Emergency Wedding Day Kit – Essentials for the Indian Bride! 

We always wish for brides and grooms to have the best time on their wedding day.   However it doesn’t hurt to plan for the ‘just in case’ situations.    A pre-packed and prepared emergency wedding day kit will ensure you have all the essentials for your big day to give you some peace of mind.

Here is a list of the essentials for the Indian Bride:

Safety Pins:  There is always someone at a wedding that needs more pins to secure their loose sari! http://amzn.to/2mOvjz7

Plasters:  Whether its for a cut or extra cushioning for your wedding shoes, keep a box of plasters of different sizes on hand – Elastoplast Fabric Plasters

Stain Remover: From makeup stains to a spilt drink having a good stain remover will get you back to enjoying the day in no time! – Tide To Go, Instant Stain Remover Pen

Moisturing Cream:  As an Indian brides you will have photos taken of your hands and feet to capture the beautiful hand jewelry and Mehndi.   Keep some moisturiser with you to ensure smooth glowing skin at all times.   The cream will also be handy if you struggle to get those bangles off! – Burt’s Bees Almond and Milk Hand Cream

Parecetamol and Ibuprofen:  Weather its required because you are hungover from the night before or you just woke up with splitting headache, don’t let it ruin your special day and be sure to pack it in your Emergency wedding Day Kit! Pick some up from your local Pharmacy

Water: Stay hydrated through out the day! – Voss Artesian Still Water

Mints: I don’t think I need to say much more about this one! 🙂  Polo Original

Tissues:  At times it may get emotional so keep those tissues handy!  – Kleenex Original

Tweezers: To remove any of those stray hairs – RUIMIO Eyebrow Tweezers Stainless Steel

Clear Polish –  Smooth out unexpected chips to be photo ready! – Rimmel London 60 Seconds Super Shine Nail Polish

Fashion Tape:  Depending on your dress style you may want to keep some fashion tape handy.  These tapes can also be used for any falling hem lines and any of your brides that maybe showing a little too much cleavage! – Eylure Body Tape

Blotting Paper:  Your brides maids should keep some blotting paper with them at all times to keep the shine away whilst you take your beautiful wedding photos – Natural Bamboo Charcoal Oil Absorbing Tissues

Hair Spray:   To keep those flyaway hair strands in place! – L’Oreal Elnett Precious Argan Oil Hairspray

A Mini Makeup bag:  For you and your bridesmaids who may need touch ups through out the day! – NYX PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP JET SET TRAVEL KIT

Mini Travel Case:  A cute travel case to keep all your items in one place!! Miss Lulu Women Reversible Tote Bag 

Don’t have time to buy the above?? Here is a prepackaged wedding emergency kit! – http://amzn.to/2FWm0Gm

The First 5 Things You Must Do When Planning An Indian Wedding 

Have you recently got engaged?  And are you going start planning your big Indian wedding?  If so, keep reading!……..Before you go to any wedding shows or start booking wedding suppliers or buy that gorgeous dress, read our list of the first 5 things you must do when planning an Indian wedding.    Indian Wedding Rings London UKPlanning a wedding isn’t as glamourous as many may think.  In reality wedding planning is a tough process and there will be challenges and so we want to make sure you are prepared and start planning in best way possible.  With a solid foundation your overall planning experience will be much more enjoyable!  

For us Indians, one event is just not enough… we love to party and entertain guests and so if you are having an Indian wedding then its more than likely to be 4 events or more.    Don’t for one second underestimate the mammoth task of organising many events for 100’s of guests.  Also don’t forget budgeting, here at Plan & Wed we believe this is the most important when planning a wedding.  Whether you have a large budget or a small budget, follow the below points to get the most for your money! If you want to save time on wedding planning, save costs and have a stress-free planning journey then keep on reading 🙂 

1 – Decide on 3 potential Indian wedding dates 

Its important to have a few potential wedding dates determined when you start your wedding planning.   These dates will help you to checking the availability of other suppliers – lets just put it this way, why go see a venue if its not available on the date you want.    Get your family and your fiancé’s family together and agree on three dates that would work for all of you.    By deciding on three potential dates you will have options incase one of the bigger suppliers, like venue, caterer or maharaj/priest is not available on one of the dates.  Once you have agreed on the three potential wedding dates, decide on how many events you will also be having in the lead up to the wedding. I.e. Mehndi, Vidhi, Meet & Greet Evening etc. 

 2 – Booking your Maharaj/Priest 

Now you may be thinking – shouldn’t I book the venue first?  Priests get booked up very quickly.  Especially the ones that explain the wedding ceremony extremely well to guests.  Also many families are particular about which priest they book.  If this is the case with your family then you should definitely book the Maharaj asap.    If you have followed point 1, you should have three potential weddings dates and so if you want to remain flexible around your venue availability dates then provisionally book the Maharaj for those three dates and advise him to give you a call if another couple wants to book him on the same date.   This way you have longer to decide the final wedding date without losing your chosen priest to another couple.  

3 – Number of Guests 

Both families should make a draft guest-list.  The guest-list’s will probably go through a number of revisions but as a start it will give you an idea of how many guest you could potentially have at your wedding.    The benefit of knowing an approximate number of guests is that you will be able to select the venue with the appropriate capacity.   It will also help you to gage if the number of guests can be accommodated in your agreed budget.   Just remember, the more guests you have the more expensive your wedding will be.  There are many wedding costs determined by how many guests you have for example, catering, drinks, table setting & centre pieces, wedding favours, wedding Cake.   Top TipCreate a first draft list of everyone that you and your families want to invite.  Prioritise the must’s and the maybe’s.  If there are too many for the wedding then perhaps invite some of the ‘maybes’ only to the events leading up to the wedding.   

Plan & Wed has specially designed a Guestlist Tool for large Indian weddings.   You can use this list to capture guests by families and then decide which event you want them to attend.  After you send out invitations you can also manage your RSVP on the tool to track who still needs to respond.  All of those that are attending will appear in the seating plan tool so you can then drag and drop your guests name to a table to create a seating plan for your reception…..and its free to use!  

4– Wedding To Do List…… and make decisions!  

Now I believe this is the most important out of all 5!  Many couples don’t do this but it is so important to have a list of all the things you need to do and buy for your wedding before you start booking suppliers and purchasing items.  Without a list, you will make ad-hoc decisions which can sometimes be expensive.  There will greater chances of you forgetting thing which can be stressful closer to the wedding.  And if you don’t give yourself time to research suppliers you may end up spending more or not getting the best quality for the money you are spending. Build your list by Brainstorming.   Brainstorming is when a group gets together to determine how to tackle a problem by gathering a list of ideas that are spontaneously contributed by the group members.  You can use this method by bringing your family and your fiance’s family together to brainstorm everything required for the wedding. Whilst you make a list, make decisions as well.  Like the themes of an event, what cuisine you would like, the colour schemes, start times & end time of each event and so on. Decisions that are made at the beginning stage of your wedding planning will save you soooooo much time and effort in the later months.  Many couples don’t realise this,  but making all your decision up front before you start researching and booking suppliers can actually save a lot of time and money.    Also your family will be there to help you make decisions and so everyone will feel involved 🙂 

TOP TIP – The best way to carry out this session is to get your family and your fiancé’s family together for a whole day.  Tell them in advance what you are planning to do and how important this process will be.    On day,  have a spreadsheet or word doc available (if you can airplay of connect this to your TV so everyone can see your notes – even better!), bring plenty of drinks and snacks and start the process.  Write down an event and start making notes on everything you will need for that event.    

Here is an example of how to track your notes:

Mehndi Party:

  • Number of guests:  150 
  • Location/venue: Marquee at Home
  • Marquee
    • For 150 guests 
    • Action – Hire Marquee Company
  • Décor:
    • Moroccan Theme
    • Action – Need to find a supplier for the theme décor
  • Time:
    • Start time: 6pm 
    • End Time – 11pm 
  • Mehndi:
    • Wedding Mehndi for bride 
    • Full hands Mums and Sisters 
    • Strips family and friends (70 people) 
    • Action – Book Mehndi Artist
  • Catering:
    • Theme – Lebanese Food
    • Action – Hire caterer
    • Starters served at 6pm
    • Main Served at 7pm
    • Dessert – Cakes and Icecream Served at 9pm
    • Action – Buy cakes
    • Action – Hire a caterer to make homemade icecream
  • Drinks:
    • Serve Mojito and Sangria
    • Action – Hire 2 cocktail makers 
    • Action – Purchase Alcohol
    • Action – Purchase Plastic Cups 
  • Music & Entertainment:
    • Playlist on Spotify  – Action – Create Playlist for Mehndi Night
    • Hire Large Speakers for Music
    • Hire Dancers
  • What to wear
    • Guests – Arnakali’s 
    • Bride to be – Arnarkali 
    • Groom to be – Smart Casual  
    • Parents / Siblings – Casual / Anarkalis 
    • Jewellery  
    • Action – Hire Hair & Make up Artist

Check out the Plan & Wed To Do List tool! Create your to do list here for free and set up your reminders so that you never forget. 

5 – Set Your Budget for each wedding event 

This is also a very important one.  Before you begin to buy things for your wedding you need to know the budget you have for each event to avoid overspending and to maximise how much you get out of that budget. Until you decide on the budget you really shouldn’t be looking at photographers, caterers or venues because how would you know which suppliers are in your budget.      

Now if you are paying for the wedding yourselves as a couple then agree the final amount with your fiance.  However for most Asian’s the parent’s usually pay most or some of the wedding costs and so its really important to have the open dialogue with both families on who will be paying for what and how much the overall budget will be.  This a very sensitive topic and so be sure to handle this conversation carefully with both sides of the family.  We have a great blog that guides you through the process of how to bring two families together to discuss wedding finances.   Check it out here because it may save you from an awkward situation: https://planandwed.com/discussing-wedding-finances/

Plan & Wed has a great tool to help you track your budget for each event…..The best thing is its absolutely free!   Check out the Plan & Wed Budget Tracker.    Once you have created a list from point 4, you can break down the budget and add an approximate cost to each thing that you need to buy for your wedding.  Whether it is a service cost or a cost for an tangible item, this should all go in there.  When you do finally hit the shops 🙂 you will know your budget which will help keep your overall wedding costs on track. 

After completing the 5 points explained above you will then be ready to do all the fun things like view venues and dress shopping and yummy food tasting!!   Our aim at Plan & Wed is to highlight the realities of Indian wedding planning and to support you with planning to make sure you have a fun and memorable experience and we hope this blog helps you plan your Indian Wedding Stress-free 🙂 

If you are getting married and would like one of the Plan & Wed Consultants to help you build a To Do List and Budget then feel free to email us at info@planandwed.com 

Happy Planning!

Honeymoon in Tanzania

If you are looking for a honeymoon you will never forget and have memories that will be engraved in your mind for a lifetime look no further than East Africa.  With the exhilaration experience, of without a doubt, the best safari spots in the world combined with the splendour and beauty of the beaches and resorts in Zanzibar – A honeymoon in Tanzania will be a trip you never forget.  Although I wasn’t on a honeymoon, I was with my wife and we both thought this would be brilliant place to go for one and so I thought I would write a blog that briefly described our experience whilst we were there.

Day One – Arriving in Arusha

I arrived in Arusha (Tanzania) to be picked up by our Safari guide, Mrindiko.  From the outset he exuded a friendless that put us at ease and made us feel really comfortable.  We made our way to Lake Manyara where we settled into our lodge and after freshening up made our way to our first game drive.  As our modified Toyota Landcruiser built specifically for the uneven terrain made its way into the park I had no idea of what to expect.  This was my first safari!  The roads were bumpy and Mrindiko hilariously described this as a “free African massage” but in actuality the seats were so padded it was not that uncomfortable!  The anticipation grew as we wondered what would be the 1st animal we saw and then before our eyes was an elegantly poised giraffe which stood graciously grazing at the leaves of yellow bark acacia tree. 

Amazing. From this point onwards as we made our way around the park to see more and more majestic animals – Zebras, gazelles, monkeys and many more.  This was almost a taster of what was what to come as we made our way to the Serengeti to find the “Big 5” (lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos and buffalos) and witness the “Great Migration” of the wildebeest.  The journey to the Serengeti took half a day, passing the infamous Ngorongoro crater along the way.  This crater is the largest caldera (collapsed volcano) in the world and has a really high density of animals at the base.At this point we were just passing by the top rim and were due to go down into the crater on the way back from the Serengeti.  However, we did stop for the views and they were absolutely spectacular.  Words cannot describe the beauty. A 10-minute stop turned into a hour, before Mrindiko dragged us back into the vehicle to carry on the journey towards and into the Serengeti.  After a long journey we had finally reached the vast savannah of the Serengeti.  It was was scattered with low-lying vegetation and animals grazing as they basked in the sun.  The first of the “cats” that we saw were two Cheetahs and it was exciting.  We had a high vantage point and so could see their heads amongst the tall grass, as they lay stealthily low, whilst scoping two stray zebra for an evening meal.  The anticipation was immense and the adrenaline was flowing but fortunately for the zebras they also caught sight of the cheetah and quickly scurried away before the cheetah could pounce!

The Luxurious Tent

After a tiring day, Mrindiko took us to our accommodation – The Kubu Kubu tents.  After arriving, “tents” is not how I would describe these.  The rooms were large, decorated beyond what you would expect in a western hotel and had a beautiful bathroom but most importantly the views were incredible!

As the tents were on a hill slope, the views of the Savannah were vast – we could not feel more detached from our lives back at home in busy London.   After a lovely nights rest, we woke up spritely for a full days game drive in the Serengeti. Amazing!

Day 2 – Safari

The Serengeti is absolutely massive and Mrindiko drove us around in search of the “Big Five” for the next day and a half.  With the use of his incredible eyesight and powerful binoculars we were able to find, chase down and get really close to some absolutely stunning animals.  Words cannot describe or do this experience justice and so here are some pictures that we took, which to be fair can’t either!

Lions, Leopards, Elephants and the magnificent Wildebeest migration were all ticked off the list (multiple times!).  Seeing thousands of animals stampeding across a river was something I will never forget!  It was time to make our way back to Ngorongoro crater.

The Serena Lodge

After another long journey we arrive at our lodge in the evening, ready for some delicious food and a night of peaceful rest.  The Serena Lodge did not fail to deliver this and as with the Kubu Kubu tents – the views were nothing short of immense!

Day 3 – Safari

Mrindiko had requested an early start so that we could catch beautiful sunrise as we made our way down into the crater for our last full day of game drive.  There was one animal that we were yet to see – the infamous Rhino.  Now, these are rare and quite shy – overall hard to find!  Mrindiko would drive, stop and gaze in to the distance with his binocular vision.  Every time we would pull out the actual binoculars, we got excited.  This normally meant he had seen something that we were looking for.  But for whatever reason it just was not happening.  His frustration was clearly visible as he searched tirelessly and then again he stopped, gazed, pulled out the binoculars….then these four blissful words came out of his mouth…”s*** there’s two rhinos!”.He had seen 2 rhinos in the distance and all honesty I couldn’t even see 2 dots of grey where he was pointing to but before I knew it, he put his foot on the gas and we rapidly made our way in the direction of these rhinos.  There they were! Two graceful rhinos peacefully chomping away at the vegetation.  Amazing.  To think these magnificent creatures could be on the verge of extinction was sad but thankfully things are improving and their numbers are increasing.  Mrindiko’s job was done – he had shown us all of the animals, given us a great adventure and memories that would last a life time.

Day 4 – To Zanzibar for some R&R!

The next day he dropped us to the airport and after an emotional farewell, we boarded our plane for our onwards journey to Zanzibar.  This is a relatively small, long and narrow island off the east coast of Tanzania.  Our hotel was on the northern tip in a place called Nungwi, which is known for some beautiful beaches and to be honest it did not disappoint.

It had the whitest sands and clearest water – just as you would imagine on the front cover of the holiday brochure.  The hotel itself, Hideaway at Nungwi, had a lovely infinity pool from which you could see the beautiful ocean and very comfortable and luxurious rooms.  It was the perfect place to come and relax after the intense, adventure filled safari experience.  To top it all off – the food was magnificent and the chefs were happy to accommodate any customised request.  My wife is a vegetarian who does not eat eggs and we are both foodies.  Bad food and poor choice would detract away from a holiday experience but in both the Safari accommodation and the Hideaway at Nungwi, the options were plentiful and absolutely scrumptious!

So this was our trip….in a nutshell!  With the excitement of the safari and the relaxation of Zanzibar I could not recommend it more for a honeymoon – a perfect way to start married life!

Looking too book your honeymoon?  Check the out the Travel Agents in our Directory > Plan & Wed Honeymoon & Travel Directory

 

Why getting a Personal Trainer will enhance your wedding day!

Your wedding date is confirmed and you know that there are going to be hundreds of friends and family present, thousands of pictures taken, hours of video clips and you are going to be the centre of all of this attention!!! So with all of this in mind – it is only natural that you want to look great for your wedding day!

This Blog is written in collaboration with Body + Beyond Performance.  Body + Beyond Performance was established in September 2011 by Vin Patel in North West London, Harrow.   Vin is a highly qualified Personal Trainer (PT) and fitness specialist with a background in Sport & Exercise Science.    What I like about Vin and his team is that their fitness/weight loss plans are backed up with scientific knowledge and research and so they can create you a personal fitness plan along with a nutritional plan that produces optimal results for your body type.  

Vin has kindly created training guide for all Bride & Groom’s to be! Its really good!! …..  Scroll to the bottom of this blog to download! 

I can hear you asking how will a PT be any better than me training on my own?  

Well a Personal trainer will push you to your limits that perhaps you may not do alone at the gym.  Also just exercising alone does not provide results and a good PT like the team at Body + Beyond Performance,  will provide you a realistic nutritional plan that will not only make you feel good but will also provide you the right nutrients to build your strength and stamina.     In the midst of wedding planning, which can be very stressful, hiring a PT will provide you a great opportunity to take time out; a little outlet just blow off some steam and to look after yourself.   Here are the benefits of working out and eating healthily in the lead up to your wedding.

1 – Reduction in stress levels from wedding planning

 Wedding Planning is stressful (I think we have mentioned this in most of our blogs :))  The reason for this is because you are taking on a huge important project in conjunction with your regular life activities such as work, your social life and family time.   There are also many couples who, clearly don’t feel like this is enough stuff to have going on at the same time and so also begin to look for a new home whilst also wedding planning.  All this additional work will begin to take a toll on you.   Getting a PT will give you some time to yourself – you don’t even need to think about what work out you will be doing, that what your PT is there for!  Pushing your body through a well planned workout session will help you de-stress during this busy period of your life and importantly, since the work outs are scheduled you are less likely to give them a miss!

Fitness and Health for Wedding in London UK

2 – Weight loss and toning up to fit into that Wedding Dress or Sherwani

If you are keen to lose weight and/or tone up for your wedding then a PT can really help accelerate the process by creating a fitness and nutritional plan specially to work for you and your goals.  

3 – Increased strength & energy to enjoy all your wedding events 

(Photo by: http://aiyamedia.com)

Exercising and eating healthily will significantly improve your energy and stamina.  Asian weddings usually comprise of a number of late night events back to back.  Having plenty of energy during all your wedding events is important and will really help you enjoy each event without feeling tired!

4 – Clear and beautiful skin ready for all those wedding photos

When you start working out, the increase in blood flow in your body will help nourish skin cells and in addition the reduction in stress as a result of exercising can improve the quality of your skin making you look more radiant.  Stress can also cause symptoms like acne and eczema and so reducing stress through exercising may improve these conditions too.  From my own experience, when I exercise frequently and eat healthily my skin does improve.  I have less breakouts and the dark circles under my eye (the pains of being Asian!!) reduce significantly! 

If you are keen on getting fit and healthy for your wedding, go and check out the Body + Beyond Performance website.  You will find all the information you need of their class schedules and Personal Training details.   Also I love their Blogs & Vlogs!  Their blogs provide valuable information on fitness and nutrition and so have a read to get you started 🙂   You can watch their Vlogs on their YouTube channel

If you want more information about the services offered by Body + Beyond Performance, visit the below links to get to their website and social media! 

Website: http://www.bodybeyond.co.uk

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bodyandbeyonduk/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bodyandbeyonduk/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/bodyandbeyonduk/

Download the Body + Beyond Wedding Training Plan here  >> Bride&Groom-To-Be-Guide

Top 5 Historical Asian Wedding Venues in Central London

Wedding Venues in Central London often offer a level of opulence and grandeur, in particular the venues with significant historical background.   In this blog we share with you 5 of our favourites.  If you are looking for a venue in London be sure to check these out!

1 – De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms

Set in the bustling and vibrant Covent Garden this grand venue is perfect for those who want to hold a wedding and reception on the same day.  This venue has history dating back to 1775.  The Grand Connaught Rooms turned into a hotel in 1909 and the architecture of the Arched ornate ceilings and impressive chandeliers will add significant glamour to your wedding without the need of hiring expensive Decor.  We love that it also offers the option to select any caterer you like i.e. you are not restricted to their in house ones only.

Capacity: Grand Rooms – 750 guests,  Drawing Bar – 250 guests

Additional Info:  Allows private catering, Free Wifi throughout the building, 5 min walk to Covent Garden / Holborn Station

2 – 8 Northumberland

OK – So I am a little biased towards this one, and favour it massively because this is where I got married 🙂   8 Northumberland is a stones throw away from Trafalgar Square!   This venue has beautiful displays and a well maintained architecture from the Victorian times.  The ceilings are high and grand with intricate designs.   8 Northumberland has also built in some cutting edge technology, which is absolutely fantastic.  For example you can change the lighting to what ever colour you want to help create the perfect atmosphere at no additional cost.

Capacity: The Ball Room – 500, The Old Billiard Room – 260.

Additional Info:  Private Catering Allowed, 2 min walk to Charing Cross Station,  Hotel Rooms available for wedding guests

3 – One Whitehall Place (The Royal Horseguards Hotel )

One Whitehall Place at The Royal Horseguards Hotel is a Grade II listed building, which provides a prestigious and majestic venue in central London.   There are four large rooms all boasting beautiful Victorian architecture.   There is a grand marble staircase where you will able to stunning and romantic wedding photos.   It is also located on the Victoria Embankment with great views of the Thames and the London Eye…. more amazing photo opportunities!  This is a great venue for those who want to have a Registry, Wedding & Reception all in one day.

Capacity: The Gladstone Library – 250,  The Reading & Writing Room – 250,  The River Room – 30-70, The whitehall Suite – 250

Additional Info: Licensed for Civil Ceremonies, A few minutes walk from Embankment Station

4 – Natural History Museum

I never considered having my Asian wedding and reception at the Natural History museum.   We most often think of wedding venues being in beautiful hotels or out of London in stately homes but if I could go back, I would definitely give the Natural History Museum a chance.   First of all, the venue is grand with large Romanesque arches.  There is a beautiful stone staircase giving a more unique castle like feel venue.   When dressed with lighting and decor, this venue becomes truly magical!

Capacity: Hintze Hall – 650, North Hall – 250, Fossil Way – 250, Earth Hall – 250

Additional Info: This venue has a wide range of caterers on their list,  2 min from Kensington Station

5 – One Marylebone

One Marylebone was built in 1826 and after being elegantly refurbished in 2008 the venue opened it’s doors to host beautiful weddings.   This venue is situated just across from Regents park and has its very own private off road entrance (something you dont find with many venues in Central London).   The East & West galleries both offer a bright, contemporary and intimate rooms to hold wedding.  With its beautiful stained glass windows, the Sloane Hall is the perfect space to hold a reception and dance the night away!

Capacity: Sloane Hall – 350, East & West Gallery – 170

Additional Info: Limited choice of one caterer,  2 min from Great Portland or Warren Street stations.

Wedding Insurance for Asian Weddings

Your parents have been looking forward to your wedding since the day you were born and so when you find your soul mate and feel like the happiest person ever, everyone is ready to celebrate your wedding in style.

But there is one amazing fact – did you know that the average cost of an Asian Wedding in the UK is  £60000!!  …….Yes that right 60 Thousand Pounds!! That cost is just for the wedding and reception, so what about when you add on the Mehndi Night and the Meet & Greet evening and the pre-wedding ceremonies??!!

I have always believed that your wedding should be the most beautiful process that you go through (alongside having a baby!). All your family and friends around you celebrating the start of your new life – you can’t really put a cost on that.  The thing is whilst enjoying this celebratory time it is always good to have a reality check now and again – Money is Money and you and your parents would have worked really hard to build up that budget and so you really need to take care of it and manage it in the right way.

I guess I never thought too much about Wedding Insurance before – in all honesty it didn’t even cross my mind for my own wedding!   But recently I have been thinking about this – we insure our expensive cars, we make sure our pricey wedding rings is covered with insurance and we even insure our £1000 holidays but why on earth did I not manage to insure my wedding, which cost more than all of the above!

I have recently been in touch with Alpen Patel from Commercial Direct.  Alpen sells a wedding insurance plan specifically created for Asian Weddings.  Unlike traditional wedding insurance, Alpen’s plan at Commercial Direct,  covers multiple events over a 90 day period.   This is great, because for a small price you can cover all your events leading up to the wedding.

We asked Alpen some questions to give you more insight into Wedding Insurance.  See his responses below:

Q1 – What is wedding insurance and why should a couple planning an Asian Wedding get it? 

Wedding Insurance provides financial protection in case things do not go to plan on your big day. This includes cancellation and rearrangement of your wedding due to circumstances beyond your control. This policy will give you peace of mind with regards to loss or damage to ceremonial attire, wedding gifts, rings, cars, photography, failure of suppliers and stationery.  With the average Asian wedding insurance costing in excess of £60,000 we recommend that all couples purchase this policy just in case.  Our Product covers up to 5 events over a 90 day period which you would not get from a traditional wedding insurance policy.

Q2 – How easy is it to sign up and get insured? 

Yes it is very easy.  Brides and Grooms can either email a request for quotation or simply give us a call.  The average response time from Commercial Direct is no longer than 2 hours.

Q3 – How much does it cost to insure your wedding?

Policy prices can vary depending on the extent of cover required, these range from £65 to £300.  This is a one off policy and payment.   If the standard policy is not sufficient we can arrange a bespoke offer, please call to discuss your requirements.

Q4 – In what situations would you be able to claim back on insurance? And how far in advance of the wedding will the bride and grooms insurance be applicable? 

Should a supplier fail, a venue become unusable or a member of your immediate family become serious ill (not pre-existing conditions) you will be able to fall back on this policy to provide you with cover for rearrangement or cancellation.

Q5 – Are there different levels of coverage?  And what will the insurance cover if a wedding was cancelled or rescheduled? 

Yes there are varying levels of coverage for either cancelling or rescheduling a wedding.  The plan that you select will determine how much your insurance policy will pay out in an unforeseen event.

Q6 – What information does the Bride and Grooms need to provide to get insured?

The policy requires only basic information about the couple such as:  Names, Address, Date of Birth, and Contact Details.  We also accept non UK Residents where one of the couple is based in the UK.

Q7 – When is the best time for Brides and Grooms to get insured? i.e. When they begin their wedding planning or, after they have booked their suppliers? 

We always recommend that a couple purchases a policy as soon as they book and pay deposits to any wedding suppliers

Q8 – What does the wedding insurance not cover? 

In relation to illness or death of an immediate family member the policy will not cover pre-existing medical conditions. As with any insurance policy it is the customers duty to take care in choosing a wedding supplier.  Insurers will not provide cover if the couple was aware of any potential problems with a wedding supplier.

Hopefully Alpen has managed to clarify a few things about wedding insurance.  It’s the kind of stuff that is not ultra exciting about your wedding, like buying your wedding outfits or finding your perfect wedding venue but you know what – but you’ll get piece of mind and this can really help reduce stress levels – which is always good when planning your wedding!!

If you are interested in purchasing a wedding insurance plan or would just like some more information, contact Alpen Patel at: asianwedding@commercialdirect.co.uk or via phone at 02086582888.

Buying Beautiful Imitation Jewellery for all your Wedding Events

You have finally bought your wedding outfits and now it’s time to accessorise 🙂  The tradition to buy and wear Gold Jewellery for your wedding has been overpassed by the rising costs of Gold and influx of designers making and selling Imitation Jewellery that looks exactly like high-end Jewellery.  Whilst many can maintain that tradition it really isn’t feasible for everyone.  With wedding costs rising and with the fashion industry designing cheaper alternatives, Imitation Jewellery is a great way to complete your look.Buying Imitation jewellery has some great benefits:

1 – Asian weddings are expensive and buying Imitation jewellery can save you a lot of money when you need to accessorise for multiple events.

2 – Imitation jewellery is very durable as the base metal used is stronger then Gold.   The pieces you can buy should also be looked at as investment which you mix and match for other events many times after your wedding.

Aadheekta By Mudra is a new upcoming designer jewellery company selling Gold plated and Semi-Precious jewellery.  The team at Aadheekta believes that jewellery should enhance your features, just as your Makeup Artist would highlight and contour. Each bride is individual and has different requirements that drives them to design their jewellery freely.  Aadheekta truly feel honoured to be there to celebrate you on your new journey!

I must also mention that Aadheekta does not forget the Groom! Aadheekta are able to design and create custom buttons/ cufflinks for grooms to match the bride’s accessories or some classic strings of pearls to enhance the Grooms outfits!  

We have teamed up with Aadheekta By Mudra to write this blog to help you understand what to look out for when buying Imitation Jewellery.

Imitation Wedding Jewellery 

For those of you who are not experts Imitation Jewellery, below explains some of key words you may hear when looking for your jewellery set.

Kundan & Polki

Kundan and Polki jewellery were wore by the kings and queens in India going back a 1000 years during the time of the Mughal era.  Most commonly from Rajasthan and Gujarat, Kundan and Polki is style of jewellery where precious stones like diamonds, rubies and emeralds are set in the gold.  With intricate designs, Kundan and Polki produces the most beautiful and elegant jewellery.  These days, many jewellers create this style by using gold plated or imitation gold with semi-precious stones.  So you can get the royalty look at the fraction of the price.  

Semi-Precious Stones

When searching for jewellery you may come across the term Semi-Precious Stones.  Now don’t let this put you off as research shows that there is no difference between a precious and a semi-precious stone.  These two terms were introduced in the western market purely to drive sales.  Precious stones include Diamonds, Ruby’s, Sapphire and Emerald and the remaining gems fall under Semi-Precious.   Just like buying a Diamond, the prices of the other stones will be determined by the quality, cut and size.  Imitation Jewellery will most likely have a less expensive gemstones but will still give the look of an expensive stone.

Gold Plated

Gold Plated Jewellery is created using an electric-chemical process.   This process adds a layer of gold on top of a base metal like copper or brass.   Gold plated jewellery looks authentic and will make your piece look high end but will cost significantly less than buying Jewellery made of pure gold. 

Custom Jewellery Design

Companies like ‘Aadheekta By Mudra’ offer custom wedding jewellery for you to have jewellery made to go with your wedding dress. Each of their pieces are handmade with great deal of attention and precision, using the best artisans. For more information on custom designed jewellery – get in touch via aadheektabymudra@outlook.com.  

Buying Good Quality

When looking for quality, buying gold plated or silver based jewellery will have longer longevity. Also, semi-precious stones, synthetic gemstones or Polki stones look much more realistic than low quality crystals.  Sometimes quality of what you are buying relies on what the budget is, we advise our clients to think long term. Investing in good quality is much more important than anything else. Invest in classic styles rather than rushing to buy something that’s trending. Jewellery is meant to make you feel beautiful, pick pieces which will give you maximum wear.

Aadheekta By Mudra believe in owning a collection of pieces which can easily be worked together, whether it be layering longer necklaces with chokers or owning a good pair of Bangles which can be paired up with most of your collection. Why buy your bridal jewellery just to wear it for a few hours on your big day? Why can you not look as beautiful by matching pieces from your wedding events for the upcoming wedding of your bestie?

Average Cost

The prices of Imitation Jewellery vary, sometimes a set of earrings can be more expensive than buying Necklace and Earrings Set. There are many reasons for this, the most important is the Craftsmanship. Some pieces come with very intricate details and therefore can be a bit more on the pricier side. 

The current collection at Aadheekta By Mudra start from £25. Most of the pieces from their collection have been worked on by a numerous Artisans to ensure that each piece is made with the highest quality at each step.  Something I really like about Aadheekta is that they also provide a bespoke service.  They are able to work within your budget to create you a beautiful piece of jewellery that will not only be unique but will match your outfit to give you that sparkle! 

Taking care of Imitation Jewellery

There are two important ways to look after your collection. We recommend keeping imitation jewellery wrapped in a soft tissue and in an individual mini zip lock bags, as weird as it sounds! Especially away from those VELVET lined boxes, which more times than not have been dyed with colours which can easily stain your pieces. Always use a box which ensures that your pieces will lay flat once wrapped and store delicate items separately in an individual boxes. Most importantly, ensure you put perfume and makeup before wearing your pieces, needless to say – Perfumes have alcohol which can cause decolourisation. 

If you are looking for Imitation Jewellery for your upcoming wedding visit Adheekta By Mudra’s profile page at https://www.facebook.com/AadheektaByM/ or @AadheektaByM for more information!  

All images in this post are from the Adheekta By Mudra Collection.

The Right and Wrong way to start your Wedding Planning

The best way to start your wedding planning is by creating a Budget Tracker.  Plan & Wed offers you a free budgeting tool so head over and create an account for your wedding.   You dont want to jump into booking a venue without really knowing how much you can spend on hiring the venue.   Continuing in this manner can really take you down the path of overspending in the thousand of pounds.  Many people don’t realise how much a clearly budgeted wedding can really save you.   There are so many services to hire or items to buy for a wedding so even the smaller overspends can really add up.

Wedding Planning Application

But what are the benefits to budgeting at the start of wedding planning?

  • Budgeting will help you to see upfront what you can do within your budget
  • When shopping for gifts, dresses and wedding services, knowing how much you can spend will narrow your search and direct you the right suppliers within your price range.  You really don’t want to be looking at a dress that is £2000 if your budget is £1000.  This will save you time and effort – which is totally needed when planning a wedding
  • If you have all of your costs identified beforehand you can avoid spending more then your overall budget.
  • Having everything listed and budgeted will take away the stress and feeling that you may be missing something.

As soon as you know you will be getting married the first thing you want to do (after celebrating of course!) is to get both sets of parents together and decide which events you will be having, who will be paying for what and of course what the overall budget it.  Now this is sensitive topic between two sets of parents who probably don’t know each other well – so this blog on Discussing Wedding Finances to see how best to approach this sensitive topic.

Once you know your entire budget you want to divide that budget between the number of events you are going to have.   Our advice is to take your budget, and split it 70% for the wedding & Reception and 30% for all other events.  so if you have a budget of 100K for 5 events Sangeet, Vidhi, Mendhi, Wedding & reception, 70K will be go towards the wedding & reception and 30K should go towards the other events – and you can divide this 30K according to how large or small you want event to be.  For example 10K Sangeet, 15K Mehndi, 5K Vidhi.

These are just guidelines and of course you can adjust them according to you and your families requirements.  The above percentages are defined on you having most of your wedding budget being spent on the wedding  and reception.

After you have determined the budget for each event, take 10% out of that budget for contingencies – back up funds for in case you overspend – which is very likely 🙂 So for example from the 70K budgeted for the wedding and reception take out 7K for contingency which will leave you 63K as your wedding and reception budget.  If you don’t spend your continegies – just remember that is more money towards your honeymoon 🙂

Now that you have all your overall budgets in place for each event, what I’m going to tell you to do next is time consuming but will save you soooooo much time and stress during the rest of your wedding planning!

Log into the Plan & Wed Budget Tracker and begin to make a list of everything that you need to either book or buy for each of your events.  As an example here is a list I have creates for a Mehndi night:

  • Venue / Marquee
  • Venue / Marquee Decor
  • Venue / Marquee Lighting
  • Music
  • Dinner – Starters, Main Course, Dessert
  • Drinks
  • Cutlery
  • Mehndi Artists for guests
  • Bridal Mehndi Artist
  • Mehndi Dress
  • Jewellery
  • Hair & Make Up
  • Mum’s & Siblings hair and makeup & Jewelry
  • Mum’s, dads and siblings outfits
  • Favours
  • Entertainment – I.e Dancers, Musicians etc

Once you have listed everything in the Plan & Wed Budget Tracker, research suppliers and approximate costs and start adding a budget cost next to each item.  Make sure the total doesn’t exceed your overall budget that you have allocated for the event.  Some  costs will be variable depending on how many guests you have.  I.e. Catering, Favours – so the more guests you have the lower the cost per person.

Wedding Budget Tracker Planner London UKThere are also some costs that can’t be allocated to a specific event and so these costs should come under your wedding budget.  This will include costs like Flights to India for you and your family if you go to India for wedding shopping or your Invitations that will encompass invites for all your events.

Once you have all your budgets in place then you can move on to the fun part – Shopping!!! As you buy things or book services, make sure you update the tracker with the deposits you have paid.  Also add to the Plan & Wed To Do List when the remaining payments to your wedding suppliers need to be made.

To avoid a huge overspend be diligent in tracking your costs.   Without this in place you could quite easily spend tens of thousands more then what you plan too.  We really hope this blog helps you get your wedding planning kicked off the right way!!

Plan & Wed will soon be providing a free document on how to find and book your wedding venue in two weekends – Watch this Space!

Why a Mini-Moon may lead to a better Honeymoon

 

A lot of you may be planning for a honeymoon straight after your wedding but we wanted to throw a spanner into the works and perhaps give you another option, which may even work better for you in the long run – a mini-moon!  Honeymoon Vendors London UKFor those of you who may not know a mini-moon is a small honeymoon (3-6 nights…ish), which you go on straight after your wedding.  Later on in the year you would then go on your longer actual honeymoon.  Now I can hear the question you may be asking…how can this possibly be a better idea than just going on your honeymoon straight away?! Well here are 5 reasons why:

Cost

You have just had an astronomical wedding, invoices and bills falling out of your ears and then you go on honeymoon to a lush distant land but when you get there you either don’t have any money to spend or simply feel guilty! By going somewhere more local for a few days, you will certainly save money and have enough time to rest after your wedding festivities.  If you were living at home prior to your wedding and then move out after remember cost of living will also go up and so this may be a way of curbing your expenditure immediately after your wedding!

Time off

Having taken 2-3 weeks off for your wedding preparations, wedding and associated events and then having ANOTHER 2-3 weeks off for your honeymoon you could end up using all of your annual leave in one go. This means no more time off for the rest of the year – this is far from ideal in the first year of married life!! By having just a short trip – you will retain some days off for later in the year!

Better honeymoon

If you are getting married at a peak time (e.g. U.K. summer – July and August) and then going on honeymoon straight after you will be paying high, peak time, prices. One of the great perks about being just-married (assuming you have no kids) is that you can go on holiday outside peak times so that you can get great deals and avoid screaming children!  So you could probably go on your mini-moon and honeymoon, doing it this way, cheaper than doing your honeymoon at peak time!

Better weather (potentially)

If you are getting married in U.K. summer a lot of long haul honeymoon destinations have not so great weather at this time (e.g. Maldives and far-east Asia (rainy season), Aus/NZ (winter)) but the short haul ones do (e.g. Europe)!! So it may be worth considering mini-moon in Europe somewhere and then the honeymoon later in the year further afield

More time to plan

The last thing I wanted to mention is whilst planning your wedding, there is limited time to dedicate to planning your honeymoon. This means you may not have time to explore various different options, you may have to make more rash decisions, spend less time shopping around and ultimately may not get the best honeymoon experience or deal!  After your wedding, you can sit down as a couple, and carefully plan out a trip of a lifetime without knowing that time you spend doing this is eating away at time you may need to plan your wedding!!

Looking for Mini-Moon or Honeymoon packages visit the Plan & Wed Directory for companies that can help you plan that amazing trip!

Ways to Save on Your Wedding Costs

If you are on tight budget for your wedding or wish to not spend all your savings on one day 🙂  So read below on how you can save wedding costs and still have a great day without losing that touch of glam.  

Asian Wedding can be very expensive but at the same time there are plenty of ways to save your money.  Budgeting well is very important so keep on top of that.   But in addition to budgeting  this blog highlights some tips on how and where you can save on wedding costs and still have an amazing day!

InvitationsAsian Wedding Invitations and Stationary London UK

The invitation that your guests receive will be the first glimpse of celebration that is yet to come for your wedding.  Although this is the case it will be one of several pieces of stationary that wont stay around for very long… unless your guests are hoarders!!  Lets be realistic here.  How many invitations have you kept over the years.  This is one area I strongly advise not to splurge.  If you do have the desire to buy an exclusive designer invitation perhaps you can buy a few for your close family however for the rest of your guests, perhaps opt for a more simple invitation.

If you are going to be sending invitation via post you may want to get familiar with the Royal Mail Sizing & Pricing Chart.   The larger your invitation by length, depth and weight the more it is going to cost you more to send invitations to your guests.  Keeping to the Letter Size parameters you will save a lot of money especially when you are posting hundreds.  Also send your invited a few weeks early and take advantage of cost savings using second class stamps.

If you want to spend next to nothing on your invites, send e-invites to your guests!  Here are some companies that offer this service:

Greenvelope

Paperless Post

Indian Wedding Card

Flowers

Fresh flowers are beautiful!!  Flowers just make any space look more elegant and during your wedding you may wish to have lots around you! Just remember flowers for weddings are EXPENSIVE! This is one sure way you can save on costs!

Make sure you select a Mandap that doesn’t require flowers on the top! This can save you an additional £600 or so.  There are so many Mandaps with beautiful engraved structures that do not require flowers.

If you would like to use flowers in your decoration, choose more greenery and select flowers that are in season to lower the costs of arrangements.

One look

Go for one look throughout your wedding and reception.  By only having one look you will save a lot.  You will save on the extra cost for hiring a hair & make up artist for your second look, a second expensive dress, jewellery, shoes etc.  This approach can save you approx £2000.   You could make a subtle less expensing change between your wedding and ceremony i.e keep you hair up for the wedding and have it down for the reception.   My friend wore a traditional chanya choli for her wedding and for the evening she removed her chundhri and changed her top and dropped her hair from an up do, to loose and flowey.  It’s was enough to make the look different for the evening and saved money on a brand new dress and accessories!

Reception Decor

Table settings for a reception can really add up! If you have 300 guests at your reception and 10 guests per table, that is 30 tables that you need to decorate.  Table decor does give a great first impression when you walk into the a venue for a fun reception evening, however it is one of things that your guests will also forget very quickly.  Remember most guests will be busy chatting with family friends, watching entertainment on stage and up dancing away on the dance floor.   So this is another place you can save a lot on wedding expenses.  Make the Name Cards, Table Name Cards and Seating Chart your self.  Companies charge a lot of money to do something that you could do very quickly yourself.    I designed my seating chart and got it printed at staples for £25.  It looked sophisticated and did the job!

If you are looking to spend less on table centerpieces avoid fresh flowers or go for a small and simple fresh flower arrangement.  As I mentioned above flowers can increase your costs.  Instead go for a setting that incorporates candles & jewel pieces.

Guests

This is a sensitive topic when planning an indian wedding, but let me be frank.  The more guests you invite, the more the catering, venue and decor costs will be.  To keep costs down and with the exception of your close family and friends, invite different guests to the wedding and reception.  That way you do not have to hire the biggest venue around but everyone on your guest list feels part of the wedding.

Off Season

Get married off season when venue prices, catering costs etc are not at its peak.  Most UK couples want to get married during the summers season June, July and August.  Suppliers raise there prices during this time.  To save money on your overall wedding expenses, get married in May or October.  There may be more chance of rain but unless you are planning an outdoor wedding, remember you will be mostly indoors.

Prosecco v ChampagneWedding Bar Services London UK

Champagne is the sign of a happy celebration, however selecting a good quality champagne for hundreds of people can really make a dent in your  bank balance.   Going for a cheaper champagne is an option – but cheap champagne is really not that great!  In the place of Champagne go for prosecco – It is lighter, sweeter and has all the bubbles you are looking for in champagne 🙂  And more importantly cheaper then champagne!

Wedding Cake

Grand Wedding Cakes can costs almost £1000.   If you are looking for a grand wedding cake but have a small budget, you can ask your baker to make two real layers of cake (the one you are going to cut into) and the rest can be fake.  This will save you can have your big beautiful tiered cake but for half the price.   For my wedding, I had cupcakes as wedding favours.  I noticed at weddings I had been to, that many guests didnt eat the dessert because they were on the dance floor and having drinks.  So giving everyone a cupcake already packaged to take away worked well – and I didn’t  have to buy wedding reception favours either 😉

Top Tips to have a Quiet Indian Wedding Ceremony

It goes without saying that your wedding day is one of the biggest days of your life.  You have invited lots people that are close you to be there to share this momentous occasion.  You want them to enjoy the day and take home lots of great memories.  One of the things you need to decide on is whether you want a silent wedding or if people are able to talk whilst the wedding is going on.  Historically “noisy” weddings were common but there has since been a shift in mindset and it seems more appropriate and respectful for there to be silence during the ceremony. With a room full of predominantly Indian people who have not seen each other for months or even years, it is clearly going to be more challenging to create a quiet atmosphere over a noisy one.  So one strategy is to tell the Maharaj to make an announcement to the guests that a silent wedding has been requested.  Now this could end up like being back at school – as the noise rises the Maharaj has a mini rant and every one becomes quite.  A couple of minutes late, a few uncles at the back start making some noise and then the volume goes back up again as everyone else thinks it is alright to talk and this cycle repeats itself until the end of the ceremony.  Well at the end of the day people are people and if they have travelled 2 hours to be there on a Saturday and are not engaged in the ceremony – they are going to talk!  To be honest we have all been there and seen this happen!!

So we have put together 5 tips to help you avoid this from happening and to create a peaceful ceremony, which engages with your guests!

Tip 1: All Guests should be able to see the Mandap

Make sure people can see the Mandap and what is happening inside – to do this you need to have the Mandap on a raised platform so people at the back can see. Ideally the more rows you have, the higher the mandap should be raised!  Also if your venue can accommodate theatre styling, more people will be able to see than if a conventional layout is used.

Tip 2: Choose a Maharaj who can communicate well

Choose a Maharaj who can also speak English and explain what is going on during the ceremony. If he explains the rituals and why they are being done – this is a sure fire way to grabs peoples attention and make them genuinely interested on what is happening.  If he can add a little bit of humour you are onto a winner!

Tip 3: Have a Wedding Ceremony Program

Make sure you have a little leaflet on every seat, which outlines to each guest what rituals are being performed and the meaning behind it. This mean that along with hearing what the Maharaj has got to say, the guests can visually follow what is happening!

Tip 4: Make the environment comfortable

The worst thing is if it is too hot, there is no water and the seats are crammed together – and then after all this the Maharaj announces the ceremony is going to be 3 hours long – worse than sitting on a flight with Ryanair! So make sure there is a bottle of water for everyone, the temperature is controlled, there is sufficient space for seating and the ceremony is not overlong!!

Tip 5: Play some Background Music

There are many Musicians & DJs and that coordinate themselves with the Maharaj to play certain music at certain parts of the ceremony. This creates a lovely atmosphere and dramatic effect in some instances which will keep your guests well engaged in the wedding ceremony.

Tip 6: Hiring a Toastmaster

Hiring a Toastmaster for your wedding is a great way to make sure your wedding day flows very well when there are a hundreds guests.  The Toastmaster can explain each step of the ceremony if you wish to let the Maharaj focus on the ceremony.  The Toastmaster will announce that the Bride & Groom would like a quiet wedding and will ensure guests remain quiet during the ceremony too.

 

The Wedding Photo List

The “formal” photos of the Bride and Groom’s family and friends normally happens after the wedding ceremony is over.  A prepared Photo List is so important to have during this time.  Typically this is a period of chaos where people do not know if they are going to be in a picture or whether they should wait for their photo or just go for lunch whilst they are waiting, photos are being taken and a key person is missing and the list goes on!  This period is really important because if you are planning on having a reception on the same day, time is of upmost importance.  You, as the Bride and Groom, will not only need to be in all of the photos, you will need to eat lunch, have pictures taken around the venue and then get ready for the evening’s festivities!  So if the photos are organised well, you will save time and the whole transition from your wedding to the reception will be more efficient and most importantly….less stressful!!!

So we have put together some suggestions to help you with planning how to organise these photos:

1. The Photo ListThe first thing to decide on is who you want to have in these photos. Trying not to offend anyone is fairly important i.e. you don’t want the classic comment “if they are in the picture, then how come I’m not!” #awkward!

2. Organising groups for Photos

Once you have decided on who you want in the photos – you need to decide who to group them with. When it comes to close family some couples like to have every combination of people possible e.g.

  • Brides parents
  • Grooms parents
  • Brides grandparents
  • Grooms grandparents,
  • Brides parents and grandparents together
  • Grooms parents and grandparents together
  • Bride and Grooms parents together
  • Bride and Grooms grandparents together
  • Bride and Grooms parents and grandparents altogether

If you wanted to this could have all be done in one picture with Bride and Grooms parents and grandparents altogether (saving almost half an hour!)  Don’t forget you have uncles, cousins, friends etc. and so this could end up being a very long process for pictures that you may not spend as much time looking at relative to other pictures of your wedding and reception day!

TIP: Plan for each picture to take 4 minutes (after the picture is taken with a particular group there is the customary hugs and handshakes from these guests – it all takes time!!)

3. Letting your guests knowMake sure you assign responsibility to your guests. Once you have drawn up you photo list – assign one person in each photo to be in charge of letting the guests know that they are in that photo and getting them together at the right time! Tell them well in advance of the wedding day.  They will feel boosted to have a responsibility at the wedding – and they will be grateful for this!  Make sure the toastmaster or person calling out the photos that are being taken know the guest that is in charge of each if the photos – basically so that there is a simple chain of command!  By doing it this way everything should run smoothly!

4. Staggering Photos and with Lunch

If you have a relatively small number of seats for lunch and so need to stagger when guests go to lunch, using this time when the photos are being take can be really useful! Guests that are not in the photos or in the last few can go for lunch 1st and the others can eat lunch after!

If you are looking for photographer check out the Plan & Wed Photographer Directory!

Dear Groom, Top 5 Tips to help plan your wedding!

Dear Brides, Last month we went to an Asian Wedding Show and spoke to lots of couples about how their wedding planning was going. Amongst other things we wanted to find out who had taken the lead in the wedding planning and also how the wedding planning was shared amongst the Bride and the Groom.

Not surprisingly, for most couples the Brides had taken the lead!  Us girls have been thinking about our wedding day for years and so we know exactly how we want to it be!   That said we were fortunate to meet some couples where the Groom was leading the way or taking on 50% of the responsibility and this was really nice to see!

For the Grooms that were not very involved in the wedding planning, we found that most of them were actually quite keen to help but simply didn’t know how or where to get involved.  They found the whole planning process overwhelming and so just defaulted to not helping at all!  With a little a bit of hand holding and guidance they were willing to help out and this was the inspiration behind this blog 🙂

Without going to the extent of BBC’s ‘Don’t Tell the Bride’ and getting the Groom to plan the whole wedding, we wanted to give the Groom some tips on how to support you during this time of planning, planning and more planning!  So if you would like your fiancé to be more involved in your wedding planning journey, Share this Blog with him 🙂

Dear Grooms, 

You may have just spent quite a bit of time planning and executing the perfect proposal, your girlfriend (now fiancé) is over the moon and the happiest you have ever seen her and so now you think its time to have a break….but in reality once the proposal is over it is all go, go, go with the wedding planning.  To start with you probably have this feeling of “Where do I start?” and so you just leave it to your fiancé to get on with things. But to be honest that feeling of not knowing what to do next is most probably what your fiancé is going through too!  I’m not going sit here and tell you that wedding planning is easy because it really isn’t but there are a few things that you can do to make your fiancé’s life easier. So for those Grooms who want to help out and be hands on with the wedding planning, here are our Top 5 tips on how you can support your wife-to-be during this time!

Tip 1:  Communication

All men need to know that the daughter-in-law and mother-in-law relationship can be a sensitive one! So whilst your fiancé is busy planning, coordinating and booking things for wedding make sure your parents are completely up to date with what is going on!  Your fiancé will be with her family most of the time and so they will naturally get the updates and feel more involved, however, in a lot of cases the mother-in-law can sometimes feel left out because she is not receiving the same level of communication at no fault of the bride.  So before any feelings get hurt, take the lead to communicate well with your parents and siblings on how the planning is progressing and workout with your fiancé the different ways you can get your parents more involved too 🙂

Tip 2: Your Guest List Wedding Guest Management Guest List RSVP

When the wedding planning kicks off, set some time aside with your parents to start building out a guest list using the Plan & Wed Guest List Tool.  It will take some time before nailing this down so it always better to get the ball rolling from the beginning.   Also this will help you and your fiancé understand better the size of venue required for the wedding, which is mostly likely going to be the first thing you book!

If you are trying to reduce your numbers – I found this diagram that may help 🙂

Tip 3:  Take on the following things research and bookWedding Groom Fashion Indian Wedding London UKLike I mentioned above, your fiancé is probably feeling as overwhelmed as you are and so have a chat with her and make a list of some of the items that perhaps you can look into.  Having this open conversation with your fiancé will take some weight off her shoulders as there will be less for her to worry about and also provide her more time to focus on other aspects of the wedding.  Here are a few suggestions of the things that you could potentially help with:

  • Hire your transports (car, horse etc) that will take you to the wedding venue
  • Hire your transport for you and your bride after the wedding
  • Take lead on catering.  Shortlist caterers, booking tastings for your family and your fiancé’s family to attend
  • Hire Dhol Players
  • Shortlist and book Photographers & Videographers
  • Hire DJ & Entertainment if you are having a reception
  • Once your fiancé has determined which dress she will be wearing, ask her for pictures and begin to look for sherwani’s
  • Decide who your Groomsmen will be and what their role will be during the wedding

As you research prices and shortlist suppliers be sure keep your fiancé up to date 🙂  You’re both in this together!

The Plan & Wed Supplier Directory can provide you a great starting point to find your wedding suppliers

Tip 4: Budgeting

 

Helping your fiancé stay on budget will be the biggest thing you could possibly help her with!  When you go through the process of wedding planning, you both will face many ideas and inspiration out there that can make yours dream wedding.  During this time it will be very easy to overspend and so by using the Plan & Wed Budget Tracker you can set out a budget that both of you can work to.   Throughout your wedding planning days continue to update the tracker with all your expenses to make sure you stay within budget!

Tip 5: Book the honeymoonWhilst your fiancé will be looking into her dream venue and wedding dress, perhaps your can take some time into looking at possible honeymoon destinations.   Have a few light hearted conversations with your fiancé to see if there are any areas that she would like to go.  Then you can set a budget and contact some Travel Companies or research online.  Here are some links to get you started:

http://www.honeymoondreams.co.uk/

https://www.mrandmrssmith.com/

https://www.turquoiseholidays.co.uk/honeymoon

https://www.blacktomato.com/experience-types/luxury-honeymoons/

We hope the tips above help you and we wish you all the best with your wedding planning 🙂

The Engagement Ring

For most guys, the engagement ring is something that will boggle your mind.  Not because you don’t understand the meaning of it or what it symbolizes, but simply because you can’t quite quantify in your head how something so small can cost so much money.  With that sort of money you can buy a car, help with your house deposit, go on a couple of holidays and the list goes on….but a word of advice…this is certainly something you should not try to rationalize with your other half.  You need to start appreciating that this is something that your girlfriend has been dreaming about for a lot of her life!

Indian Wedding Rings London UK

When I was about to buy a ring for my girlfriend (now my wife!), I did a crazy amount of research because I did not want to mess up this buy.  So I have collated a list that you should use as a basis before making one of the biggest purchases of your life:

1 – The Budget

You need to set yourself a budget.  Now there is this saying that says your budget should be the same as your gross income for 3 months.  In my opinion the guy who wrote this was definitely not planning an Asian wedding.  This would be a huge amount of money to fork out when you are about to start your life with someone where there is going to be so many imminent expenditures.  Remember you can always buy a bigger diamond in the future if you have the money, but this concept does not work the other way around!  I would say 1-1.5 month net income max.

2. Getting you moneys worth!

Being a classic Asian I could probably write a thesis on this after all of the research I did into this but I will condense it down for you.  On the whole the majority of engagement ring cost will be on the diamond and not so much the band/ring it sits on.  The majority of the value of the diamond is based upon “The 4 C’s”.  These are Colour, Clarity, Cut, Carat (another word for size).  The table below shows the spectrum in which these fall.

Now the amazing thing is you might have two diamonds with exactly the same features but each costs a different amount.  Here are some things you need to look into if you want to save some money:

Certification – When a diamond is produced someone needs to assign its Colour, Clarity, Cut and Carat. This is done by a Gemologist.  There are many companies around the world that employ gemologists e.g. GIA (Gemological Institute of America), EGL (European Gemological Laboratory) etc.  It is interesting that if the diamond has been assessed by GIA it will be more expensive than EGL for exactly the same features.

The Name Can Cost – If you buy an engagement ring from Hatton Garden, the diamond may be the same as buying from a local jeweller but will cost you a lot more for the fact that you bought it from Hatton Garden – determine the exact characteristics and certification of the stone you want and then buy from the place which sells this the cheapest. Look at websites like bluenile.com, which will give you an indication of what you can afford on your budget.

Negotiate – Buying a ring is not like going to Tesco’s and buying a loaf of bread – there is not a fixed cost and there is an expectation from the jeweller that there will be some movement on the price.  I say this but if you go to a place like Tiffany’s there may not be but for any independent jewelers – take your negotiation skills!

3 – The Element of Surprise

Some girls want to go with their partner to “help” them select an engagement ring and others want it to be a surprise. If you fall into the latter category make sure you have a good idea about what you partner is looking for or would like in terms of design.  Think about the following:

a. The cut of the diamond (i.e. the shape) – will she like a square type (princess cut) or round type (brilliant cut) or another shape?

b. Would she like a classic style ring or vintage, modern etc.

c. Would she like yellow or white gold or platinum?

4.  Your Partners Ring Size

Know the size of your partners finger – the jeweller cannot the make ring ring without this vital bit of info! Best way is to try and take one of her existing rings.  If her siblings or parents know you are planning to propose – get them to get hold of one!

5 – Insurance!

Last bit of advice before we finish – don’t forget to insure the ring immediately – being so small it is not the most difficult thing to lose!!

If you are looking for a Ring, browse our directory to find your partner the perfect ring! Find Wedding Rings

Wedding Favours – With a Humbling Twist

Planning your wedding is a massive task and so when it comes to providing the obligatory wedding favours for your reception it can be a quick decision without much thought – if it is a quick thought it is usually some form of chocolate in a box!  But when you think about it, there are a few hundred people at the reception and the favours will typically cost £1-£2.  So lets say you have 300 people at the reception and the favours cost £1.50 – that’s £450!!  Now, that’s not a lot of money when compared to the cost of the whole reception (which can be 10s of 1000s!) but when you think about it, for something most people kind of look at, make a quick comment about and then never think about ever again – that’s a lot of money!  So if you don’t have a unique, quality favour it is worth spending the money in a useful way – anyone can munch some chocolates whenever they want and when you have a full on 3 course Indian meal with wedding cake, most people don’t even eat the chocolates – in fact for most guys they just end up in your pocket and the dry cleaner gets annoyed when you forget to take them out!I went to a wedding reception recently, which had such a great idea for a favour.  When I sat at the table there was smart looking envelope in front of me.  I opened it and inside was small card saying something along the lines of “In lieu of the traditional favours a donation has been made on your behalf to Cancer Research UK to celebrate today’s wedding”.  I thought this was amazing!We all spend a lot of money on our weddings and that is a testament to hard work and sensible saving plans!  But the thing is – in the grand scheme of the world we are amazingly fortunate to have events like this – where we can easily spend a few hundred pounds on favours without much thought.  We were sitting there eating and drinking in a lavish venue and I thought this was a lovely favour and the charitable nature just made the whole event more humbling – a thought had gone out to other people, who may be struggling in life.   This was a favour I have not forgotten, like I have done for many others.Now you might be thinking – what favours did I have at my wedding….well yes – they were chocolates in a box!  In retrospect I wish had a favour with a charitable nature but the thought just did not cross my mind in the manic of planning a wedding – so I just wanted to throw this idea out there, so unlike me – it does enter your mind so you can at least consider it if you haven’t found a brilliant favour you really want or are about to select one for the sake of it!

Visit the Cancer Research Wedding Favours page for more information: Cancer Research Wedding Favours

 

How to Schedule your Indian Wedding Day

So you just got engaged and now you want to begin planning that almighty Big Indian Wedding!!   What is the first things you want to do?  Book a Venue, Book your Maharaj,  Book catering?

 All of the above are great places to start, however, something that will make searching and booking suppliers much easier is by taking a step back and thinking about how you want your day to flow and how you want your guests to enjoy the wedding.  Wedding Events London UKThis blog post will help you determine the schedule of your day and below I have attached a PDF with different wedding schedules for you to look over.    Most Brides and Grooms follow the traditional format for the day: Wedding in the morning followed by lunch and then a few hours break and then reception in the evening.   Everyone in the Indian Community is familiar with this and you can invite different people to each event! However, if you are a bride who wants something different for the wedding then this is the time to think about it.  

Let me give you an example.  When I got married, I didn’t want to go down that traditional route.  I had been to many weddings where I had to sit around for two-three hours between the wedding and reception because the venue is too far from home and since I had not planned to staying overnight, I had no room to go to.    So in the end I chose to change the order up a little bit!  I had Brunch first, then the Wedding, then Drinks and Canapés and finally a three course plated dinner.   It was a full day event but everyone was able to relax and and have fun catching up with friends and family and even better no changing of clothes or hanging around for the next event to begin!

Although my advice is to avoid trying to cram in too much on your wedding day, sometimes circumstances are such and some couples even need to schedule their registry on the same day as the wedding and reception!  I have included a schedule for this, but remember if you decide to go down this route, the Bride will need to get ready extremely early (most likely the very early hours of the morning) in order to accommodate a day with all these events.  In these cases it may be worth having a quick registry after your indian wedding ceremony that may save you some time.

So take some time out and have a good look at the template schedules we have created for you.  Remember these are only templates to provide you a guideline! Use these and tailor them to how you want your day to be and share the schedule you like with your venue and other wedding suppliers. Throughout your planning process the times may change here or there but at least you have a good base to grow on!

As mentioned previously, before you start booking suppliers, have a think about how you want your wedding to be! Try and do something slightly different to make your guests enjoy a day they will never forget!

Download free wedding schedule templates: Wedding Day Schedules

Plan & Wed will soon be launching the wedding schedule tool to help brides to prepare a detailed schedule for their big day! Watch this space 🙂

The Jaan’s Arrival

Colourful, fun & noisy.  These would be the words that an onlooker would use to describe a Jaan’s arrival to a wedding.  For me it’s the best bit of the wedding.  It marks the beginning of the wedding festivities and sets the tone for the rest of the wedding day!For those that don’t know, the Jaan consists of all the groom’s guests and in true Indian style the Jaan will only arrive in a loud colourful procession to meet the brides side of the family.  It’s a heap of fun and a nice bit of cardio before a few hours of sitting which is then followed by, let’s face it, an oil ladened lunch!!I think the Dhol players and their enthusiasm have a massive part to play in getting the crowd going.  The general consensus amongst friends is that I have two left feet and so I usually need a couple of drinks before I can get myself onto the dance floor…..but a good dhol player and group of family and friends charged up to have a great time is enough get you up and dancing!At my wedding I was sitting on a horse and the baraat (the procession to the venue) was happening in front of me.  My best friends were the ones to get things started and get the crowd going.  The dhol players were also good friends of mine and they were simply amazing and full of energy! The Jaan lasted a good 30-40 minutes and I would occasionally attempt some Bhangra by shrugging my shoulders and tightening the light bulb but in reality the main aim was not to fall off the horse!Towards the end I dismounted the horse and got involved in one final crazy fast beat from the dhol players.  It was great! But I tell you one thing – hundreds of Indian people dancing for about 40 minutes – well let’s put it this way….it starts smelling like Mumbai train station! But you know what – it’s totally worth it and definitely worth going all out!  So few bits of advice for the Jaan:

  1. Weather – I was lucky – when I woke up in the morning the heavens had opened (which some say is good luck) but fortunately by the time the Jaan was ready to go to the venue the sun was beaming! But if you are getting married in UK – we all play the weather lottery so either provide or advise guests to bring umbrellas just to be on the safe side!
  1. Make sure you tell everyone when and where the Jaan will meet (you may want to tell everyone 20 minutes earlier to account for the classic Indian timing)
  1. Tell your closest friends and family that it’s their role to get the dancing started and crowd going – I’ve been part of a Jaan where it has literally been a stroll with some music in the background. That no fun!
  1. Make sure your Dhol players are awesome – if you’ve hear good ones at other weddings be sure to take their details.
  1. Whichever mode of transport you use to arrive in, if you want to get involved with the dancing bit at some stage – make sure this is planned with the Dhol players.
  1. Make sure there are towels/tissues and water available for the Jaan. It can be a sweaty and dehydrating process!!

Click on this link if you are looking for Dhol Players for your wedding!

The Food Tasting

You have shortlisted the caterers that you would like for your events and then they start to invite you for food tasting – no doubted this is up there with one of the best things that you have to do for your wedding preparations….especially for foodies like me!   First bit of advice – make sure you wear some clothes with a bit of give…you are going to be fed like you have never been fed before!  It’s not good for the wedding diet but hey…we all deserve a cheat day!

But lets get down to the serious stuff.  If you think about it the food tasting is the one opportunity for the caterer to seal the deal.  This is why they may go all out to try and impress you.  Excuse the pun but this is why you should always take food tasting with a pinch of salt!  Food tasting is normally for a few people but the wedding and reception will be for 100s so it may be difficult to replicate the same quality.

Here are some general tips on how to navigate through your food tasting session and ultimately pick the perfect caterer for your wedding:

1 – Food Options

The best thing about going to a food tasting is that you are able to taste a wide range of food that is offered by the caterer.  Try all the different food available and see what complements each other.  Make notes about your favourite combinations and this will simplify your decision making process.

2 – Presentation

When the caterer presents the food to you, make sure you are happy with how it is being served and the way the food actually looks.  Check and make note of the cleanliness of the area where the food is being served because this give you an idea of the standard that the caterer is working to.  Catering will be one of your biggest expenses along with your venue so make sure you are diligent in checking on all the details.   3 – Your time

Your time should be considered valuable to the caterer because you have selected them out of many other caterers.   It is also one of the most important days of your life so make sure the caterer welcomes you in and gives you a lot of attention.  If the caterer is inattentive now then they are more than likely to continue in the same manner as your wedding planning process continues.

Whilst you are food tasting and making comments, the caterer should be taking notes of your discussion.  If they are not – they will almost certainly forget the.  Make sure they email you the notes they have taken so you can reconfirm that they have captured everything correctly.   On the day of your food tasting there may be other families there.  Make sure there is always one person from the catering company assigned to you to explain to you how the food is made, the ingredients and how it will be presented (plus any questions you may have).  Remember you will be paying a lot of money for wedding caterer and they will need to please a lot of people.Although the food tasting session can not give you a direct indication of what the service is like, if things are poorly organized or the service at the food tasting is below par it may be an indicator of what is to come.

Other ways to find out more about caterers outside of the food tasting include:

1 – Catering at other Weddings

The next time you go to a wedding/reception find out who the caterers are and keep a close eye on the service and quality of food.  This is where you will see first hand what it will be like to be a guest if you were to have these particular caterers.

2 – Recommendations

Ask your friends and relatives who they used for their weddings and grab their feedback regarding quality of service leading up to the event.  For example:

– Did the caterer respond quickly to e-mails/messages

– Were they accommodating/flexible to the Brides & Grooms requirements

– How was their service on the day? were they efficient and well organized

– How was the quality of the food and service served to the guests

As I mentioned above, catering is going to be one of the bigger expenses for your wedding and its also one of the things that will determine how much your guests enjoy the wedding too.  So don’t rush into any decisions and be confident that the supplier will deliver on all your requirements before signing on that dotted line!

Top Tips to be relaxed & ready for all your wedding events

The lead up to your wedding day can be busy and stressful.  Juggling work, planning all of your wedding events, meeting with friend and family etc etc….it can all be overwhelming.  To enjoy all your wedding events you need to be relaxed and stress free and relaxation comes with preparation, so here are few points of advice for brides-to-be on how you and your family can enjoy every moment of your wedding! 1 – Don’t leave any planning to the last minute 

Here at Plan & Wed we are all about wedding planning  – so you know I have to make this the first point!! 🙂 Make sure all of your wedding plans are in place at least one month before your first wedding event.  A month before call all your suppliers and re-confirm your bookings.   It very easy to forget some of the small and more integral aspects of your wedding, so to avoid this, prepare detailed schedules for each of your events and include times for when caterers need to arrive, set up and serve food, the time guests will arrive, when each stage of the ceremony will commence, time of family photos, when décor will be set up and time any entertainment is to begin.  Add in as much detail as you can! Share the schedule with all your suppliers so everyone knows what is happening throughout the day and when.  This will encourage them to stay within their allocated times to keep your day on schedule! 2 – Your Wedding Day Schedule

Try not to pack too much into your wedding day.  Remember it will take a few hours for your MUA to complete your look and get you ready.   The more you pack into your schedule the earlier you will have to wake up to get ready.   A 4am wake up on the biggest day of your life may not be the best way to start….especially if you are not a morning person!!   After spending months and months of planning, the big day can go by fairly quickly, so space out the wedding schedule to give you more time to enjoy your wedding at a slower pace. 

3 – Delegate Delegate & Delegate some more!! 

If your parents and siblings are left to manage a lot of the tasks during your wedding events, there is no way they will be able to play hosts for your guests and really enjoy the specialness of your wedding.  For each event, make a list of all the tasks that need to take place on the day – for example, let caterers know where to set up or tell photographers that they will be paid at the end of the evening.  Begin to assign relatives and close friends to each task to help your family coordinate the day.   It may be difficult to ask your guests to help you, but just remember that’s what family and friends are for and on most occasions they will honoured that you have asked for their help!! 🙂    By doing this, you, your parents and siblings can entertain and spend quality time with the guests so that everyone feels welcome and enjoy the celebrations. 4 – Spa Treatments 

Ok… so this may be an obvious one… but this truly is a way to make sure you begin to relax before your wedding.   We live such stressful lives so why not treat yourself and indulge! Have regular massages and facials to make sure you are truly relaxed and glowing for all your upcoming wedding events 🙂 

5 – Plenty of ZZZZZ’s

Finally (this is an easy one)  Try and get 8 hours of sleep each night in the lead up to your wedding!  This will help you feel great and full of energy to enjoy these special days!

6 – Wedding Outfits

I’m sharing this tip with you because it really made the start of my wedding events carefree!!  2-3 Weeks before your first wedding event get what you will be wearing for each event organised.  Pack a  separate bag for each event (I used the square saree bags) so on the morning of each wedding event  – you just take that bag out and get ready! No need to rush around looking for things at the last minute!   Tell your parents and siblings to do this as well for the easiest, stress free morning!!

Its very easy to get more busy and be more stressed in the lead up to and during your wedding events and so I hope the above pointers put you on the path to calmness! 

The Conservatory at Painshill Park

Well what can I say…this is an absolutely wonderful wedding venue!  When you begin your search for the perfect place to get married you need to fall in love with it but at the same time you need to have your thinking hat on too.  There is no doubting that the Conservatory at the Painshill Park is an absolutely stunning venue…nestled within a walled garden within a picturesque park – a place where you can have a “fairytale” wedding in the heart of Surrey.  The pictures speak for themselves….You can love a venue but ultimately it has to be practical too.  Fortunately for Painshill, it completely ticks this box.   Despite being a countryside venue, it is extremely accessible via the A3 – although this may not seem important it really is when you are trying to get 300+ guests from all around London and UK to a single place, in a timely manner! (Also there are hotels close by if guests are planning to let their hair down and stay the night!).  Parking is plentiful at the venue and there are no noise restrictions for Dhol players to get the Jaan started!  The Bharat can make their way towards the venue along a wide scenic tree lined path and if the Groom wants to be on a horse – not a problem! As mentioned, the Conservatory sits within a walled garden, which provides a private feeling to your event.  The guests can enjoy this outdoor space during the parts when the ceremony is not taking place or if the kids need a little run around!  The Conservatory itself has two large sections – one can be used as a foyer area before the guests move into the second section where they will be seated for the wedding or reception.  This section is a versatile space, which allows you a number of options in the way you would like to place the Mandap, tables and chairs!  It has a starlight ceiling, which provides a magical appearance (and looks great in photos!).On the subject of photos…you will not be disappointed!  Painshill have a small buggy, which you can use to take around the grounds to get some beautiful pictures and videos in your wedding and reception outfits.  After a whole morning sitting in a Mandap, the fresh air will do you a world of good too!!Although Painshill have got affiliated caterers, you do not have to stick with them and you have the option to select your own (as long as they have the necessary safety paper work).  Also, amazingly, there is no corkage fee if you bring your own drinks!  I think that these are two massively important points – and along with the fact that the venue is really reasonably priced, it makes this venue really enticing in regards to value for money or the three favourite words us Indians love – “getting a deal”! Well I hope that this has been a helpful insight for a wonderful venue.  The team at the Conservatory is extremely helpful and will provide a coordinator for your special day if required.

To get more information you can contact the venue directly here > The Conservatory at Painshill Park