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.

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 😉

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 🙂

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

 

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 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