If you’re getting married at the end of the year and haven’t started planning your wedding yet, we suggest starting now! To help you out, the 48Hrs Team rounds up some of the best caterers, photographers, venues and more
Your wedding is a day that you will always remember and if you plan well in advance, you can ensure that you get every last detail just as you want it. So, if you are planning a wedding at the end of this year, now (six months in advance) is a good time to start meeting with caterers, wedding photographers, and makeup artists, as well as book the venue! Read on for our roundup of the best service providers in each category, with details on pricing and booking period to help you plan your special day.
#1: PICK A VENUE
First things first — book a venue as soon as possible to get the best price and to ensure that you don’t have to compromise on your dates. Even though the following venues don’t have set deadlines for booking dates, you can only organise the rest of your wedding once you’ve booked one. So, this should be the first thing you zero in on.
Stone Water Eco Resort, Goa: For a scenic wedding, Stone Water Eco Resort, located in Goa is your perfect bet. They have a variety of options to choose from — from a two-day all inclusive package that starts from `12.5 lakhs, to a sea-view jetty package (`55,000 onwards), with beautiful views of the turquoise water. They also have pool side and bar venues that are perfect for wedding rituals. On most of their packages, the venue charges are waived off if you book 24 cottages.
Price range Rs 25,000 to over 12 lakhs, depending on your preferences
Soul Soufflé, Goa: Another venue in Goa, Soul Soufflé is split into a cocktail bar and an al-fresco section that can accommodate up to 250 people. The resort is situated on the banks of the Uddear waterfall and has won awards for its Goan seafood, kebabs and Mughlai dishes. This place is perfect if you want a wedding with a rustic Goan charm. The destination also offers a complimentary, candid wedding photographer.
Price range Rs 850 onwards (plus taxes) per person
Sun N Sand: Sun N Sand’s vast, beach-front location is perfect for as many as 900 guests. They offer a wide range of cuisines for you to choose from and even help with various other aspects such as the planning the menu, timings, alcohol and accommodation arrangements.
Price range Starting from Rs 1,800 per person
Mayfair Banquets: Mayfair India is perfect if you want a hassle-free wedding, with everything taking care of. Accommodation, return gifts, event décor, pick-up/ drop for guests, food, beverages... anything wedding related and they’ll take care of it. Booking time depends on the number of guests, dates and the services you choose, but we suggest getting in touch with them as soon as possible.
Price range Approximately Rs 1,600 per person (non- vegetarian) as base amount
#2: GET A PHOTOGRAPHER
Next, pick your photographer. Photographers are usually booked very early, so make sure you have enough time to book the one you want!
KnotInFocus: If you’re planning a November wedding, you’re not going to be able to book these out-of-the-box photographers. Anand Rathi, from KnotInFocus tells us, “November is a packed month and most of it is already gone. We advise couples to get in touch with us at least six months in advance.” The quirky photographers offer a full range of services that include a pre-wedding shoot, wedding photography, wedding film, delivery of the photos on blu-ray and an album. Founded by Abhinav Shah and Anand Rathi in 2013, their pictures are inspired by the grandeur of Bollywood, adding a little filmi drama to your wedding album. Anand adds, “We almost always do destination weddings and have shot at popular destinations for Indian marriages in India as well as overseas.” If you can, you should definitely book them for your big day!
Get in touch Six months in advance
Price range From Rs 3.5 to Rs 5.5 lakhs per day
Contact www.knotinfocus.in or email [email protected]
The Cheesecake Project: Stuti Sakhalkar, the energetic photographer behind the venture tells us, “November bookings should have started in April, so step on it and finalise your photographer before he/she gets booked. November this year has relatively fewer prime dates than last year and isn’t as packed as December is this year, but dates are filling up!” Stuti explains that over the last two years of shooting weddings, she’s realised that every photographer shoots in a different way. She tells us about her own process, explaining, “I like to photograph emotions; nervous brides, shy grooms, emotional mothers, fathers who try their best to hide their tears, mastikhor siblings and cousins and a mad gang of friends. My intention is to give the family pictures that will make them recall the day as it was. Also, there are so many things that happen which they are unaware of and it’s great to be able to show them what they missed out on while being in the middle of all the hustle and bustle.” They also do destination weddings, telling us that they broaden the canvas for photographers, as the couple and family are usually a lot more relaxed. “If the people are happy, the pictures are happy,” Stuti adds. Now is a great time to book them since they’re offering a 15% discount on the candid photography billing for weddings and engagements from June to September. There is also a 10% discount on the candid photography billing for weddings in November-December-January, if you book before June 30, so hurry!
Get in touch As much in advance as you can, six months is a good figure to go by
Price range Approximately Rs 30,000 onwards, depending on services.
Contact www.facebook.com/TheCheesecakeProject or email [email protected]
#3: PICK YOUR DÉCOR & FLOWERS
Now that you have your venue, you want to make sure that it looks perfect for your dream wedding. Picking floral arrangements and getting everything you want together takes time, so don’t wait longer than six months to
Marry Me – Wedding Stylists & House of Flowers: If you have ever visited Marry Me, (the store nestled inside Candies in Bandra) and have found it difficult to control splurging on the merchandise, you should pick Marry Me – Wedding Stylists, for all your décor needs and House of Flowers, for all your floral needs. “Right from decorating your house for a function such as the mehendi or organising the centre pieces for your reception, we cater to all wedding flower requirements,” says Jarett D’Abreo, co-founder of the companies. We personally love their style and while they do cater to last minute bookings, it is best to contact them in advance.
Get in touch Six months to a year in advance
Prices range Rs 500 onwards for the flowers and Rs 2 to Rs 3 lakh for décor, depending on the complexity of the décor chosen.
Perfect Décor: Perfect Décor is a one-stop shop for all your décor needs. They handle both flowers and décor, but you do need to get in touch with them in advance to make sure that you get the exact arrangements that you want. “While we can put the décor and flowers together on short notice, we work our magic best when we have time to plan everything down to the last detail,” a spokesperson tells us.
Get in touch 3-6 months in advance
Price range Rs 25,000 onwards for indoor events, Rs 3 lakh onwards for outdoor events
Contact 25276672/ 25299292
#4 GET YOUR OUTFIT
What are you going to get married in?! While actually getting your outfit won’t take time, deciding on the perfect dress/ trousseau/ sari, will. Also, designers are often swamped with back-to-back orders, so get in touch now.
Michelle Rodrigues’ Bridal Wear: Michelle was always fascinated by fashion, women’s wear and creating her own designs, making her our seamstress of choice if you want a wedding gown for your big day. We love her work simply because of the sharp aesthetics that feature in all her designs. “I like working on wedding gowns because they offer a wider canvas to play with. Every bride brings a unique element through with her personality — and that helps me to extend it into a fun experience for them,” says Michelle, when we asked her why she chose this particular stream of design. Most of her outfits are in silk, featuring Chantilly, Chinese and Swiss lace. Although the making of the dress takes 6-8 weeks, she suggests that you contact her six months in advance. “The construction of the garment takes only 6-8 weeks, but planning starts months in advance,” she says. However, if you are pressed for time, they do cater to emergency brides and can whip up a dress in around 15 days as well.
Get in touch Six months in advance
Price range Approximately Rs 40,000 to Rs 50,000, depending on the complexity of the design
SS Homme: Grooms needn’t worry about their trousseau, as SS Homme has launched a wedding collection exclusively for men’s bridal wear, which includes elegant bandhgalas, bandhis, tuxedos and stylish formal suits. The brand offers two distinct services — a bespoke section for customised clothing and Prêt studio, for ready to wear clothing. The store follows a by appointment only policy.
Get in touch As soon as possible
Price range Rs 2,000 onwards for shirts, ties and scarfs, Rs 17,500 onwards for bandhis, Rs 24,500 onwards for bandhagalas and Rs 30,000 onwards for tuxedos
#5 FINALISE THE CATERING
Most caterers will take bookings even a week before your wedding, but if you want to make sure that nothing goes awry and that you get the food you’ve set your heart on, we suggest getting started by blocking your dates now. Here are a few options that you can choose from:
Royal Treat Events: Royal Treat Events are a good caterering option when you don’t have much time. They take bookings even 15 days before, so they are perfect for last-minute weddings. They have several buffet options with the minimum price starting from Rs 150 per guest. They also have a provision of regional food, depending on the location of your wedding. On confirmation, you will have to pay 70% of the total amount in advance, a week before the wedding.
Deshpande Caterers: These caterers allow you to make a booking as per your own convenience. The buffet is vegetarian only and starts at a price of Rs 400-Rs 500 per guest for a destination wedding and `200 per guest for a local wedding. The best part is that they charge no booking fee and you can pay the entire amount at once, but it has to be paid before the wedding.
Whether anyone remembers the décor or not, the one thing they will remember is a good cake. Though not all weddings have cakes, if yours includes one, you can get in touch with Deliciae Cakes. With Le Cordon Bleu chef Bunty Mahajan behind their sweet creations, there’s a lot to choose from in terms of flavours and designs. They have several options on offer and are also open to complete customisation to suit your needs, ranking them high on our list.
Get in touch Four days to a week in advance
Price range Rs 1,650 to Rs 4,500 per kilo
When it comes to visiting cards, there are literally, hundreds of options. But, if you’d like a rough idea, you’ll probably be choosing between three price points. For example, Vadra Cards (www.vadra.in) offers high-end cards that cost Rs 150/card onwards. Brands such as Saifee Wedding Cards (www.saifeeweddingcards.com) on the other hand are a much cheaper option at `11-18/card. They are perfect if you want the trademark wedding look without having to stretch your budget. Brands such as Ikon Cards on the other hand, offer cards with an ethnic touch and are priced upwards of Rs 100 per card.
A wedding needs good music, so if your venue doesn’t offer this along with your package (some do, so check in advance!), or if you want a special wedding band, S.M Creations are a good place to call. They offer a Punjabi and Koli band for Indian weddings. The Punjabi band is priced between Rs 12,000 and Rs 25,000, depending on the amount of people in the band. The Koli band is priced at `18,000. They also have an option of punjabi dhol for which they charge Rs 5,000 for two dhols. Bookings depend on how open their schedule is, so get in touch soon! An amount of `5,000 needs to be paid in advance as the booking fee.
A bride’s makeup enhances her entire outfit, so it needs to be perfect, without being overdone. Artist Zubair Shaikh, who has done makeup for several celebrity weddings, charges Rs 20,000 per session for a destination wedding. The package includes makeup, hair and sari draping. For two sessions, the same package will cost you Rs 40,000. You have to pay 50% of the amount in advance as booking fee.
Price Rs 20,000 onwards