Category Archives: Smart tips

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.

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!

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!

How Can Internet Help You Plan A Jaw Dropping Wedding

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using internet for ideas for planning weddingsYou are the Genext and you are marrying. Yet you are at loss for cool ideas? How is that even possible!

I see only two possibilities – either you do not know how to use the Internet or you have mastered the art of not using it well.

Here are 5 ways in which Internet can help you plan a jaw dropping -ly awesome wedding:

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8 Offbeat Ideas To Make Your Wedding Unforgettable

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ideas for making your wedding unforgettable

Are you suffering from a thinker’s block on how to make your wedding more interesting? Especially when you are trying to make your wedding unforgettable for your guests?

Fret not. I have 8 really cool, offbeat ideas that will make your wedding hard to forget:

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