North meets South
When people ask me if mine was an arranged marriage; I often reply in affirmative. It was arranged by us! As corny as it sounds; in reality that was how it actually turned out to be!
Ok, lets rewind a little first. What started out as a “lets be friends” in a new country, new environment; got soon converted into a typical B school romance. From classmates we became soulmates and thus began the saga of a cross-cultural marriage. Although, we had exactly 6 months from the day it was meet the parents to the wedding day; my hyper activeness kicked in from day 1. Making to-do lists, preparing agendas and Gantt charts became my favourite activity so much so that I realized that I am being ‘Monica’ of ‘Friends’ fame. While I was doing my frenzied activities; my fiancé (now husband) was patiently observing (although in my mind it seemed laid back!).
On the hind sight, I did eventually have a lot of fun & gained a plethora of information especially on arranging a wedding in Bangalore. Hopefully some of my experience will help many who are getting married in the city. Here we go, a check-list of sorts that should get to started on the preps! Read away…
· Guest List: One of the foremost thing that you should do is to draw up the guest list. Trust me, everything else will be dependent on the number of attendees –from the size of the venue to the food, invitation cards and all other arrangements.
· Venue:Coming from a family where I was the first to get married; my parents had absolutely no idea how to get started on arranging a wedding (sorry folks, but that’s the reality!) that too in an alien city (I am from Delhi & hubby is from Bangalore). So, the to-be couple set about one day looking for venues and boy were we treated with suspicion (how else do you expect prim and proper Bangalorean wedding hall wallas to behave when two people without any grey haired person walks in!). Jokes apart, we managed to get a free (oops read available) wedding hall. The rentals usually start from 3 lakhs per day to well sky is the limit!
Pic of the venue (Raj Hans Convention Centre, Rajajinagar) on the day of engagement
· Wedding Decoration: Fortunately, the wedding hall came with its own decorator (mandatory) which saved us a task of finding the phool-wala & likes. But the bridezilla that I turned out to be; I wanted to know each bit of the décor from where deciding the colour scheme to where all in the venue the flowers would be put to the number of flower pots near the entrance or the colour of the sashes on the seats. I think at some points my poor fiancé (who ended up being dragged to each of these meetings!), wanted to re-think about his decision!!
The wedding being in Bangalore would have been considered to be a typical South India. However, compromise was reached with the entire engagement ceremony (a day before the wedding) had hues of a North Indian wedding. From the décor (orchids) to food and the Yo Yo Honey Singh music; you would not be able to figure out if you were in Gurgaon or Bangalore!
· Caterer: Even though the venue guys had given us a couple of numbers for their preferred caterers, the organization maniac that I became; I goggled, hunted and mined several other contacts for catering vegetarian food for the two days. The most exciting bit of finding the caterers was of course food tasting!! Although this was met with a rather ‘how cheap are you’ from my hubby dearest! We had to make sure that the food was upto the liking of my Panju family; so that’s where chole bhature said hello to curd rice!
Note for all those organizing wedding with majority out-of-town guests; make sure you keep into mind the number of guests for smaller occasions where the caterer may be needed (speaking from experience because we figured 2 days before the wedding when the caterer refused to cater for 20 people! Not something you would want to face at the last minute!
· Wedding trousseau: The most exciting part of a wedding for the bride would needless to say is her trousseau. Getting married in a typical south Indian tradition, I wanted a few heavy Kanjeevaram silks but wanted to add the Punjabi tadka to the wedding. For the engagement, I choose a georgette sari (picked from Meena Bazar) with gold zari work. As the sari was a heavier side, I choose lighter jewellery (picked from going up and down a billion shops in Karol Bagh, Delhi). Green bangles that I wore were mandatory from the boys side& as much as I protested they won’t budge!
For the wedding day, I wore my Kanjeevaram silks (had to change saris in between). Deliberately choose, a yellow gold sari for the early morning function as I think it sets off my complexion better while a pink one for the reception. Both saris & quite a few others including several as gifts for my relatives were picked up from a friends shop in Bangalore who supplies for Nalli Silks & many others across India. The wholesale rates do end up making you pick more than you need & my cupboards are bursting open unfortunately L.
Pics of Wedding day attire
For the rest of my wedding trousseau, I shopped endlessly in Delhi (Karol Bagh, GK, Lajpath, CP and anything else that I could see!!) and Bangalore (primarily Jaynagar & Commercial Street). I managed to find an incredible tailor in Commercial street who I could give my clothes blindly to without even trials!
Neurotic bride-to-be that I was, I dragged my fiancé out for his shopping as well.
Make-up artist: Finding a decent make-up in Bangalore may seem to be easy but if you are finicky as well as price-conscious; its definitely not a cakewalk. After browsing through a zillion Facebook pages and speaking to at least 15 MUAs; I zeroed in on about 3 who I personally met got a trial & finally chose Vidhya Rao. Vidhya is a Bangalore based MUA who specialized in bridal and fashion make-up. I can personally vouch for her work. She is efficient, punctual and ensures that quality is delivered. My wedding pictures are a testimony of the brilliant work that she has done. She went much further that what her duty calls for whether it was giving me skin advice, home remedies for falling hair or recurring pimples. The entire time that I interacted with her, she made me feel like she too was an integral part of the entire wedding preparation and I could bank upon her for a sudden emergency.
Pics of bride in making
Photographer: Went through a similar ordeal of finding “the one photographer” for our special day. From bugging friends to lengthy telephonic discussions with several potential photographers; I left no stone unturned for finding the best photographer in the budget that we had. Most of the ones that we met were either too amateurish or were costing a bomb. I was fixated on ‘candid’ photography that our parents could just not understand a word of and not getting the regular ‘smile please’ stage photographs. We eventually compromised on having both a regular & candid. We did several rounds of discussions individually with regular photographers & candid ones, did permutation combination math for figuring what would be most economical at the best quality & finally settled in with Abhishek Singh of Candid Pictures who did both candid & regular. All the pictures of the article are his team’s work. We were pretty happy with his work & have been recommending them to several friends
· Other arrangement: Phew! While these were just some major tasks; many many more shall keep pouring in and the check-list shall soon have more tasks added than checked-off! If you are arranging a wedding with majority out-of-town guests (like I unfortunately had); make sure that you keep into consideration where they would be staying, their pick-up & drops, visas & sight-seeing (we had a couple of friends coming to India for the first time & we had to help them with getting in and around Bangalore!), gifts, blah blah and much much more!