A FEW YEARS AHEAD
Money matters: You cannot have a great wedding without the moolah! If you are funding your own wedding or if you are a parent planning your child’s wedding, first things first—start saving. Invest in shares and mutual funds to get great returns.
Golden glory: The price of gold keeps varying. It is best to buy at least one piece of gold jewellery every six months. You can always trade it in for the latest designs, when the time comes.
Peek-a-boo: It is never too early to start looking for the perfect match! As the soon-to-be bride or groom, you may want to find someone for yourself or let your family find a suitable spouse for you. It gives ample time to do background checks on your fiancé and his family.
6 MONTHS AHEAD
Fix a date: Set a date that gives you ample time for the wedding preparation. Try your best to keep your wedding and reception on weekends so that your guests can easily fit you into their schedules.
Engagement party: Once you have the perfect date, announce it to the entire world—have a formal engagement at least six months before the wedding—it could be an intimate gathering at home, or at a banquet hall.
Guest list: Get a rough guest list from both the families for the wedding—this will help you in deciding the budget for venue and catering.
Set the venue: These days it has become a norm to have a theme or a destination wedding—after everything is finalised, pick a city and shortlist the venues. This will give you ample time to personally check the infrastructure of the venues like rooms, water, car parking etc.
Budget plans: After you have a clear idea of the budget, make a list of your investments—it will help you decide on when you want to withdraw them. Sometimes you may feel like splurging on entertainment such as DJs, dance performances, musicians and much more—be sure to have an outer limit!
4 MONTHS AHEAD
Trousseau shopping: It is never too early to start your trousseau shopping like bed and table linens, crockery, clothes, accessories, lingerie, etc.
Invites: The trend nowadays is to have two sets of weddings cards—a traditional one sent out by the families and a quirky one sent out by the couple. After you decide on the wordings, take a few sample printouts to check the quality of the print. Send out the invites at least two months in advance, which gives your invitees enough time to RSVP.
Accommodation: Arrange a place for your friends and relatives to stay. If you don’t have the budget to put them up in hotels, there are any number of really good service apartments with good amenities. Do the R&D and work the math.
Services: Make a list of all the service providers for the wedding like caterers, confectioners, decorators, photographers, make-up and hair stylists, videographers etc. This will give you enough time to brief them about your preferences, check samples and negotiate the price.
3 MONTHS AHEAD
Gifts galore: Arrange for tamboolams and return gifts for your guests. Also, this is the time to buy customary presents for your relatives, parents-in-laws and your spouse.
Routine check-up: A wedding in the family is sure to give rise to a lot of stress and health issues. Visit the doctor for a routine check-up; take flu shots and even nutritious supplements if necessary.
Lessons to learn: There is sure to be entertainment at a wedding! It is never too late to sign up for dance or music lessons.
2 MONTHS AHEAD
Wedding ensemble: Two months before the wedding is the ideal time to design or buy your wedding day, reception and bachelorette party outfits because all your exercise routines and diets would have paid off by then. Make sure it compliments your better-half’s outfit as well.
Jewellery: Once your outfits have been chosen, assign the jewellery to complement each outfit.
Tailoring: There are is always a dearth for good tailors. Do the necessary R&D and fix up on a good tailor. Sit with him/her and design your wedding blouses. Let him take the measurements instead of giving him a sample blouse.
Footwear: Don’t forget to buy matching and comfortable footwear. If need be, have them customised!
Party-time: Host a party as a couple so that you can meet your fiancé/fiancée’s friends.
Honeymoon calling: Find a place that you and your soon-to-be spouse love! Discuss on how you are going to finance it—if you are going abroad, get your passports and visas ready. Do the research to get the best flight and accommodation deals.
1 MONTH AHEAD
Trial run: For the bride—try on your wedding outfit with jewellery and footwear. Try different kinds of hairstyles and make-up to decide on your looks. For the groom—along with the outfit, try a variety of hairstyles; make sure you don’t use too much gel to set your hair.
Confirmation: Call all your service providers and re-confirm the date and time.
Bachelor/bachelorette party: Calm those pre-wedding jitters by having a good time with your friends. If you are planning an outstation/abroad trip, plan well in advance!
1 WEEK AHEAD
Spa package: Sign up with a spa and go for massage with a good therapy. All spas have a special bridal package these days that offer services from manicure to special massages.
12 hours of sleep: There is nothing you are going to achieve in a week that you haven’t achieved in six months. Get your body and mind to relax and the only way to do that is to get a good night’s sleep.
Pre-functions: Make sure everything is ready for the mehendi and sangeeth.
Logistics: If you need to arrange for transport to pick up and drop people, now is the time to do it.
Packing: Pack all your necessary wedding clothes and jewellery to take to the venue. Label them as per the function so you don’t have last minute confusion.
Last minute changes: Any modifications you want to make in terms of the menu or the décor, the week prior to the wedding is the right time to do it.
ON THE D DAY
Arrive at the venue well before time to check if everything is going smoothly. Keep the soon-to-be bride and groom’s rooms well stocked with fruits, cold and hot beverages and lots of tissues. It is best to have a needles, threads and sequins in the room for last minute alterations. Make sure there is a first aid kit close-by. Arrange for ushers at the entrance to guide the guests to their seats and to the dining area. Having valet parking at the venue is a big plus. Also arrange for a well-known friend or relative to handle all the wedding presents and bouquets. More importantly, enjoy the festivities without losing your nerve!