GETTING STARTED: Wedding planning officially started after our engagement party and took around 11-12 months. We didn’t use a wedding planner mainly because at the time we could not find someone who could provide an end-to-end Indian wedding planning service (like in India) at a reasonable price. So the wedding planning and execution were mostly by us and our close family and friends, who graciously gave up their time to help out in the lead-up and on the day. This required more organization (and more stress) on our part, but looking back, it felt like a true family wedding!
LOCATION: The first thing on the list was to decide where we wanted to get married. We considered some destination wedding options that would be convenient for our family and friends who lived all around the world however ultimately Chika and I wanted to get married somewhere meaningful to us. We decided on Melbourne as this is where we first met and where the majority of our friends lived.
WEDDING SIZE: One of the toughest parts of wedding planning was deciding whether we should have a smaller or larger wedding. Chika and I preferred an intimate wedding but my parents had a large community of friends in Melbourne that they also wanted to invite. After much deliberation, we agreed on different sized events that would meet everyone’s needs. We were adamant on having a more intimate wedding ceremony with only close friends and family as this was the most important day for us but were flexible on having a Reception so our parents could invite extended friends. We created a rough guest list on Excel with columns for whose guest they were (my family, Chika’s family or our own), and which event we wanted to invite them to. This helped give rough numbers that would help decide how big the wedding and reception venues needed to be.
WEDDING FORMAT: Another key point of deliberation was whether we should have the wedding and reception on the same day or on two separate days. Having it on one day would be quicker and more cost effective as we would only have to hire out one venue, but could have been more hectic and too short. Having them on two separate days would mean hiring out two venues but we would be moving at a more relaxed pace and enjoying the celebrations. In the end, we decided on having the ceremony and reception on two separate days even though it would be more expensive. At the end of the day, we wanted to take it easy, enjoy the celebrations and savor the special moments with our close family and friends.
FINDING INSPIRATION & PROFESSIONALS: Finding relevant inspiration and ideal professionals to help with my wedding, however, was especially challenging. I wanted my wedding celebrations to represent who we were as individuals and as a couple. Although we were brought up in Australia, Chika and I were still proud of our Indian culture and heritage. We wanted to represent both these sides of us as throughout the celebrations. When it came to looking for inspiration and ideas, I had no idea where to turn to. With some Google searches, I came across a few Indian wedding blogs but I couldn’t relate to them. Everything I saw seemed over the top, too colorful and gaudy. It just didn’t seem like ‘us’ and was one of the core ideas behind starting The Crimson Bride.
I realized I had to look beyond the usual Indian wedding concepts and come up with my own ideas and as such the process was quite manual. Being interested in all things creative, I didn’t mind this process. Pinterest was a little help as it allowed me to discover wedding ideas and styles beyond the context of what’s generally seen at Indian weddings. The issue with Pinterest however, was that there was very little credible information on wedding professionals who could bring these ideas to life, or if it were available, the professionals were based overseas. Instead, I saved lots of pictures of decor ideas, color schemes and bridal outfits that I liked on my phone which I could use as a reference when I found local professionals. In the end, this was super useful as I discovered that communicating with wedding professionals through images was so much more productive and was the key reason we included the Inspiration Board feature as part of our new platform.
While I had some great ideas stored on my phone, finding quality wedding professionals who understood our aesthetics and could also cater to our cultural needs was difficult – especially when it came to venues, mandap and decor people. Either we found professionals who could only offer very traditional decor or if we found someone who could work on the idea, they would charge an exorbitant amount to do it. It took quite some time to find good professionals and explain to them in detail our ideas and our specific requirements.
All of my challenges and experiences are what to led to working on The Crimson Bride. Bringing your dream wedding to life IS possible and that’s what we hope to enable on our platform through inspiration, information, and helpful tools. We want to make it easy for other brides like me who want to express their story on their big day and empower them to be themselves.