Number of Ceremonies
Step 1: Decide number of ceremonies
- First, if you want to avoid the hassles of managing many steps mentioned below, you may explore the services of a marriage planner.
- Most marriages have multiple ceremonies. Decide how many you want to have among roka/sagai/engagement, mehendi/haldi, sangeet, wedding/reception.
- Keep in mind... More the number of ceremonies, higher is the budget/expense.
- Try minimizing the number of ceremonies or combining events as otherwise you will have a scattered guests presence in different events.
Step 2: Decide wedding date
- After finalizing the ceremonies, decide a couple of possible wedding dates giving yourself sufficient time to plan.
- Try scheduling the wedding/reception on a weekend day to minimize traffic commute problems as most guests appreciate that.
Set a Budget
Step 3: Set a budget
- Go through this list and estimate an approximate budget amount that you want to spend and target to stick to the number plus/minus 10%.
- Decide how much are you and your parents going to contribute, who will pay for what and clarify any doubts with your fiance and in-laws.
- Depending upon your marriage theme, chances are that you will go overbudget by about 10 to 20% due to unforeseen expenses.
Number of Guests
Step 4: Decide number of guests
- Finalize the number of guests you want for each ceremony... from both the groom & bride side.
- Remember, guests invited for pre-wedding ceremonies should also be invited for wedding.
- Contacts list: From now on, start maintaining a list of important contact names & phone nos.
- Guests Tracking Spreadsheet: You may create a sheet with the following information: Family Head Name,
- Number of people expected, Email, Mobile Number, Location(In-station/Out-station), Address, Invitation Sent(Yes/No).
Step 5: Decide a wedding theme/venue
- Choose a theme/venue from either of the following 4 options:
a) Temple/Church/Court marriage: Least expensive, private affair with a few family members/friends.
b) Outdoor farmhouse/garden: For this option, ensure wedding date is not in hot summer/rainy seasons.
c) Indoor hotel: Banquet halls in hotels are popular options.
d) Outstation: A resort in another city or country.
- Before finalizing, visit the venue around scheduled marriage time & get a feel of the space, parking facilities.
- Ensure venue is not too distant from city centre or not too far a place where its difficult for most guests to arrive.
- Some people prefer a very private, simple marriage ceremony but follow it up with a grand reception.
- Take the final decision after mutual consultations with your fiancé and parents. Your wedding date should be fixed by now based on venue availability.
- Be very clear about whether the prices quoted cover everything or whether you'll be expected to pay extra for something to avoid arguments later.
Food Menu/ Caterer
Step 6: Decide food menu and caterer
- Decide between vegetarian, eggetarian and non-vegetarian dishes based on your culture and guessing guest preferences.
- Hire a professional caterer or finalize one as part of a bundled package when negotiating for the theme/venue.
- If you decide to serve alcoholic drinks, have backup people to drop some people to their home.
Step 7: Flowers Decoration
- Focus especially on the stage/place where the couple would be seated together and meeting the guests.
- This usually is the maximum photographed and focused area on the wedding/reception day.
- Prefer bright flowers that will come out well in photographs and video shoots.
Step 8: Choose a priest
- Choose your pundit/priest who will perform the marriage ceremony & pronounce the couple as husband & wife.
- Get his confirmation on his availability on marriage date & ensure he brings necessary material that day.
Step 9: Print and Send Invitation cards
- You may create a Facebook page & invite your friends there. Responses will let you know who will come.
- Finalize and get the invitation cards printed. Remember to print about 10% extra cards for unforeseen guests.
- Some cards have at least 1 spelling mistake. Ensure there are none in your card.
- Its always good to have venue map printed on the back of card to ensure guests have no difficulty finding venue.
- Courier the outstation cards about 6 weeks in advance and about 4 weeks before the marriage day within city.
Step 10: Finalize entertainment/DJ
- Finalize your entertainment options among a live DJ, orchestra, band, amateur/professional singers, dancers or a famous personality.
- DJ's- who play your preferred songs- are usually more popular than bands. You may send a song list to the DJ.
- This is key to making your marriage a memorable one, so do explore innovative options.
Photo and Videographer
Step 11: Finalize a photo/video grapher
- Finalize after evaluating their experience at wedding ceremonies and prior work.
- Make sure you set expectation on what the exact deliverables would be with regards to nature of album, CD, quantum of special effects etc.
Step 12: Finalize your wedding dress
- Start early to finalize your wedding dress as you may have to go for multiple trials for a perfect fit.
- You don't have to stick with tradition or spend a fortune on something you'll never use again.
- Ensure matching shoes/socks to go with your chosen attire. Buy your lingerie/undergarments.
Rings/ Jewellery Shopping
Steps 13: Rings/Jewellery Shopping
- Rings/Necklace sets: Order 'certified' jewellery by utilizing the services of a trusted jeweller only.
- Make sure that the jewellery ordered has 'Hallmark' or other relevant certification with it.
Steps 14: Gifts Shopping
- Buy or make gifts for members of the bridal party
- Bride and groom may like to buy a gift to be presented on the wedding night. For unique gift ideas: Click here.
- Its a good idea to shop for gifts to your parents. They will appreciate this gesture even if gifts are inexpensive.
- Gifts Registery: In some countries, gift registery is setup for receiving gifts that couple wants.
Steps 15: Travel and Accommodation Bookings
- Plan your honeymoon location after mutual consultation with your fiance.
- Make air/rail and hotel accomodation bookings for your honeymoon trip. If you decide on international travel, check validity of passports/visas. For Top Asian Holiday Destinations: Click here
- Some of your outstation guests who arrive for the ceremony may need accommodation. Make block hotel bookings close to the venue.
Step 16: Finalize your wedding/reception day transportation
- Decide your mode of transportation on the wedding/reception day.
- You may choose to rent a limousine, use your own/relative's car or as is a popular tradition...a horse.
- You may have to hire a bus for your outstation guests.
Final Important Tasks
Step 17: Final important tasks a week before marriage
- Reserve a time slot for your hair and makeup at your preferred parlour and expert.
- Nails are ignored by many… ensure your nails are trimmed properly.
- Call and re-confirm all bookings. If your guests tally changed, give caterer the final number of guests expected.
- If travelling for honeymoon within a day of your marriage/reception, pack most of your bag.
- Decide the hourly schedule describing the sequence of events on the wedding day.
- Collect rings & wedding dress that was ordered. Order the cake if you have opted to have one.
- Accountability: Ensure accountability for gifts that the couple will get on the marriage day to a trusted relative.
- Wedding night: Ensure the venue/place where the couple will stay together for the first night is well decorated.
- Buy condoms/contraceptives: Have a good read for family planning options by Clicking here.
- You may like to refresh your memory on common sex questions by Clicking here
On Wedding day
Step 18: On Marriage Day
- Don't be tensed, relax and focus on having fun this day… even if few things don't go as planned.
- Have a good nourishing breakfast.
- Don't forget to wear a good smile… it costs nothing and is appreciated by all.
- Pick up garlands, cake(if ordered). Re-confirm arrival times with all vendors/priest.
- Ensure you carry all 'give-away' gifts if you plan to hand them to your guests.
- Bride/groom must ensure they arrive at the venue on time.
After Wedding Day
Step 19: After Marriage Day
- Keep a record of all the gifts received on the wedding day.
- Ensure all vendors are fully paid. You may write/call guests thanking them for their presence.
- Apply for a marriage certificate. For process details: Click here.
- Love your spouse & lead a happy married life. For husband-wife problems & solutions: Click here
Cost Saving Tips
Step 20: Save costs and channelize saved money towards newly wedded couple or humanitarian benefits
- Avoid/Serve limited alcoholic beverages. Or limit the time duration of the bar. Prefer beer/ wine/ champagne.
- Opt for an outdoor day marriage in winters instead of late in the evening as that will bring down lighting costs.
- Negotiate and ask for bundled packages like venue with catering, decoration etc.
- Reduce your guest list and have a close family/private affair.
- For DJ/entertainment, hire a good amateur young group from a local university/college.
- Rent your wedding attire instead of buying a new one which you may no wear again.
- Negotiate 'bulk' bookings for guests accommodation to get discounts.