Choosing your Guestlist
The most dreaded part of wedding planning has got to be the guestlist! However it is one of those steps that must happen before planning can continue .
With a lot of guests, it's a simple yes or no. But with others like childhood friends, work colleagues or your 54th cousin, the decision can be a little trickier.
Here is a nifty quiz to take for those people that you are not so sure of! Get a pen, turn to the notes page in your Sanskara Diary, and get ready and see if you get mostly A's, B's or C's to see which guests just don't cut it! Have fun and most importantly, be honest with yourself!
PAST, PRESENT OR FUTURE
A. You are closely related or close friends and picture them being present in your future. B. You were once close and now occassionally keep in contact. You intend on keeping in touch in future. C. You were once close but no longer keep in contact anymore. You don't foresee them in your future.
UHM... WHAT'S THEIR FACE?
A. They know you and your partner individually, as well as both of you as a couple and your journey. B. They know you personally and know about your partner and you as a couple. C. They know you but don't even know your partner's name.
WORK OR PLAY?
A. This colleague is more of a friend and you spend time together socially outside of work. B. You get along with this colleague, and spend time together socially in the office. C. The relationship is strictly professional and you don't (want to) see them outside of a work setting.
A MEMBER OR DON'T REMEMBER?
A. You clearly know how you are related to or know them, and you share lots of memories together. B. You are not sure how you are related or know them but you have some memories with them. C. You don't share any memories with them and you don't know who exactly they are... what's their name again?
EXCITING OR EXCRUTIATING?
A. You are inviting them because you are excited to share your special day with them. B. You are inviting them because it would be nice to see them. C. You are inviting them to avoid any awkwardness or tension.
THRILLED OR TERRIFIED?
A. The thought of having them at your wedding makes you thrilled and even emotional. B. The thought of them attending your wedding makes you content. C. The thought of having them at your wedding makes you anxious.
UPSETTING OR UNFAZED?
A. If this person couldn't attend your wedding, you would be quite upset snd even consider a different date. B. If this person was unable to attend, you would be saddened but the wedding must go on. C. If this person couldn't attend your wedding, you would be secretly happy about it.
Mostly A's: The people form a big part of your life. You are close, speak often, they know your partner and will most liekly be involved in your future. These people should form the core of your Guetslist. Mostly B's: These people share some memories with you and you occasionally keep in touch. It would be nice to have them at the wedding, but they would also most likely understand if they weren't invited. These guests can be invited to your other events and could form part of your backup wedding guestlist. Mostly C's: These people aren't a part of your life and will most likely not be a part of future. You are probably only considering them because of family/friend politics. You should not feel compelled to invite them.
The Meaning of Sanskara
We often get asked what Sanskara means and why we chose the name. It's only fitting that just like all things Sanskara, the name we chose is pretty but has a purpose too!
In Hinduism, there are a number of different rituals performed for the various Rites of Passage that an individual goes through and the Rites of Passage are known as "Sanskars". There are 16 main Sanskars ranging from conception to death. One of the most important of these being the "Vivah Sanskar" or Wedding Ceremony. Observing these Sanskars are said to spiritually enrich your life as well as ultimately assist with attaining "Moksha" or Salvation.
Directly translated, Sanskara means: "Putting together, making perfect, getting ready, to prepare." Here at Sanskara, our mission is focused on making the journey to the wedding celebrations as beautiful as the big day itself- the ultimate wedding planning journey for the Modern Indian Couple, whilst still honouring and keeping alive the traditions which have been passed down.
Sanskara was created after the engagement of our founder, and a wedding planner gifted to her by her sister. Although it was beautiful, this off- the- shelf, Western wedding planner was limited in its usefulness for an Indian Bride and the many events that she would need to consider. After her sister got engaged, the search began for an Indian wedding planner diary to gift to her, however there was nothing accessible or suitably comprehensive for a Modern Indian Bride. This is how Sanskara was born!
Where to Start with Wedding Planning
Recently engaged and not sure where to start with wedding planning? Spend some time planning the vibe and feel of your wedding events first! The vibe and feel will affect the bigger picture as well as the smaller details. It is great to start with planning how you want your wedding to feel and then translate that into all the elements of the wedding and also helps keep the couple on the same page.
You can do this by:
- Discussing what your dream wedding would look like and what it means to both of you.
- Throw around some buzz words that inspire you for example maybe the words colourful, summery, fun and quirky speak to you or it could be romantic, neutral and vintage
- Create an inspiration board for each event so that you can convert what's in your head into an easy to understand visual. Inspiration boards help you envision what all the seperate elements will look like together and are not only helpful for the couple but also come in handy for meetings with vendors. Did you know that our Big Fat Indian Wedding Planner Diaries have inspiration boards for each event (as well as outfits, invitations, stationery and more!) in them?
- Plan how to make the events special to you as a couple! Make sure that your events will be something that you both enjoy. It's important to cover all the rituals, but don't forget that this wedding is also about you as a couple and a celebration of your love! Guests will remember the little touches that are unique to you more than anything else.
Once you both have a clear vision for your Wedding weekend, this will affect a lot of your decisions like:
- Type of venue (you will now know if you are look for something rustic and relaxed or formal and luxurious etc)
- Number of guests (have you envisioned something intimate or something big?)
- Day vs. evening event
- Themes and decor (look back at the feel you discussed and your vision board)
- Season (consider if you want to be indoors or outdoors, what kind of outfits you're going to wear and even the colours that will make most sense for this season!)
As you can see, this is a pretty crucial step which you will keep referring to when you have to make big and small decisions. Don't skip it and don't forget to have fun with it!
Covid Considerations for your Wedding
Lockdown Brides! Have you considered how you will make sure your wedding is Covid safe? Here are some things to consider during the planning phase.
Check for some key features when choosing your venue for your lockdown wedding:
- A venue with enough ventilation: either outdoors, open all around or a venue with enough doors and windows that can be left open
- Sanitising stations and signs that remind guests and staff to sanitise regularly and maintain social distancing
It is up to the couple at the end of the day, to decide how covid protocol will be followed at the wedding. The things to think about in advance is:
- Will temperatures be checked at the door?
- Should guests be vaccinated before they are invited?
- Will guests be expected to wear masks at all times?
- Consider reducing your guestlist so that the venue is only at 50% capacity
- Inviting some of the guests (eg. extended family and friends) to join over live stream
The way everything is setup is even more important now during Covid. As much as possible, your guests should still be able to social distance and maintain good hygiene.
- Think about the way the tables and chairs will be spaced out
- Consider filling each table to only half its capacity
- Providing each table with a sanitiser bottle ( as well as other key points such as at the entrance, the buffet and the bar)
- Food can be served to each table as family style instead of buffet style to avoid having everyone congregating at one spot
- Will family photos be taken?
Some Unique Ideas
Covid is also giving couples the chance to be quite unique. Would you try any of the following?
- Have an intimate wedding in your backyard with just the two of you/ closest family. You could invite all your guests to join over Live Stream and have catering delivered to them!
- A cool way to get all your guests to be present but still safe, is to have a drive through wedding. All the guests can socially distance in their cars while watching the bridal couple take their vows on stage or on a big screen!
- Elope! Have your ceremony with just the two of you at a beautiful, local destination and get your family/friends to record special messages that you can listen to after.
Remember that even if you have to make your wedding a little smaller for the safety of your loved ones, your special day will still be beautiful, memorable and meaningful. After all, the wedding is all about you, your loved one and your vows!
The Role of the Bridal Party in Indian Weddings
Although Indian Weddings do not traditionally have a Bridal Party like in the Western sense of the term, a lot of couples are incorporating them into their weddings, and we love it!
Here are some ideas of how to incorporate a Bridal Party into your Eastern Wedding:
- Propose to your Tray/Kuncha Girls - ask them if they would do you the honour of being your bridesmaids!
- Get your Bridesmaids/Tray Girls matching saries, or matching dupattas to wear with their own lehengas. A perfect mix of East meets West!
- A Maid of Honour will definitely come in handy- whether it's to plan your Bridal Shower, your Mehndi Party or to pass you tissues and lipstick at the wedding. Who better to ask than the person that will be playing the Role of your Sister on the big day?
- Get the Groomsmen to double up as the Groom's shoe protection guards for a fun and modern twist to this shoe-stealing tradition!
Want to find other ways to incorporate your friends and family into the wedding? Teach your Bridal Party a cool entrance dance to walk into the reception venue to together! Or maybe a fun boys vs. girls dance for the Sangeet!
There are no rules, so have fun with doing whatever will make your special weekend even more special!
Let's Talk Budget
The most daunting part of wedding planning has got to be the budget! However it is also one of the most crucial parts, even if its not fun! When you first start planning, an overall budget should be determined before you get to the detailed planning. Be realistic in your projections and you won’t have issues down the line. Follow our tips below to get started on you wedding budget:
- Discussing money can be sensitive, however money conversations need to be had with all parties contributing.
Discuss openly how much you can afford to contribute.
- Project how much you will be able to save by the wedding
- More importantly, decide how much you are prepared to actually spend on the wedding
- Once you have a total figure in mind, you can now allocate different amounts to each event and to each category!
Tips for Wedding Planning during Covid/Lockdown
With constant Covid waves, it is useful to consider how the wedding planning can continue, the safest way possible. We know that it is even more stressful planning during a peak and heading out to get things done can be daunting. You may take a break from planning, but at some point, the planning must go on! Here are some ways to keep planning without hopefully, putting your health at risk.
If you are worried about venturing out during a Covid wave for venue viewing, consider this:
- Use a venue that you have seen before. You already know how it made you feel, the potential for decorating and the guest capacity
- For a new venue, find out about virtual tours
Food is such an important part of the wedding, so a tasting beforehand is just as important!
- Ask you caterer if they can pack some food tasters in take-away containers so you can have a tasting from home
- Use a caterer that you've used or experienced before so you can book now and then taste the dishes that you will be serving, later when it is safer
All other vendors such as the decor, make-up artist and hairstylist, photographer etc. are going to play big parts in your wedding day and it is important to consider them carefully before booking.
- Start by looking at the vendors portfolio online. Make sure you like their work and that they are trusted (and legit!)
- Send out queries over email about pricing and the style and requirements you have in mind to ensure they are able to assist you.
- Arrange a video meeting with your vendors- it is so important to make sure that you gel with your suppliers before booking because you will be spending a lot of time with them, both while planning and at your special day!
Once your decor vendor is booked, it is usually a good idea to meet with them to go through final details, choose table settings and backdrops as well as to show them the venue and the expectations.
- Either leave your venue walk-through for a later stage, or ask your vendor to have a look at a virtual tour and/or videos and photos of the venue, especially if they haven't worked there before
- If Covid numbers are still high, complete the final table settings over a video call
Shopping during a Covid wave is risky and may rather be done online.
- Make sure you plan in advance when buying online. India items have a long lead time during Covid. If you don't have much time left, only order stock on hand.
- Make sure you are using a trusted site that has good reviews and/or someone you know has used before
- Get most of your other items delivered to you in advance and whatever else you need on the day can be delivered to the venue directly on the day such as pooja items, garlands and wedding favours
Since regulations are ever-changing during the pandemic, make sure you are well prepared for any situation.
- Have a smaller backup guestlist if Covid numbers get worse or if regulations change for any reason. Have another list of guests that will be invited to join the wedding through a Zoom link to watch the wedding if they cannot be present
Luckily, technology has come a long way! For invitations, you can look at different options such as:
- Video invitations. This can be super special and unique.
- Wedding website: there are free options out there and will even help with the RSVP process.
- Whatsapp save-the-dates.
- And not forgetting the good ol' telephone call out of courtesy!
Planning a wedding during Covid can be very stressful. Make sure you stay organised with a Sanskara Wedding Planner Diary! Make the journey more memorable by involving friends and family in the planning over video calls, arrange planning dates with your partner, and by taking some me time for yourself with your "Miss to Mrs Box"!
Tips for the Bride on a Budget!
Need to keep your budget tight? Don't stress! You can still have your dream wedding with just a few tweaks. Here are our tips to cut down your spending on things that most people won't notice so that you can either save the extra money or spend it on other wedding details!
- For wedding rings, get cheap but good-looking rings for the ceremony. It's a great way to save a lot of money because no one will really notice anyway and that way you can look forward to getting each other fancy upgrades for the one year anniversary.
- The Mangalsutra is an important part of North Indian Hindu weddings. If you are planning to get one but feeling intimidated by the price, here's an idea to cut down on the price. Still have your baby Mangalsutra handchain? Consider using the beads to make your Mangalsutra necklace. You can always add on beads as years go by.
- Wedding jewellery can be very expensive and is usually something that only gets used once because of how extravagant it is! To lessen the stress of the hefty wedding jewellery price, look for a place that hires out jewellery instead. Another idea is to borrow jewellery from a friend or family member- no one will notice and it may even start a new tradition!
- A wedding cake at the reception is a great touch to add extra elegance and glamour to your event, but can often be quite pricey. To keep within budget, buy a plain cake from a bakery and get someone at the venue/ your coordinator to assist with adding fresh flowers to it as decor. Yummy and simple!
- Paper invitations are not only expensive, but wasteful too! Use a free wedding website where you can design your own invitation and send it electronically instead. You'll save both your pocket and the environemnt!
- The best way to downsize your spending is to downsize your guestlist and there is also no better time to do it than now.
- Indian weddings are so much of fun because of the number of celebrations! You can still have all your events, but consider combining them together to reduce some costs such as venue and food. For example, your Hurdee night and Sangeet night can be hosted together, or your Bridal shower can go into an intimate Mehndi Party in the night!
- Worried about the price and number of outfits you need to buy for a Big Fat Indian Wedding? Why not get saris that your mom or grandmom used for their wedding weekend, sewn to create a new outfit for yourself? Unique and sentimental!
- Real flowers are so stunning but the price can also leave you stunned. If fake flowers are a no-no for you, opt for more greenery. Greenery with candles and pops of gold can make just as big a statement!
- Having a new perfume to use on your wedding day is a great idea because everytime you get the scent, you will be transported back to your wedding day! But what do you do when you have so many events that you want to remember? Consider getting different candles/ incense sticks to burn while you are getting ready or even during the event. All the memories without the extra cost! Check out or Floral Scented Candles or the Miss to Mrs Box if you love this idea.
- If you have family and friends that still buy you birthday presents, ask them to rather buy you something small that will help with the wedding instead, such as contributing to your wedding nails, jewellery, shoes or bag.
Implementing even just some of these ideas will definitely let you experience your Big Fat Indian Wedding without the Big Fat Bills!