JANNAT WEDDING SERIES: VENUES

Photo credit: Morgan Houghton  www.morganhoughtonphotography.com    

Photo credit: Morgan Houghton www.morganhoughtonphotography.com
 

Photo credit: Morgan Houghton  www.morganhoughtonphotography.com

Photo credit: Morgan Houghton www.morganhoughtonphotography.com

Wedding planning seemed like a daunting task to begin with. And on top of that everyone I had talked to said: its so overwhelming, its like having another job, you will never be satisfied…

All the post engagement and pre-wedding planning banter was quite worrisome to be honest. There were very few friends and family in my network who had something positive to say about the wedding planning process. So here I was on the cusp of planning the most exciting week of my life and already dreading it.

We started off with the big stuff (this is the easiest part).

Lets begin with WEDDING VENUES.

I talked to my family and my fiancé Jaz, talked to his. We decided on the number of events that would require a venue in 2 days. Once we had that, we went back to our families and asked about ball park numbers. And much to our surprise- our families asked us what we had in mind.

This is what changed the way we approached the rest of the wedding planning.

The counter questions made us as THE COUPLE realize that a lot of the onus on the scale and how this is going to get rolled out was up to us. (Thank you family– we know this is not always the case in our culture). So Jaz and I had a discussion about what is our ideal guest list range. Are we thinking < 200 people, between 200-300 people? 400-500 or 500+. Its so important for the couple to be on the same page first and foremost. So we decided on a number that worked for our size of network.

We then literally split this number by half and went back to our families and said “ballpark – this is how many guests we can have per venue related event”.

Once each family OKed the numbers for the events we set out to find our dream venues.

For us we needed 3 – one for the Sangeet (pre-wedding musical party), the Gurdwara (the sikh temple we would get married in) and our Reception venue.

Having your numbers already decided wins half the venue battle. It narrows down the list to options that can cater to your wedding/ party size. And then… you google. Yes google “wedding venues name of your city”. Make an excel. Tracking is key. Grab venue names, location, email address and phone number. Put it in your excel and add a column at the end “Contact Responsibility & Notes” and “Cost”. This will help you divvy up the work and type in updates regarding each place (what they said, their availability). The cost column helps you compare and contrast your options as well.

Once your excel is ready to go. You need to decide on DATES. You will never be able to nail down the venue unless you know what dates you need it for. Now for Caucasian weddings… you usually have 1 date. For us in the South Asian Diaspora… we have a week long of celebrations. So whatever event you need venues for, decide the date of those between the families before cold calling venues for availability. This will add to your efficiency of when you start making calls. Once you have the dates, start tackling the list of venues on your excel.

Key Learning: Divy up the venue list equally between the bride and groom. So it doesn’t come up later and one person doesn’t feel over worked and isolated in the planning process.

Once you find venues who are available for your date, ask for costing information and when you can come in to look at the venue physically. (Never book a room from imagery you see on websites and Instagram. This is a pretty important element of your wedding experience, so go look at it in person and see if it fits the bill).

This is pretty much how Jaz and I came down to narrowing our wedding venues for our 3 events. At the final stages before booking – we wanted our families to get a bit more involved and also be happy with our venue choices. So we showed our final 2 choices for each of the events to both our moms (set up appointment tours). And thankfully for us, both moms were on board and liked the same places. At the end to finalize venues, the bride and groom should decide who will pay the deposits to confirm bookings and update the excel sheet accordingly.

Weddings in our culture is such a group effort. But its important to know when 2 people should be involved and when 6 people should be involved in a decision. And what stage do you make sure everyone feels inclusive without compromising your timelines and efficiency. There is 2 sides of every coin… on one hand you want to be cognizant of everyone’s feelings and make family members feel invested and on the other, you literally can’t do it with them. So its important to function in a way where all parties feel like their views are respected. But as a couple, you need to function like 1 project management unit and then get buy-in at the right stages.

Thankfully we had a year to plan our wedding – so we weren’t crunch for time, but we were for venues (the lucrative ones get taken fast around here!). So we decided to plan venues in phases as described above. See below for an easy snap shot of...

WEDDING VENUE PLANNING:

Phase 1: How many events require venues?

People involved: Bride + Groom + Parents of both families

Phase 2: How many people per event at the venues?

People involved: Bride + Groom decide on ballpark and then take back to parents/ family for approval

Phase 3: Venue Research

(Includes building an excel to keep the information organized)

People involved: Bride + Groom

Phase 4: Venue Outreach

People Involved: Bride + Groom (remember to divvy up equally so you don’t over burden one)

Phase 5: Venue Tours (Top 2 venue choices for each event) 

People Involved: Bride + Groom + Parents ( or atleast 1 family member from each side) tour the shortlisted venues.

Phase 6: Finalize Venues

People Involved: Bride + Groom

I hope my #JANNAT2018 wedding series helps you in your wedding/ party planning. Is this helpful? Do you want more detail? Less? Let me know what kind of posts you want to see more of. I would love to hear from you. Please use the “Contact us” page to share your thoughts!

Four months to go.

#Jannat2018 #JannatLife 

Love and Light,
Mannat