Anjali Jhangiani
Saturday, 24 November 2018

With everyone going gaga over Ranveer and Deepika’s picturesque wedding, and eagerly awaiting Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas’ grand celebration, Anjali Jhangiani speaks to experts to tell you how you can plan your own dream Bollywood-style wedding

Just like Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli left their fans back home starving for information about their wedding last December, Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh took off to Italy for discreet celebrations in the second week of November this year. Did Ranveer wear a lehenga? What did Deepika wear? Who were there? Who were not invited? 

A wave of relief spread over the country when the couple’s photographs were posted on social media giving everyone a sneak-peek into DeepVeer’s d-day. But don’t get us wrong, the frenzy isn’t over. Come December, everyone’s going to go crazy over Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas’ wedding too. Will it be a big Bollywood wedding? We’re certainly hoping it will. But in the meantime, let wedding experts give you all the information you need to plan your own big Bollywood-styled wedding. 

Eloping to countries like Italy with a private guest list and then throwing a grand reception back home is the way young couples are doing it now. “You don’t want to stand on the stage like centrepieces and paste a plastic smile on your face for a thousand guests you hardly know. Having said that, dreaming of grand weddings is in our blood. The first thing you think about while planning your wedding is what songs you’re going to dance to. You imagine your wedding like a sequence in a Bollywood movie,” says Aakash Shah, founder of Zeus Entertainment, who arranges for the entertainment at grand weddings through dance troupes, celebrity performances etc. 

If travelling to a faraway country with a barrage of guests might be too much, you can always find luxury resorts, secluded beaches or heritage properties in India for your dream wedding. “I have been a part of planning a couple of destination weddings and one beautiful non-commercial palace wedding for about 200 guests. The most challenging one was where we had to organise seven different rituals from different states of India because the couple wanted their guests who flew in from different parts of the world, to have a wholesome experience of the wedding traditions of the country. We did a South Indian brunch, a Bengali mehendi ceremony, and a Patola Dandiya night,” he adds. 

Pritesh Ranka, founder of Aishal Weddings, a wedding planning agency, says it’s all about the entertainment at the wedding. “When people say they want a Bollywood wedding, they are usually talking about the way they want to have the sangeet and the other functions with Bollywood-themed décor, outfits and performances. Everyone wants a celebrity performance at their wedding now. Depending on the budget, we can find one. We recently did a sangeet ceremony with a performance by Neha Kakkar,” says Ranka.

Taking cue from the look of the wedding décor of the recent Bollywood weddings, the Sabyasachi Mukherjee or Manish Malhotra theme is in vogue, he informs. “You know how Sabyasachi has a touch of royalty in his outfits, this extends to the décor too. The décor has a lot of red with accents of gold, for example you can have red table linen with golden centerpieces,” he says, adding, “The décor is in sync with the outfits of the bride and groom, and should not camouflage them. Even with the celebrity performances, the couple needs to be made to feel like the main celebrities as it is their special day.”

The range of a big budget wedding starts with about Rs 80 lakh and then sky is the limit. High profile weddings cost between Rs 400-500 crore. While some would say spending so much on a wedding is extravagant, and probably enough to buy a small nation instead, others would argue that you cannot put a price tag on your dreams. “The costs that are given to you by wedding planners usually include décor, food, outfits and the entertainment package. A destination wedding in Goa or Jaipur during season time costs somewhere between Rs 2-5 crore,” says Ranka. 

For a low-budget destination wedding, the couple has to trim their guest-list. “Italy and all these exotic locations are for celebrities who can afford to spend that much. And even then, we see that they do not invite thousands of people, they keep the guest-list to a maximum of 50-80 people. Communities like the Marwaris, Gujaratis, Punjabis, the Reddys from the south, and now even Maharashtrians spend extravagantly on their weddings. And even if they cut their guest-list as much as they can, it still has about 300-500 people. For them, destinations such as Dubai, Muscat, and other South East Asian countries like Thailand, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong and so on, are the best options,” says Ranka. 

Considering the surge in prices during the wedding season, which is usually between November and February, according to the Hindu calender, you can get a good deal if you plan the marriage to be held before or after the season. You can avail the off-season discounts which can bring down the entire budget of the wedding by a substantial sum. 

“Fifteen days after Diwali, we have the Tulsi Vivah, which signals the commencement of the wedding season. Clients pick their wedding date from one of the auspicious days. One can only get 40-50 dates according to the Hindu calender. So even if they have to incur more expenses, the clients don’t mind. In fact, since Goa or Jaipur and other popular wedding destinations are in peak season during this time, we advise the couples to think of alternate dates to get better pricing, but they don’t budge,” says he. 

Shah adds that smart planning can save you a lot of money. “Right from selecting the trousseau to the caterers, you don’t want to overspend. The right wedding planner will not only advise you on who to choose from the market but also get them at lower costs.” 

A major expense is the entertainment. Shah has tricks up his sleeves to help make this cost-effective too. “Make sure you are dealing with the right people who have direct sources because if you have too many sub agencies, your costs and commissions will multiply with every subcontractor. Don’t overdo negotiations with artists for their fees as they have fixed price charts. These celebrities are all connected to good wedding planners, so if you take too long in negotiating, they might take up someone else’s offer. Also get only one person do all the negotiations,” says he. 

To save on last minute price hikes and if you don’t want to settle for something second best, you need to get in touch with a wedding planner at least six months to a year before the wedding date. Once you’ve discussed all your preferences and wishes, it is the planner’s job to make your day as special as you always imagined it to be.

A favourite among celebrities for wedding-wear or festive wear, Abu Jani and Sandep Khosla have released their new collection under their label ASAL inspired by romance. “The inspiration is romance at its most passionate and celebratory. The 21st century bride is first and foremost her own woman. She is au fait with tradition and at home with modernity too. She’s eager to experiment and unwilling to compromise on her dream.This collection pays homage to her unique beauty and our vision for making her dream come true,” say the designers, acknowledging the return of the classical red and gold combination as well as jadau jewellery post the recent Bollywood weddings. 

The designers predict that this wedding season will see a lot of whites and nudes with a touch of red, orange or pink. “We also revel in jewel colours and resham embroideries done with multiple hues. This collection features highly distinctive ranges, each employing craft techniques including resham, mirror, applique, zardozi and gota in cotton, Georgette and silk,” they say, adding, “It is an entire spectrum of silhouettes from saris and lehengas. Joining the Mughal anarkalis are traditional shararas and ghararas from North India. There is also a mirror collection of floor length anarkalis which are more akin to gowns and can be worn without a stole or dupatta as a cocktail and evening wear.” The collection is available at the Jhelum store in Baner.  

Aiming to make the property the choicest destination for luxury weddings in the city, the JW Marriott Hotel Pune recently launched a concept called Shaadi by Marriott where they provide end-to-end solutions to all your wedding needs. Partnering with designers Shantanu and Nikhil to come up with a special wedding collection featuring menswear and womenswear, they organised a fashion show last week with actress Dia Mirza as the showstopper, who coincidentally wore an outfit by the same designers at her own wedding reception. 

“We are elated to present our Anti-Trend Ceremonial Couture collection with connotations of minimalistic grandeur which is dramatised by edgy representations of the modern Indian bridal attire. The collection itself is a marriage of celebrations and contemporary Indian values,” say the designers. 

The playful yet traditional collection included new silhouettes like jumpsuits with dupattas, toga-style gowns, breathtakingly beautiful ballroom gowns for women, and interesting metallic and printed outfits for men.

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