Wedding planning is not just about putting together a list of services and coordinating them on the day of the event. As wedding planners we have a lot of responsibility in terms of the money spent by the client and to maximise the utilisation of resources without wastage.
As event planners every detail has to be nailed in place. Indian weddings are very time consuming and elaborate filled with varied customs and rituals. Every small detail has to be looked into to get the perfect execution. Any untoward delay or last minute hitches has to be taken into account by the wedding planner. Forethought and listing out alternate options is of paramount importance.
Time is an important factor in Indian weddings due to the long schedule of rituals. As an event manager we have the responsibility of getting the client ready for the events well ahead of time so that no delays come up. This is more so in case where the clients arrive only a few days ahead of the event from far off destinations.
A well drafted Timeline sheet will effectively prepare them mentally on what to expect in terms of the length of the event. Therefore a minute by minute programming keeps everyone in readiness and any exigencies in timelines can be sorted out later without any misunderstanding . Smooth flow of events always lead up to a positive feeling all around and makes a wedding planners job easy .
Timeline has to be coordinated by the wedding planner not only with the client but also with the photographers. They need to be ready on time for shoot and they can function well only given ample time to shoot.
Similarly good understanding between the catering team and the wedding planner is a must for all meals to begin and end on time. Right from the entry time to the exit time of all service providers everything needs to be checked by the event managers.
As wedding planners the first job on hand after booking the wedding venue is to source for the right type of invitations going by the client’s requirements. In olden days when weddings took place within the village or between people living in different villages invites were merely by word of mouth or of the personal kind.
There are some who despite having the time and finance still look for wedding planners for the simple reason that they would want to source the best and make their family wedding a unique experience.
Event Management, fun as it may seem from the outside involves a lot of preparation in terms of understanding the various traditions of the different religions and communities spread across India. Event planning as the term denotes is simply making available all the things required for the conduct of a function well before time and in the required manner.
The term ‘Nalangu’ is used in different connotations during weddings across various communities in the South of India. As wedding event managers it is important for us to have a good understanding of the various rituals and traditions followed by each community to be able to make the necessary arrangements.
In some communities the term ‘Nalangu’ refers to the ceremony that is held on the evening prior to the actual wedding. Here the bride is bedecked and seated and all the Sumangalis in the family apply sandal paste to her face, hands and legs. Kumkum is then applied on the forehead. Rose water and flowers are then sprinkled over her head as a form of blessing. Aarathi is then performed to end the ritual.
This is considered by some as a cleansing as well as a beautification ceremony of the bride. Whatever be the actual significance the presence of aromatic elements like sandal paste, flowers , rose water etc lends a harmonious and auspicious note as a precursor to the wedding.
In Tamil Brahmin weddings ‘Nalangu’ refers to the fun filled game session that comes immediately after the wedding is over. It is looked forward to as an opportunity for both families to interact in a relaxed manner sharing a sense of bonhomie and camaraderie after the hectic wedding preparations. A lot of music and cheer fills the air with both parties taking sides in supporting the bride and groom in the course of the small games that are conducted.
A few decades ago this ritual was mostly skipped as most felt it was unnecessary and not suitable to current day scenario. But in recent times the young couples evince great interest in the conduct of this wedding ritual. As event managers we are often asked to bring in innovative games to make it a participative ritual.
The bride and groom are seated opposite each other on a mat on the floor and the session starts with a small ‘make – up’ session where the couple have to apply sandal paste, kumkum, powder and other beautifying elements on each other. This is followed by rolling of the coconut across the floor to each other which is followed by a tug – of – war contest to see who is stronger of the two in retrieving the coconut, exchange of rice & dal, and breaking of the appalams to the accompaniment of loud cheers and shouts.
In some sects this tradition is a part of the wedding function and is therefore not taken out as a separate event.
These games were of significance in olden days where at times the bride and groom were not given an opportunity to meet each other before the wedding. Such games helped them tide over their inhibitions and facilitated physical proximity. It is also said that when child marriages were the order of the day in yester years such games were conducted to entertain the child bride & groom. Now it is more of a fun filled entertainment session.
Week long weddings were a thing of yore. Or so we thought. The trend is back again with elaborate events being added prior to weddings.These events are not necessarily traditional in nature. They are more in the nature of socializing – of families getting together.