Congratulations ! You are about to start a new life.. one filled with the promise of happiness and dreams coming true.. Your wedding is meant to be a momentous affair, but one that will demand a lot of planning and decision making. This wedding planner is specifically designed to provide an organised approach towards making your wedding a runaway success. By following this guide, step by step, and all your plans, we hope will run to perfection. Setting the Wedding Date The date is usually based on the auspicious time given by the family pandit, but it is thoughtful to make sure that it does not clash with any other event in the family, and is convenient for people to attend. Financing the Wedding How do you plan to finance the wedding? It is a good idea if the parents commit a specific amount of money and the bride and groom supplement this. Take references from friends or relatives who have recently conducted weddings. * Maintain a budget file to check all expenses. * Make a list of urgent and optional items. * Assign each element an approximate amount or a percentage. Engagement This is the first of the formal ceremonies. Traditionally , rings and gifts are exchanged between the bride and the groom's families. Ascertain ring sizes and buy the engagement rings well in advance, so that the couple can try them out before the ceremony. Guest List The number of guests likely to attend will decide your planning of venue, accommodation , catering and finances. Ascertain ring sizes and buy the engagement rings well in advance, so that the couple can try them out before the ceremony. Invitation Cards Invitation cards are now available in individualistic and unique designs. *Place an order for invitations with a printer well in advance. A few extras will come handy. *Also order for informal cards for writing "thank you" notes. *It is in good order to place a small map of the venue on the invitation card. *Start mailing the invites two months in advance for outstation guests. *It is nice gesture to send invites to even those family members and friends who you know will not be able to attend the ceremony. *Based on the RSVPs , compile a list of confirmed attendees. Service Providers Service Providers include the caterer, photographer, videographer, florist, DJ, printer, etc. Start negotiating for good service and rates as soon as the wedding date is fixed. *Get references and interview several service providers. Get quotes from more than one service provider in each category for the best deals. *Do not make bulk advance payments in cash. *Have all contracts formally signed on paper. *You could hire an event manager for the entire wedding arrangement. *If it’s the season for weddings , make all bookings in good time. *Maintain a list of the confirmed service providers. Venue The venue will depend on the wedding theme, the number of guests, the ceremonies to be conducted , whether a buffet or sit-down arrangement , indoor arrangement etc. * Book the venue once the dates of the pre-wedding and wedding ceremonies have been fixed. * Check the seating capacity ,arrangement , music, parking space, electricity , power back up and fire safety facilities. * If the marriage function is planned outdoors, check for weather conditions and permission from related authorities. * Confirm all bookings in writing a month before. * Visit the site a day or two before the ceremony. Catering You can chose between hotels/banquet halls and private caterers. Go by recommendations. *Inspect the cutlery and crockery , furniture , linen and napkins. *Order for any other essential items that the caterer does not provide. * If alcohol is being served , ensure appropriate glasses and bar services. *Also check for hygiene conditions and overall service. Re-check and sample the food menu a week before the ceremony. *Assign a family member to supervise the catering services on the wedding day. Floral Decor Floral decorations are done on the bridal dais, mandap, doli, suite, getaway car, welcome gate and other focal areas. Also select flowers for varmalas , sehras, rangolis, headgear, etc. *Book a florist, decide about the theme and list out the areas to be decorated as well as the number and variety of flowers. *Floral decorations must start a day or two prior to the wedding. Photography. Photographs and videotapes are precious memories of joyous moments. Do not compromise on quality. *Book experienced photographers through references. *Inform the date and time of the wedding, as well as those of pre and post-wedding ceremonies. *List out priority shots for every ceremony. A family member must guide the photographer for shots of both the families. *Inform the video technician of any special music or effects that you desire beforehand. Accommodation Arrange suitable accommodation for your guests for their comfortable and pleasant stay. *Request the groom's parents for a list of people likely to require accommodation. *Make hotel reservations in advance. *If using vacant houses/ rooms of friends and relatives, ensures the services of a cook and washerperson. *Hire extra furniture , crockery , mattress, bed linen, fans /coolers , etc and ensure water and electricity supply. Transportation Note the arrival time of guests and assign a person to receive them. *Hire cars/mini vans to transport guests. *Arrange for a getaway car for the bridal couple. * Keep a handy list of the hired vehicles along with the names and contact numbers of the vehicle owners and drivers. Trousseau Your bridal attire should complement your personality and style. *Scan wedding magazines for contemporary styles and trends. *Start shopping for your trousseau well in time. *Select the right accessories to complement your dresses including bags and shoes. *Select/design your wedding and reception outfits and try them out. *Keep time for alterations and final fittings. Jewellery Besides jewellery pieces passed on to you by your grandmother and mother , buy some contemporary and trendy jewellery from reputed jewellers and insist on certificates of purity. The mangal sutra is the most important piece of jewellery besides bangles, kadas , nose rings ,tikka ,earrings, chokers and necklaces. Maintain a list and expense incurred against each item. Groom's Attire Decide upon a western or an ethnic look. Kurta pyjamas , churidars , pathani, shawls , sherwani, bandhgalas, choga, or achkans are a few ideas. If height is constraint, avoid bandhgals and achkans. *Co-ordinate tie-pins, cuff links, rings , gold-chain, watch and bracelet with the wedding outfit. *Wear simple yet elegant shoes with a western outfit and jootis with an ethnic. *Try out your headgear. It should be different from those of baraatis. *Start on a complete grooming regime at least from those of the baraatis. *Start on a complete grooming regime at least a month before the wedding. *On D-day keep hair short , gelled and shampoos and shave closely. Spray a deodorant a keep tissues and your wallet handy. Gifts Make a list of people you have to buy gifts for, including those from your spouse's family. It is a good idea to give small gifts of appreciation to friends and relatives who have helped with the wedding arrangements. Festive Time Complete all painting, plumbing and electrical repairs a month before the festivities begin. *Arrange for additional domestic help. *Maintain a list of things to be bought and stock up on extra ration , groceries, gas cylinders, crockery, etc. *Plan a weekly menu to avoid last minute worries. *Keep your jewellery in safe place. Ladies Sangeet and Mehndi Decide whether it will be a small family gathering or a big event with a professional band in attendance. *Book a Mehndiwali well in advance. She/he should bring the necessary material. *List the songs and hand out the lyrics to all or you can use taped music as a back-up. *Hold practice sessions prior to the wedding, if you are so inclined. *Arrange for snacks or a caterer if the gathering is large. Reception Decide whether it will be sit-down affair or a buffet. *Make the arrangements in advance and confirm with the venue manager/caterer in writing. *Specify the number of guests expected to the caterer if you do not want to pay for extra food. *Confirm arrangements a day before the event. *Set up a gift table and assign a family member to receive gifts. Maintain a list of the gifts. *Allocate space for alive band, bar and dining. *After the reception, move flower bouquets and leftover liquor to the couple's residence. Honeymoon Your honeymoon destination depends on your budget, time available , prevailing weather conditions and preferences. *Get a photo guide of your destination and plan your travel itinerary. *Make travel/hotel reservations well in advance. *Pack your baggage according to the kind of honeymoon you have planned. *If travelling abroad, arrange for passports, traveller's cheques, foreign exchange, etc. Legal Formalities *Register at the matrimony sites. *Inform change in address to the postal department and to all the relatives and friends. *Apply for change of maiden name in important documents, ration card, etc. Check List Maintain a time Schedule. Once the shaadi Date is decided. * Plan your budget. *Visualise your wedding theme. *Choose the venue. *Start interviewing service providers. *Start your trousseau and jewellery shopping. *Decide on your honeymoon destination. *Draw the guest list. *Buy a wedding planner and maintain records. At 6 Months to the Wedding... *Order the invites and stationery. *Book the pandit, beautician , car hire agency. *If travelling abroad for your honeymoon, check your visas, passports and medical clearance. *Reserve your wedding night bridal chamber. *Make hotel bookings for out-of-town guests. *Start a beauty regime. At 2 Months to the Wedding... *Do an RSVP with guests and draw up a final guest list. *Confirm all reservations. *Choose gifts for relatives and friends. *Do a hair and make-up run through. *Make a list of photographs you wish to be taken. *Make a list of the music you wish to be played. At 2 Weeek to the marriage... *Do a final confirmation of all the reservations and service providers. * Confirm the transportation schdule. * Give the caterer the final guest count. *Make sure all attentdants have a copy of the wedding day schedule. *Do a final dress fitting with shoes, jewellery and make-up. *Pack for your honeymoon. Its a once-in-lifetime moment. Surely make it your the best.