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So You Think You Can Plan Your Wedding

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Welcome to So You Think You Can Plan Your Wedding. No, this is not a reality show. But it is an honest roadmap of how you can successfully move from Newly-Engaged to Newly-Wedded, supported by an extensive Wedding Directory – your one-stop destination for ideas you can use to enhance your Great Day.

So here they are –the very first do’s and don’ts, in a string of posts that will take you through the journey of wedding planning. Of course, some of these are taken on by professional wedding planners, but we’re taking no chances. Since positive experiences with suppliers should be shared, you’ll find a recommendation or two thrown in.  Of course, a lot has been learnt along the way, and specific learning points (LP’s) are earmarked throughout this article.

So let’s start wedding planning with something any good planner must consider – M-O-N-E-Y.

Tying the Knot? Tie your funds down first.
Wedding Budget PlanningUsing any generic spreadsheet software to keep accounts is a piece of cake. For a wedding it is important to decide on a ballpark budget first. Of course, you can allow for slight deviation.
While plans are underway and suppliers are being confirmed, it is prudent to keep a note of where your money is going. You do not want to end up short on funds, and unable to pay off balance payments before the function.Nine out of ten suppliers need to be paid off before the wedding. (We’re saying nine because there could be someone nice enough out there to accept payment afterwards. It’s just that we haven’t met them.) You may also wish to budget for a homecoming, honeymoon, and functions with families and friends.
Keep your set of accounts up to date – both on budgets, and actual expenses paid. If costs are split, it is helpful to maintain separate accounts on the same spreadsheet, which proves easy to settle afterwards.

LP – a budget of one to two million is not unheard of – in fact it is a fairly decent budget for the type of mid-size wedding at a hotel.
LP#2 – Don't spend all your money on the wedding, and forget your honeymoon and heaven forbid, your life after marriage. You need more money than you will know, for emergencies and getting by

Preparing the guest list
The couple must be fairly confident of how many people they are going to invite, and who. Of course, parents will have their own ideas of how many they wish to invite, and the couple will have their common and individual friends and relatives. It is useful to set limits. Both the bride and groom will have special people in their lives whom they will wish to invite, and adequate understanding and communication prior to finalising the list will help the process. Based on the number of guests being invited, the budget can also be divided in kind. Remember, the number of guests will affect the costs of invitations, wedding cakes, and menus at the reception venue.

Themes and Colours
Wedding Themes and ColorsA theme can be insanely detailed and elaborate, or exude the simplest of elegance. Every wedding has one, and couples must decide what sort of theme they are to go with. A theme could impact everything, from invitations and cake boxes, to the type of flowers used in hall décor, to colours of the bridal party. It is possible for a wedding theme to be a mix of several different ideas. It is best if the couple decides the theme themselves – and remember – compromise is key. 

Selecting the date
Wedding date planningThink of cultural intricacies and seasonality. It’s unlucky to schedule your wedding in November if you’re Catholic (being the month of the dead). February is generally seen as inauspicious to Buddhists as it is a short month. The respective December/January and May/June seasons are peak months for all suppliers linked to weddings – and most people abroad will get the chance to come down on holiday at this time too.

 

 

The Bookings
There are four areas that any young couple must immediately work on, when planning their wedding.
1.    Booking the Wedding Venus, Reception facilities and other wedding locations.
2.    Cultural considerations.
3.    Booking the Photographer and Studio.
4.    Dresser


LP - A good, safe booking will happen a year in advance of the Great Day. This is because there are few good suppliers, and so many weddings that they are constantly in demand. Failure to confirm these bookings may result in compromising on a potentially less attractive date.

Venue Bookings
Wedding Venue BookingReception Halls will entertain pencil bookings for only so long. Thereafter (perhaps within a week or two) you will have to confirm this booking with a deposit that is generally non-refundable. Before choosing and reserving a venue, one must develop and be happy with a tentative guest list. Reception hall costs form the bulk of most weddings. It is highly probable that your parents will invite everyone – from their colleague’s kids to their uncle’s sister in law’s tenants. If the cost seems excessive based on your rough calculations – don't worry. It’s your wedding and you’re in control. Develop a guest list of those you intend to invite and the choice of the hotel and specific banquet hall will become clearer as you compare costs.

It is also important to consider which hotels in Colombo would suit…and this depends on the venue’s architecture, suitability for photography, and the wedding theme. Otherwise, certain additional logistics may have to be planned on the day, for the bridal party to visit locations such as Galle Face Hotel, Tintagel and The Kingsbury Hotel for classic English, or Gangarama for a cultural touch, or the Cinnamon Grand or Lakeside for colour and grandeur. There are many other considerations such as parking, quality of the event manager, location, and word of mouth and reputation, but the wedding couple will have to pick their priorities.

Photographer and videographer
Find  a studio that is innately creative, but can take the most natural of shots too, that capture you and your loved ones in special moments! Ask around and choose your wedding studio or wedding photographer wisely. Some specialise in particular types of photography or themes – the choice is yours. Some studios even have a key photographer or videographer that one should ask for – so ask around, because word of mouth is key.

Religious Parties, Cultural considerations
While religious parties may be a touch gentler, they are highly sought after too, and their diaries fill up pretty fast. It is not unheard of for couples to pick the date based on the availability of the particular Church, which the writer himself had to do. For Buddhists, the auspicious time will come from the astrologist, and then the Astaka (person conducting the ceremony at the Poruwa) needs to be booked.

Bridal Dressers in Colombo
Bridal Dresses in ColomboChoosing the bridal dresser – the person who makes you look unforgettably marvellous on your great day - is a major step. The dresser will listen to the needs of the bride, give suggestions on suitability, and some will even come to pick the bridal with her. When picking a bridal dresser, be mindful. Look at their previous work, get opinions from known parties and those who have already got it done. Some bridal dressers employ assistants to handle the makeup, draping and hair, and even the dressing of bridesmaids - so ensure you know what you’re getting. The rates also change accordingly.

To this effect, one rule will set the stage for a comfortable year or so of pre-wedding planning. Early reservations for different suppliers should be made for the wedding date so that they are booked for you. Even though the wedding couple does not need to confirm exactly what they want, the fact is that the suppliers are guaranteed to be there for you through the ride, until the Great Day. And with so many moving parts, potential issues and luck (or lack of), it’s important to have some guarantees!

Written by ashan.j for colomboguide.net ©

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