As we all know, Indian Weddings involve several days of celebration, weeks of relatives in town, and months of planning. Planning Elegance would like to bring you a special two-part feature about how to plan the perfect Hindu Wedding just as our clients Pooja and Suraj did earlier this year. Part 1 involves information on the couple, how & when to book a wedding coordinator and Pooja & Suraj’s Mehndi Party day. Part 2 of How to Plan the Perfect Indian Wedding with the next three days of Pooja and Suraj’s perfect Indian wedding weekend including their Sangeet Music Party, Ceremony, and Reception! We will walk you through the various ways they selected venues, set their traditional events apart and brought unique twists to each event.
During wedding planning time, Pooja Mapara was doing her medical doctor residency working long hours with a very supportive family behind her. Suraj Akotia Patel is a licensed lawyer practicing law in Anaheim, CA with a family that holds in high regard cultural and family wedding traditions. They were high school sweethearts and were very excited to start the next chapter of their lives together. Pooja and Suraj are both very smart and knew that they had a challenge ahead of them in trying to balance so many wedding events into a few days. They chose to get married during Memorial Weekend 2011, which gave provided an extra day off for their guests, but a race to book a venue and good vendors for this high-demand wedding weekend.
How to Start the Indian Wedding Planning Process
This was going to be the first wedding in both Pooja and Suraj’s families, therefore the couple and their parents all quickly agreed to hire a wedding coordinator very early in the planning process. Suraj’s father contacted Planning Elegance first just for wedding and event venue selection advice. Upon a long phone consultation, he realized the value of hiring a coordinator prior to selecting the venues for their various events so that professionals could help negotiate pricing, review the contracts, make suggestions on which events to have where, and work with both families to educate everyone on the top priorities when selecting each venue.
A couple weeks later it was exactly 12 months prior to the upcoming wedding, Planning Elegance got a phone call from Pooja’s mother requesting an in-person consultation, explaining that they’d like to hire a coordinator immediately to assist with venue selection, lay out suggested deadlines for the planning process, and make vendor recommendations with detailed explanations of the pros and cons of each vendor option.
After the complimentary in person consultation at Planning Elegance’s office in Orange, CA, the couple and parents all agreed that hiring Planning Elegance was the right fit for their personalities and their needs. We went through the Planning Elegance booking contract thoroughly, answered all their questions, and got started with their venue search, to-do list, and vendor recommendations immediately. From there on out the parents were all definitely more relaxed knowing that they had a point-person to go to with every question and the bride and groom were happy knowing that all the planning pressure wasn’t on them, however that they would always get the opportunity to make the final decision on every detail.
Advice to future brides:
- Begin contacting wedding coordinators very early to be educated on what you need and where you need to go next
- Know WHY you want to hire a wedding coordinator
- Know what you want from a coordinator and tell them so that they can deliver
- Choose a coordinator who you feel very comfortable with and do not find annoying, you will be talking to them a LOT throughout the entire planning process
Indian Wedding Day 1: Pithi (Haldi) Ceremony, Ganesh Pooja, and Mehndi Party
Both families wanted to keep many of the traditional small ceremonies that go with a Hindu wedding, however had the challenge of having enough time to be able to accommodate all their events. After many discussions involving balancing pros and cons, everyone came to the consensus that the first wedding day would be a long one involving the traditional Pithi (Haldi Ceremony) at each family’s respective homes almost immediately followed by the traditional Gujarati Ganesh Pooja and Mandap Murath Pooja. After a few hour break, both families and more guests would celebrate a fun mehndi night full of entertainment and food to kick-off the wedding celebrations with smiles and laughter.
Venue: The Mapara Residence in Anaheim, CA because they wanted one event to have a personal and welcoming touch. With enough space and great themed décor, the best place to have the welcoming first event is the bride’s home.
Traditional Touches: Although the traditional Gujarati ceremonies held during the day were slightly shortened to be able to accommodate everything in one day, everyone was very happy to be able to keep those cultural and religious wedding traditions.
Unique Twists: The mehndi party in the evening was one of the most eventful parties that Planning Elegance has ever seen! With an outdoor poolside event, top-notch ambient lighting, Moroccan themed décor, 5 piece jazz band, and fresh Mexican food buffet, there was definitely something for everyone.
Advice to future brides:
- The mehndi event should be fun for you too. Take Pooja’s advice and get your mehndi done before all the fun starts so that you have time to mingle, dance, and eat comfortably.
- Personalize it! The tradition of henna on brides will last forever, however the actual mehndi party is a unique event that you should make your own. There are no set “rules” or boundaries for this event, it’s one that you can twist and turn to showcase your personality.
- Having an event at your home is great, but you have to do it right. It worked for Pooja and Suraj because they had a coordinator managing everything in the behind the scenes, plenty of décor to turn the Mapara home into a venue, ambient lighting to set the mood of the event, and a service staff to set-up, clean-up, serve food, tend bar, and stay throughout the end of the night to ensure that the family all enjoyed themselves.
Tune in to Planning Elegance’s blog next week for Part 2 of this article with the next three days of Pooja and Suraj’s perfect Indian wedding weekend including their Sangeet Music Party, Ceremony, and Reception! Keep up to date with our blog for new wedding ideas, trends & tips! Also, don’t forget to check out Advice for Indian Brides and Indian Wedding Fashion Tips.
All images by AAcreation Photography.