Stick to your budget: The single most important aspect of any event is the budget. This impacts and determines every following decision you make. Even before you start planning, you need to sit down with your fiancé and anyone else who will be contributing financially to the wedding and establish the maximum you are willing to spend. Now subtract 12% of it, and that is the budget you will be starting with. The closer you get to the wedding, there will be unpredictable and unavoidable costs that will undoubtedly pop up, and you will still have that 15% buffer as a backup you can use without breaking the bank.
Create a guest list: By having a rough estimate of the number of guests you need to invite, you can plan for the size of the venue required, the amount of food to be catered, number of return gifts, etc.
Make a list of all the people you want to invite. Remember, the more guests you invite, the higher the cost of the wedding will be. If you’re trying to cut down your list, a good rule of thumb is to think (unless they are family) “Have I talked to them in the last year?”, and if you haven’t, move them to the bottom of the priority list.
Don’t sweat the small stuff: 10 years from now, no one is going to remember if it drizzled at the ceremony or if the food came out 20 minutes late. What is important is that you are starting the next chapter of your life with the love of your life. The best thing you can do, is plan a backup for your backup. Discuss a backup location with your venue in the event of rain. Backup for that? Umbrellas on hand. Obviously, on the day of the wedding, you don’t want to have to be running around trying to enforce the backups. Which brings us to the next point.
Hire a wedding planner: Hiring a wedding planner can take a lot of stress off your shoulders. They can help you with all the details of the wedding, from venue selection to decor, catering, and entertainment. They also help you create a budget and more importantly—stick to it. More than this though, throughout the process they will also be your advisor, therapist, drill Sargent, and friend. So, when interviewing them, make sure they are someone you feel comfortable around and trust.
Vet, vet, vet: Depending on the size, you can have 7 vendors or you can have over 25 vendors for your wedding—from the venue to photographer to DJ to henna artist. Only when they all work seamlessly together will your wedding come together. But how would you know what their work style is? Are they perpetually late? Will they have the “not my responsibility, so I don’t care” attitude?Instagram follower counts, and a beautiful portfolio only tells you so much. Insist on references from them and talk to previous clients so you get a fuller picture.
Planning a big fat Indian wedding can be a daunting task—but it doesn’t have to be! Hopefully, these tips can make the process smoother and more enjoyable. Happy planning!
(The writer is Director, Event Planner for Asia Operations, Resh & Co)