10 Tips to the Brides-to-be
After going through endless planning and preparation as a bride-to-be for 9 months, I have decided to offer 10 pointers for all the brides-to-be (among my blog readers) so that their wedding can be a little more hassle-free than mine. Whether you are a control-freak bride who loses sleep over the organisation or a laid-back no-tension bride who has an army of brothers/sisters/aunts/uncles etc to take care of all the not-so-fun aspects of the wedding, these few tips will save you from big worries and big fights during the most important event of your life.
1. Start early – It will help you to a great extent if you finish shopping for all aspects of your bridal wear and trousseau as early as possible. Later, you will have to make many trips to the shops to buy stuff for innumerable relatives and then you will lose sight of what you need. I had to make last-minute dashes (as last-minute as 2 days prior to the wedding) to the shops to get small yet important items, which greatly increased my BP level. Same goes for beauty treatments – facials a day prior to your wedding does not help. Eat healthy, drink loads of water, exercise regularly and do necessary beauty treatments from as early as possible. Then you will be able to gorge on all your favourite mom-cooked dishes or attend lunch invitations from relatives on the last few days without upsetting your weight loss/skin treatment plans.
2. Finalize photographer and make-up artist quickly – If you want to go for a candid wedding photographer (the one who would capture all moments without asking you to smile and stare at the camera endlessly) instead of the studio ones and a professional make-up artist (who will not make you look two tone whiter) instead of beauty parlours, you must do your research fast and grab the ones you like quickly. Get quotations from 3/ 4, talk extensively to know what the quoted price consists of (and if need be, record in emails), meet them in person to see if you are comfortable with them, get trial makeup done and then seal the deals. I finalized mine within a month of knowing my wedding date; even then, I did not get my photographer for the reception as he was already pre-booked. Another thing which is a must and which I did not do (despite getting many months of prep time!) is to get trial make up and discuss your look and accessories with the make-up artist. Thankfully, I did not get any nasty shock on the D-day but it’s always better to be finicky than sorry.
3. Remember small things can make a huge difference – There are innumerable small things which, if not paid attention to, can lead to mayhem. When choosing a venue, keep in mind factors like adequate parking space, easy accessibility for the majority of your invitees, enough room where dinner buffet would be served, ample chairs for the aching feet etc. Ask the pandit to bring all the required items for the various rituals and pujas, which, if left to you, is a huge hassle. Organise adequate means of transportation. Be clear about every small detail of the decoration so that on the D-day you do not have to complain about the colour scheme of the mandap and the flowers.
4. Delegate as much as possible – This was not completely possible in my own case, but I have realised that delegating responsibilities to different people is the key to your peace of mind. You cannot be at every location at the same time overseeing everything, so request others to do so. Or else, on the D-day, you will end up stressed out with frayed nerves just like me. No amount of Mac foundation will then be able to bring out the blushing bride in you.
5. Be organised – Decide a method to store all the required items in a certain manner so that anybody can find them. There are tons of items that will be required for various rituals on various days and if you or your parents are the only people who know where they are, chances are that you all will tire out soon from “Where is the lamp?” “Where are the flowers?” “Where are the dhaan durba?”, “Where are the sweets?” etc from other people. Store them in a place which everybody can access and can take out by themselves. Another helpful thing to do is to make a list of the contact numbers of the people who matter e.g. caterer, car rental, decorating agency, pandit, marriage resgistrar etc and distribute to the people to whom you have delegated responsibilities.
6. Get your own things – You will require many personal things before, during and after the marriage – some of them so insignificant that you would not even consider them earlier. So think hard, plan ahead and keep your things readily available with you. From my own experience, I have made a not-so-comprehensive must-have things –
- nail polish so that you can fix last-minute chips (I made my best friend hunt down the same shade after applying the parlour’s nail colour and subsequently chipping my nails)
- similar shade of lipstick/gloss for touch-ups (I suffered hugely as I did not have any to control the quickly fading lipstick)
- safety pins (For all types of emergencies)
- straws to drink water/soft drinks without ruining the lipstick (Again, I sat for hours with a parched throat and fading lips)
- band aids in case the new bridal shoes bite (Bengali weddings are quick and the rituals happen without shoes, but you never know!)
- perfume/deo (The make-up artists may not have any and even if he has, you may not like it).
7. Maintain a list for your invitees – I am sure every household makes a list for invitees, but have your own list for your own circle. You may want to send email invites to some and paper invites to others. You would want to give out-station invitees adequate notice for them to make travel plans. In any case, maintaining a list is helpful. In my case, I had created an Excel sheet (my first, since I am usually Excel-averse) with different pages for different categories – friends, my colleagues, parent’s contacts, relatives etc. As you finish inviting, go on striking them from the list. It will ensure no heartburn with regard to forgetting to invite some friends and contacts.
8. Participate – I firmly believe that the least you can do as a daughter is to participate in the planning, organisation and execution of your wedding. I have seen my parents go through sleepless nights on account of the myriad hassles that are associated with a social marriage. Even if there are others to take care of the wedding, your parents will feel elated if you can lend a helping hand and take some of their burden off. As a bonus, you will get some extra bonding time with them. No one wants the bride to work but I personally find the concept of making others run around in your wedding a bit selfish!
9. Indulge, but not over indulge – Believe me, there are only a few things in a social marriage whose expenses are justified. It is up to you to identify them according to your preference and cut down on the others. You may choose to go easy on the Rs. 4 lakh worth venue or the Rs. 1.5 lakh worth lehenga or Rs. 50 lakh worth gold jewellery or Rs. 12 lakh for an evening’s catering. Instead, you may invest that money and send your parents for a trip to recover from post-marriage fatigue.
10. Listen to everybody, but do what you want – This is, undoubtedly the most important advice I can give you. In our country, our marriage is not only ours. So many people, apart from your parents, get involved in planning a wedding that ten different advice for one thing are voiced at the same time. Everybody would want to have a say in big or small matters. You may be unwilling to hurt the feelings of your aunt/uncle/grandmom’s sister/grandfather’s brother/cousin/parents but believe me, it should be you who should be taking the final calls in your own wedding. Know that you will not be able to please everybody, so do not try. The only people whose wishes should get priority over yours are your parents. Otherwise, if you want a less expensive venue, do not hesitate to take it up just because some of your relatives think it is not upscale enough. If you have a certain menu in mind, do not alter it only because one of your colleagues think that is not good enough. If you are cutting cost in certain areas, do not get waylaid by people advising how wedding is a once-in-a-lifetime event and how your parent’s whole life savings should be wiped out in one day. Needless to say, you must first be an active participant in organising the event so that you can voice your opinion and get heard by the elders.
Happy getting married! ;)