By: Tracey Manailescu
A light-hearted post for today.
by Danielle Andrews Sunkel
Have you ever noticed that Wedding Planners always have sunglasses perched on their heads while working a wedding? Notice above, even illustrations show wedding planners with sunglasses on their heads. Have you ever wondered why?
It is really very simple: Wedding Planners are ready for everything and we are not going to take extra time to try and find our sunglasses when we need them
The only downfall, we usually go about our daily lives with sunglasses on our heads out of habit
In November, WPIC held an amazing WPIC Mexico Wedding Specialist Certification Event in conjunction with the Mexico Tourism Board. You can read about all the wonderful events here. To go along with that event, the co-founders of WPIC Inc., Tracey Manailescu and Danielle Andrews Sunkel, set up two Mexico-inspired weddings. Here is Tracey’s, it was featured on the popular Wedding Blog, Wedding Obsession.
Photography: Janice Yi Photography
Planner and Event Stylist: Tracey M Events
Venue: Estates of Sunnybrook
Cutlery and Stemware: Chairman Mills
Wedding Gown: Maggie Sottero From She’s So Beautiful
Suit: Andrews Formals
Makeup And Hair: Blush Pretty
Mariachi Band: Jorge Lopez Entertainment
Linen, Chairs And Covers, Candles: Have A Seat
Florals: Celebrationz Inc.
Cake: Patricia’s Cake Creations
Models: Sarah Choy & Matt Cadwallader
Cayo Coco Facts:
*80% of vacationers are Canadian
*Best bet on sunny weather is between November and April
*Bus transfer is 10 minutes from the Cayo Coco International Airport
*Only resorts inhabit Cayo Coco
*Cayo Coco has been ranked 20th of the best beaches in the world (6th in the entire Caribbean)
* Serious crime is very rare in Cuba. Tourism is extremely important so the Government takes extra precautions with guarding and policing. Here is a link for common dangers and annoyances http://www.cayocococuba.net/info.html
Always check up onCanadian Government safety warnings here before you travel: http://travel.gc.ca/destinations/cuba
*Make sure you upgrade your vacation to include the Diamond Club Package ($10 more a day). You get your key and welcome package on the bus instead of having to get in a line, and check in at the lobby. This also gives you upgraded alcohol available at every bar, a Surf & Turf dinner by the pool with some special perks & surprises afterwards. It gives you a special spot on the beach (no rocks) with your own bar (they seriously refuse to serve anyone who is not Diamond Club), etc.
*Go to the shows. 4/6 that we went to were really good. (The Michael Jackson show was different then any I have seen before.) Memories Flamenco has great Entertainment staff and the choreography is excellent. I wish I could shake my tushie the way they can…I could have done without the Mr. Memories Flamenco Show (except for the fact that my brother-in-law was a participant, and made it hilarious for us) and the International Show (boring, unless you are a participant).
*After the great nightly shows, head on over to the lobby bar. It’s always hopping & happening. (*Bartenders are prone to serving women first)
*Make sure you go to the onsite Disco. We had a really fun girls night! (Of course, it depends on the crowd, and who you are with, for an optimum experience.)
In the morning, stop by the lobby bar and get yourself an awesome cappuccino on the way to the buffet for breakfast.
*Make sure you got to the a la carte restaurants! The food was surprisingly good!
*Be prepared to spend about $25 CDN a day on tips (Did you know that Cubans make $15-35 CUC’s a month?) Tipping is how they survive, and buy the extras in their lives for themselves and their families. Of course, this is always at your discretion and for good service.
*Book an excursion or two (or 3). Very reasonable and really well run.
*Bring Canadian Money. You can exchange $ at the resort bank, just show your passport. You can also change $ at the reception desk. We always kept $1 coins, and $3 bills on us for tipping.
*Expect to have great internet connection. Unplug yourselves while you are in Cuba.
*Expect to call home every day. Phone calls are VERY expensive.
Legalities (Romantic Planet.ca)
The information below outlines the marriage requirements for getting married in Cuba.
Your marriage will be formalized in the name stated on your passport. Your passport must therefore be correct, and the name on your passport must match that on all your other documents.
After your wedding, your Marriage Certificate will be prepared as quickly as possible and either given to you before you leave (time permitting) or couriered at the hotel’s expense to the home address on your documents. Your marriage is legalized by the Canadian Embassy in Havana and the Cuban Foreign Affairs department.
The registrar’s office should be contacted for specific rules regarding planning your destination or beach wedding in Cuba. They will also provide information regarding marriage licenses and marriage certificates.
More Information :
Embassy of the Republic of Cuba
388 Main St.
Ottawa ON. K1S 1E3
Tel: 613-563-0141 Fax: 613-563-0068
Cuba Tourist Board
55 Queen St. E, Suite 705
Toronto ON. M5C 1R6
Tel: 416-362-0700 Fax: 416-362-6799
I am starting with the add on which is what I think, would make your guests remember your wedding for a long, long time…
The Memories of Cuba Package can be added to the Joy, Bliss or Paradise wedding packages:
Price: $495.00 CAD
Memories of Cuba Package includes up to 15 guests - additional guests may be added for $25.00 per person.
I would also recommend:
The Private Alfresco Reception is designed for couples who would like to host a Private Reception for their Wedding Dinner, purchased in addition to the Joy, Bliss or Paradise wedding package
Price: $625.00 CAD
Package includes up to 15 guests - additional guests may be added for $25.00 per person.
*Location is determined by property and subject to availability
Memories Paradise Package Includes:
Price: $1025.00 CAD
Paradise package includes up to 15 guests - additional guests may be added for $25.00 per person.
Paradise wedding package can be upgraded to a civil ceremony with the addition of the notary fees – please see our “a la carte” services for pricing
Memories Bliss Package Includes:
Price: $775.00 CAD
(Bliss wedding package is for all markets except Russia)
Bliss package includes up to 15 guests - additional guests may be added for $25.00 per person.
Bliss wedding package can be upgraded to a civil ceremony with the addition of the notary fees – please see our “a la carte” services for pricing.
Memories Joy Package Includes:
Price: $575.00 CAD
Joy package includes up to 15 guests - additional guests may be added for $25.00 per person.
Joy wedding package can be upgraded to a civil ceremony with the addition of the notary fees – please see our “a la carte” services for pricing by property.
In order to obtain a free wedding package clients must stay at least 6 nights and have 18 pax per group. OR In order to obtain a free wedding package clients must stay at least 12 nights and have 9 pax per group
• Welcoming Cocktail
• Private Check –in
• Notary service, marriage license and legalization of documents
• Up grading (subject to availability)
• Personal Wedding Coordinator
• Sparkling wine in room upon arrival
• Decoration of selected location for the ceremony
• Bride´s bouquet and boutonnière for the groom
• Wedding Cake for the ceremony
• Sparkling wine for the toast
• Chambermaid service after 11:00 am and before 3:00pm on the wedding day
• Taped music (including wedding march)
• Semi private dinner in one of our a la cartes
• “Just Married” hanging sign in door
• Turn down service on the wedding evening
• Continental breakfast in room on the morning after the wedding ( 7-10:00am)
• Enjoy our Honeymoon Package
• Late Check Out 15:00hr (subject to availability)
REQUIRED DOCUMENTATION TO BE PRESENTED
* If divorced, divorce certificate
* If widowed, wedding certificate and death certification of the former spouse
* If single, just valid passports
* In all cases tourist card (visa) number and valid passport copies
Note: All documents should be translated into Spanish and legalized by the Cuban Consulate in the country of origin. Also, documents must be faxed or e-mail to the Wedding Coordinator at least six (6) weeks prior arrival. Along with the previous documents it is highly important to fill out the Wedding Form and Witness Information to be send to the wedding coordinator via e-mail or fax. Confirmation deadlines: 6 weeks in advance.
*To arrange wedding packages please contact the hotel directly.
WPIC’er, Holly Carney shares some helpful tips and advice that she gives to her clients when planning their honeymoon. Some great statistics and helpful hints that we as planners, can share with each of our clients. Thanks, for sharing with us, Holly!
Travel Only Expert (and tothebeach.ca blogger) Sherry Gratton came to mind for this post because of an image of Aruba she posted talking about how this destination receives 52 WEEKS OF SUNSHINE! Appropriate for a 52 WEEK savings challenge no? Photo Credit: http://tothebeach.ca/
According to a survey done by Wedding Papers Diva on engagements and wedding planning, they found that 40% of survey respondents averaged 13-18 months from the ring to the wedding day. According to Wedding Bells Readers Survey in 2013, the honeymoon could increase the wedding budget by $4700 on average. I don’t know about you but this vacation isn’t going to likely be your all-inclusive vacation to Cuba. You might want to do a few more excursions than you normally would or upgrade your suite or level of service or go somewhere a little more exotic? This can apply a lot of pressure on your wedding budget right? What if you could follow a savings plan over your 13-18 month engagement that would allow you to mindlessly but strategically save for your dream honeymoon without feeling like you’re sacrificing a lot?
What will your savings plan look like? Photo Credit: https://www.facebook.com/groups/Kassondras52WeekMoneyChallenge/
As 2013 ended and we moved into 2014 I started seeing the typical New Years Resolutions popping up everywhere but one stood out! The 52 Week Savings Challenge. From what I can find, it was started by a lady named Kassondra early in 2013. She has a website that you can sign up for free to help you track your progress and see your savings projection. This can be just the motivation you need and if you want accountability there is even a facebook group you can join and see how others are making their savings goals happen! Starting with a $1 a week each (max contribution per week will be $52), you could see $1378 dollars in savings after 12 months (52 weeks). If both of you are saving, this is now $2756. If you want to do more try doubling the amount and starting with $2 each per week (max contribution per week will be $104) which will result in a projected $5512. How much did we need for that honeymoon again? Looks like you might be able to spend a little more than we thought on this plan! AWESOME!
Setting SMART goals is the key! Photo Credit: http://heidipowell.net/
Thought I’d share this 52 Week Savings Challenge as it is something that I have adopted into my life for 2014. I don’t think this will be one of those resolutions that you start and don’t finish. If you prefer to see the savings add up but your contribution go down, START at the 52 week amount and go backwards! $52, $51, $50 … etc. In hindsight I should have started this way but it’s a personal choice! What motivates you? Are you joining the challenge? Join the original facebook group by clicking here. Visit the website by the challenge developer and sign up to track your progress by clicking here. Have an android? Download the app by clicking here. Let us know how you’re doing! Set S.M.A.R.T. goals with us! Remember this from school? S.M.A.R.T. goals are SPECIFIC, MEASURABLE, ACHIEVABLE, RELEVANT (results-focused, realistic, recorded) and TIME-BOUND. My favourite kind. Exactly the kind of goal you want to set while planning your wedding.
by Danielle Andrews Sunkel
Tracey and I are self-proclaimed “Conference Junkies”. We speak at conferences, we attend conferences, we plan conferences. We attend wedding conferences, meeting conferences, travel conferences and event conferences (I feel like I’m channeling Forrest Gump here). We attend between 10-15 conferences per year, and this year we will be travelling as far as Spain to attend a conference. So when I say, “It is very important that Wedding Professionals attend conferences,” you know I truly believe that.
Conferences are set up for each and every industry, so that you can learn important business strategy and the latest trends from the best and most successful in those industries. In order to be a better professional, you need to learn from the successful professionals.
Reasons to attend conferences:
Conferences range in price from $50-2800, with the average conference costing about $495 and that does not include your transportation, accommodation and often times food. No doubt, you make an investment when you attend a conference, but you are investing in making your business better and more profitable.
Some conferences are better than others, but for the most part, you will always come away with something you can apply to your business. If you learn even one tip that books you 2 clients, then the conference has more than paid for itself and you’ve still made a profit.
Choosing the right Conference
You need to look at what the target of the conference is, what they will be teaching you and if it is applicable to YOUR particular business and area. Are the speakers interesting? I find that the most well-known speakers give the fewest usable tips, so choose a conference based on the content rather than the speaker.
The best conferences will outline what the take-aways from the presentations will be, and whether the session is geared towards novice, intermediate or advanced professionals.
Conferences we regularly attend
Some of these we speak at, some we just make sure to attend, BUT, just because it is on my list, does not mean it’s the best conference for YOU. Just like a wedding, conferences are personal to the person ;) You are pretty certain to see us at: IdeaFest South Florida, Love Mexico, Engage!, Canadian Special Events Expo, The Special Event, Wedding MBA, ISES Live, to name but a few.
There is a conference for every wedding professional and even the most experienced person can learn a new thing or two. You really are doing a disservice to yourself and your clients if you are not attending at least one Industry conference each year.
What are your favorite conferences?
by Danielle Andrews Sunkel
There is an antiquated approach to marketing in the wedding industry and it is turning a lot of couples off. Many wedding professionals are still only marketing to brides. The problem is, a wedding does not belong to brides alone.
A wedding is a public event, celebrating the love and commitment between two people. It is the merging of families and a major milestone in the life of the two people getting married. It is not a celebration of a woman, those events are known as a Bat Mitzvah or a Quinceañera ;) Many times a wedding does not even have a bride, but rather two grooms, or maybe there are two brides, in those cases, whose wedding is it? A wedding belongs to the couple, the families and their guests.
Most weddings of today focus on the guest experience rather than making the bride a “princess for the day” and in non-same sex unions, grooms are actively involved in the wedding planning. I have encountered far more “Groomzillas” than “Bridezillas”, so the stereotype of the uninvolved groom does not apply.
Wedding Professionals, do yourself a marketing favor and start addressing “the couple”. Rid all marketing that is directed to “the bride” and embrace your potential clients in a non-sexist, modern way with inclusive wording.
by Danielle Andrews Sunkel
When speaking with recently married couples they seem to always have the same regrets:
I wondered what Professional Wedding Planners would have to say when asked the same question, so couples could learn from them. I asked our association of WPIC Certified Wedding Planners, “What is your biggest regret from your own wedding?” Here is what our WPICAlumni had to say:
“I would have hired a Coordinator! Confession: I’m a bit of a control freak and have a super hard time relinquishing control. If I could do everything over again, I would have hired a professional to oversee the day. It would have alleviated so many stresses!” -Christina Spring, A La Carte Event Management
“I would have hired a day-of coordinator! Had I have been more informed on what they did, I would have hired one. We had guests show up late (and I had to run to the kitchen to notify the caterers), my parents were the ones doing the last minute decor set up between ceremony and reception. My family also did the tear down at the end of the night while my friends and I were still dancing after midnight!” – Amanda Kueneman, Like a Star Wedding & Event Planning
“Yes, I am one of the unlucky professional wedding planners who is too much of a control-freak to hire her own planner…. Well, I paid the price on that one on many levels. I think this is why I feel so bad when I hear of couples that opt out of hiring day-of planners, it hits so close to home. If I had hired a day-of/month-of planner I would have prevented more than half of my stress and been able to enjoy my wedding day.” - Denise Newell, WeDDings Jubilee
“I would have taken a chill pill and tried to enjoy the planning process a little bit more. Found it very stressful taking everything on and I do this for a living. Even the planners need a planner, someone out of our circle to lend a hand, be a sounding board/therapist.” – Krista, KJ & Co. Events
“I definitely would have hired a coordinator. I couldn’t take charge of certain situations as the bride (like standing in an alcove hidden from the groom waiting for the ceremony to start).” – Nicole Marshall, Beautifully Planned Weddings & Events
“I would hire a professional videographer. My wedding video disappeared right after my wedding, I have never seen it. I suspect it got recorded over.” – Danielle Andrews Sunkel, The Wedding Planners
“I would have hired a different videographer. Found mine at the Wedding Show and since I originally did not want a video, I went with him because he was very affordable. Our video is boring. Although it is not horrible, anyone could have done it. I love the same day edits- would have done something like that.” – Cendi Micor, Immortal Weddings
“I also would have hired a professional videographer. Even if we had watched the video once, it would have been worth the investment, as I had a video but since it went for a walk into Land of the Lost while we were on our honeymoon, I’ll never have the chance to watch it. 6+ years, and it still upsets me.” – Erin Bosak, Erin Bosak Events
“I would have had a different videographer as well. We waited months and months to get the video, and it wasn’t great.” -Jacquie Swadi, One Sweet Day
“I wish I spent more time researching vendors in general but hands down I would have made a better choice on my video/photo vendor (you can’t put a price on capturing the moments of this day). I have the worst video & photos from my wedding I hate watching them as I get really upset even to this day.” – Sherisse Bhimani, The Wedding Decorators
“My biggest regret is not hiring a Videographer. I thought I would never watch the video and more likely to look at pictures. But even watching it once to see your emotion would have been well worth it!” – Jennie Dobrucki, A Divine Affair
“We chose to hire a videographer for the ceremony, and not the reception. Both my husband and I regret this because the speeches were incredibly moving, but they were not captured on film.” Hevin Anne Mueller, Story Weddings & Events
“Looking back there was only one thing I would have done differently, I would have had my videographer stay until the reception speeches were over. He captured the ceremony but marrying into a blended family, our children presented us with a song rewritten from the Brady Bunch theme, to my husband and I, it was our most memorable moment.” – Claudia Hynes, Details by Cludia Wedding Planner
“I would have invested in a better photographer and would have hired a videographer. There were so many moments I wish were captured but weren’t. Next time I’ll do it right! ” – Carolyne Allen, Events by Carolyne
“For my wedding I hired a friend to do the photography. At that time I didn’t realize the importance of hiring a PROFESSIONAL. That old saying, “you get what you paid for”….so true! My photos were horrible, I could have done a better job. Now, I tell all my clients don’t skimp on the important things, like photography, memories will fade but the photos will last a lifetime!” – Tracy Nolan, First Comes Love Weddings & Floral Design
“I would have taken the time to meet with a few more photographers to make sure they were the right match for us. We had a very tight budget and went with what we could afford. We liked their photos on their website so we thought everything would be fine. I’m not sure what it was, but I didn’t find our photos to be as nice as others, I even re-edited some of them myself, and we didn’t seem to jive well with the photographer. ” – Janelle Berard, Janelle Nicole Weddings
“As much as I adored my photographers (and love most of my photos) I wish they were a little more attentive (or I had an assistant coordinator keeping an eye on how we looked).” – Amanda Kueneman, Like a Star Wedding & Event Planning
“My Photographer who was a part-timer got called by his full time job to go to India on business 2 weeks before my wedding and sent his apprentice instead. She was horrible and I didn’t get any wedding photos of Merrill and I that were not blurry. In hindsight, I should have immediately hired someone else once I found that out. Even with only 2 weeks notice.” – Denise Newell, WeDDings Jubilee
“My biggest regret – not preparing a Must Have Photograph List for our photographer! Family and friends we hadn’t seen in eons (and won’t ever again!) were at our wedding and we didn’t get photos with them! Our consolation prize – we had instant cameras on every reception table, so each guest is in at least one photo – but not with us!” – Valerie Gower, The Occasion Sensation
“I would have hired a better photographer. Photos were hit or miss and she missed many great shots! The best piece of advice I have ever gotten and now use on my clients is ‘hire the best photographer you can afford’.” – Jennifer Borgh, Jennifer Borgh Events
“My only regret was not hiring a really amazing photographer. We decided to try and save money in this area and looking back I would have spent the money for a top photographer.” – Alexandra McNamara, Blush and Bowties
“I would have paid for a better DJ. I won a package from a local radio station that included a photo booth so I just hired a DJ from the same company, I thought it was the right thing to do because they donated a package worth $1000 and I didn’t think it would be right to bring in another company to do the DJ part. My guests liked him but I did not.” – Ashlie Metcalf, Harmony Wedding & Event Coordination
“I wish I knew the proper questions to ask when hiring a DJ so I could have picked someone else. We wanted an upscale non-cheesy, no silly game wedding (which we communicated to him verbally, but not on paper), and our DJ decided to do an Elvis impersonation contest with the guests in the middle of the dance party :s I am still trying to erase it from my memory.” -Janis Martinello, Brocade Events
“I also would have gone with a better DJ – I really wanted a great dance party & it went the opposite.” – Nicole Marshall, Beautifully Planned Weddings & Events
“I would have gone with my gut and changed the DJ I hired! After I hired him, I saw him work my friend’s wedding four months before mine. He was highly interactive and performed his MC duties in a 3-ring-circus sort of voice, and was very controlling — when he ran a kissing game and people were shouting out answers, he repeatedly tried to reinforce the rules (isn’t the point just to get them to kiss anyways? Who cares if the wrong table answers!). At that time, we discussed changing vendors due to the egomaniacy, but we had no games, and we had our own MC, so we didn’t think this level of presence would happen because it wasn’t necessary, so we still kept him on board. Well he had a huge ego. Yelled at my photographers, played music I specifically asked him not to, and was rude to my mother. At least 15 people came up to me during my wedding to tell me how rude he was to them (don’t put your drink there, don’t talk when I’m trying to announce something, going around individually and impatiently telling people to sit down for speeches). When we left at the end of the night, the on-site coordinator asked us, “If you could change any one thing about your wedding, what would it be?” And my new husband and I answered in unison, ‘The DJ!’ ” – Jennie Barrie
“Although I loved my venue, the reason I chose it was to be fair to our families and their travel time. If I had to do it over, I would’ve just done it where we initially wanted to, Niagara-on-the-lake, because the travel time wasn’t as big of an issue as we thought it was.” – Denise Newell, WeDDings Jubilee
“I definitely would have went after my venue over what was done for the hall. I was told 2 weeks before the wedding (because we went in to see the hall with my mother-in-law) that renovations would be finished before my wedding and there wouldn’t be any problems. When I got to my hall that morning to start decorating with family and friends, the hall was a DISASTER!! It was all gyprock, and beams and holes and nails.. it was AWFUL. Thankfully I had good friends and family to help do what we could for the hall. Again… it still looked awful. And we were already after paying (in full) and had nothing reimbursed to us (which to me was still in reno mode).” April Hogan, The Wedding Woman
“I would have allotted more time in between the ceremony and reception to hang out with my bridal party.” -Julia Pringle, Once Upon Your Day
“I would have allotted more time for photos of just my husband & I. Between the ceremony & reception we wanted to get so many photos with friends & family members and only got a few good ones of the two of us! I also really love when couples get “first look” photos before the ceremony, and I wish we would have done them.” – Merridyth Marshall, Custom Elegance
“The biggest regret I guess would have been not putting up a polite signage at my dessert/cake table asking my guests to eat the dessert at the dessert time or after I cut my cake. My cupcakes and macaroons were GONEEEEEEEEEEEE in 20 minutes (literally as guests are taking their seats). I was disappointed to not have anything left before making my grand entrance, lol.” – Jessie Huang
“I would write my thank you speech, and make my husband do the same! I had so many other things on my mind, I completely forgot about my speech, then decided to wing it, until my husband went on some crazy rant, by the time he finished I was laughing too hard to say anything other than ‘Thanks!’” – Melissa Gurley, Gurley Events
“I didn’t do a speech because I was afraid I would cry. A decision I still regret. A wedding is the perfect opportunity to publicly honour your friends and family and express your love and gratitude to them. And if there are a few tears, that’s OK.” – Christine March, Imprint Wedding Design & Coordination
“I would have gone with a less traditional dress. I wanted black or some black and did not go with that.’ – Cendi Micor, Immortal Weddings
“I would have had two dresses! My dress was so big that it made it difficult to dance well with a partner, i would keep the same dress for the ceremony and reception but i would get a shorter dress to dance! Plus I love short wedding dresses!” – Roxane Aubin, Evidement Weddings
“I wish we had hired/delegated a family member to do the day-after stuff (pick-up decor and rentals from the venue, drive all over the city returning things to the groomsmen, picking up our gifts etc.) It really killed the first day of being husband and wife, fortunately we were off the next day for our mini moon.” – Jillian Turner, Confetti Co Weddings
“I would have delegated the day after tasks to family so everyone wasn’t running around first thing in the morning trying to load cars and check out on time.” – Sara Drummond-Ghetu, Taliyah-Love Weddings
“I would have been a little more fussy at the salon. My hair was nothing like what I wanted it to be and not at all like the trial. Very disapointing but I didn’t want to be a “bridezilla” and decided to let it slide. Every time I look at the pictures, I still regret it.” - Janelle Berard, Janelle Nicole Weddings
“I wasn’t really happy with my bridal look, so I would change the way my hair & makeup looked.” - Malvina Pelleriti, Brilliant Weddings
“I really wished that I had chair covers and asked about the length of the table linens. I really loved the venue (Millcroft Inn) with its stone walls and rustic charm but the chairs almost looked like office/banquet chairs and the linen wasn’t long to the ground so it exposed the table legs. Every time I look back at the reception photos I could kick myself for not spending a little extra to make the room perfect.” – Laura Scott, Tula Events
More than anything, I think it boils down to: Hire a professional Wedding Coordinator! They have learned from experience, so they know how to make your day the best it can be!
By Preeti Moberg, The Big Fat Indian Wedding
If you are a planning your first Indian wedding, there are probably a myriad of questions flying through your head. And you are probably also feeling a little overwhelmed by the complexity, length, and sheer size of the wedding.
That is okay. Indian weddings, and any South Asian wedding, are overwhelming. There is a joke that if you haven’t done an Indian wedding, you haven’t won the Hunger Games. Indian weddings are overwhelming for anyone involved in it, the bride, the groom, the families, the vendors, even the first-time Indian wedding guests. There is so much color, so many details, rich cultural history, long poojas (prayers), and lots of food.
So first, breathe. Take a deep breath and know that it will all be okay. Now, it’s time to begin educating yourself on some of the Indian wedding “must-knows:”
The Religion & Culture
First thing first. To throw an “Indian” wedding is to really throw a wedding that is specific to a religion, a region, a group, and a tribe of Indians. Know where your clients hail from and take notes on what kind of wedding traditions are particularly important to them.
Families are everything in Indian weddings as a wedding is NOT between two people, but instead, between two families. When it comes to financing the Big Day, different family members typically pay for different components of the wedding. If the couple wants to exert more decision-making in the planning process, then they will pay for most of the events. With Indian weddings, the family will want to be involved throughout the process, and clashes may pop up so it’s imperative that you put on your peacemaking cap to navigate everyone to amicable solutions.
An Indian wedding will most likely be one of the largest events you will plan. An average reception is 400-800 people, and an average wedding ceremony is 150-400 people. It is vital you work with vendors that understand these large sizes and have had experience working with them. You will also need to think about more room reservations, lots more food and drinks, more children guests, more favors, more photographers. More, more, more.
You can drop the American wedding palettes of “blush and bashful.” While there will be some brides who want a modern, western look, you will mostly encounter brides and families who want color, and lots of it. You’ll find that some brides already have a color theme in mind but for those who don’t, consider steering them towards a bright color palette.
There are many more events than just the rehearsal dinner, the wedding, and the reception, and with that comes additional considerations. The baraat, for example, is the groom’s entrance for the wedding ceremony. Families love to get a horse, elephant, or a fancy car for the event and some even want city blocks closed down. Get all the permits and approval in order well in advance.
Additionally, there is also the real issue of Indian Standard Time, in which events start 1-2 hours later than the posted time. With this, you will need to buffer time into events, while also working with the families to ensure they get their guests there on time.
As with any ethnic groups, Indians have a variety of dietary restrictions. You need to discuss what restrictions there are for *each* event and ensure that the off-limit items are nowhere to be found. Many hotels are caterers today under the food restrictions of Indians, but check twice.
Some events may also be alcohol free. This is your time to come up with tasty, refreshing mocktails to serve.
These are just a few things for you to remember when planning your first Indian wedding. Do your due diligence by going online and asking veteran wedding planners for their advice, and don’t be afraid to ask the couple questions as well. The more confident you are about the event, the better it will run.
And remember, take a deep breath and have fun!
Preeti Moberg is the founder of The Big Fat Indian Wedding, an online bridal resource that inspires with South Asian Wedding traditions, trends, fashion and real weddings.
By Urszula Matuszak, WPIC Intern
*All photos by: Tracey Manailescu
On January 22, the Toronto Region Board of Trade hosted an open house for The 1845 Room by Oliver & Bonacini. With a parking garage attached and King station only a 5 minute walk away, this venue is very easy to get to. Unfortunately, the only issue with the venue is finding your way around the enormous First Canadian Place building in which the venue is located. However, once you enter The 1845 Room you are immediately hypnotized by the spectacular lights, decor, and music, and the journey that got you there is no longer relevant.
Large windows covered the front wall of the ceremony room allowing the natural sunlight in during the day and the beautiful city lights at night. This room would be a perfect fit for a city-loving couple that want to say their vows with the view of Toronto behind them. Fitting approximately 350 guests, this spacious room makes a beautiful ceremony room as well as a fantastic reception room. Doors line the back of the ceremony room and lead into the Cocktail Reception room. These doors can be shut during Cocktail Hour in order to completely convert the Ceremony Room into a vivacious Reception Room.
The Cocktail Reception
Centred in the Cocktail Reception room is its most important feature, the bar. Next to the bar were two food stations. The first station served mouth-watering seared rice cakes and pork belly with gojuchang, napa slaw and black sesame. The second station served a flavorful smoked Lake Huron fish dressed in maple mustard, celeriac, rutabaga, green apple and grilled bannock. These stations definitely had me coming back for seconds. The only flaw with the Cocktail Reception room was the view of the office building next door. If holding an event here, I would suggest keeping the window shades closed or draping a beautiful fabric for that added personal touch.
The reception room was lit with yellows, purples, and pinks and the ceiling was covered with oversized balloons. This room could make the shyest person break out of their comfort zone. The atmosphere was energetic and the music helped the party come to life. A dance floor sat under 3 big-screen TV’s, giving any planner a sense of excitement with the amount of possibilities that could be done with them. This large room, if using rounds of 8 and including the dance floor, would be able to fit approximately 220 guests. You can party all night with all of your friends and family while enjoying the delectable food prepared by the Oliver & Bonacini catering crew.
The Bridal Suite
The first thing that caught my eye in the bridal suite was the pastry table with a donut tree done by Glory Hole Donuts. This table could turn any calorie-counting female into a donut eating machine. In the middle of the room was a beautifully arranged table with a large floral centrepiece provided by Jackie O. From the bridal dressing table flowed a long train of leaves stemmed from a bouquet of roses. At first glance anyone could see that this bridal suite would calm the nerves of any bride. Its black and white theme with accents of nature filled the room with a sense of serenity and peace, surely to leave a bride with only one thought: the endless love between her and the man of her dreams.
The 1845 Room has an outstanding $110 package which includes: