7 Ways WedPlan Beats Excel for Wedding Planners

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wedplan-beats-excel

Are you planning a wedding for your family member? Or a client? Thinking of using Excel to manage the entire show? Stop using outdated tools and move up to the latest.

Introducing WedPlan!

Check out these 7 ways WedPlan beats planning with Excel hands down. Continue reading

Wedding Planners Ahoy! Meet WedPlan

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As a professional wedding planner, you very well know the 1000s of minute details required to plan and organize a wedding in India. Sometimes, even for a professional team, it’s pretty unnerving. Our wedding planning software, WedPlan has special advantages for professionals like you! Continue reading

Bengali Wedding Rituals: Tradition Coupled with Fun

Bengali Wedding RitualsThose of you who have had the good fortune of witnessing a Bengali wedding from the start to the end would surely agree that it is a visual delight. Bengali Hindu weddings like most other Indian weddings are a blend of traditional customs and rituals with a touch of modernity.

These weddings are full of color and vivacity. Also a marriage leads to reunion of family members and old friends. New relations are made and old ones get further strengthened. In a way, a marriage signifies the beginning of a new journey not just for the couple but for the entire clan.

Bengali weddings usually are not opulent (although flashy or gaudy are probably more apt words!) but require elaborate preparations to perform the many rituals with precision. Sometimes it could also be physically demanding.

For hassle free planning and management of Bengali weddings, check out WedPlan.

Let me walk you through some of the common rituals and traditional ceremonies we see in Bengali weddings. Continue reading

Data Security in WedPlan

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“How secure will be the data that I enter while using this service?” The data security is a pertinent concern in the minds of many prospective clients of WedPlan.

Data Security in WedPlanWe have a very strict privacy policy and take all reasonable precautions to safeguard your data that you enter while using the service. We do not directly contact your guests for any marketing purpose or send any business offers to them. All communication we send to them is on your behalf – record updation, greetings or invitation.

We use secure transport layer HTTPS at WedPlan, which eliminates the chance of snooping while you are accessing the site. The data is also frequently backed up at the server level.

When you register for requesting the access to the online demo, you provide us your phone number and email id. But the information stays safe with us and under no circumstances do we share it with any of our other clients or third party businesses. We might follow up with you only when new offers and updates are released or to send requested information.

While we have an effective backup provision at our end, as a best practice, you should also periodically backup your data through the export data option.

For a hands-on experience of the convenience, sign-up for a FREE demo of WedPlan today. There is no obligation to buy 🙂

Wedding Portals – All Resources at One Place

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Do you have a marriage in your family? Yourself getting married? Congrats! But are you a little-worried thinking about the complexities of planning & managing the wedding arrangements? Lots of help is available on the Internet.

There are several wedding portals online, like www.theknot.com, that list 1000s of resources related to all aspects of the wedding like gift shops, boutiques, jewelers, photographers and decorators. You can check their contact details, work samples and past references to help you shortlist a few from each category. Once you have a few names, you can talk to them individually and settle on the ones you want to work with.

Most of us have some pet shops where we always buy from. However checking out the blogs on these portals helps us to identify the latest trends and themes that we can adapt based on our budget to give our event the special touch.

Getting to know about a large number of vendors in different sectors, all from one place while sitting in your drawing room or bedroom can shave off days from the vendor selection and short-listing activity. You can then discuss the specifics and thrash out a plan for everything within your budget.

We used to buy our dresses from a certain shop but when we came across new boutiques from these portals and tried some of them out, we were pleasantly surprised to learn about new styles we had not considered before. Need elegant gift boxes for distributing sweets? You got it. Trendy invitation cards? Sure. Need help to plan the exotic honeymoon? You are covered.

You can even locate a good wedding planner if you want to outsource some of the running around and want to pass on creative design to someone specialized. The planners take a certain percentage of the total wedding budget but stand by you at every stage guiding you on creative aspects and doing all the legwork.

Then, there are portals like www.myshaadi.in, which allow you to create wedding sites for the couple to share stories of how they met and how the love blossomed. You can also upload event photos for the benefit of those who could not attend the events in person due to health issues or prior engagements.

You may also check out WedPlan software that allows you to plan and manage the end to end logistics of the marriage including guest lists, invitations, email & SMS invites, arrival & departure schedules, budget tracking, sweets & gifts’ distribution and all other activities.

The wedding portals and the planning software make an ideal combination and can spare lots of time for you to spend with family & friends.

 

Wedding Venue Selection – A Guide

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Once the wedding date of your son or daughter is finalized, the first thing to do is to identify and book a suitable venue. Good venues get booked very early and you may have to compromise by selecting a less-than-ideal venue.

Here are some pointers about selecting a good venue for your event:

Is this the right venue?

Capacity: I am sure you have a tentative guest count in mind. Shortlist the venues which can accommodate all your guests comfortably.

Availability: The venue has to be available on your event date. Sometimes people have made pencil bookings but if you are willing to commit with advance, many venue owners will allot the venue to you.

Flexibility: Do they allow you to bring your own decorator and caterer or you have to hire one from their fixed panel?

Cost Factors

There are several direct and indirect costs in hiring different venues. You must consider these before giving the final go ahead:

Cost of hiring the venue: This is one of the biggest cost head in addition to the catering cost. Check out what all costs are included in the basic cost. Specifically ask about additions like taxes and compulsory items like service charge.

Catering Costs: Some venues, especially hotels and clubs have in-house catering service. Some other venues have a preferred list of caterers from which you have to choose. Find out the cost of hiring the catering service for your wedding and related ceremonies, if you decide to use their services and check how different this is from the cost you would have incurred otherwise.

Decoration Costs: Find out the charge of decorations for your event, if the venue has in-house or empanelled decorators.

Electrical Costs: Do they charge a separate fixed or variable cost for the electricity consumption? How much?

Overtime Fee: some venues may have prescribed hours within which you have to hand over. They may charge a hefty amount for overtime occupancy.

Cancellation charge: What is their cancellation fee if you have to cancel the booking due to some unforeseen situation? This needs to be kept in mind too.

Logistics

Rooms and Restrooms: Do they provide extra rooms for storing things and for the bride and/or groom to get ready? Are these rooms chargeable?

The banquet hall should look modern and contemporary so that the guests feel energetic and excited while attending the party. You might also opt for some heritage property to give your functions a grand look.

If the main function is to be held in an open area, you have to decide keeping the weather – heat and rain – in mind.

Fire Exits: For closed areas, it helps to find out if there is a decent fire fighting arrangement and proper fire exits if an emergency evacuation is needed.

Parking Lot: A sizeable parking lot in or near the wedding venue is a necessity. The guests can get quite inconvenienced, even with valet parking, otherwise.

Security: A fat Indian wedding needs good security arrangement as the guests will be wearing expensive jewellery. There may be some celebrity guests also. It helps to have good CCTV monitoring and allied security arrangements.

Water Logging: If the event is to be held in rain-prone season, make sure that the area near the venue does not get waterlogged or else your event is bound to be badly spoiled. Verify that the venue entry area remains free of mud and slush despite heavy rain.

In the wedding of the daughter of one of my friends, a senior guest actually did not get down from the car at the entrance as it was mud-spattered. She was worried that the mud could spoil her very expensive designer lehenga and actually turned back from the entrance. You can imagine the embarrassment for both the host and the guest.

Travel facilities: Not all of your guests would come in private cars. Some would use the public transport. Is the place well connected by public transport? Can the guests get a vehicle for their return?

Wedding Cakes: Nowadays it is quite common to cut and serve a cake during the wedding reception. Will you need to buy the cake from the in-premise patisserie or you can get it from your favorite cake shop?

Bar: Does the venue house a licensed bar? Some places allow you to get your favorite drinks from outside and they will serve them at no extra cost. For others, you may be forced to buy the drinks from them only.

DJ: Music has become an integral part of most events. You may like to get a DJ to play your favourite background music to create a nice ambiance. Young and teenage children may even want to shake a leg and you will need to setup a dance area and ample capacity speakers. Check out the possibilities.

Lodging Facilities: You will need to book lodging arrangement for your outstation guests. Will you book rooms in the same hotel or a nearby hotel? Check the room quality and other arrangements like swimming pool, 24-hour coffee shop, Internet facility etc before you decide.

Dress Code: Some clubs have a strict dress code and the guests have to be intimated well in advance so that they can make suitable arrangement. For some places, the strict dress code may be the deal breaker.

This is only a guideline. You can come up with many more venue-specific questions when you actually visit a venue. Generally you tend to evaluate a few venues on different parameters before paying the deposit and confirming one.

If you have hired a wedding planner, he or she might be able to help you with lots of grunt work for the venue selection. She may even get you a booking in one of the prime property through her connection.

For the sake of convenience and ease of planning the other logistics of the marriage, check out WedPlan, the online wedding planning software for end to end planning and management. There is a small investment but it offers a very good Return on Investment.

Visit www.weddingplanning.in and request FREE demo access – today!

 

 

Wedding Planning Quotes

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Zig Ziglar said, “Many people spend more time in planning the wedding than they do in planning the marriage.”

There are several wedding planning quotes but this one by Jane Seymour is interesting:  “I think a lot of people get so obsessed with the wedding and the expense of the wedding that they miss out on what the real purpose is. It’s not about a production number, it’s about a meaningful moment between two people that’s witnessed by people that they actually really know and care about.”

While getting obsessed with planning the wedding perfectly may stress you out and take a toll on your health, some amount of pre-planning and preparation is always necessary to avoid mismanagement and chaos on the day of the wedding.

However, this is easier said than done and requires discipline, coordination and proper resource and logistical support. Niecy Nash would definitely agree. She had once famously said “Falling in love was the easy part; planning a wedding – yikes!”

You would not want the most important day of your life to be struck by a disaster that could possibly be avoided with better planning. As Benjamin Franklin had once quipped “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Kristi Richardson puts it very nicely “Weddings are not about spending the least amount of money or the most amount of money; they are about spending good amount of money on the elements that are most important to you and your partner.”

“Planning a wedding involves thousands of decisions. Decisions that need to be made, and moved forward on.”- Inspired Grace Weddings

You can manage better, remain stress-free and enjoy the planning & proceedings for a very small investment, with our online wedding planning software, WedPlan.

A FREE DEMO is available here.

 

Hiring a Wedding Planner: Step by Step Guide

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Planning a wedding is fun although challenging. You might want to save your time and energy by hiring a wedding planner to take care of the arrangements. Your wedding planner can suggest new trends in the event industry and these new ideas can make your wedding event stand out from the rest. You also save a lot of running around and efforts allowing you to spend much more time with friends and family.

Here is a step by step to guide that will help you choose a good wedding planner and also enjoy the experience without confusion and disputes.

Reference from friends/family

Talk to your friends and acquaintances, who have had a wedding in the family recently and employed the services of a wedding planner. Did they like the services rendered by the planner and whether they will recommend them for the wedding in your family.

Also visit a few wedding portals to identify a few popular planners based on the reviews. Check their samples and portfolio. Like it? Put them on the list.

The next important step is to narrow down the list to 3 or 4. Call each of them and request an appointment so that you can brief them about your vision for the wedding.

When you meet the shortlisted planners face to face, outline your vision. Carry the magazines, cuttings or even your inspiration board to help the planners get an indication of your taste or the theme you want to follow. Ask them to make a draft proposal or presentation and see if it impresses you.

Check the portfolio of weddings he has organized

Go through the samples, photos and layouts of the past assignments of the planner to get a good idea about his competence as well as his style.

Selecting a planner with some years of experience is advisable but don’t consider it as a golden rule. Be receptive to new ideas if these complement and add value to your own ideas.

This is one area where you would need to trust your gut feelings to a large extent. But at no point, let your logic or resolve go for a toss or let the planner dictate terms to you.

Budget discussions

This is undoubtedly one of the key elements of the entire planning process. You must ensure the planner has understood the budget and the constraints. Give him a ballpark estimate with the deviation margin that you can allow.

Check whether the planner has prior experience of planning weddings in the range that you have given. If you want a small, intimate wedding and the planner only has experience of working on lavish and extravagant weddings, you can get in unnecessary trouble later.

Check availability of the planner on the date of wedding and other ceremonies

The planner has to be actively involved in the planning and execution from the beginning to the end.  So you have to ask him to chalk out a timeline for pre-wedding events, which he and his team would stick to.

The team should follow the schedule at every step of planning, selection and procurement process. Before signing the contract, make sure you have a clause to cover you if he deserts you midway or gets involved with too many weddings at the same time and can’t give you the desired attention.

Size of the team and the personality traits of the members

Most planners take multiple assignments based on their team strength. However the assigned person must be present at all important times and during your events. He should also be able to build a good rapport with you and your family as you will be referring to him for every single need.

A leader is as good as the players. The execution team members need to be dynamic and enthusiastic. Don’t go just by the reputation of the planner. Talk to a few members of the team and see how much they share the vision of their leader and how responsible they are.

You should ensure that the planner has enough staff to handle separate tasks and operations. If he outsources some of the responsibilities, he should coordinate and communicate with them effectively.

How easily can the planner get the jobs done

A planner is expected to have good connections in the industry and so you can expect a relatively hassle-free booking of venues, caterer, artists and performers to entertain the guests. He can even leverage his connections to get some difficult to get items, venues or artists.

A good wedding planner would probably get you better deals and discounts with several vendors. Don’t push him too hard on this though. Also once you sign the contract, don’t nudge him to get you better deals at every step.

Destination Weddings

Destination weddings require specialized knowledge and much better coordination skills. Check whether the planner has a good ground team at the destination. A friend recently hired a particular wedding planner at Bangkok mainly because the co-owners spoke fluent Thai and were local residents for more than 5 years.

Sometimes, the wedding planners have tie-ups with local event management companies at the destination and a lot of work is outsourced to them. The wedding planner should ideally be present at the destination well in advance to monitor the entire operations.

Crisis Management skills

If things can go wrong, they will. Is your planner a good crisis manager? Can he handle sudden developments with ease or he will get a panic attack?

You might like to discuss a few hypothetical situations and note his reactions and answers to them. Ensure that he gives enough importance to the crisis management plan.

What if he falls sick or due to some unavoidable reason, he is unable to land up at the venue on the day of the wedding? The planner needs to have a good backup team who would not let his absence disrupt the event.

A good event management company can get your guests impressed and satisfied with your hospitality. You will also be relaxed and get to spend more time enjoying the wedding rituals.

WedPlan online planning software will help you and your event manager stay on the same page and collaborate on the arrangements very easily. Take a FREE demo and experience the convenience.

Wedding Planning Checklist: Plan Early, Plan Well

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Wedding Planning ChecklistGetting married? Wedding in family? This must be one of the most important things in your life. It is believed that love or matrimonial alliance between two is arranged in the heavens. But that is the easy part. Niecy Nash had once famously said-“Falling in love was the easy part; planning a wedding-yikes!”

This wedding planning checklist will help you manage the wedding in a smooth way without unnecessary expenses and hassles due to poor planning and last minute frantic rush.

Your Guest List

The guest list is a key element of your wedding plan. You have to start early and discuss with all members of the family to make sure no one is left out. May be you already have an Excel sheet. You may even have the data in your Outlook or other contact managers.

Excel sheets are most popular with people managing the guest list, but these can turn very clumsy as soon as you make changes and add columns for events, gifts, arrivals, departures etc.

You will need to make separate lists or have columns for invitees to the different events like wedding, reception, cocktail parties and other theme parties. Then you will need to mark RSVPs based on their responses or your personal invites.

Shopping lists

Shopping for weddings is fun though extremely tiring and strenuous. If you don’t make elaborate checklists and plan the budget for different categories like clothes, jewellery, accessories, furniture, gifts etc, you will end up spending much higher than your planned budget and may even have to forego some important items.

You should start your shopping as early as possible because several items have to be custom built and you will need to order them early to get delivery in time. Buy things available in the same area or mall together to avoid running from one place to another.

You will also need to list and buy samagri (items) for different wedding rituals to avoid last minute rush and inconvenience.

Venue Selection and Decoration

Selection of the venue for the engagement ceremony, wedding, reception and other parties is another difficult task. Most of the good and central venues get booked much in advance.

You need to shortlist venues based on the area, references, number of guests it can accommodate etc. Check if they have a covered and air-conditioned area if the event is during rainy or summer time. Spare rooms for the bride and family to get ready will also be needed.

It is important to check the overall cleanliness of the banquet hall as well as the area near the venue. Make sure they have clean washroom facilities also.

Some venue owners insist on their own empanelled decorators and caterers. This needs to be an important consideration before you register.

Transport arrangement

Transport of the wedding party from the residence to the venue needs to be comfortable or else you will arrive in crumpled dresses, full of sweat, cursing and not enjoying. Similarly, you should arrange ample transport for the outstation guests to ferry them from the airport and railway stations to the hotels where they will be put up.

This simple thing can make or break the satisfaction and excitement level of the guests.

Hotel Accommodation

The outstation guests need to be put in suitable hotels. You will really have to juggle the budget and facilities for this. This is an expense head that eats up lots of money with nothing much to show. If you have a good indication of the exact number of rooms you will need, you can negotiate a good rate with the hotel manager by referring to the total number of room-nights you will be confirming.

You will also need to station a hospitality team at the hotel lobby to guide the guests about the events. Some guests also want to visit the local attractions or shop around in the spare time. They will need to be guided well so that they can relax and enjoy more.

Complaints about inadequate facilities or lack of proper information can really embarrass you. The charts listing the rooms available and occupancy details undergo massive changes every minute and hour. You will need an efficient person to keep on top of this.

Catering Services

Most of the people will forgive you for other mistakes if you serve them good food. People talk about the great food and arrangements years after the event.

While many people get satisfied with an elaborate menu, dishes from matching and complementary cuisine can impress the guests a lot. You have to plan the menu with the caterer and your family keeping in mind the guest list.

Do you have people insisting on vegetarian or Jain items? You have to setup separate counters for them. Highlight the dish names and cuisine to help people to taste more items from your elaborate spread and relish them.

Don’t forget that you will also need to plan for the food you serve at your residence or the place where you will stay. Your challenge will be to serve unique items every time and include at least a few new items to surprise and impress your guests.

Set up a few live counters based on your decided cuisine. Having one or two stalls exclusively for children is not a bad idea as they could keep them engaged and happy.

Make-up artist/beautician/mehendi artist

Mehendi is an important function in many Indian weddings. Get the best artists within your budget as poorly applied Mehendi can really put off the ladies and the girls. Enough make up staff to help get the guests ready will make them very excited.

The people helping the bride and groom get dressed up and made up will be separate and can’t be shared with the other guests. Again booking these people in advance is vital as it will be hard to get good people at short notice.

Photographer/Videographer

Ah those beautiful moments! Don’t you want to relive the exciting times again and again? Get the best photographer you can. Take references if you don’t have fixed family photographers.

Ask them to show the previous work. Discuss the budget and deliverables well in advance and clearly. Pre-wedding shoots are important and need to be included in the scope of work.

For most of the contractors, an informal contract or at least a written scope of work is vital as you will really like to avoid controversies at a later stage.

I am sure you know of 100s of other tasks that you need to accomplish smoothly to see through the wedding in style without getting stressed. WedPlan wedding planning software helps you to stay on top with 24×7 access from anywhere, anytime.  This comprehensive online software helps you manage all the logistics with a team-based working. Check out a FREE demo and experience the convenience!

Who needs outdated tools when you have the best software to use!

 

WedPlan Allows You to Import Your Contact Lists

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Some of our prospects who really liked the WedPlan software were hesitating to use it thinking that they will have to enter information about all the guests manually. Are you thinking the same?

Import Contacts' data - wedding planning softwareLet me put your mind at ease. We have a very sophisticated contacts’ import facility that allows you to import data from your Excel or compatible files. If you have the data in a database, just export it to a CSV file and then import it in WedPlan.

The software will guess and match columns from your table to the corresponding column in the software. So you may say fname and we will know that is to be put under ‘First name’. If we cannot guess a match, you can also drag and drop columns for the right match. This is easier done than said. The import only happens after you confirm all the matches.

Even if you have multiple data files like clients, family, friends, overseas guests – you are good to go. Just import these one by one and they will all be ready for you to start selecting invitees to the different functions.

Best wishes for your events! Experience the convenience – request the demo login details here.