Breathing & Color-coding
One of my oldest friends Sarah, recently got engaged and the first thing she did was contact all of her just-married friends, including me, with a very frantic: “OK, so tell me, where the hell do I begin?” Her follow up questions included, Isn’t it too soon for me to start the preparations? How much in advance do people usually preparing? And in response to Why don’t you start with the designer you want? was her apt and slightly annoyed reply How the hell should I know what I want, I’ve never done this before!
If you, like Sarah, are also an anxious bride-to-be, the first piece of advice I’ll offer is: Woman, Breathe!
No seriously, deep inhale. Deep exhale. And repeat.
Now, let talk.
I completely understand how absolutely over whelming the gargantuan task of “getting married” can seem to be. (Almost as much as the word ‘gargantuan’). Regardless of whether you’re a meticulous planner or an indolent procrastinator, South Asian weddings are designed to make the best of us crack and crumble (and sometimes even weep) under the pressure. Anyone who tells you otherwise is either blessed with a family of angels, or lying. My money is on the latter.
In the face of such pressure, if you’re anything like me, you might get weighed down and be tempted to throw it on the backburner only to get even more freaked out when you realize you’ve run out of time. So why not start now. The best way to handle any situation is head on. So get organized. For this purpose lists are your best friend. Begin with the very basic tools: Microsoft Excel and color coding or a notebook/binder and highlighters, and work from there. Laddu’s Wedding Directory should help you with the resources. Since there are so many details to keep in mind, breaking the wedding down into smaller tasks and visually tracking your progress (color coding) helps tremendously.
How much in advance you should start the planning depends entirely on the time of year you have planned your wedding for, and the popularity of the wedding professionals you have your heart set on. Some A-list designers require orders to be placed eight months, to a year, in advance, especially if you’re planning to get married in December (Pakistan’s peak shaadi season). I managed to get away with leaving a lot of my bookings till the last minute only because we had picked February as our month of matrimony. Which, in case you’re wondering, was a lovely time of year (weather-wise and being a non-shaadi season).
Oh and the most important thing to keep in mind is no matter how much you plan, things do go wrong. So once again: breathe. Deep inhale. Deep exhale. And repeat. And try to enjoy yourself.