The big fat Indian wedding season is here! Simki Dutta speaks to some ladies who share their wedding stories and advise those who are planning their own big day.
From sending out invites to selecting your trousseau to deciding the menu -- planning a wedding is no easy task! And to top it all, you have those pre-wedding jitters to deal with.
So how should you go about your preparations? Read on to know how these couples geared up for D-day!
Amishi Choksi and Bhavesh Bhagat
Amishi and Bhavesh tied the knot in July, 1997 in Mumbai.
"Typically the actual wedding ceremony is arranged by the bride's family and the reception is handled by the groom's, but in our case, both our families made the wedding arrangements together, as we had a lot of guests. The invitation cards were selected by my parents and me after going through several samples from different stores. Bhavesh's family did the same too. They had their own different set of invitation cards," says Amishi.
Amishi's wedding trousseau was put together by a designer friend who specialised in bridalwear. "She came everywhere with me, to choose the fabrics and other accessories that were required for each individual piece. Most of my jewellery was custom-made, as both my mom and I worked with the jewellery designer in conceptualising each piece," says she.
As far as the venue was concerned, they made sure it was centrally located for the guests and was air-conditioned. Talking about the wedding menu, she says, "The menu selection was a joint affair from both sides and everyone's input was taken. We had a vast variety of vegetarian food and it was one of the highlights of the evening. The caterers came attached with the venue and they did a great job."
Like any other girl, even Amishi had those last minute pre-wedding jitters. "I was really anxious to the point of throwing up the night before my wedding. All the excitement of planning the wedding, shopping for my trousseau, finding my life partner had kept me distracted from focusing on what lay ahead -- that I would be going away from not just my family but the country as well, for good. However, everything said and done, the wedding turned out to be fabulous and everything worked out well," she adds.
Amishi's advice -- planning a wedding is a family affair. Everyone from parents to grandparents, uncles and aunts have a say in how it should be planned. When a lot of minds are at work, there is bound to be trouble, so it's always important to focus on the big picture and not sweat the small stuff. Try to keep your cool and enjoy all the love and attention you are getting, for this is your day. Live it up!
'Our wedding was the wedding of my dreams!'
Neha Mishra and Vikas Jha
"Our wedding was the wedding of my dreams! Neither a lavish wedding, nor an ordinary one! For me it was simply perfect," says Neha Mishra who got married to Vikas Jha in March, 2008. As soon as the date was finalised, Neha's father decided the budget and divided the work among her family members.
The invitation cards were sent via post to all the guests as it's a tradition they follow. "The card was chosen by my mother as it is said to be an auspicious thing and the lady of the house must have a say in that. Though we had fancy options, we did not spend much on it. We went for a basic design, but personalised it a bit by adding map directions to the venue etc," explains Neha.
The Delhi market happens to be a hotspot for wedding shopping and Neha too decided to get her bridalwear from there. "I got my other dresses from Patna. My mother-in-law's friend owns a boutique there and she designed everything the way I conveyed to her on phone. So, it helped me save a lot of time, which would have otherwise got wasted running from one shop to another," she says.
Vikas was equally involved in the preparations too. As the wedding took place in his town, he was there to guide Neha's family throughout the event. "Vikas helped us choose the wedding venue as he was more familiar with the city. It took place in a community hall and all the decorations were managed by the staff as per our guidance. The reception was planned in a lavish way and it took place in one of Patna's best hotels," adds Neha.
The typical Bihari wedding that it was, they made sure the food too was that way. "We had a very famous local cook with us to help us decide on the menu. As many of the guests were arriving from other states, we wanted them to have typical Bihari food so that they get to know the state's culture and also get to taste something different," she explains.
Talking about pre-wedding jitters, Neha says, "Vikas and I were given six months before marriage to know each other. I got time to know him and his family. Similarly, I also shared my expectations with him. So I was not nervous. But yes, I knew that marriage would bring a lot of new responsibilities with it. I was a bit apprehensive about whether I would be able to stand perfect."
Neha was more than satisfied with the outcome of her wedding, as everything was as per her wish. "From the selection of flowers for the mandap decoration, to the menu for guests, to the colour of my wedding outfits, the design of jewellery, the mehendi function, the design of invitation cards...my father took my suggestion in everything. My in-laws too never made any demands. Everything turned out to be perfect," she says.
Neha's advice -- instead of leaving things to elders of the family, both the bride and the groom should be involved in the marriage planning process, from budgeting to shopping to decorating...everything. Just get into the field and take on some responsibilities. It will add more fun and memories to your marriage experience.
'Try not to get worked up for small things'
Anju Soneja and Sourin Dutta
Bengali guy meets Punjabi girl, they fall in love and get married. That's the story of Sourin and Anju, who got married in December 2004, in complete Bengali style.
It was a 'short and sweet' affair. "We made all the wedding arrangements on our own, both our families were involved," says Anju. She started her preparations three months prior to the wedding. "The invitation cards were chosen by my in-laws and we sent the same set of cards to both sides of the family," she adds.
"From the wedding trousseau to the jewellery and everything else, all my shopping was done from Mumbai with the help of my bhabhi and my sister, who got a few things from Delhi. There was a lot of shopping to do considering my wedding was taking place in another city altogether," says she.
"The engagement was held by us in Mumbai and the wedding took place in Guwahati, that's where Sourin's family is from. Typical Bengali cuisine was served at the wedding."
Anju was pretty calm and composed throughout, but as D-day approached, she found herself getting nervous. And when asked how nervous her husband was, she smiles and says "Being a guy, he wasn't that nervous at all. I'm glad he reached on time for all the customs and the wedding ceremony! No but on a serious note, I knew he was just a call away, always there for me, to calm me down whenever I got stressed."
The proper Punjabi she is, did she not miss the authentic Punjabi wedding? "Talking about Punjabi and Bengali traditions, I don't think I missed out on anything because I had a Punjabi engagement coupled with a Bengali wedding. Above all, I was glad to see the way things turned out. My wedding has to be the best thing that's ever happened to me," she adds.
Anju's advice -- your wedding is a once-in-a-lifetime event (at least in most cases!) so make it grand! Try not to get worked up for small things and start well in advance to avoid complications!