If you are in the midst of planning your wedding, keep reading! We were just featured on India New England, with an article we wrote about wedding planning do’s and don’ts.
WEDDING PLANNING DO’S
Be Realistic About the Planning Process. If you’re a super-busy couple, live remotely, have demanding jobs or have BIG dreams for your wedding weekend, then you should hire a full-time wedding planner to help you prepare your entire event, from the save-the-date card to the honeymoon. You can also hire a part-time consultant to devise a wedding blueprint (including budget, schedule, and lists of suitable venue/vendor choices) before you launch solo into the preparations. If you’re keen on planning things yourself, but just want a pro to manage the final execution, your option is hiring a month-of coordinator; who will make sure everything goes smoothly during the final weeks leading up to the wedding day.
Determine Your Budget, And Be Flexible. We can’t stress enough how important it is to really think through your entire wedding day (or weekend!) wish list as early as possible so you can determine at least a ballpark wedding budget. Even couples with hefty budges may not be aware of all the details that require funding (and the cost associated), and it’s easy to feel caught off-guard with last minute expenses. So often, we see disproportionate expenditures on items that come early in the planning process, such as venue and catering; while details such as hiring talented vendors and spending on décor/design end up falling by the wayside. Ask yourself what’s most important. Is it a luxury venue with a low guest count, so you can spend on your vendors, décor and design? Or is having a high guest-count really important to you (keeping in mind that this is the #1 reason why costs add up)? We always encourage our clients to determine an initial budget; but if guest counts increase and one-day suddenly turns into a 3-day wedding, it’s realistic to have some flexibility in your budget as well.
Choose a Location that Works. Finding the right venue can be a time-consuming process. Give yourself a few months to figure this part out. In this process, you’ll discover a lot about yourselves, your style and your wedding needs that you many not have known (i.e. Do you want a ballroom wedding? Do you want an outdoor wedding? Do I want a big wedding or small wedding? Are many guests coming from out-of-town? How does all this affect your final venue choice?). Choose your ceremony and reception location with event flow in mind. Finding the right venue means you’ve automatically set the tone/style for the wedding (traditional, modern, casual). Also, securing the venue means you have a confirmed wedding date, and now you can get started on the rest of the planning process.
Choose Your Theme, Colors & Details: The key to any beautiful event is proper attention to theme, colors and details. Are you going for classic or modern? There’s a big difference in how you would approach colors and details for each. We’re seeing that most couples are looking to incorporate elements of their shared personality into the wedding celebration, which is a great way to personalize the big day! If you’ve never planned a large event before, it can be overwhelming trying to envision how everything might come together. Things can become particularly complex when planning an Indian wedding because there’s often a need to incorporate family desires and tradition, and couples still want to make sure that the event looks & feels reflective of their personal taste. We LOVE using Pinterest to pull together visual ideas for our clients, and show them how all the various needs and desires of the wedding can come together. Check out our Pinterest page for tons of ideas on themes, design and décor for your big day!
Prepare a Wedding Timeline. The time between saying “YES” to the ring and saying “I DO” to the groom is going to fly by!! So your first timeline should be the one that involves the actual planning process. How much time do you have until the big day? When should you book your vendors? When should you send out save-the-dates & invitations? When should book hotels and guest accommodations? There’s a lot to think about. Once these details fall into place, the next timeline you want to consider is that of the actually wedding day itself. Not only is this important for your own organization, but for your venue and vendors as well. Keeping your venue and all your hired vendors on the same page about what should be happening throughout the wedding day is imperative for event success!
WEDDING PLANNING DON’Ts
Don’t Over-Cram the Wedding Festivities. Whether you’re planning a one-day affair or a multi-day extravaganza, remember to be sensitive towards your guests’ experience and energy levels. Too many jam-packed days can become quite tiring; and by the time you’ve reached the grand finale reception, the crowd’s energy could be at an all-time low. If you’re having a multi-day wedding, consider starting your events later in the day on each day – giving your guests time to rest and recoup during the daytime. If you’re having a one-day wedding, be smart about the timeline. Starting the wedding day at 8am and ending at midnight can be tough for both the host and guests. Instead, consider a late afternoon wedding that flows directly into cocktails and then the reception. Not only is this option easier for guests to handle, but it’s easier on your budget too. A full-day wedding means providing meals and accommodations for morning, noon and night. Rather, a late afternoon wedding simply means providing cocktails and dinner.
Don’t Be Super-Bride (Or Super-Groom/ Super-Mom/ Super-Anyone!!). You’re smart, you’re focused, you’re energetic. But you’re still one person. Super-brides — those engaged gals who devote every waking hour to wedding planning, brushing aside all offers of help — eventually run out of steam and end up with an event in shambles that can only be saved by a small miracle. Even if hiring professional wedding help isn’t within your style or budget, here’s a little secret: Your friends and family want to help you! So do yourself a huge favor and accept their kind offers. Trust me, we’re control freaks too – but let others help with even the simplest of tasks: stuffing envelopes, making gift baskets or call vendors to make appointments. Every little bit helps!
Don’t Underestimate The Power of Talented Vendors. A talented DJ, photographer, florist or caterer can have an immeasurable impact on the success of your wedding day. Hiring the right vendors that are at the top of their game, and that know how to work professionally with your venue and other hired vendors, will save you many, many sleepless nights of worrying if your event is going to flow smoothly. A talented vendor may certainly come a premium price compared to the average; but a top-notch vendor isn’t just there to do a job, but rather sees the value in being a team player and wants to contribute to the overall success of a memorable event.
Don’t Invite People Just Because You Think You Have To.
The simple truth of wedding budgeting is that each additional guest means an increase in cost across the board. If you have a specific budget, each time you increase the headcount, you automatically reduce your ability to spend freely. Rather than being able to spend on “nice to have” items (décor, flowers, lighting or anything you may want to ‘splurge’ on), you become obligated to spend on “must have” items for the additional guests (tables, chairs, meals, drinks). And the reality is that the “must-have” items cost more per-person than the “nice-to-have” things. Reducing the headcount by even 30 people means 3 less dinner tables, 3 less centerpieces, 30 less meals and who knows how many less drinks! By reducing guest count, you’re now able to shift the money you would have spend on these additional people towards things YOU actually want.
Don’t sweat the small stuff. No matter how well planned a wedding, there’s bound to be a few unexpected things that come up and are beyond anyone’s control. Smile, and have fun! You’re getting married!! It’s a celebration of a marriage and two families – not a Broadway production. Enjoy your wedding day. You have worked too hard to not enjoy it.