Preparing for a marriage event is akin to orchestrating a grand symphony, where every detail harmonizes to create a memorable experience. As hosts, navigating the complexities of planning can be both exhilarating and daunting. However, with meticulous planning, the journey towards a successful and stress-free event becomes not only manageable but also immensely rewarding. In this guide, we delve into the intricacies of marriage preparation, offering practical insights and tips to help you navigate through this enriching yet challenging endeavor:

  1. Choosing the Event Date – Time is a critical resource when planning a marriage event, akin to having a valuable asset at your disposal. While the event date is often influenced by various constraints, maximizing your control over time can lead to a smooth, stress-free, and memorable preparation period. With ample time on your side, you can make steady progress in your preparations without disrupting your daily routine.
    Last year, when I advocated for an April wedding over January, it sparked disappointment among several family members. However, I recognized that opting for a stress-free marriage preparation required ample time. Leveraging weekends, I dedicated myself to wedding preparations while seamlessly managing gym sessions and work commitments throughout the week leading up to the wedding, ensuring minimal disruption to my daily routine.
  2. Choosing the Event Venue – Having ample time not only provides you with a wide array of venue options but also allows you to select one that is conveniently close to your residence. Opting for a nearby venue facilitates easy commuting and logistics management. Once you finalize the venue, you can seamlessly proceed with planning other essential services such as decorations, lighting, catering, and more.
    After shifting our wedding date from January to April, I was delighted to secure a stunning venue just an 8-minute drive from my home, a significant improvement from the initial 20-minute distance.
  3. Prioritize Health Checkups – First things first! Addressing health concerns early not only ensures your well-being but also prevents last-minute disruptions. For instance, we had pending dental and eye checkups, and completing these procedures, including dental treatments and updating spectacles, well ahead of time relieved us of unnecessary stress, allowing us to focus wholeheartedly on marriage preparation.
  4. List the Rituals/Functions – Create a comprehensive list of all the rituals and functions to guide the outfit choices and the material requirements.
    As a first-time host, I engaged in numerous discussions with experienced individuals to compile the rituals and meticulously plan each detail. This process not only provided clarity but also established subgoals to tackle methodically.
  5. Shopping Preparation – Time also enables thorough shopping preparation for clothes, ornaments, gifts, and more. You should get on to shopping on the word go, so that you get enough time to get the right things. But, begin by creating a shopping plan, listing everything needed, specifying quantities and requirements for each item. Decide whether online purchases or visiting physical stores is preferable. Shopping becomes very optimized and organized activity, with such a plan in place.
    Upon completing my shopping preparations, I meticulously documented a comprehensive list of shops to visit and the items to purchase at each, along with their respective quantities. This detailed inventory not only facilitated efficient in-store shopping but also streamlined the process of placing online orders, allowing me to strategize the sequence of purchases effectively.
  6. To-do list Management – As you start working on several fronts, start maintaining a to-do list so as to utilize your time appropriately and execute actions based on priority. Maintain time sensitive tasks in the calendar so that you do not miss the dates. You may also have an independent list of articles that you want to shop for to track them specifically.
    As the event date approaches, it’s essential to create a separate to-do list specifically for tasks during the event. This ensures that crucial tasks are not overlooked amidst the flurry of activities.
  7. Budgeting – Establish a budget for the event and determine specific limits for each expense category to prevent having a big hole in your pocket. Utilize available standard budget templates from the internet, which often outline the typical allocation of expenses across various categories. Choose a template that aligns closely with your desired budget structure and adapt it to your specific needs. This approach helps maintain financial discipline and ensures effective expense management throughout your marriage preparation.
  8. Hiring an Event Planner – Delegation is the key for the self-preservation and it’s true here too. Hire an event planner who could coordinate all the vendors and activities during the event. They are experienced, know the trends and will help to get services from the reliable and cost effective vendors. This will also ensure that you are reasonably free during the event to attend to your guests and enjoy the function than worrying about the execution of the event.
    Imagine how complex this write-up would have been, had I not hired an evet planner!
  9. Guest List Management – At the outset, create multiple lists for guests as per your way categorization. I had just two lists – relatives and friends. Begin adding names as they come to mind, even if there’s a possibility of inviting them. Prior to sending invitations, review the lists and finalize who you wish to invite. Include a column for estimating the number of attendees against each of the guest and additional columns to track whether invitations were sent or if reminder calls were made.
    This event presents an excellent networking opportunity, providing a chance to reconnect with friends and relatives. Allocate ample time to engage with them during invitation calls and plan introductions based on shared interests when they attend the event. This thoughtful approach fosters meaningful connections and enhances the overall experience for everyone involved.
  10. Making Playlists – You may also want to start making playlists of songs to play during various functions as it takes time to fine tune them to your taste.
  11. Expense Tracking – Keep a record of expenses to ensure that you are in budget – As you start shopping and paying advances to vendors start recording them against those respective expense heads, so that you keep track of your payments and the budget.
  12. Home Organization – Arrange/secure stuff at few planned places at home – As you start procuring clothes, jewelry and other material, store them at appropriate places. Preferably, you would like to clear a cupboard so that most of the stuff stays together at one place. Maintain a small table in your record book, about “where is what”, so that you do not misplace things and then get disappointed at the time when they are needed. Maintain the same discipline as you pack things into your bags, to carry them to the marriage hall. You should precisely know what is kept in what bag.

A note on the tools required for planning: Managing numerous lists and tables in real-time can be incredibly cumbersome and prone to errors when done manually on paper. Therefore, I strongly advocate using a spreadsheet application. Such an app provides multiple tabs, each capable of hosting tables, offering a structured and organized approach to your planning process. Moreover, storing the spreadsheet on the cloud ensures constant accessibility from anywhere, allowing for seamless coordination and updates on the go.

By following these steps and utilizing your time effectively, you can ensure a well-planned and memorable marriage event, as I could 😊.

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(Originally published in Times of India on April 13, 2024)