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The Only Wedding Expenses Checklist You Need to Plan Your D-day Right

Here is THE Ultimate Wedding Expenses checklist that you must have with you to track down the costs & plan a flawless wedding!

Image Courtesy: Shades Photography India

A survey of the cost of weddings in India done by the Economic Times & Reliance Money suggests that an average Indian wedding costs somewhere in between ₹20 lakhs to ₹5 crores. Once the wedding planning starts, there are a lot of decisions that need to be made to make things fall into place. The wedding expenses depend on a variety of questions that need to be answered.

Do you want a big fat wedding or will it be an intimate one? Do you want a designer lehenga? Will it be a destination wedding? Once you have the answers to these and many more questions in place, you can start planning the wedding budget

Since there is no prescribed course that will guide you in handling your wedding, here is a complete guide to a wedding expenses checklist keeping your budget and realistic expectations aligned. 

Plan The Wedding Budget

Image Courtesy: Bhargav Boppa Photography

The Budget Calculator available online on the WeddingWire, India website just needs you to provide the estimated wedding budget and then this amount is proportionately divided among the various requirements. The best part is you can change the budget midway and let the Budget Calculator do the work for you. This fuss-free tool also allows you to keep a tab on the payments that you make and constantly updates the amount automatically once payments are done.

Once you successfully draft a wedding budget including the traditional contributions along with the money you want to spend on the wedding, you will need a wedding expenses checklist to allocate the right amount of money to each requirement. This will prepare you to avoid spending a lot on unexpected aspects and causing a spillover. Don't forget to take notes!

Also Read: The Ultimate Wedding Budget Tool Guide to Help You Plan Your D-Day

Choose your favourite Wedding Planners

Claude Loren

Wedding planners and their responsibilities are an available option that you can choose instead of planning the entire wedding yourself. It will surely make the entire process of wedding planning a smooth and convenient ride for the couple and their families, but hiring a full-time wedding planner who will take up the wedding planning from scratch might take up to 2-3% of your budget. In case you decide to hire a wedding planner just for the wedding day coordination or the week before the wedding, the expected expenses will definitely come down to much lower. You can decide whether or not you need a wedding planner based on the overall budget that you have in mind.

Plan the number of Wedding Events & Select Venues

Ganesh Photography

The wedding venue is responsible for a bulk amount of the couple’s wedding expenses. It is indeed a priority on the wedding expenses checklist. The estimated amount to be invested in the events and venues (including the place rentals, tents, furniture and so on) is about 13.5% of the total budget. 

The venue that is located on the outskirts of the city might cost around ₹5-₹10 lakhs. Hotels, banquets and farmhouses might cost around ₹20-₹50 lakhs and a high-end wedding will definitely cost above ₹50 lakhs. In case you are planning a destination wedding, the cost of the venue will completely depend on the popularity of the destination and the seasonal value.

Also Read: 13 Types of Wedding Venues You Must Know Before Your D-Day

Pick the Catering Services & Select Menus for Each Day

Image Courtesy: Gaatha by Gauran Hingne & Priyanshu Bhargava

Catering is the second most significant aspect of the wedding owing to weddings being a social celebration. Once you narrow down the names of the caterers who can serve at your wedding ceremonies, you can then compare the funds they are demanding. It takes up to 23.3% of the wedding budget to be dedicated to catering. Catering is the most flexible component of the wedding planning process. You can select your own caterer and customise your own set of courses that will be served. Even the guest list that you finalise will result in effecting the catering expenses. If you downsize your guest list, the per head cost reduces resulting in an overall reduced catering cost.

Hire Photographers & Videographers for The Ceremonies

Image Courtesy: Rimi Sen

Photographers and videographers constitute almost 5.3% of the wedding expenses checklist according to WeddingWire India’s budget calculating tool. The amount to be paid finally is highly negotiable depending on the different packages that you choose. There are other factors like hours of services, the number of images, album prints, an assistant on spot and so on too, that might affect the amount of money that you have decided to allot to this part of the wedding planning process. You need to decide whether you want candid photography, traditional photography, videography cum photography, or drone photography, pre-wedding shoot and so on. We suggest you take up your own research and compare the prices of different photographers before you finalise the one!

Include Transportation & Accommodation Partners

Studio Beunique

This might not be a major expense if you are hosting the wedding in your hometown. However, a certain amount needs to be allocated in your wedding expenses checklist for transportation and accommodation. On average, it amounts to 2% of the total wedding budget that you plan. Be it the airport drop and pickup for guests, the wedding car or the groom’s baraat cars - transportation if hired from a vendor has its own expenses. Also if you have guests coming from different parts of the country or the globe, the possibilities of your home not being sufficient to accommodate them are high. This calls for external accommodation in a hotel or an Airbnb. Make sure to put it down on the checklist. 

Finalise the Wedding Jewellery & Outfit

Image Courtesy: House On The Clouds

The wedding is one occasion where an average Indian bride is decked up like a goddess in the best of jewellery. All the jewellery later adds up to the family heirloom too. This unit of the wedding budget occupies an average of 17.6%. These average expenses are barring the millennial brides who often choose not to wear too many ornaments or would like to keep it minimal. The brides who choose to flaunt rented jewellery instead of buying them all are also some exceptions. There is a variable factor involved where the cost prediction may not be accurate due to fluctuations in the rates of these precious stones and metals.  

Hair & Makeup for The Bride


The bridal hair and makeup artist is a professional and hiring them accounts for 2.3% of the total budget. Not only them, but you will also need a set of mehndi artists to put mehndi on your palms a well as for your family members and friends during the magical mehndi ceremony. About 10% to 15% of the amount that is dedicated to hair, makeup and beauty is also saved for the mehndi artists on board. 

Hire Vendors for Wedding Decorations & Pick Decor

Image Courtesy: Photography by Gagan

Wedding decorations are one of the most significant parts of the wedding. Whether the wedding turns out to be dreamy or not depends largely on the wedding decorations. Wedding decor involves almost 7. 2% of the wedding expenses. There are various factors like the theme of the wedding, a day wedding, the kind of decor, the size of the venue to be decorated and so on that will affect the wedding decoration expenses. But from whatever the budget is planned, 7.2% is the average expenditure that decorations cost. You can also ask your wedding planners if they have a package that includes decor too.

Choose Wedding Cards & Print Them For Sending

Image Courtesy: Made In Mono

The wedding cards include both Save the Dates as well as the formal wedding invitations that will go out to your guests. Depending on the type of invitations you pick and the number of guests you have on mind, wedding cards might need 2% of the entire budget. You will need to print the wedding cards and send them or maybe do it online to go paperless. Both have their own set of expenses to look out for. Apart from this, you could use the free templates available on the website if it suits the situation!

Pick the Bridal Outfit & Accessories

Image courtesy: Pictorizzah by Izzah Shaheen Malik

The budget that you assign to the wedding outfit, jewellery and wedding trousseau depends on the number of pieces that you pick and the place that you shop from. A Sabyasachi lehenga or a Tarun Tahiliani piece will definitely cost you more than any nearby or local designer wear. Then again flaunting the heirloom jewellery and outfits for your wedding are simply priceless and we cannot put a number on it. Jewellery costs will depend on the precious stone and metals you pick and if you rent it too. This factor on the wedding expenses checklist accounts for about 5.5% of the total budget. 

Pick the Groom’s Accessories

Image Courtesy: Shades Photography India

The groom’s sherwani for the wedding or the tux for the reception, along with matching pairs fo shoes and other accessories like watches and lapel pins, etc. result in about 3.5% of the budget. This might also be inclusive of the pre-wedding outfits that the groom picks for himself. While a lot of focus is on what the bride wears or what kind of makeup she picks to complete the look, the groom’s outfits and looks are equally important and need a good investment to make sure he looks handsome as ever on this impeccable celebration! The factors like pre-stitched or fabric that needs to be stitched affect the ultimate amount but more or less 3.5% of the budget is a catch.

Plan for Wedding Entertainment

Rosette Productions, Malviya Nagar

While the sangeet night is blessed with mesmerising performances from the friends and family, you might actually want some music and entertainment at your wedding. If you plan on hiring a musician, band or an anchor for entertaining the guests at your wedding, make sure to include it in your wedding expenses checklist. About an average of 1.8% of the wedding budget might be needed for the band baja that accompanies the baraat, or the dhols that make it super fun. This 1.8% allocated budget also includes the audio and video equipment, the DJ and even the dance choreography if you want to hire a professional.

Guests - Their Accommodation & Favours

Cupcake Productions

Guest accommodation is an expense you must keep in mind especially if you are hosting a destination wedding or a wedding where you have many people coming from other cities across the globe. While hosting them at your place sounds fun, you might need to book a hotel, Airbnb or someplace to accommodate them while looking after their comforts and making them feel warm and hospitable. This accounts for about 2% of your wedding budget. This will also include wedding favours and return gifts.

Preps for the Wedding Day & Ceremony 

Rolling Canvas

There are many requirements that pop up just for the day of the wedding ceremony. These might include the priest, fresh flowers, props for the wedding like the firewood, rice, ghee and so on. Keep aside about 0.8% of the total expenditure just for these ceremonial needs. You might also have to provide goodwill money to the priest apart from his payment as a sign of gratitude. Make sure to keep a tab on this 0.8% well. 

Plan the Honeymoon in Advance

Image Courtesy: KS. Creative

Many of the couples might not want to include their honeymoon budget in the same budget as the wedding. Even if the honeymoon is not planned immediately, we suggest you save some part of the budget for your honeymoon too. It is safe to say that you must not go all out and spend all the money only on the wedding. The honeymoon tickets, hotel bookings, visas and other expenses might make up to 5.5% of your total wedding expenses. It is best to keep this amount aside even if you do not need that for bookings immediately.

Account for Miscellaneous Expenses 

Hitched & Clicked, Noida

This is inclusive of everything else that if you do not consider, might cause a spillover. Include your bachelor/bachelorette parties, the bride and groom room rentals if any, the gift cards and return gifts that you had to include in the last minute or some extra handouts during the wedding. Keeping a tab on the unexpected expenses on your wedding expenses checklist will help you stick to your budget. For a safer side, allot 4.5% of your wedding budget for these miscellaneous aspects. It could include the extra per head cost of surprise plus ones too.

Wedding expenses spill over abnormally when the expectations are unrealistic or the wedding budget is not drafted keeping these pointers in mind. Make sure to do your part of the research to ensure that your wedding budget is made flawlessly and has the scope of adjusting the impromptu requirements without much hassle.

Also Read - Things to Consider Before Planning Your Wedding Expenses Checklist

Image Courtesy: Shades Photography India

You can also use the other tools available on the website and app of WeddingWire, India like the guest list planner, wedding checklist, the wedding website and so on to plan your wedding flawlessly!

If you have any tips and tricks to add to these, let us know in the comments below.