Wedding Planning Checklist: Plan Early, Plan Well

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Wedding Planning Checklist

Getting 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 wedding planning 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 software

Let 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.

Software Tools to Plan & Manage Weddings

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Online Wedding Planning Software

Planning and managing a wedding is a challenging and stressful job. You have to keep track of to-dos, guest lists, invitations, menus, transportation and many more logistics issues makes wedding planning really a cumbersome task.

Maintaining Excel sheets and paper diaries can be quite exhausting and unmanageable. It can lead to mistakes and things being missed. Moreover, you also can’t enjoy the joyous moments of your wedding fully. Can something help you manage the wedding efficiently and smoothly?

There are various software tools available in the market which can help you to efficiently manage every detail of your wedding plan. Here are some of them:

Wedding Websites

You can get a wedding website custom built or use one of the several tools freely available on the Internet. A well designed website can ensure easy communication with your guests. Websites like www.mywedding.com, www.theknot.com and www.ewedding.com allow you to create a free wedding website of your own.

By putting all the necessary information on your website, such as the local travel information (airport, ground transportation, maps, directions etc), the hotels where the guests will stay, wedding events’ dates and timelines etc., you can keep your guests updated on every minute detail regarding your wedding.

Your guests can also give you feedback on your wedding events. Guests who may not be able to attend the wedding can also send you their greetings from any corner of the world through this website.

Moreover, you can create a mailing list of your guests who need to be informed whenever your website is updated.  Also, you can share the wedding photographs on your website enabling the guests to relive the experience.

Online Wedding Planning Software

Online wedding planning software

Online Wedding Planning software can be used for efficient organisation of all the wedding related information at one place. These applications help you to collaborate with your friends or family members involved in organizing your wedding as well as vendors and service providers.

Further, you can easily access these software on your laptop, tablet or mobile. One such software for managing and planning Indian weddings is WedPlan.

Wedplan lets you do the following and much more:

  • Guest List Management with full contact details
  • Events, Ceremonies with gifts to be given
  • Email and SMS invites
  • Guests’ arrival and departure schedules
  • Hotel rooms, car management and venue coordination
  • Samagri lists for the different ceremonies
  • Extensive task management
  • Invitation cards, gifts & sweets distribution support

WedPlan combines various event planning tools such as budgeting, guest/attendee management and many more into a single platform, thus, sparing you the time spent in fidgeting with different tools and easing your learning curve.

Invitation Management Websites

you are invited

Your wedding invitation card gives your guests first peek into your style of wedding. With the advent of technology in the wedding planning industry, various invitation management websites have come up. Now you can send electronic invitations of the wedding to all you friends and relatives across the globe.

Further, you can plan the invitation cards for any of you wedding events, be it the cocktail party, engagement, wedding, reception or any other event. Even if your budget is a concern, you need not worry because there are various e-invitations websites which help you design your e-invites for free and charge very less for printed counterparts.

These websites let you design your own invitation cards by offering various features such as choosing your favourite colours, base design, customizing text on the card and size. Additionally, you can choose whether to request an RSVP or not. Digital invitations can be sent embedded in emails to the guests and the guests can RSVP from the invitation or directly from the mail.

Paperless Post offers 500 free invitation designs out of 3,500 invitation designs. It also provides ability to track RSVPs and other convenience features.

Gift Registries

Weddings are incomplete without gifts. Often, guests wish to congratulate and bless the couple on their wedding with gifts and the couple’s families may return the favour as well. However the guests are always worried that their gift may be a duplicate or not to the liking and hence lie unused.

A gift registry can come in handy in such situations. The engaged couple can make a list of gifts they are happy to receive and list these in the gift registry. The guests can then select one or more from these as per their budget and order them. This eliminates chances of duplicate and disliked gifts. While this was not considered polite in the Indian culture, people are accepting this slowly in view of the convenience for both sides.

Some of the common gift registry websites are MyRegistry, All My gifts, Zola, Thankful, Knack etc.

With the growing popularity of Internet, wedding planning industry has come of age. Stop struggling with outdated tools when you can manage the arrangements with the help of the above software and get much more free time to spend with the family and guests.

Starting With WedPlan? Powerful Guest Data Import Facility

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Guest Data Import in Wedding Planning Software

Most of the prospects, who see the demo of the WedPlan software are quite impressed by the efficiency that it brings to planning and management of the wedding. However the typical concern they have is – how to enter our contact list in this software? This looks like a Herculean job!” Let me assure you – it is quite easy. Here’s how:

A. If you have your contacts’ data in one or more Excel files, you can import the data in the WedPlan software in about 2-5 minutes. We have a powerful import function coupled with a sophisticated field mapper, which intelligently matches the columns in your Excel to the right place in the contact form.

B. If you are using MS Outlook and want to import from there, the process is quite simple. Just export your data to CSV format and import it into WedPlan software using the above map and import function. It should take 5 minutes at best.

C. If you have your data in paper diaries, you will need to type your data in. However the tremendous convenience of access and quick updates that you will enjoy after converting your paper data to electronic format will make the work worth it.

So if you have been hesitating about using software like WedPlan due to fear of data entry work, rest assured. It is so much easier than you thought!

How to Select a Caterer for Your Wedding Event

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Catering Layout in Wedding

Are you trying to select a catering company for the upcoming wedding in family? The choice of the right caterer is one of the most important choices you need to make. Your relatives will at least talk about the food, if nothing else. Good food and dining experience will make say all the positive things about your event.

Select your caterer

Several venues have their own empanelled caterers and you need to select one from those only. Other venues allow you to bring your own favourite team. Depending on recommendations from your friends and relatives and your own past experience, you can shortlist 1-2 companies.

I know of one catering company which specializes in continental and other international cuisine but won’t do a great job on the North Indian menu. Another company serves awesome vegetarian food but does not offer non-veg items.

When you are finalizing the menu, you will need to be slightly creative. Being a foodie helps. A tweak here and a tweak there and you have your signature dish that everyone will remember from the wedding. May be you will just change the topping or add a touch of some herbs. Recently we created the basket for the kachori chaat with the jalebi (without dipping it in the sugar syrup) and it was liked a lot by people. Just a touch of creativity can do wonders in this department.

Live counter at wedding

Usually a couple of live counters are included where some amount of customization is possible. Currently live counters are quite popular among the guests and several guests take their full fill from these counters also.

Are you expecting lots of children? Keep in mind that even fantastic gourmet food may not make them happy. Make sure you have interesting items like snow cones or a jelly bean counter to cater to the tots. It is a simple and inexpensive addition but will keep them busy.

However, there should be good connect between all items on your menu. I have seen many people choosing starters from one cuisine and the main course from another. Though it may sometimes click, it is generally a bad idea.

The palate pleaser would be a starter which preps for the main course. The soup should be in line with what is coming up next. A theme which binds your menu tight is a great idea and creates a great experience for the guest.

How much does it cost?

Generally catering companies charge you on per-plate basis though some will do it on fixed contract also with the maximum number of people specified. Even for per-plate, you need to guarantee a minimum number of plates. There may be separate charges for high tea. The charges vary with the number and type of moving snacks and drinks. You can easily expect to pay anywhere from Rs 500 to Rs 3000 per plate based on the spread.

For most of the people, adding a few more items won’t change the price much as the total amount of food consumed won’t change. There may be extra charge for drinks based on the type of drinks being served. Several caterers allow you to bring your hard drinks which they serve at the venue.

Good food needs great service

The way the food is served is as important as the food itself, therefore a little personalization or innovation works wonders. It may be a good idea to discuss with your caterer how he plans to make the finger food different from what it looks like in general. When the guests are intrigued and are asking questions about what it is, followed by how awesome it tastes, a great foodie experience has already begun.

You should also check the quality of cutlery, the chafing dishes, the quality of service, the dresses of butlers etc. Great food served in scratched and old cutlery can spoil your show. A good caterer is expected to have good signature cutlery and less used crockery if you are paying him well.

It may be a good idea to include ingredient warnings on the dish tags – such as contains peanuts, or mushrooms or raw seafood so that the guests who may have some common allergies would know what to avoid.

For the seated dinner, the details assume another dimension altogether. The linen & serving style has to be perfect. A family person can accompany the bearer for personal effect. Before the main dinner time starts, the starters and drinks should be continuously taken around.

The housekeeping facilities and staffing should be adequate for a good dining and after dining experience. The used dishes should be promptly removed, any spills quickly taken care of, the washrooms must be spic and span. The décor, ambience, flowers, lighting, service and food should be in tune.

Have a joint meeting with all service providers involved to ensure everyone understands each other. Working with a team which has worked together in past events works wonders.

Here’s a quick recap:

  • Select caterers based on a history of satisfied clients / empanelment.
  • Taste the food.
  • Discuss new menu ideas.
  • Check presentation and service.
  • Ensure quality crockery and cutlery.
  • Check linen and seating arrangement.
  • Tag dishes with ingredient mentions.
  • Select menu with a theme.
  • Ensure total synergy between all service providers.

A wedding is an experience of a lifetime for the host and it is all worth it when the guests go back happy and satisfied. So plan well and execute well. Cheers!

Wedding Planning Checklists for Stress-free Management

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Wedding Planning checklists

Wedding planning checklists have a vital role to play in the smooth management of the wedding arrangements.

If you prepare things-to-do lists for all major areas, you can pass these on to the person handling that activity, ensuring that the plans are executed perfectly.

Make a wedding list for all of the following:

  1. Shopping lists with clear sections for cloths, jewellery, cosmetics, gifts & others.
  2. Menu for all the functions to ensure that the minimum numbers of dishes are repeated across the entire wedding.
  3. Up to date guest lists for different functions.
  4. Venue arrangements to verify before the event starts.
  5. List of guest arrivals and departures at airport and railway station.
  6. Hotel room provisions’ checklists.

Naturally there will be 100s of checklists and the above list is just to get you started.

WedPlan has a dedicated section to store these planning checklists. Any user can retrieve a list from here as required and carry out the job with the least risk of confusion.

Family Relation Management with WedPlan

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Family Relation Manager
Family Relation Manager

The WedPlan wedding planning software has another use – the Family Relation Manager or FRM. Here’s how!

When you maintain your contacts information (including details of family & friends) with WedPlan, you can stay in constant touch with them.

Keep their information updated without any work on your part. You can request address and family updates from all your contacts in less than a minute and your folks will be able to edit their records themselves.

Similarly, you can send greeting cards and messages through the system on different festivals to spread the cheer.

The FRM system sends you weekly alerts for birthdays and anniversaries in the coming week so that you can call and greet them personally. You very well know how strong the bonds become when you call them on every occasion and wish them well.

Of course, WedPlan helps you to effortlessly plan the family parties like birthday and anniversary celebrations in addition to the weddings in family.

Get started now and send the New Year Greetings through your own FRM – easily!

Click here to take a no-obligation FREE demo of the WedPlan wedding planning and family relation manager software now!

Scheduled SMS from WedPlan

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Scheduled SMS from WedPlan

We are happy to announce Scheduled SMS feature in WedPlan for making your life even simpler.

You could always send SMS from WedPlan but the text messages went out the moment you would send them. So if you wanted to remind the guests in the morning of the event, you had to send the messages then only. But you can imagine how hectic things are on that day and it was a chore to have to sit down and send a SMS blast.

To make your life simpler, we now allow you to schedule your SMS in advance. You can select the guest list, specify the text message and the date & time when the SMSs have to go out.

Not only this, the recipient list is dynamic. If you add more people to the selected groups or modify some mobile numbers, up to date information will be used to send the messages at the scheduled time. This eliminates the faux pas that a fixed list might cause.

Remind your guests at the right time and make sure all of them attend your events!

WedPlan Offers Secure Data Access

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WedPlan works in secure access  mode

At WedPlan, we take your data security very seriously and that is why, our website as well as the online wedding planning software work on secure pages.

What it means: WedPlan offers secure data access through HTTPS. Most sites are accessible on HTTP which is not secure and a sniffer can view the data while being sent from your computer to the Internet.

This feature reduces the chances of someone hacking your data while you are using the site to zero.

Check out the free demo and experience the convenience – for yourself.

Met Awesome Events People at EMF’s ACE 2014

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ACE 2014 by EMF

I visited Event Management Federation’s (EMF) event and exhibition at Ahmedabad on 12th and 13th September 2014 to meet the wedding and event planners of Gujarat.

I met some fantastic people there, doing great work in events and weddings. While some people were thinking “Why bother with an online software when Excel does the work just fine”, several others appreciated how an online software with a team based approach will make the logistics management work extremely easy to handle.

Events are all about using the latest concepts, creatives and gadgets and a powerful data management software can bring incredible convenience to both the planners and the clients.

We are looking forward to doing business with several of them in the near future. If you are an EMF member, please refer this fact when you order your copy. We have a surprise discount for you 🙂

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