Saturday, March 18, 2017

Bride 101 - Checklist Before Wedding Day

Happy Brides are the Ones Who Have Planned Ahead; Photography by Memento Of Shades

The best part about being an Indian Bride is that more than half of the things are taken care of by your parents and big brothers! Not sure if it is a good or a bad thing though – after all everyone hopes to get married once and might want things their way. But trust me, with so many things to take care of in Indian weddings, given their scale and size, it is good to have some help around. This should leave you some time to take care of yourself and be your best self on the special day.

Even with so many things taken care of, you will be surprised to see how many things still lie on your to-do list. When I was getting married and started making a list of things I have to take care of, I would have 3-4 things to add every day. Eventually I thought of keeping a planner handy, and would scribble down on it as soon as I remembered something. Because otherwise, one minute I would think of something, and the next moment I would forget!

This post is going to be a snapshot of all the absolute necessary things from my diary that we, as to-be Indian Brides need to take care of before the D-Day. The good news is, this gives you a starting point – I am sure you would still have hundreds of little things to add to this; after all, every wedding is different and everyone has their own preferences. The bad news is, you might have to start planning as early as 3 months prior to the wedding!

1. Skin/Hair Care

Make-up Just Compliments Well-kept Skin & Hair; Photography by Memento Of Shades

No amount of make-up or styling will give you that flawless finish unless your skin and hair is taken good care of, and I cannot emphasize this enough. This is a tip in general and not specific to your wedding day perhaps, but since most girls make an extra effort to look good in those once-in-a-lifetime pictures, might as well throw this in here.

For the skin, I prefer to use all natural and organic stuff. You would be surprised to know how many ingredients from your kitchen can be used as superfoods for your skin.

ü  Use slightly diluted lemon water every morning and keep it for 10-15 minutes to reduce any pigmentation marks
ü  Prepare a face mask with gram flour, pinch of turmeric, lemon, and yogurt for that glow and an even toned skin
ü  Use aloe Vera gel as a natural moisturizer, to fight acne, and to soothe your skin
ü  Invest in a good night cream – the skin regenerates fastest when you are sleeping, and it needs the nutrition most at that time
ü  Stay hydrated, and drink a lot of orange juice for that glow from within
ü  And most importantly, be consistent with your skin care – most products take time to show results, and with regular use for 2-3 months, you can prepare your skin to be at its best on the D-day!

I know many of us also buy those pre-bridal facial packages at parlors. I did not, because I literally flew in for my wedding 15 days before, and frankly, with so many things going on, I just could not take out time for the parlor. But if you have got one for yourself, ensure talking to the parlor person about your skin type, and what all things you could do at home to take good care of your skin.

For the hair, I would strongly suggest not to do a lot of experimentation in the last one month before your wedding day, such as coloring, cutting it too short, etc. if anything goes wrong, you will be pretty much stuck with it J Hair spas are best to give back the nourishment and moisture to it, and what is better is it is easy to create a hair spa / mask at home. Again, most things come from the kitchen. You don’t need to spend thousands at the parlor anymore.

ü  Mix one egg to a table spoon of yogurt
ü  Add some olive oil to it
ü  Definitely add some lemon juice, in order to prevent your hair from smelling of eggs after you have washed it
ü  I also like to add a few other things such as few drops of lemon grass oil, one Vitamin E capsule, but then they are mostly add-ons
ü  Put it all over your hair, from roots to tips, cover with a shower cap and let sit for 40-50 minutes
ü  Wash off your hair and you would feel the difference – this makes the hair instantly soft and bouncy! I (try to) do this once every week

    2. The Wedding Dress

The Wedding Outfit Is Not Complete Until You Have Chosen All Accessories to Go With It

Indian weddings are all about the colorful and glittery outfits. When it comes to getting your wardrobe ready for the wedding, you probably not only have to think of the dress for the D-day, but also for all the other functions, the day functions, some dresses to be used after the wedding, the list is practically never-ending! Let us take it step by step.

First, note down all the main functions that you need dresses for; list down your preferred type of dress. For instance, for the wedding day, some cultures would wear a Saree while others would wear a Lehenga. For the Sangeet function, some prefer a cocktail dress, while others would go for a gown. The options are many, and you really need to zero down on one, in order to be able to focus your energy towards the right things when you go shopping.

Second, make a note of all the things you would need with it – the top ones are jewelry, shoes, may be a clutch? It is important to break these down, so that you know what you need to shop for, hence zero down on the places you would go fetching your favorite pieces.

Third bit is the actual shopping. Wedding shopping can get intense. I am a shopaholic or normal days, I mostly end up shopping once every month. But buying things for the wedding, caught even someone like me into an aversion to shopping for a little bit. Hence, do your research for the best shops that match your preference and your budget in your area.

I did my shopping from Delhi, and can hence give my two cents here. Firstly, there are these wedding shopping specific areas, such as Karol Bagh and Chandni Chowk. Not that I have explored them much, but I knew from the beginning that they were not my cup of tea. You would have to move from one shop to another, wait in line for your turn to come, and then check out what you like. By the time you reach the third shop, you would probably have forgotten what you really liked in shop no. 1. After a bit, you will probably frantically be looking for some food and water to recharge yourself. And then you will end up making a round 2, and sometimes even a round 3, to this place before you can finalize what you want. There are pros of course. You will get things much cheaper here. You can test the waters and buy something only after having checked a few shops. After all, it is your wedding day, and you don’t want to settle for anything less than the best! However, all the drama and the crowd was too unsettling for me.

That brings me to the second type of shops. These are the likes of Frontier Raas in South Delhi. These are one-stop-shops, and you will find everything, from fancy suits, to sarees, to Lehengas, all under one roof. And, you can shop in AC, don’t have to battle the sun either, and will be offered food and tea/coffee frequently. But the comfort comes at a cost. Things in these shops are pretty expensive. They are super-stylish and trendy though. I did go ahead and buy my Sangeet Lehenga and a couple of other pieces from here, because I did not have much time at hand (was in town for just 7 days before I had to head back to my project site), but I am not sure I can justify the price. Especially, because closer to the wedding when I was doing the trials, I had to be after their life, come to the shop 4 times, and managed to get the finally fitted dress just one day before the function.

The third types of shops are the designer boutiques. You will find them by random google search, or from their popular Instagram handles. I will regret forever that I did not get a chance to browse through these when I was doing my shopping. They have such amazing pieces. All at their trendiest best, but I am sure a little on the pricier side. Handcrafted for you though, to add glamour to your special day! Most of the designer boutiques in Delhi are concentrated around the Shahdara area.

When having placed an order, request the shopkeeper to let you take a picture, so you can match you accessories to it. More often than not, they will agree, once the payment has been made. And, don’t keep the full dress trial till the last day. Get it done atleast 15-20 days in advance, so that the shop has adequate time to make any fitting modifications if required.

And, don’t forget to spoil yourself with a few more pieces to go into your wardrobe for some post wedding flaunting J I am not a big fan of too much bling, so the brands I always end up reaching for, for elegant, yet simple Indian wear are Biba and Global Desi. They are super-dooper classy and not as expensive as actual blingy wedding clothes. You can also of course stock them up during the sale time from Lifestyle Stores or Shoppers Stop or Pantaloons.

3. Make-up

A Good Mane-up Artist Can Make or Break Your Wedding Day; Photography by Memento Of Shades

A good make-up and (of course) a good make-up artist can make or break your special day. I am pretty sure the first thing we do when the wedding date is confirmed, is to look up make-up artists in town. And with so many options, so many social media platforms these days, not to mention such various price ranges, it can be quite overwhelming to zero down on that special someone who you can trust your look with for THE day.

The trend of the era is to keep the make-up as natural as possible, and highlight your best features, be it your eyes, or your lips. May be smoky eyes with some glitter. In my experience, it is just so easy to over-do makeup, and only a good artist should be able to conceal your flaws, yet make it look like your natural skin. And that is why choosing a good make-up artist is tricky.
My tip no. 1 for everyone reading this is to always, always, always go for someone whose work you have seen before. Did you really like your friend’s make-up at her wedding? Well, get the contact details of her make-up artist. Are you looking up social media platforms such as Instagram or Facebook to find your ideal make-up artist? Browse through their page and scrutinize their work. See if it matches your taste.

Going for that parlor lady who has a salon near your house? Well, I am not too sure if that is a great idea. But if that is what you have to do, get a sample make-up done before, and question them about the products they use. You definitely want to go for products from good brands such as Mac, Bobbi Brown, etc. simply because the wedding day can sometimes seem to be never-ending. You also have to sit in front of the fire during the rituals, and the last thing you want is for your make-up to start melting.

Lastly, after having finalized someone, take skincare tips from them, and browse through some of your preferred make-up looks online, and share them. So that your artist can come prepared as well. Make-up on a day could cost anywhere between INR 10,000 – 25,000 per function (including hair and draping). If your artist is charging you something as less as INR 2,000 – 3,000, I would definitely recommend you to question their products.

Also, keep your own cosmetic bag handy, just in case. It is possible that your make-up artist isn’t carrying the lipstick shade which would match your outfit. You might have to volunteer your stuff in such emergencies. Put in a pack of tissues, some cutips, some make-up remover. Tissues come in handy if your skin gets oily. Cutips and make-up remover will be super useful to fix those eye liner or lipstick smudges. Never hurt to keep some extra Bindi, safety pins, etc. as well.

My make-up was done by this amazing lady – Geetika. I had THE BEST experience with her. She had laid out all her terms before, and I made sure I went ahead only when I was okay with it all. Her mother did my hair and draping. They were very professional, and sweet at the same time. The fact that they were Bengali as well, definitely helped a bit in getting me dressed up. Geetika has a Facebook page and an Instagram account, which you can access by clicking these links. She is based in Lucknow, a definite plus for the Lucknow girls out there J

4. Photographer

Some Candid Shots by Memento Of Shades

Another big bucket item. After all weddings are about creating memories J Till today I see my parents’ wedding album and get thrilled about how different they and all my uncles and aunts looked back then. So, these are evergreen memories which you will cherish even when you have your grand-kids – and that definitely calls for a good investment!

The trend of the era here is candid photography, but to be frank, candid photographers can put a huge hole in your wallet. I am a firm believer of simple weddings, but I did go ahead with a candid photographer on my wedding. More because, I did not want to miss out on the trend – you don’t get married every day after all! Do you absolutely need to? Probably not, and everyone should choose a photographer in their own budget.

Candid photographers would give you candid shots of the entire venue, of your guests, of you, along with the traditional stage photographs which are mandatory for memory-keeping. I am still in two minds which one is a better way to go. I did really like the shots of my dresses and some candid clicks, but I did feel that at times, it gets more of a competition for the photographers. They want to take the most artistic pictures that they can, and in their quest to do so, at times fail to capture the actual memories. Not to mention, the 101 poses you will be asked to do before that one perfect shot. Well, that to me is not candid photography, but more like pretentious candid. However, that is the trend, and most folks would probably go that route.

Another detail, are the pre-wedding photoshoots. I feel they are dying down a little bit now; people have realized that they are pretentious as crazy. Well, we did go for this as well; again, we did not want to miss out on anything. I don’t regret at all, because we got some really royal shots at a stable location that our photographer chose. But I know that this is against some people’s principles – to pose the way you are asked to, just so you can confirm your love to the world. So take your call, whatever suits you. I really don’t have a verdict on these J

Frankly, I did not have to do much research when choosing my photographer – it is a daunting task, and I chose someone whose work I had seen at one of my friends’ weddings. They are called the Memento of Shades. They are based out of Delhi - most of the photographs in this page have been taken by them. They did a beautiful job at editing the pictures, and the Wedding teaser as well - their creativity is what awed me the most. However, I did feel their coverage was less. They could have been roaming around the venue a little bit more and capturing more people and events, than just clicking the bride and the groom and folks surrounding them. It was a mistake on our side as well, in directing them to the relevant things happening around, but there is only so much you can do on an already so busy day.

5. Sangeet Prep

Sangeet Is Undoubtedly the Most Fun Event; Photography by Memento Of Shades

I know all cultures of Indian weddings don’t have a Sangeet function – a planned celebration to prepare and dance on some of your favorite tunes! However, if you do have this in your wedding, this one requires some preparation, and hence I did not want to leave it out of this list. Even though this is one of the most fun functions according to me, you would be surprised how difficult it is to make friends and family participate in it! Everyone just wants to sit and enjoy the show :D

During my wedding, my first step was to make a list of all the folks who I could invite to dance, and then I sorted them into groups as required. For instance, I had a group sequence for my college friends, another one for my cousins. The next step is to inform them that they would need to prepare a dance sequence, and eventually feel dejected when most folks say they are too shy :P

That is when I decided to have a list of all the songs which suited the groups, do a detailed search on Youtube to find out really easy yet entertaining choreographies, create Whatsapp groups, and send across the videos for everyone to practice the steps. Of course I would follow up every few days, only to eventually learn to let it go. Weddings are supposed to have fun, and most fun is when you do something impromptu J We also went ahead with a couple dance, something I totally sucked at, while my husband remembered all the steps. Thank god I dance better than him, which made it feel as if he had forgotten all the steps. To this day, I am a victim of his taunts :P

Now that we have covered the five big buckets, coming down to some of the more tactical stuff. It is really easy to miss these, and towards the end, end up panicking because you did not think of these items earlier.

6. Invite List

Weddings Are All About Creating Memories; Photography by Memento Of Shades

As mundane as this one sounds, during my wedding atleast, I was panicking till the last moment that I have missed inviting someone. Grand is an understatement for Indian weddings, and while the worry of inviting most of your family friends and relatives would perhaps fall on your parents, you still have to maintain a list for your friends and office colleagues. If you are anything like me, having studied in 2 colleges and changed jobs mindlessly (well, bit of an exaggeration), you will probably have a lot of organizing to do, to not miss anyone.

The consultant in me had a step by step approach to even this mundane problem statement. I had a different list for each of my institutes, and a separate list for friends in my neighborhood. Went year by year, to pick my mind who I was close with then, list all the names down, and then zeroing up on who all need to be invited.

What is the best way to invite you ask? Well, in today’s world of digital media, I personally think inviting is just a formality. An email, or a Whatsapp video should work, without offending anyone of our generation. However, I know in some cultures it is a big deal, and the invitation is not considered formal unless a card (along with sweets and dry fruits) have been sent. I feel it is really an overkill for your friends; if you want to make it innovative, spend time rather on creating quirky pictures and videos to invite, rather than gathering everyone’s addresses and sending them proper cards. Trust me, your creativity would be valued much more!

7. Preparations for Honeymoon

Plan Ahead for A Relaxing Honeymoon; Photography by Memento Of Shades

More often than not, we don’t have much time between the wedding and the honeymoon. Which directly implies that we need to be as prepared as we can for flying off to our dream destination. After the wedding, even if there are not hundreds of rituals to keep you busy, you definitely want to de-stress with your husband, and not worry about petty things such as packing for the honeymoon. Always good to keep one bag which you can pick and head to the airport, and the other to help you sustain for the time between your wedding and the honeymoon. Might be the right place to check out my other blog post here, where I talk about some beauty related travel essentials!

8. Appoint someone to take care of wedding gifts

Weddings Are not Always This Composed, Hence Important to Assign Someone in Charge of Gifts; Photography by Memento Of Shades

I learnt this from experience. With so many people coming in with so many gifts, many times cash envelopes, and so many other things going on in the venue, it is easy to lose the stuff amidst the chaos. Appoint someone responsible for the gifts at the venue, and let him/her know well in advance!

9. Visit the doctor

Visit a Doctor For Your Mental Satisfaction if Nothing Else; Photography by Memento Of Shades

This is a very ignored step by us Indians. Well I am guilty of skipping it too, but one should always get oneself checked before wedding. Whether you are planning for a family or not, whether you have any health issues or not – to be aware of your health is the first step to take care of yourself.

10. Finally, on the Wedding day…

Today is the Day - Just Have Some Fun; Photography by Memento Of Shades

Relax. Wedding is really not that big a deal as people make it out to be. If you have agreed to marry the person, you are probably comfortable enough with him, and that is all that matters. Most things will go right, many things might go wrong. But really, all that doesn’t matter as much as how many memories you can make on this special day. Stay hydrated and eat well. You need all the energy to keep yourself going. And most importantly, have fun. This day will not come again!

Leave a comment below if you find this useful, or if you have any questions!


  1. Also very important is to choose the Groom wisely. You should also give some tips around this as well :p

    1. Advice only when i am an expert at something; you think I have done a good job at that? :P

  2. The best part is family parents everyone is equally revolved in this big moments in our life.....

    1. I agree. Having fun with everyone is the best part :D


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