but this is India! So? You will face the googly eyes from relatives and acquaintances. But you will get that no matter what. So why care about the social construct around your wedding? Go ahead and set an example of becoming one family.
Related reading: Everything You Wanted To Know About 9 Types Of Marriages In India
5. Because it is cool to not be sexist
You wanted what Virat and Anoushka had at Italy right? Guess which side paid for it? Yes. Correct guess, they split the expense. You want the glitz, glamour but most of all you want the smile they bore. Now for that you need to be in love and happy. Though I cannot help you with the former, happiness at your wedding comes with minimum tension and bitterness that can come from the long drawn process of an Indian wedding.
One marvellous way of minimising unhappiness is to get your accounts sorted like adult individuals, not as the bride and the groom side. It is cool to not be a sexist in the time of calling out male entitlement and patriarchal social structure. It would be rad if you could throw away the sexist rituals and concentrate on the more essential celebration of the willful union of two lives.
6. A low key wedding can be a happy marriage
While you go ga-ga over the glitz of Virat-Anushka or Deepika- Ranveer, you should remember that what celebs could do despite splitting the wedding costs maybe you can’t do. So having a low-key wedding that minimises costs, having a joint reception and not too many functions like sangeet, mehendi could ensure that neither the bride’s side nor the groom’s side are burdened with any kind of expenses.
A low-key wedding could actually mean a happy marriage. You wouldn’t be burdened with paying the wedding bills for the next one month. You could just fly off to your honeymoon without a care in the world.
7. Budget your wedding
Weddings are notorious for overshooting budget and the traditional bride’s father is shown in Hindi films running from pillar-to-post to get the extra cash for the occasion.
The modern couple should sit together and create a budget for the wedding, taking out things they don’t need and putting in things they really want. This would be your marriage expenses list that you could refer to all the time.
Once the budget is done have a discussion on how to split wedding costs. This would make your whole event a smooth sail. Once you are married stick to the budgeting and splitting fiances bit, it will keep helping you run the show.
8. Have a wedding gift registry
Most often close relatives and friends give expensive gifts like gold and other things that you don’t use in your lifetime. But if you create a wedding gift registry and pass it on to both sides then they could also gift you things you need to start your life with. This is a western concept but an extremely practical one and could be of immense help to a couple who are splitting the marriage costs.
Instead of the groom’s parents or the bride’s parents buying things they could actually put things in the registry that people could choose from. Keep the items on the registry affordable. If anyone wants to pick two or three it’s up to them.
So when you ask the question how to split wedding costs, hope we have given you the right answer. Just follow our advice, share the expenses and bask in the happiness of a stress-free newly married life.