Dream weddings are the fruit of hours of planning. To ensure that your big day is filled with grandeur, it’s vital that you don’t just plan but provide for every eventuality as meticulously as possible. To ensure this, having a wedding planning checklist is of utmost importance. It helps you work towards your dream one step at a time and saves you unnecessary stress associated with haphazard planning. Use this guide to plan a magnificent ceremony and avoid scrambling at the last minute.
Why is wedding planning important?
As the adage goes: failing to plan is planning to fail, which is to say that wedding planning is essential if you have a vision in mind for your special day. Whether religious ceremonies or celebratory events, making your wedding one to remember involves breaking each stage into bite-sized pieces and planning every event as per your taste.
To get started, make a wedding planning checklist.
What your wedding checklist should include?
Professionals who help brides and grooms plan successful weddings recommend that you begin chalking out the details 12 to 16 months in advance. This may seem like a lot, but it’s not, because from booking venues and shopping for outfits to preparing guests lists and hiring makeup artists, decorators, and caterers, there are several elements that you have to pay attention to. Therefore, you should make a wedding planning checklist and add deadlines to each item to hold yourself accountable so that you don't miss out on anything and tackle the important tasks.
Here’s what your wedding checklist should include:
- Decide on a budget
- Shortlist guests
- Look into accommodation and transportation for guests
- Book venues such as wedding reception venue, cocktail/ mehendi venue, etc.
- Brainstorm about theme, colours, and decor
- Hire caterers, photographers, musicians, florists, makeup artists, officiants, and wedding planners
- Shop for wedding outfits and trousseau
- Shop for wedding jewellery
- Select a wedding cake, party favours, and gifts for relatives
- Plan your honeymoon
- Send wedding invites
Wedding planning tips to help you get started
To ensure that your checklist actually works for you, for each item, do your research and set a deadline. For example, scouting for and booking a wedding venue needs to be done 11 to 12 months in advance, if not earlier. This is because booking late may result in you not getting the venue of your choice or having to pay extra.
Similarly, keep in mind the additional costs that you may have to bear for each task on your list. For example, hiring a DJ maybe one task on your wedding checklist. Apart from the DJ’s fees, you may also have to pay for a license to play copyrighted music. Taking this into account will give you a true picture of the cost and ensure that you don’t exceed your budget.
Before you implement these two wedding planning tips, consider using a wedding loan to ease budget planning.
The importance of using a wedding budget planner
One of the first things you should check off your wedding to do list is your budget. This can be quite a tricky thing to do, especially when you consider that weddings in India cost anything between Rs. 5 lakh and Rs. 5 crore. So, it is best to use a wedding budget planner. This free tool is available online, allows you to set a budget, and even suggests how much of your budget will go towards each expense. This way you can create a detailed wedding checklist and prepare your finances. In addition, a loan may be a good way for you to meet all wedding costs. One option you can consider is a Loan against property, as it gives you financing or Rs. 5 crore, or higher, basis your eligibility, at economical interest rates for a tenor spanning up to 18 years.
While your wedding budget planner will indicate the expenditure in store, don’t forget to consider the cost of hiring a wedding planner.
Benefits of hiring a wedding planner
Many prefer to hire a professional wedding planner to take control of the wheel. This can prove ideal if you’re unsure how to plan a wedding or simply don’t have the time to do so. Wedding planners certainly charge a significant fee, but they take care of all the administrative work so that you can focus on enjoying the wedding. Moreover, due to their well-established network of vendors, you may be able to secure discounts from florists, decorators, and musicians/ bands too.
Here’s a snapshot of the benefits associated with hiring a wedding planner.
- Saves time when it comes to understanding wedding logistics
- Leverage a wedding planner’s experience and resources to pull off a large-scale, spectacular wedding with ease
- Enjoy discounts from vendors due to the wedding planner’s professional contacts
- Enjoy the wedding without any stress
Hiring a wedding planner is even more important when you want to host your wedding at an elegant, glamorous destination be it; Bali, Fiji, Jaipur or Goa. In such cases, a destination wedding planner can make your vision come to life.
What should you check when you hire a destination wedding planner?
Destination wedding planning can be difficult because even though the internet is full of pictures of stellar locations, the ground realities are out of your control. However, flawless execution is what sets an extraordinary destination wedding planner apart.
Here is a detailed checklist you should keep handy when you’re evaluating destination wedding planners:
- The wedding planner’s costs and the services on offer
- The planner’s portfolio and references
- The size of the team that will be present while your wedding takes place
- Their understanding of the location and ability to tackle emergencies
Wedding venues: Why a destination wedding is worth the expense?
Here’s a top wedding planning tip: Destination wedding venues may be more expensive, but they offer an unparalleled experience. If you’re willing to go the extra mile to make your wedding ceremony or reception spectacular, pick a destination wedding reception venue.
Here are a few advantages of having a destination wedding, whether you choose an idyllic beach, opulent resort, or erstwhile palace.
- You can make the most of pristine locales for stunning wedding photography
- You can host the wedding at a destination that’s geographically neutral to both families
Considering resorts and venues offer special discounts and packages, booking a wedding reception venue abroad may give you more value for your money. What’s more, you have ample wedding venues to pick from. You can first pick the type of venue you’d like and then settle on the country. For example, when scouring the web for outdoor wedding venues, first n decide on whether you’d like to have a ceremony by the sea, on a mountain overlooking the ocean or in the countryside.
What to keep in mind when you’re considering outdoor wedding venues?
Arguably, outdoor wedding venues are more beautiful than indoor wedding halls, but they require more effort as far as planning goes. For instance, configuring sound, lights, and catering arrangements are much trickier outdoors! So, when you’re picking wedding reception venue remember to consider the following factors to avoid last-minute panic.
- If you’re planning a beach wedding, consider the impact of the breeze on the décor and food arrangements
- If you’re planning a wedding in a remote region, ensure that adequate power backup facilities are available
- Regardless of your location, ensure that your wedding to do list includes identifying the nearest emergency services
Each wedding venue has its own set of contingencies. However, one rule applies to all: have a detailed wedding checklist, be meticulous with your planning, and always prepare for emergencies.
Best seasons to choose indoor wedding venues
There are plenty of reasons why you would prefer an indoor wedding venue. They can be more economical, often have a dance floor as well as basic seating. Further, indoor wedding venues offer you the privacy that outdoor venues do not offer. Also, you don’t have to worry about sudden rainfall or scorching heat. While you can always book an indoor venue, there are 2 seasons when opting for one makes sense.
- Monsoons: Having an outdoor wedding during the June to September season, when rainfall is expected can wreak havoc with your arrangements. To be on the safer side, opt for an indoor venue.
- Months that have extreme climate: Some areas experience harsh climates during particular months of the year. For instance, temperatures soar up to 45°C during April to June in the northern and western parts of the country. It can go as low as 5°C from December to January. An indoor hall will ensure comfort for the bride and groom as well as the guests.
Things to keep in mind to ensure brilliant wedding photography
Wedding photography has become extremely important today, as wedding photos are the best way to relive your wedding for years to come. With options such as aerial photography and underwater photography, you can capture your special day exactly as you wish to. To ensure that the quality of your wedding photos is as per what you have envisioned, here are a few things to keep in mind.
- Hire a photographer who is experienced and specialises in candid wedding photography.
- Candid wedding photography requires every moment to be captured for posterity, so opt for a photographer who has a large crew.
- Discuss the lighting requirements with your photographer to ensure that you get the wedding photos that you have in mind.
- Pick a photographer that you’re comfortable with as you’ll be spending much time together.
- Go through wedding photography catalogues and identify the style of photography you like best.
- If candid wedding photography is a priority, let your photographer know, so they can assign photographers accordingly.
- Take your photographer through the itinerary for the day well in advance and also introduce them to close family and friends don’t miss out on clicking them.
- As part of your wedding to-do list, ensure that your photographer offers wedding videography as well.
When to schedule a pre-wedding shoot
Also called an engagement photoshoot, a pre-wedding photoshoot is usually scheduled 3 to 6 months before the wedding. Having this photoshoot gives you few advantages. You can use the pictures in your wedding collaterals, be it on invites or as décor, and you can also build a rapport with your photographer and communicate any preferences that you have.
In terms of timing, the ‘golden hour’ is preferred by most. It’s the period just before dusk and offers incredible natural lighting for your shots.
Wedding decoration ideas for a fabulous ambience
Wedding reception decoration involves hiring decorators and event management companies. However, if you hire a planner, this is one less thing for you to worry about. You can share references with your planner and discuss colour themes, after which you give your approval to ensure that your wedding hall is decorated as per your preferences.
Wedding stage decoration
At the heart of wedding reception decoration is what you do with the main area: the wedding stage. You can decide how you’d like to do up the wedding hall once you have a concept in mind for the stage. For example, you could choose to fill it with floral arrangements, keep it simple with a backdrop that features a slideshow of photographs of the bride and groom, or opt for a mix of candles and floral arrangements.
Pros and cons of choosing a wedding theme
When brainstorming wedding decoration ideas, you may wonder whether it’s worth having a theme for your wedding. Wedding themes have their pros and cons, so consider them to make an informed decision.
- Pros of having a wedding theme: It's fun, allows you to show your creative side, and makes your wedding unique.
- Cons of having a wedding theme: Not all guests may cooperate or understand the theme, each event/ ceremony may be more expensive, and planning and decorating may take more time.
How to shop for couple wedding attire and jewellery?
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to choosing wedding attire, as as your personal style will determine your choices. For example, the couple may want to wear traditional attire, modern outfits or completely unique ones. Nevertheless, a good starting point is to total the number of outfits that the bride and groom require and divide the total clothing budget accordingly.
Additional Read: Bridal makeup packages in India
For men, common wedding attire includes sherwanis, kurtas, bandhgalas, and suits. You can opt for a traditional sherwani with an accompanying turban, or keep it simple by pairing a kurta with a Nehru jacket. For a more classic look, a black suit is a fail-safe option. Similarly, for women, options range from designer lehengas and saris to dresses with hand embroidery and ornate anarkali sets.
You should shop for jewellery after you finalise your outfits so that you can ensure that they match. Here are a few things to keep in mind when selecting and shopping for jewellery.
- Identify family heirlooms that you would like to wear and have them cleaned, polished or, repaired, if need be.
- Buy jewellery that you are likely to wear later as well.
- Shop from a reputed jeweller to be sure of quality.
Select pieces that are comfortable to wear with a wedding planning checklist and wedding decoration ideas at your disposal, make your grand day one to remember without breaking into a sweat.
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