As we approach the wedding season and you read this, brides (and some grooms) will be hyperventilating over all the hows, wheres and whens. Planning a wedding is no easy feat, so here are 10 points for anyone looking to tie the knot, to consider. There is also a Free Wedding Workshop this Saturday where experts quoted in this article will be sharing some great tips.
1. The place
Finding the perfect wedding venue is the first step towards a truly unique experience. Whether it’s a romantic beach or a glamourous ballroom at a luxury hotel, the first couple of factors to consider are the number of guests you’re planning to invite and of course, the weather. If it’s a summer wedding you’re going to want to keep it indoors. It is also important to ask some other important questions such as how many other weddings will be held at the same venue during the week of your wedding (this will tell you how much time you’re going to have to set up), what will the payment schedule be like, are there any hidden costs such as cleaning or overtime, and most importantly what will be included in the package (bridal suite, parking, spa treatments, etc.)
Expert Tip "Say 'I do' at a venue that expresses your personality and creates a unique ambiance for your guests; a dream venue connecting your loved ones and making them feel at home” says Yani Widyasari, head of events at The Oberoi, Dubai.
2. The wedding planner
One of the most common questions every bride has is “Should we hire a wedding planner?” Planning a wedding can be daunting and extremely stressful unless you’re superwoman, so consider your options based on your budget. A wedding planner can be full-service – looking after every minute detail - or partial service offering a day of coordination. Before finalising your planner, interview them. The first important question that one should ask is about their training in the profession and how long have they been working in the industry. It is important to know their work history and some recommendations from their past clients. It is also important to check their website and social media links as wedding planners are known to be highly organised and creative people and when it comes to wedding planning judge that book by its cover.
Expert Tip “There are countless cultural details and family traditions, vastly different personalities and styles that make a wedding unique. Ideally, your planner has experience with the traditions you want to incorporate. Even better, the planner has photos from past weddings to present to you or the references from past brides or colleagues. Word of mouth in this industry is a great example of how you can find the perfect wedding planner” says Olesya Voronova, event manager at Focus Wedding Services
3. The florist
There’s a world of difference between selecting your florist and selecting your flowers. Don’t mix these up. When interviewing florists, you should be prepared with your theme and ideas that you can share with them. It always helps to take their suggestions when it comes to choosing flowers and knowing what flowers will be in season. Look at their catalogue for ideas and past work. Make sure to communicate your budget and what can be included in the package. Before you finalise your florist, ensure that the number and description of each arrangement is written down with prices.
Expert Tip “Its not a question of budget, but its more about the magic and inspiration from the couple [for the wedding] and make sure that the design is in line with the latest trend in flower decor worldwide” says Fabric Vallez, head florist, Maison Des Fleurs
4. The dress
Saying ‘Yes’ to the dress is sometimes harder than your ‘I dos’ and shopping for one can be exciting and stressful at the same time. Being a once-in-a-lifetime experience (well mostly anyway!), it is extremely important to choose the right style for you.
Expert Tip "The trending style for this year is Champagne colored wedding dresses, embroidered with white crystalised Swarovski components. We believe that brides nowadays should wear something simple but classic in style and rich fabric which will enhance their feminine figures" says Rommuel Torres, fashion designer, Dar Sara Fashion
5. The photographer
Your wedding day is filled with memories that you and your partner will cherish forever. So before you appoint a photographer to immortalise you thorough a lens, consider asking the following questions. What is their style of photography – can they work both with colour and black and white? Will the principal photographer be delegating work to their assistants? Does their fee cover the entire event or individual packages? How long will the photographer take to deliver the images after the event?
Expert Tip "A photographer's best element is light! Good lighting creates great images and it is very important that the bride and groom coordinate this with their planner to make sure that the light is not too harsh or too strong specially if done in ballrooms" says Sheryll Tamayo - creative director at Enchante Portraits
6. The stationery
Just like the eyes are windows to the soul, so are invitations a preview to your big day. From your save the dates, to your invites and follow up reminders, all of these give your guests a glimpse of your wedding theme and how much heart you have put into planning this. It is important to be clean with your invite as too many ideas can clutter it up. Creating a vision board to collect and organise the ideas is a good way to narrow down your options. If you choose to be original and creative and decide to DIY, work patiently on the idea till you can alter it to exactly how you want it and can proudly call it your own work.
7. A gift or cash registry
While all this planning drives you bonkers, you do have some lovely gifts from family and friends to look forward to. And what’s better you get to choose your own gifts!
Expert Tip "The timing for a wedding registry is crucial because 40% of gifts are bought before any of the wedding celebrations like the engagement party or bridal shower begin - the earlier your registry is up and running, the sooner your guests will know what you really want" says Neetu Ramchandani, managing director of MyWishList.ae
8. Getting into shape
It’s the most stressful bit of all – getting into shape for this one moment in time that probably drove Whitney Houston mad. It’s important to take this slowly and begin your routine at least a year in advance. What you don’t want to do is go on a crash diet the month before and look haggard and malnutritioned on the day.
Expert Tip “We advice all our brides-to-be, to loose those little extra inches and stubborn fat by maintaining a balanced realistic diet, which is key to glowing skin on The Day,” says Allison Pickford of BodySmart Dubai.
9. Setting up your new home
Every bride knows that getting married and planning a new life with her new husband can be very exciting. This involves creating their love nest and mutually agreeing on style and taste of the décor. It is very important to understand the taste of the other and take inspiration from it. Before decorating the space, take inventory of existing stuff and go shopping together. Add a touch of personalisation so when you walk through the door, you feel that you are home!
Expert Tip "Start with a vision and define your desires. Get inspiration from your surroundings or places you’ve been to. Prioritise the most important aspects or features of your design. Think about the future and accommodating family members. If you are planning to have children in the next two years, you have to take that into consideration. Your house should be both appealing and functional at the same time," says Dina Soliman, head of design, En Vogue Luxury Home Décor Boutique.
10. The honeymoon
After the stresses that came with the event of your lifetime, it is now time for a stress-free vacation and a trip that is nothing short of perfect. Designating a honeymoon planner helps you relieve the stress of planning a trip immediately after your wedding. They take care of your flight booking to hotel reservations to visa applications, and most of the time land you with great offers and deals.
Expert Tip "Go for your dream destination—this is a once-in-a-lifetime occasion! Choose an intimate and romantic surrounding to celebrate your love. But don’t forget to plan a little surprise for your better half- such as a romantic dinner on the beach, a spa treatment, or a sunset cruise. You can always take the help from your honeymoon planner in this and trust us - It always works wonders," says Abhishek Dadlani, CEO of Lush Escapes