People say a wedding can cost an arm and a leg, it’s true! …and it’s true all over the world. It’s just that customs differ and cost heads differ. Having said that, it’s still better to spend in rupees compared to Dirhams, USD, Pounds or any other stronger currency. From my personal experience, I found it considerably cost effective to plan a wedding in Pakistan as compared to Dubai. As of now, I just have experience in these two countries, but maybe if some of our readers have experiences of other countries, they can share in the comment box below.
I have been asked by many blog readers to provide them with the complete expense list of organizing a wedding back home. Here, I would like to clarify some things
Firstly, everyone’s choices are different, I can provide you with a cheat sheet but it would definitely be plus minus as costs differ in different cities, location within the city, and the service providers you are working with
Secondly, it’s up to you how big or small your event would be so that would also change the costs. You can either go for a simple theme which covers all or you can make it grand with the best of everything. Costs significantly vary by the number of guests you are inviting.
Third, is the number of customs you have. For example, if you have joota chupai, plus doodh pilai, surma lagai and the list goes on and every ‘rasam’ costs Rs.5000 per sister or per sister in law, and you have more female members, you might need some credit card help there! So, for this one word of advice, try to keep traditions simple and fun and if they are pre-decided, there’s nothing like it! You will have more memories and your ‘Mighty Miscellaneous Expense’ would not break the bank account too.
So, now let’s get to the point, here is my cheat sheet
The Wedding Reception, the Grand Expense! (Brides Side)
1. Venue Cost-PKR 35000-65000 (20,000 in advance)
· Advance 50% plus security deposit
· Needs to be paid 6 months in advance, crucial to secure your venue on your dates. Wedding season in Pakistan is crazy and if bookings are not made in advance, you can land into a very difficult situation
· You need to check other booking terms and conditions
· The weekend/weekday rates differ
· The peak season/off season rates differ
· You need to know the number of guests you will be inviting, there are different party hall sizes according to the number of guests. Rental varies according to hall size
· Ask them for the list of service providers on their panel list. Nowadays some halls don’t allow third party service providers so it is advisable to choose from the list they provide. If they will allow anyone, you can choose from this list of caterers and decorators to get a quote.
· 50% advance payment, to be paid 2 months in advance. The payment terms can be negotiated if you are on good terms with them.
· They will ask you about the number of guests and the theme of your event. You can choose from their presentation whichever themes suits you.
· They will ask you about the menu, and according to that they will give you a figure for per head cost. The number of guests multiplied by per head cost would give you the catering & decoration expense.(The per head cost ranges from PKR 400-1500, average would be Rs.900)
· They will charge you separately for the water bottles and the soft drinks consumed
The usual charges for Mineral water 1.5 litre bottle are Rs. 35 per bottle, and 1 bottle per table.1 Table has 8 guests, so in total we would be having 50 tables
· So for a guest list of 400 people, the cost would be
Food 400 x 520 208,000
Drinks 400 x1.5 x15 9000
Water 35×50 1750
Sum of all Rs.218, 750
The advance payment would be made on the food mount only. The drinks and water are charged on consumption basis and you will be required to pay right after the reception or a day after.
We are not done as yet. After having your catering and decorating partner onboard, you need to ask them for options of stage decorators. The ambience does not include stage decoration, wooden walkway, any extra flower arrangements, sound system and lounge seating tables for special guests (baraat).
Of these, the most important one is the stage and lounge arrangement. The normal range for this is from Rs 25000 to Rs.100, 000. There is no limit actually. You can opt for imported flowers and a very fancy backdrop. My view on this is, it will show on every picture so invest in the right backdrop that will serve as the perfect background for your wedding photography.
Stage & Flower arrangement Rs 50,000
Sound System Rs 8000
You need to book your photographer at least 4 months in advance with down payment
Higher end packages Rs 175000 and above for 2 days
Mid-range packages Rs 75000-110,000
Lower end packages Rs 55,000-75,000
4. Beauty Salon for the Bride
You need to book the salon at least 3 months in advance, and choose the makeup artist. The bridal packages range from
Lower End Rs12000
Cost Effective Rs.20,000
Value for moneyRs35000
Upper end Rs. 55000-100,000
Elite Rs.100, 000 and above
My view on this, stick to the few good and well -known names and go with salons that provide value for money at least. After all, it’s once in a lifetime!
5. Bridal Dress
Lower Range: Below Rs 60,000
Mid-Range: Rs60,000- 100,000
Higher end: Rs100, 000-250,000
Elite: Rs250, 000 and above -theres no limit
If you are ordering from a designer, or if you are having your own ideas expedited, you should keep in mind at least 4 months’ time due to peak season rush, the work itself is very time taking.
6. Wedding Invitation Cards
By now, you are almost done with all your expense heads for the Big Day. At this point, we are done with all the bookings that had to be made in advance. The last step is calculating and estimating the big day miscellaneous expenses to make sure how much money you would need in hand.
You might need an additional car for running errands and to pick and drop the bride. The daily charges for a quality rent a car service starts from Rs3500 per day(if you are lucky) and can go up to RS5500 per day plus fuel. Ask about per hour charges if you exceed the time.
· Henna Artist booking for the female cousins and friends
· Makeup artist