Wedding shopping in India? How does the GST affect you?

I was recently chatting to a couple who have just come back from their wedding shopping in India to find out that the new GST that was implemented in India on July 1st, 2017 threw their wedding budget out the window! The biggest problem that they encountered was not being able to correctly budget for their spending. As it is a relatively new tax, most of the suppliers were still getting used to the percentages applied to certain goods and services, and the couple would only know the cost at the time of purchase. This tax would affect your accommodation and travel expenses as well.

Their tip: Work out your budget as much as you possibly can and have an extra pocket of funds for the GST applicable.

What South African brides/couples need to know about India’s GST

Goods and Services Tax (GST) is a kind of tax that is imposed on the manufacturing, sale, and usage of goods and services in India. It could be seen as a kind of value-added tax (VAT) placed on various goods and services.

– Goods and services are divided into five tax slabs for the collection of tax – 0%, 5%, 12%, 18% and 28%.

– Petroleum products and alcoholic drinks are taxed separately by the individual state governments.

There is a special rate of 0.25% on rough precious and semi-precious stones and 3% on gold. I

The tax was introduced in the hopes of achieving overall economic growth within the country.

(Above information sourced via Wikipedia, and various written Indian business articles)

How does it affect your wedding shopping?

Bad news for our South African bridal couples – taxes will be levied on almost all items. Below is a brief breakdown of fee structures :

Clothing and Apparel shopping

  • up to Rs 1000 = 5%
  • more than Rs 1000 = 12%

From what I have read, the above is a good thing and your clothing might work out a little cheaper than before. YAY!!

Costume Jewellery reduced to

  • 12% – So another win for us. Whoop, Whoop!

Footwear & accessories

  • above Rs 500 = 18%

High end makeup and perfumes

  • 28%

Real jewellery – Gold and diamond

  • 3%

This was increased from 1.8% previously 🙁


  • 5 star / high hotels = 28%
  • Budge hotels might be cheaper


  • The cost of soft drinks and some alcoholic drinks, especially beer, will now cost you more as well. So no major partying during your shopping spree – keep those pennies for that gorgeous lehenga / saree that you need more!

GST on other wedding services

Wedding invitations and courier will now cost more at 18% on courier services. I strongly suggest you research the cost of South African based suppliers before you go abroad to see what works best for your budget.

Planning on getting married in India? Here’s what the new GST will be for certain services :

  • Booking a 5 star / high end hotel for your wedding = 28%
  • Photography = 18%
  • Marriage garden and hall bookings = 18%
  • Event management services = 18%
  • High end bridal makeup and salon service could cost you around 28%
  • Confectionery services and catering = 18%. You could possibly bargain here with your provider to take into consideration that there is no GST on food items such as milk, grain etc. Could help your cost outcome.
  • On the plus side, travelling will be a little cheaper on economy class airfares at 5%

Happy wedding planning!


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