Hands down, my wedding was one of my toughest and longest styling projects!
Well, it’s not just styling clothes, it’s research, decor, photography, catering, makeup, invitations, sourcing (I mean shopping) and what not!
I remember shuffling my suitcases between Mumbai, Delhi and Hyderabad every weekend for almost 3 months trying to source my jewellery and outfits. It was hell of a task where I even went to an extent of maintaining an excel to track the status of my wish list for shopping.
Do I say #problemsofashopaholic or #planningOCD?!
Let me call it an OCD because I went to an extent of planning the color contrast for our garlands too 😂
Meanwhile, in all that helter skelter of sourcing, I used to spend at-least 2 hours everyday after my work trying to create my outfits’ mood-board for each of my events! And there come the weekends when I just pack my bags, with that research in head to find the right outfit or accessories, in whichever city possible!
It was hell of a task and I just want to make it easy for any bride and save them from undergoing all of this again!
Just as the wedding gets fixed, the first question that pops up in anyone’s mind is ‘Where the hell do I start from?’
I am here to make that job easy 😄
It’s going to be a lengthy blog and it is in chronological order according to what is the best way to kick off the preparations!
First Things First – Book Your Photographer
All your shopping can wait for some time but first, get that photographer booked.
If ‘Why?’ is the question in your head right now, it’s because wedding dates are usually on specific dates based on auspiciousness and there are a lot of people who fix their marriages during that time.
Most of the good photographers are booked 6 months prior the wedding.
So, in case you have any specific photographer in mind, start reaching out to them early.
Things you need to note:
- Try to keep one photographer for both groom and bride events. This would save you from burning your pocket
- Decide the events that you are going to have along with tentative dates
- Share all details with photographer and request for quotations
- Try to get it as a package for all set of events
- Do a research of their work- photos and videos! Quality and uniqueness of Wedding trailers was our deciding factor
- Ensure that you check the quotation for deliverables – videos, albums, candid photography, photoshoot or whatever. Adding those later, at the time of wedding, will bump your expenses
- Try negotiating the package if possible
- Discuss your ideas of photoshoot with the photographer and block a date with them, much before the wedding to avoid any chaos. I don’t personally like cinematic photoshoot and hence, we had the idea of a simple lifestyle story at the comfort of our home.
Some other unique ideas could be trekking (if the couple is into it), tennis/badminton court/gym (if the couple is into it), or probably baker’s paradise. These are just few off-beat ideas that we had
There are some last minute checks that you must do, for photography which you can check once you scroll to the bottom of this blog 🙂
Here are some of our favourites – Ashwin Kireet, Isaac Abraham, Rimisen, Memory Lanes By Suman Chakri, OneFineDayPictures, The Con Artists, Goldenshutter, Abhinavsagar, Wearepixelarmy, Shutterink, Epicsbyavinash, Tales of Knots – Cahaya, Tales By Zoticus, Photriya, and Vijay Eesam
The above list has mostly some of the best Hyderabad photographers, there are many others out there with extraordinary work. Please look out for those as well (Do keep in mind the budget for photographers in case they have to travel from other states)
We went ahead with Wearepixelarmy based on the budget, available dates and their previous work. It was a great experience working with a friendly and patient team 🙂
Hunt for That Perfect Makeup Artist and Block Their Dates
This is another thing which needs to be done before you even start your shopping. Again, good makeup artists are too much in demand and it is difficult to find their dates if you delay it.
Things you need to note:
- Check their work and reviews on their social media platforms
- Don’t go for the ones who make someone look too dramatic (Unless that’s your preference). Prefer natural makeup!
- Start approaching them with dates and event details and book it as a package for both groom and bride, if available. Else, book one for all your events
- If you are doubtful before fixing someone, request for a trial where they do charge around ~3-4k but you can interact and tell your preferences and see how you feel
- Pay some advance and block their dates. Get the quotations and final receipt, atleast in a proper message or email
- Do enquire about any extra charges for additional saree/outfit change or any waiting time
A simple tip to pick a good makeup artist which I abided by, is that under-eye bags should not pop out in their work (check their work!)
There are some last minute checks that you must do, for makeup which you can check once you scroll to the bottom of this blog 🙂
I went ahead with Maneesh Katam. He was the most cooperative person to work with and is extremely good at what he does!
(I am definitely going to refer him to anyone looking out for a good makeup artist)
Note : I had Ronan Milli as my makeup artist for a couple of events but my experience with him has been extremely disappointing in terms of service and hence, I am not linking it up here.
Start Shopping for Clothes!!
The first thing to start shopping is clothes. All your accessories could come next once you buy your outfits.
Things you need to note:
- Explore pinterest and get a basic idea about the kind of look that are you planning to have for different events
- If you are planning to get your lehangas stitched, have some reference pics or sketch and start hunting for fabric
- If you are going for readymade outfits, ensure that the fit is perfect and comfortable at the same time
- For sarees, try them on, and see how the saree would look in day-light and in store lights depending on the timing of your wedding
More details on my outfits would be coming up in the next blog.
Next up, Accessories Shopping!
You can either do this after you finalise your outfits or simultaneously as and when each outfit is done in case you don’t have too much time.
Things to note:
- While you are shopping for either gold or diamond or artificial jewellery, check with the vendors if they could customise it for multipurpose use! For instance, I have customised my mathapatti to convert it into a layered chain later
- Try to have couple of juttis or shoes or heels in neutral festive shades which you can use with all outfits. Especially, if it’s a cocktail event or sangeeth, stick to comfortable footwear like shoes, if you can pull it off
- Before each event, try to grab some time, to pair your accessories with your outfits and see how it looks and keep the entire set of clothes and accessories aside, the night before. Don’t think that you can search them during the makeup next day, it gets difficult in that chaotic mode
More details on my accessories would be coming up in the next blog.
Find that Perfect Tailor
This is one more important thing and requires a lot of patience and insane number of trials before you find the perfect tailor. If you already have one, then your job is half-done. If you don’t have one, start giving sample blouses to different tailors (Meanwhile, pick some neutral sample blouse fabric so that you can use it later with other sarees or lehengas)
In case, it doesn’t fit properly for the first time, mention your requirements and give it for alterations once. By then, you will get an idea if that’s the tailor or not. Don’t just give up on first attempt unless it’s too bad.
Usually, most of the blouses and lehengas require stitching, so give them to the tailor atleast a month or two before the events so that you have enough time to check fittings and arrange for alterations.
Decide the Decor
This is one more thing that most of the people end up neglecting in the last minute.
Let me say again, your outfits would not stand out if you pick the wrong decor!
Things to note:
- Decor needs to be picked based on your outfit. For instance, if you pick red decor for your red outfit, the photos won’t come out well. Contrast is mandatory to make yourselves stand out
- Finalise your outfits, decide the decor and pick colors
- Check for vendors about a package price for all events together. Negotiate a lot!
- If you don’t want to spend too much on decor, choose decor which doesn’t use fresh flowers or leaves! It saves a lot of money
- In case you are getting the wedding done in any function hall, see if there is any other wedding just the night before(in case, your’s a morning wedding) or if there is another wedding right before yours in the morning(in case, your’s a night wedding), you can see if you can strike a deal with the same decorator. If you can plan to reuse any of the structures of the previous wedding, they can cutdown the price!
- While finalising the deal, check if he can include the floral jewellery, bridal entry floral chaddar, garlands, and floral braids
My decorator has no social media presence, so in case, you need his details, just drop me a message on Instagram
Finalise the Invitation
Don’t keep this pending till last minute. Try to stick to graphic invitations if possible, that’s cheaper and eliminates the effort of distributing it manually (which anyways is not possible now)
A good caricature based graphic invitation would take at-least 2-3 weeks for the first version and there are different instagrammers who do that.
Since we didn’t have much time as we hardly had 2 weeks, we tried to take inspiration from an online available version and my colleague helped me with modifications!
In case you are going for hard copies, try to go to the wholesale markets where you can get a good one for probably less than Rs 40 each.
Fix the Catering
The last leg of preparations includes finalising the menu. Try to take it as a package for all events, if possible, that would help you strike a better deal (Also, see if you can get any complimentary items). You can probably start having this discussion after your shopping along with decor.
Things to note:
- Ensure that you communicate them the timings of the events along with the time when the food needs to be ready. Sometimes, you might want to open the buffet as the event goes on
- Ensure that you clearly mention the etiquette standards with respect to uniforms, serving, naming the dishes etc
- Also, there is usually a problem with a skewed distribution of starters/welcome drinks in the first few rows.I didn’t want that to happen, so I mentioned clearly about it.
We went ahead with Amaravati Caterers. They were budget-friendly and up-to-the mark. Worth the money! (Didn’t check out any other options as we liked them in the first-go)
Get that Salon Grooming Done
While, a lot of them do regular facials or cleanups, I am the opposite. The first facial that I had in my life, was for my wedding 😂
Things to Note:
- Start alternating clean-up and facials every month for 3 months before the wedding
- My skin is particularly allergic to besan mixed with haldi, so we used multani mitti mixed with turmeric for my Haldi event. Unfortunately, all the good care that I took for my skin went for a toss as haldi didn’t go well with my face and started showing dark patches. So, do test it on yourself before, to check if you are allergic
- Do one final facial not more than 3 days before the wedding. The impact usually is good till then, atleast for me (By the way, I got O3+ bridal facial)
- Ensure that you choose one neutral color for your nails which could go with all outfits. Changing it for every event is damn stressful! Get a gel based formula so that it stays long for all events
- Get that pedicure, manicure and nail art done along with your final facial so that the impact would stay for atleast those 5-6 days
Do those Last Minute Checks
Right before the wedding, may be a week prior to the wedding, there would be a lot of things that you might need to check upon!
Here are some of the main ones!
- Start reaching out to makeup artists one month before the wedding (Atleast as soon as you decide your outfits) to ask them for suggestions for makeup and hairstyle or you can share your ideas and confirm with them if it is possible
- Discuss with them regarding the checklist for events to decide what they can arrange and what you should arrange for yourself
- Share the event timings with them, atleast a week before the events kick off
- Atleast two weeks before the wedding, try meeting the photographer team in person and communicate any ideas that you have in mind. Be it, any specific type of photos that you pinterested. (Don’t do this too early, they might not remember!)
- Specify the exact timings for the events atleast a week before the D-day and ask them to be on time
- Try to be ready atleast 30-45 min before every event if you want some good pictures without much chaos. Especially for wedding, try to do this as the event will get too chaotic during the rituals. (Plan your makeup time accordingly – preferably, at least 4 hours before the muhurth)
- Just before a week from the events, meet the decorator and ensure that you remind him about the colors and any other minute requirement that you want to re-mention
- A couple of days before events, send your references of floral braid and floral jewellery to decorator and mention any color changes. For floral jewellery, even it is same color as outfit, try to mix it with any neutral/contrast color or any other less dominant color on outfit
- Also, do ensure that garlands and floral entry chaddar is contrast to your outfit color to make it look good and to highlight yourselves
- Also, have someone from your family or friends to monitor the decoration preparation, atleast the day before
- Just before the wedding, try to sync up with caterer once again, to confirm the final list and if there are any new seasonal dishes that are available!
- Book your appointments for facials, pedicure, manicure, nail art and any other salon treatments just before the events start