CategoryWedding planning

Planning a wedding is not an easy job. Especially when you want to throw a great show and not spend your parent’s lifetime savings on it .The whole experience of a wedding is not only about the final day but also about the whole process, just like a design project. The final day will get over in a blink of an eye but planning it starts months in advance and seeing people enjoy the great show you put up is very satisfying.

But it’s all too common to get so caught up in the makeup, the hair, and the outfits, and then totally forget about the actual experience of the guests! So, Make sure your wedding is a reflection of you!

RVD Wedding video

The long wait has finally come to an end! Just two days before I was going to get the final edited videos of my wedding, the whole country went into a lockdown. All offices were shut, including the video editor’s. Finally, today more than 6 months after our wedding celebrations,RVD wedding videos are finally out!

So here I am presenting to you – The RVD wedding highlight!

For those who are interested in seeing the long detailed version (more than an hour long) capturing almost every important moment – this is for you. 

People who think it is too long, just skip! 

You can read about how R and VD went about planning their wedding here.

You can also check out how to go about your wedding shop here.

Photographer and videographer – Jetaime production house. You can check them out on Facebook and Instagram.

Wedding venue – Basho Bougainvillea, Karjat

How to plan a not-so-big and not-so-fat Indian wedding

Indian weddings are usually a big affair. A series of functions and rituals precede and proceed the wedding ceremony, the preparations for which start months ahead. Do not underestimate the amount of effort and planning that goes in preparing for these wedding events. Especially when you want to throw a great show and not spend your parents’ lifetime savings on it. But it’s all too common to get so caught up in the makeup, the hair, and the outfits, and then totally forget about the actual experience of the guests!

Make sure your wedding is a reflection of you.

“We were the wedding planners for our own wedding – and it was the best decision we made in the whole process!”The whole experience of a wedding is not only about the final day but also about the whole process, just like a design project. The final day will get over in a blink of an eye but planning it starts months in advance and seeing people enjoy the great show you put up is very satisfying. Make it very clear to your families as well that everyone’s thoughts will be taken into consideration but the final decision will be based on what you and your partner like.

Set up a detailed budget

Celebrate this day but spend smartly. Make a detailed budget and set a spending limit for all important line items like food, venue, decor, clothes, gifts, and accommodation. Planning a budget is not about being miserly – a budget helps you prioritise and create a set of clear goals. It serves as a great framework to work within.

A small snapshot from my wedding budgeting spreadsheet which was a document with 15 pages
Decide the number of events

It is good to have all experiences but everything need not be done at a huge scale. Events like the Mehendi and haldi can be done at home itself with close family and friends. I love dancing and I knew that the Sangeet was the most important event for me. So, that was the biggest of all events with the maximum number of guests. The wedding was a smaller affair with a closer group of people.

Avoid a formal reception as far as possible as it is the most tiring event for the bride and groom and the most boring event for friends and family attending. For the most part, it is a complete waste of money.

The right venue is extremely important

This is one of the most important decisions that will define the entire wedding experience for each and every person who attends your wedding. So make this decision carefully based on your goals. Chose your venue and block the dates well in advance. Sometimes the venue might govern the dates as well. We finalized ours almost a year in advance.

Our big picture goals were:

  1. We didn’t want to get married in a banquet hall. Once you enter a banquet hall, they all look the same irrespective of where they are located. We wanted a beautiful venue nestled in nature, surrounded by trees. A location wherein once people enter, they actually feel good, happy and peaceful.
  2. Also, we wanted a venue which didn’t have a monopoly for caterers and decorators as our wedding food was going to be a completely vegan spread which every caterer would not be ready to do. A vendor with a monopoly has no incentive to give fair market value – it makes a big difference when you work with a vendor who is not entitled to the gig by default – both in terms of the commitment and the expense.
Wedding ceremony at Basho Bougainvillea resort, Karjat

Our wedding was in a beautiful resort in Karjat which is at a 2 hour driving distance from Mulund, Mumbai. It often takes longer to travel from Mulund to Borivali – a suburb at the other end of Mumbai! So, do not hesitate to have your wedding at the outskirts of Mumbai thinking that it will be inconvenient for other people. You can arrange some transport if required. In our case, the drive from Mumbai to Karjat was beautiful – a much more soothing experience than being stuck for a similar duration of time in Mumbai city traffic!

Accommodation for people from out station was also provided here but most of the guests were from Mumbai and chose to drive back at the end of a relaxed day at the resort. You can check out their website for more details here.

The venue had a farmhouse within the same property and the main wedding happened in the lawn adjoining the farmhouse with the hill range as the backdrop of the mandap.

Entrance gate to the wedding mandap area
The Wedding mandap, nestled in the hills and filled with peoples love and laughter
Sangeet ceremony at Marathon Futurex, Lower Parel, Mumbai

We chose a beautiful landscaped terrace in the heart of the city of Mumbai to celebrate our Sangeet ceremony. It was as close to nature you can get in the city of Mumbai. The night time view of the Mumbai skyline was the cherry on top.

Main seating area
Performance stage
Boubhat ceremony at Far Pavillions, Tollygunge club, Kolkata

This event was held at a small outdoor venue facing the eighteenth hole of the huge golf course at Tollygunge club, which is built more than a hundred years ago and has many lovely heritage structures spread across its extensive grounds along with a lot of beautiful flora and fauna.

Entrance to the venue
Do not print your wedding invitations

By sending e-invites on Whatsapp you will not only save your printing and couriering cost and headache but also you will save the guests from the burden of what to do with those invites after the events are done. We all know these pretty invites would have ended up in the dustbin eventually!

We designed the Save the Dates and Invitations ourselves. I conceptualized the designs and made the sketches whereas R digitalised all of them to these pretty invitations you see.

The invitations and save the dates were a reflection of the ceremonies and their respective venues.

Lots of dance & music in a landscaped terrace located in the heart of Mumbai with an amazing view of the Mumbai skyline. (I sketched the Mumbai skyline as well)

Also, if you notice our invitations were common for both the sides with just the essential information only – date, time, and venue. We canned all the S/O , D/O, best wishes nonsense which led to a visually pleasing and incredibly simple final invitation.

Finalize the guest list

Only invite people you, your partner and both your parents really care about. Try keeping it as small as you can. Do not think twice before keeping different guest lists for different events if that helps you to reduce the number of people in some events. Take RSVP twice, once after you send out the invitations and a week before the wedding as well. This will help you to give an accurate number to your caterer.

Get quotes from multiple vendors

All vendors will try to exploit the fact that people spend thoughtlessly on weddings. Getting quotes from multiple vendors is extremely important – it helps you gauge the quality of talent out there as well as determine fair value for what you are getting. Our first decorator quoted around Rs 10 lacs for the Sangeet event – that was more than our total budget for that event! We eventually found someone who did it at a higher spec for closer to Rs 1.5 lacs!

Catering and food selection

While deciding the wedding menu make sure you do not over do it – it felt like the biggest priority seems to be how big and lavish the spread looks! Have a good, selective spread that people can cherish – don’t make it a bazaar of overwhelming options. Our biggest challenge was that the catering for all events had to be vegan. It was a big challenge trying to find a caterer to agree to make vegan food. In the end, we found someone who was very flexible and ready to work with us (Imagine cafe) collaboratively. We did numerous trials with the caterer, some where we made him cook using Imagine vegan cheese, vegan mayonnaise and vegan butter before finalizing every dish in the menu.

We used our wedding as an experiment and launched Imagine vegan catering service. Our vegan spread consisted of dishes like cheese Jalapeno poppers, Mexican shots, Pesto salad, unPaneer Kolhapuri, Jalebi, icecreams, pasta, cheese sticks, patishapta, and even Kolkata style keema cutlets with a soy mock meat.

We had an excellent experience with our caterers in Mumbai and Kolkata. Our caterer in Mumbai – Mukesh Bhai Catering – did an incredible job in collaboratively executing the vegan menu! He catered the wedding lunch, a couple of dinners at the Karjat resort, and the Sangeet dinner – there was overwhelming praise for all the spreads – from both the Gujarati’s and the Bengali’s!

Vegan dessert – Patishapta
Patishapta are thin crepes or pancakes made with refined flour, rice flour and semolina stuffed with a delicious caramelized jaggery and shredded coconut filling.
Corn cheese Jalapeno poppers
Vegan Jalebis

You can contact us on our Instagram page for vegan catering orders.

Decorator

Finding a good decorator within our budget was one of the toughest parts. We had chosen beautiful venues surrounded by nature so that we do not have to do too much decoration. In spite of having a limited scope, we got ridiculously high quotes. I had made presentations with reference images, and actual site photos and sent it to a bunch of vendors for quotes.

You can check them out here:

After receiving those first quotes, and shortlisting the vendors based on cost and the level of connection we had over telephone calls, we had to then visit the respective venues with each of them, work on the quote again and then finally decide who we wanted to go with. It was a lot of effort – because we were busy and decorators are always busy – setting up all those meetings and walk through’s was a herculean task!

In the end we managed to find a great decorator (Avishkar Decorators, Bandra east) with excellent workmanship and reasonable rates.

Wedding mandap being erected
Photography

We made a couple of unconventional decisions regarding photography at the events, but they worked out really well.

  • Instead of having two wedding photographers, the bride and groom can agree on sourcing photography work from one good photographer.
  • For the smaller family functions you can ask your friends or relatives who are good at photography to take some pictures. Again, this worked out exceptionally well – my friend Dhwani and my cousin Aashni are passionate photographers and they took some of the best photographs of the entire event. 
  • Instead of spending on pre-wedding photo shoots, take good couple shots on the wedding day itself in a natural location. This saves you the cost of an additional photo shoot and also the time, cost and effort of make-up and costume changes.

You have already seen some of the amazing photos our photographers took of us and the venue in my previous post and this post. You can check them out – Je taime photography on Instagram and Facebook

Shopping

You can read in detail about how to make your wedding shopping easy here.

Delegate and do not forget to have fun!

Make sure you delegate all the work to be done on the day to your friends and/or relatives. No really, don’t forget to have fun. Let it go, brides and grooms! The last thing you need to be thinking about is that your flowers weren’t as large as discussed, or that the fans are not working and the music isn’t the way you imagined. It’s your day which you have planned for months, now it’s time to sit back and enjoy.  Things might not work out as planned, but it’s your attitude you can control.

Plan your honeymoon

In midst of all the wedding preparations, do not forget to plan a long honeymoon trip for yourself. If you are crossing your budget make some cost cuts in the wedding preparations but be sure to have a nice long trip. After all spending on yourself is more important then spending on throwing a party for others. You will need it after all the hard work you will have to put into planning your wedding!

Feel free to email me on vidhi228@gmail.com for any queries,advice or suggestions regarding your wedding planning, especially in Mumbai!

Wedding dress shopping made easy

Planning a wedding is not an easy job. Especially when you want to throw a great show and not spend your parents’ lifetime savings on it. 

In my next few posts I plan to cover several aspects of wedding planning like – Budgeting, Invitations, Venues, Catering, Decorations & Photography.

But today, let’s focus on: dream outfits for the special occasion!

Wedding outfits are something girls go crazy about! Since there are limitless options available out there, it can become overwhelming and leave you confused about what you want!

It is always good to have a clear mind, and a solid set of goals in place before you venture out.

  1. Do your homework. Make sure you have a clear vision of what you want. It’s not just a world full of outfits, but a world full of pushy salespeople as well! It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the limitless options out there, but it’s also easy to put together a mood board using apps like Pinterest.
  2. Stay true to yourself. Everyone has her own vision of how she wants to look on this special day. If you have a distinct style, stick to it. Dress classy or quirky, or simple or glamorous – stay true to your personality. If you are happy with what you’re wearing, it will show. The shopping comes with an endless supply of not-so-gentle advice – be prepared to stick to your convictions and battle to the end.
  3. The outfits should be reusable. It is quite common for the bridal dress to never be worn again after the wedding day. My dress had to be something that I could wear again, not something that’s permanently stashed under my bed.
  4. The outfits shouldn’t be exorbitantly priced. I didn’t want to spend lakhs of rupees on a single outfit. Parents and relatives completely lose their sense of value when picking outfits – I knew I had to be the one setting the budget and exercising some financial restraint. And do not worry, there is something out there for all budgets.
  5. It had to be vegan. Now what are vegan clothes you might ask? As far as we are talking about wedding clothes, it mainly meant no silk in the outfits and no leather in the footwear. And in India, celebratory clothes usually mean silk! Wedding shopping was way more challenging for me than usual.
  6. Start early. I started shopping around 3 months before the day of the event. There are some good reasons to start early:
    If you have a job, that just leaves the weekends. If your shopping companions (my mom in this case) have a job, that might not even leave all the weekends.
    There’s a lot to see and a lot to consider before you make such an expensive and emotional decision.
    The tailors or shopkeepers will need quite a bit of time, and you have to factor in some time for a couple of rounds of alterations.

Mandwa+Haldi

The sari that I had worn for my Mandwa+Haldi ceremony is a Patola made of art silk. And trust me: no one can tell the difference! The weave of the thread, the silk like border, everything looks as good as the original one. Also, it’s much cheaper! So then why be an accomplice to thousands of silkworms being tortured?

Art silk Gujarati Patola saree
Don’t the details look exactly like the original Patola sarees?

Cost: Rs 12,000 (a similar silk Patola could cost anywhere between Rs 60,000 – Rs 1,00,000)

Wedding dress:

I wanted my outfit to look modern with a traditional flourish. I chose this off white lehenga with a beautiful mix of traditional Gota and modern pearl work & then I paired it with a red-pink Bandhani dupatta.

The Bandhani dupatta added all the vibrancy and traditional touch the outfit needed

I have thought of the following ways to reuse this outfit:

  1. Wear this dress as is, but with much lighter jewelry. The heavy jewelry gave a regal air to my outfit on the wedding day. A change to lighter jewelry would instantly make it suitable for other occasions as well.
  2. Wear the bandhani dupatta separately to jazz up some simple salwar suit or lehenga or a skirt and crop top.
  3. Pair the lehenga with a simple pastel net dupatta for a much lighter and modern look. 

Cost – Rs. 33,400 plus 2000 for blouse stitching.

Mehendi dress:

For my mehendi ceremony, I wore a light green lehenga with beautiful embroidery all over it paired with a crop top. I found it while we were shopping for sarees in Kolkata and it was love at first sight. On top of that, it was in the sale section! Can’t get better than that!

Cost: Rs 10,400

Bou Bhaat reception saree:

I was, and probably still am, not a very big fan of sarees but there is no doubt that sarees are way more reusable than lehengas. They also take less space in your wardrobe! So, it is always good to have a few classic sarees as a part of your wardrobe. If you are trying to look for non silk sarees, Georgette, Chiffon, Net, Tissue and Organza are some good options. For my body shape and type, I loved the fall of Georgette sarees on me. And since the event at Kolkata was a day event I chose a peach Georgette saree with Kashmiri Ari work embroidery in pastel colours. I paired it with a plain linen blouse which will pair well with sarees of many colours in the future.

Georgette saree with Kashmiri embroidery work

Cost: Rs 19,900 for the saree. Rs 2,000 for the blouse (with material)

Sangeet dress:

This was the last outfit I had to buy and by that time I was very confused about what I wanted. The wedding date was nearing and I had bought an outfit of every style possible and was completely out of ideas. I had no clear vision for this one. I knew the kind of colours I wanted but beyond that I was lost. I went to a couple of fashion designers but that confused me more. I was finding it very difficult to visualize exactly how the dress will turn out based on their descriptions. And what if I didn’t like it at the end? It was too great a risk. So I tried a different approach for this one. I just decided to visit all the shops with an open mind and no a specific goal. Finally, after a lot of visits all over Mumbai and multiple visits to the same shops as well I found something unique and beautiful. A Lehenga full of abhla(mirror) work with pastel embroidery in different colours around it along with a beautiful pink dupatta. Again not at all overbearing and completely reusable.

Close up of the mirror+embroidery work

Cost: Rs.30,000

Wedding Jewelry

While your bridal lehenga may obviously be the showstopper of the wedding,  it’s the jewelry and accessories that add the final touches to your look. The kind of jewelry you wear can govern whether you want your final look to be heavy, royal, simple or elegant. 

Art Jewelry for the win!

I love jewelry, but I also love wearing matching jewelry with each dress. I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on buying real jewelry which ends up becoming a non-liquid asset gathering dust in your bank locker. Instead, I put all the money my family had saved up for my jewelry in a Fixed Deposit and bought art jewelry for all my events. Over time, the quality of art jewelry or imitation jewelry is so good that no one can tell the difference. Trust me! Also, I didn’t have to compromise on the kind of designs and the heaviness of the jewelry due to budget constraints.

Renting vs Buying, the age old debate

For the wedding day look, I went one step further. I wanted a royal, heavy look for the wedding and I knew I would never wear those heavy chokers, maang tikka and haath phool ever again. So instead of buying the art jewelry, I rented it. It was amazing as I got the exact look I wanted without any budget constraints and I didn’t have to retrofit hereditary jewelry that had an aesthetic I didn’t like.  

The only jewelry I bought for my wedding day was the Chudla (set of bangles). A Gujarati chudla has a lot of cultural significance and is supposed to be red and white in colour made from acrylic/plastic and gold. For my mom’s sake I did visit real gold jewelry stores and was thoroughly disappointed by the lack of variety in design available. After that, it was very easy to convince my mom as well and instead of going down the gold route, I went down the art route. I shopped for some very artistic pieces individually and put together a set for my wedding Chudla. All the pieces, individually can be reused as bangles with any dress, lehenga or saree.

The centerpiece of the Chudla was adorned by exquisite hand painted motifs

To conclude, you need to know what you want and be comfortable in your own skin. Once you’ve embraced your personality and channeled your inner confidence, you will look beautiful in any kind of dress.

So happy shopping guys!

You can read more about the other aspects of planning a not-so-big and not-so-fat but beautiful here.

Feel free to email me on vidhi228@gmail.com for any queries,advice or suggestions regarding your wedding shopping, especially in Mumbai!