Posts

14 Pin-worthy Trends for your Wedding Day

2017 pinterest wedding trends

Ah Pinterest.. The ultimate and original go to website to discover all things wedding related – a never-ending gold mine, full of wedding inspiration. Some may argue that Instagram has taken over, but we feel Pinterest will always be the original and best bookmarking tool for all brides.

Now if you’re getting married this year, you’re in luck. Pinterest have collated all the pins that brides were scanning through to come up with the definitive ‘trends’ list for 2017 weddings.

Gone are the elaborate floral centerpieces, naked cakes and big bridal parties. Brides to be are embracing free-spirited styled weddings along with old-world elegance as opposed to the more formal or classic themes.

So, without further a do, let’s start this count down and get pinning!

dusty rose pinterest trends

image courtesy of PAPEL & CO.

Think pink

Anyone who knows me personally will understand that I have a penchant for all things pink. We’re not talking any old pink, but ‘dusty rose’ to be exact.

This soft and romantic colour is having a big moment. The muted shade of pink is feminine and classy and has not only dominated the fashion circuit, but the wedding world too.

The term “dusty rose weddings” has risen a whopping 255%.

Already in the first half of the year we have seen designers such as Sabyasachi embrace this colour trend in his beautiful Spring/Summer collections and stationery artists around the world are infusing this colour into their invitation designs.

greenery pinterest wedding trends

styling by BEST DAY EVER // photography by MARCO SANCHEZ

Going green 

Pantone’s colour of the year is undoubtedly more popular than last year’s choices. Goodbye rose quartz and serenity.

This year, it’s all about nature and bringing the outdoors, inside.

Greenery inspired décor is not only budget-friendly, but is simple and elegant in comparison to traditional, ornate florals.

Dress up your table décor with simple, leafy arrangements in place of elaborate flowers. A beautiful way to breathe life into your wedding.

Autumnal vibes

Autumn has always been one of my favourite seasons. I had my own wedding around this season.

We’re thinking rustic details and rich colour palettes. Just picture the photography that can be captured, amid vibrant hues of orange, yellow and red leaves and a bonus is that it’s a lot cooler! Cooler months means lower costs for venues and supplies.

autumn indian wedding

photography by HILARY CAM PHOTOGRAPHY

The great outdoors

Mountainous backdrops are making a bit of a comeback. According to the pinning experts, brides aren’t so keen on the beach or standard wedding venues.

If you’re dreaming of a mountainside wedding, opt for a venue with spectacular backdrops and breathtaking views. Vineyards or farms could easily work if you’re after this style of ceremony setting.

taco food station pinterest

image from LOVE & LOBSTER

Foodie wedding

Nowadays, we are seeing more and more couples adding style and character to their weddings, infusing their personalities into their big day.

One way to do this is by offering inventive menu selections to satisfy your guests’ palate.

Jazz up your catering with your favourite foods and drink pairings.

Whether it’s appetizers, cocktails, food stations or food trucks, your guests will love you forever.

Tacos anyone?

 

drip cake pinterest wedding

cake by GAGGUI // photography by PETRA VEIKKOLA

Drip cakes 

So, what exactly is it? It’s not naked, nor semi-naked. The most Insta-worthy and pin-worthy cakes doing the rounds right now are the drip cakes!

A drip cake is essentially a cake that has liquid icing (caramel, honey, chocolate syrup etc.) dripping on the sides of it. It looks kind of messy, but is prettied up with flowers, macarons, gold leaf and other foods.

There’s an art to creating drip cakes and brides are obsessed with these mouth-watering delights.

Try not to lick the screen!

payal singhal wedding

photo by PAYAL SINGHAL

Off shoulder

We have seen bridal designers switch it up this year with unconventional off-the-shoulder gowns, crop-tops and dresses.

This look is bang on trend and perfect for the bride opting for a boho, romantic look this season.

Print dresses

The must have dress look for bridesmaids are printed. They’re playful and colourful and so not boring.

Simple doesn’t cut it anymore. Ready to wear, mismatched coloured and floral print dress styles are on the rise.

Something blue

For the groom or groomsmen, it’s time to step away from the traditional black tie and black suits because blue is the new black!

Now there are so many shades of blues.

shop nimai statement earrings

image from SHOP NIMAI

If your man is not too adventurous, try navy, otherwise, bright blues or pastels are the way to go.

Statement earrings 

The biggest jewellery trend from this years fashion weeks, have been big earrings.

Go bold, go big and make a statement on your wedding day.

Bling is in and brides are loving all styles.

Forgo the necklace Let your earrings do the talking this season.

indian wedding photography kerala

photography by CHRIS SPIRA

Au natural

Feel comfortable on your wedding day.

Ask your hair stylist to ditch the products and opt for a more natural look for your tresses.

It’s simple, alternative and ideal for the not-so-fussy bride.

Sleek up-dos are also in style.

Berry good

Refined, natural and warm, the berry lip will look stunning if you’re opting for an Autumn wedding.  

Pucker up 

On the topic of lips, collagen lip masks are trending maharanis! That’s right. You heard correctly. Thanks to Emma Stone, these masks are all the rage with brides to be.

Emma’s lip treatment selfie (captured at this year’s Golden Globes) has gone viral.

Apparently these masks keep your lips plump and hydrated. Hmm.. whatever floats your boat we guess!

Honeymooning

Something every bride and groom looks forward to most is the honeymoon of course!

Greece, in particular the island of Santorini is so exotic for all the right reasons. For dreamy sunsets and undeniable beauty, a Greek island honeymoon is the perfect escape.

Personally, I would opt for New Zealand though which is undoubtedly an adventurer’s paradise and home to stunning landscapes and snowcapped mountains… Sigh…

new zealand pinterest wedding trends

photography by ROB SUISTED

These trends aren’t the be all and all of weddings, but we like to encourage brides to instead use these tips as a guide for planning their own wedding. After all, who knows what next year will bring!

*To view the complete report click here -> https://www.pinterest.com/pinpicks/2017-wedding-report/

What trends will you be pinning this year and what will your dream wedding look like? Let us know in the comments below!

Believe, Create & Celebrate with The Maharani Diaries

Don't Be Like The Rest Of Them | The Maharani Diaries

Hello Maharanis!

Having downtime over the holiday season gave my husband and I a chance to review and re-focus. It was not all sun-drenched beaches and parties for us over summer. In between travelling across South Africa, we were working on a special little project. After one and a half years of blogging, travelling back and forth to London for wedding and fashion shows and networking with some of the best minds in the industry, we are expanding the business to bring you a fresh new website. Don’t worry we’re not changing the name.

For those of you who don’t know, my journey into blogging was driven by my passion for weddings. I created my first blog with the help of a good old YouTube tutorial and I honestly thought it was the best website ever! As you can see, I’ve moved on.. Anyway, in between working and moving half way across the other end of the globe though, life has thrown me a few curveballs. However, it has been a learning experience and one that I am grateful for.

Over the past few years I have met some incredibly talented and inspiring individuals in the wedding industry and this has made the journey all the more enjoyable. I have loads more confidence and belief in myself. My calling has arrived. This is what I had set out to do and with the support of my loving husband of 5 years, we are ready for the next chapter in our lives. Our baby, ‘The Maharani Diaries.’

Anand & Poonam (TMD team) | The Maharani Diaries

Whilst working on the new site, it got me thinking about something a friend told me recently about setting new year’s resolutions. Now I’m not really one for resolutions and well I guess it is a little too late in the new year to even start. One of my good friends recently gave me a really good piece of advice to follow. Choose 3 words that you will live by this year, 100%. Try and incorporate these words into your everyday life in some form or another and follow up to see if you’re being true to yourself. I thought this was genius! I took time to reflect over this and came up with my 3 words: action, honesty and winning. With that, I will take action on a daily basis, be honest in business and in life and win in all areas of my life!

So with these 3 words, I now have the strength and courage to fulfil my ambitions. I know exactly what I want to achieve this year.

As cheesy as it sounds, we are here because we love what we do. Our goal is to produce authentic and meaningful content to our readers. More than just another wedding blog, The Maharani Diaries is an experience and a place where brides and wedding industry professionals can come together to share their love for all things wedding related. We want brides to celebrate the most important day of their lives by embracing their ‘inner Maharani.’ To have fun, embrace colour and be beautiful.

Believe that you can have the time of your life during your wedding planning. Create the wedding of your dreams with us and celebrate the most important day of your life. Share your story with us. Whether it’s in the form of a wedding feature, or perhaps you’d like to share something in our forthcoming Facebook group.

So, here it is.. The big announcement has finally arrived. Our new logo! We feel that it truly speaks us and reflects our values through and through. It’s a project that is very dear to our hearts and we’d love for you to let us know what you think!

The Maharani Diaries logo | The Maharani Diaries

xo Poonam

*The Maharani Diaries Facebook group will officially launch next month and new website in April. In the mean time, if you have any questions or would just like to say hello, send us an email to info@fresheyesinc.ddns.net!

The National Wedding Show Ticket Offer

Win White Hot Tickets to the Wedding Show of the Season!

26 – 28 February 2016 London Olympia4 – 6 March 2016 Birmingham NEC

The National Wedding Show | The Maharani Diaries

This spring sees the return of the UK’s biggest wedding show, where you can experience every element of your dream day unfolding before your very eyes. From discovering your perfect venue and trying on the dress of your dreams to sampling delectable delights, eyeing up fabulous floral creations and seeking out your idyllic honeymoon hideaway; The National Wedding Show is the ultimate one-stop-shop to discover the wedding experts in every field. Endless inspiration and countless shopping opportunities to try, buy, book and hire everything you can imagine for your big day, all under one roof.

Jenny Packham | The Maharani Diaries

Kickstart the day by taking a seat at the renowned Catwalk Show to see the latest trends for all the bridal party brought to life on the runway. A showcase of the hottest collections of the season from the nation’s finest designers, boutiques and retailers, provides invaluable inspiration for not only the bride, but also mothers and fathers, beautiful bridesmaids, dashing best men and ushers and not forgetting the man of the moment, the groom. The must-see line-up includes designs from the likes of Jenny Packham, David’s Bridal, Qiana Bridal, Alfred Angelo, Allure Bridals, Beyond Burlesque, Nigel Rayment, Debenhams, Moss Bros and Young’s Hire, to name just a few.

Get up close and personal with the all-important wedding dresses by hitting the designated Bridal Boutique and Designer Boutique to browse and try on an unrivalled selection of dresses under one roof. From high street to couture, short and sassy styles to long, glamorous, show-stopping numbers, there is something to suit every style, shape and budget.

Head to the Wedding Theatre to discover all you need to know about big day beauty, hair and style. The National Wedding Show’s glam squad will share their Top 10 Tips for achieving your perfect wedding day look through demonstrations and revealing trade secrets for brides, bridesmaids and mothers of the bride and groom. During each session, one lucky bride will be selected for a makeover live on stage and presented to the audience in a breath-taking ‘big reveal.’

TNWS | The Maharani Diaries

Hear first-hand from plus size model and TV Presenter Nina Blakemore, who will return to The National Wedding Show this season with her popular body confidence workshops which include essential advice on everything from how to hold your bridal bouquet and achieve the perfect pose for the camera to ‘how to work your wedding dress’, as well as offering advice for bridesmaids, mother of the bride and even the groom!

You’ve nailed the look for you and your bridal party, now it’s time to turn your attention to the all-important venue. Transform your wedding destination into a spectacular backdrop for your dream day by seeking inspiration from The National Wedding Show’s host of wedding planners and stylists. Create the perfect ambience through clever lighting schemes, stylish tableware and signage then get the party started by discovering the ultimate DJ or live band and top it off by ordering a must-have dazzling dance floor or perhaps ensure the night goes off with a bang with some top-class fireworks.

TNWS | The Maharani Diaries

Floral fantasies become a reality at the Designer Flower Market, where you will find inspiration-a-plenty from the show-stopping displays together with expert advice from a line-up of top florists. Whether you are dreaming of a big, traditional fairytale wedding or planning an intimate summer garden affair, there are stylish solutions for all themes and colour schemes.

If you’re looking for something a little more alternative for your big day, head to The Rock n Roll Bride Collection. Brand new for 2016, the Rock n Roll Bride Collection will feature everything from bridal-wear and accessories to flowers, cakes and stationery, to make your big day truly unique in every way.

The Rock n Roll Bride Collection will also play host to the The Rock n Roll Café, the perfect place to unwind during an action-packed day of shopping, wedding planning and inspiration.

Destination Wedding | The Maharani Diaries

Round off the day by registering for your gift list and perhaps even booking the honeymoon of your dreams. Your high-street favourites will be on hand to help, including John Lewis, Debenhams, Sandals, Thomas Cook and Turquoise Holidays.

After an action-packed day of shopping and planning, make a beeline for the Champagne Bar to enjoy a well-deserved glass of bubbly and raise a toast to your exciting big day ahead! If you appreciate the finer things in life then get ahead of the crowds and enjoy the show in style with VIP tickets. The exclusive package includes fast track entrance to the show, reserved seating at the Catwalk Show, unlimited access to the VIP Lounge, a complimentary glass of fizz and a goody box containing beauty products to pamper yourself in the build up to your big day.

The Maharani Diaries has teamed up with The National Wedding Show to offer 1 lucky reader and their ‘plus one’ the chance to attend the year’s most prestigious wedding event in London or Birmingham, absolutely free! Tickets are valid any day and are limited to one pair per winner. Head on over to our Instagram account for further details on how you can win! –> https://www.instagram.com/themaharanidiaries/

Entries for the London show close Thursday 25th February 2016 at 6pm and Wednesday 2nd March 2016 at 9pm for the Birmingham show. So hurry! 

Don’t worry, if you are not a lucky winner, you can still book in advance and save up to £5 off the door price**. To book, visit www.nationalweddingshow.co.uk or call the ticket hotline on 0844 874 0486.

**Advance ticket prices revert to the on the door price of £20 (London and Birmingham) at midnight the day before opening.

For more information visit The National Wedding Show website at www.nationalweddingshow.co.ukFacebook – www.facebook.com/nationalweddingshow or Twitter – @nationalwedding / #TNWS and Instagram – @thenationalweddingshow

Pantone Colors Of The Year – Rose Quartz & Serenity

Pantone Wedding Inspiration | The Maharani Diaries

It’s reigning pale pinks and soft blues this year all courtesy of Pantone.

In an unprecedented move the institute have nominated not one but two colors this year; Rose Quartz and Serenity.

For those who have been hiding under a rock for a while, the Pantone Color Institute is the world’s leading authority on color standardization. Each year Pantone releases a color, which shapes forthcoming fashion, home décor and wedding trend forecasts.

The soothing pastel tones have been talk of the town in recent months with interior experts, wedding planners, stylists and fashion designers embracing the colors. Rose Quartz and Serenity are incredibly versatile and can be paired alongside other neutral pantone colors as well as metallics. The two shades when combined together are also so dreamy and romantic. As executive director of Pantone Color Institute, Leatrice Eisemen stated, Joined together, Rose Quartz and Serenity demonstrate an inherent balance between a warmer embracing rose tone and the cooler tranquil blue, reflecting connection and wellness as well as a soothing sense of order and peace.”

To see how these hues can inspire your wedding, we have scoured the internet and got our creative juices flowing to create elegant and romantic inspiration mood boards. Paint your wedding festivities with rose tones and tranquil blues and layer with antique golds, champagne beiges and muted ivories to give your wedding a luxe appeal.

For our rose quartz palette we have blended beautiful and chic wedding ideas that are glowing with elegance. Vintage touches with a hint of opulence.

Rose Quartz Inspiration | The Maharani Diaries

Place setting image courtesy of Pinterest // Bouttonniere image courtesy of Pinterest // Perfume image courtesy of Michael + Anna Costa // Shoes image courtesy of Silvana Di Franco //
Outdoor setting by Jeannie Savage, photography courtesy of Lin & Jirsa //Cake courtesy of Cakes by Krishanthi// Lehenga by Anita Dongre for Pernia’s Pop Up Shop //
Invitation suite by Ceci New York, photography courtesy of Thisbe Grace Photography // Ring courtesy of Trumpet & Horn 

Place setting: Add style to your wedding table with gold plated ornate china wear and cutlery. Infuse blush pink roses into your tablescape to create an eye-catching setting.

Boutonniere and tie: A mens boutonniere or buttonhole need not be over the top in this case. Inject some color and personality into the groom’s trousseau. Mix it up with a fun polka dot tie and one single pink rose. Accompany the accessories with a neutral shade suit and you have a classic yet simple look.

Perfume: Mais oui (but yes), Chanel! The beauty of this too is that the perfume bottle will look absolutely stunning in your photographs.

Shoes: These beautiful Badgley Mischka heels will add the right amount of color to your bridal trousseau and definitely won’t look over the top with your blushing pink toned bridal gown.

Outdoor setting: This isn’t a mandap, but just imagine! Something similar would make for a stunning backdrop. Adorned with luscious pink and ivory roses and complemented with metallic chairs, your wedding will be the talk of the town.

Cake: As Marie Antoinette once famously quoted, “Let them eat cake.” A standout wedding cake like this one from Cakes By Krishanthi layered with frosted pink and white petals and beautiful gold Victorian style details will stand out in any wedding venue.

Lehenga: Anita Dongre’s signature gota patti embroidered lehenga choli’s usually feature floral patterns and subtle gold foiling, hence the reason why we thought this gorgeous feminine outfit is perfect for a wedding of this style.

Invitation suite: Founder and stationery design extraordinaire, Ceci Johnson of Ceci New York believes that “Every legendary party begins with an unforgettable invitation.” This deluxe gold and blush invitation suite will add a lovely touch to the overall theme building anticipation for your guests.

Ring: Whether it’s the engagement or wedding ring, this one from Trumpet & Horn speaks for itself. An unusual art deco vintage ring with yellow, rose and white gold accents. Perfect!

Serenity Inspiration | The Maharani Diaries

Macarons image courtesy of Ana Grinets Photography for French Wedding Style // Invitation suite by Karli Noel, photography courtesy of Ivy & Stone Photography for Style Me Pretty
// Lehenga courtesy of Shyamal & Bhumika // Chandelier image courtesy of Pinterest // Chateau image courtesy of Wesley Nulens for Style Me Pretty // Ring courtesy of Eidel Precious for Etsy
// Shoes and bouquet image courtesy of Anastasia Belik // Place setting image courtesy of Anouschka Rokebrand for Style Me Pretty // Mehendi image courtesy of Pinterest 

Our serenity wedding color palette has been drawn from European influences (French to be exact) combining dreamy neutrals and creams offset with once again metallic and accents of rose quartz as well.

Macarons: What is a French inspired wedding without this delectable dessert? We love this striking macaron tower nestled next to vintage champagne glasses, sitting pretty on an antique sweetheart table.

Invitation suite: This stunning powder blue and cream Karli Noel invitation suite features hand written calligraphy with gold lettering. The perfect wedding invitation suite for your French destination wedding.

Lehenga: We love this luxurious, artisan pastel blue couture lehenga from designer’s Shyamal & Bhumika’s ‘A Little Romance’ collection. Create a statement with a gorgeous lehenga such as this one. Perfect for brides who love timeless and romantic looks.

Chandelier: An ornate antique gold chandelier such as this one will add opulence to your reception venue as well as your wedding photographs.

Chateau: A charming French chateau with all the trimmings is the ideal venue for a wedding of this scale and grandeur. This one looks particularly dreamy. Whisk your guests away to a European retreat for the ultimate destination wedding party.

Ring: A beautiful rose gold Victorian engagement ring featuring a blue pear cut sapphire will match beautifully with the bridal trousseau.

Bouquet and shoes: Go all out with your blue wedding palette. Pointy toed stilleto’s definitely add luxe appeal and once paired with the designer lehenga and a fresh bouquet of carnations or roses, your beau won’t be able to take his eyes off you.

Place setting: Gold candelabras, fine china and fitted blue linens add to the classic and timeless wedding setting.

Mehendi: Just when we couldn’t fall more in love with this inspiration board, we come across this stunning image over on Pinterest, featuring intricate mehendi work adorning a bride’s palms. Lovely details.

Even if you decide against translating these colors into your design concept, what’s important is to ensure that you communicate your color choices into your overall wedding theme. From the venue to your décor through to your cocktails and cake, everything should balance well.

What are your thoughts on this year’s Pantone 2016 colors of the year? Will you be incorporating them into your wedding theme? Let us know in the comments below.

A Guide To Planning A Modern Wedding – Part 2 – Wedding Styles

 

A little while back we shared our tips on basic rules for planning and budgeting for you impending marriage. Today we’re moving onto wedding styles. An obvious topic which is often ignored during the initial stages of wedding planning.

So, what’s your wedding style? Are you a traditionalist or perhaps you’re the fuss-free type?

For many, trying to determine the answer to these puzzling questions could mean turning to websites such as Pinterest. The truth is though you could spend hours pouring over thousands of pretty images that don’t even reflect who you are. Step away and take time out to find out what it is that you truly want in your wedding. Of course as we’ve mentioned in the past, there isn’t anything wrong with sourcing your inspiration from Pinterest, but just try and set realistic wedding goals. Trends come and go and you don’t necessarily need to stick to them.

There aren’t any hard and fast rules to follow when designing your wedding. The most important thing though is to keep it tasteful and timeless. Incorporate personal elements that both you and your partner will love. You need to feel comfortable.

To steer you in the right direction, we’ve made it simple for you by breaking down the most popular styles of weddings.

TRADITIONAL WEDDING

 

Photography courtesy of Edmund Leong Motion & Stills for The Maharani Diaries 

Typically, traditional or religious wedding ceremonies are held in a courthouse or a place of worship such as a temple, conforming to age old traditions. However, this doesn’t mean that you are restricted or can’t be creative. For instance if you’re having a mixed marriage, you could blend the traditions and add your own personal touches to the wedding. After the wedding ceremony you have free reign to do what you like with your reception party. You could stick with the traditional theme and mix up your décor. Think about using fresh colour palettes. After all, South Asian weddings are all about embracing colour.

Before your traditional wedding it is important to understand the rituals, blessings and cultural aspects. Customs play an important part in Indian weddings and there are many facets to each tradition.

If however you decide to choose a civil wedding, well you’re lucky because there’s very little paper work involved.

For couples who like to honour traditions, then a religious wedding is highly appropriate.

CLASSIC WEDDING

Cake by Cakes by Krishanthi // Tablescape by Joy Proctor for Burnetts Boards // Champagne glasses image courtesy of Pinterest 

 

Much like a religious wedding, classic weddings follow traditional formats with a large guest list, standard rituals, vows and declarations. Décor is elaborate for both the ceremony and the reception. Think clean lines and unassuming details with classic and fitted linens and chair covers, roses, black, white, or gold, candelabras, elegant centerpieces and ornate dinnerware.

Classic weddings are beautiful, timeless and understated and sophisticated to the core.

If this is the style of wedding you have been dreaming about since you were a little girl or boy, then this is the wedding for you. Keep it classy, elegant and refined. Your guests will thank you in the end.

INFORMAL WEDDING 

Lantern and floral styling by Pearl Events Austin // Wedding Favours and Tablescape by Love Lou Collective for Green Wedding Shoes 

 

Informal weddings give you an opportunity to express yourself in whichever way you choose to do so. Couples who choose this style of wedding tend to have a carefree aesthetic.

Your festivities are likely to be free spirited but still manage to impress without compromising on style. Refined rustic, beach, barn or vineyard, the choice is yours. Be adventurous, but don’t let it feel contrived. Every little detail should reflect the theme, from the décor to the invitations right through to the menu. The table settings could include mix and matched jars with whimsical florals and lighting can be au natural.

Rediscover casual elegance with an informal wedding.

DESTINATION WEDDING

Photographs courtesy of Kismis Ink Photography for Strictly Weddings 

 

A destination wedding offers you a range of flexibility. Ask yourselves if it will be just you attending or close family or friends or more. These types of weddings are relatively stress free as most venues around the world offer a tailored package accustomed to your taste or liking. The package usually takes care of all your wedding requirements including the coordinator, the mandap, priest or celebrant, entertainment, cake and even accommodation. Just ensure that the location and backdrop reflects your personality.

Often a destination wedding can be more cost effective. Couples can also choose to have an all-inclusive honeymoon meaning that you receive more bang for your buck!

Turn it into a weeklong celebration with your closest family and friends. Remember that this isn’t your typical wedding, but if you want to feel relaxed and have a team organizing everything, then this is for you. It’s like one big long vacation for you, your family and friends. All the functions are held on site and you have free reign to choose whether you’d like to keep it intimate or OTT (over the top). 

ELOPEMENT

 

Engagement rings image courtesy of Pinterest // Couple captured by Chris Spira Photography // Beach image courtesy of Pinterest

 

Are you just completely overwhelmed with the whole idea of planning a wedding? Then perhaps eloping is your best bet.

Eloping takes the pressure off planning a wedding you’re able to enjoy your ceremony more. Less planning and more time to focus on yourselves. Not to forgetting the fact that you have a lot more money to spend on the honeymoon.

The beauty of eloping is that you can avoid any family drama by calling all the shots. You have the freedom to choose the location and you can dress up or dress down for the occasion.

Also, just because you elope doesn’t mean you can’t have a reception party afterwards. Plan in advance and more importantly check that you have organised all the relevant paperwork. If you’re eloping abroad, contact the embassies and check the rules and regulations in that country.

Style is about who you are. Take this style and translate it into your wedding. Don’t try too hard and remember that you can’t incorporate every single design element into your wedding. Discover who you are as a person and take time to envisage what your wedding will look like and then commit. Best of luck!

What’s your wedding style? Let us know in the comments below. Keep posted to part 3 of our planning series where we look at roles and responsibilities during wedding planning.

New Year’s Wedding Goals

New Year Wedding Goals | The Maharani Diaries

3 weeks in to the new year and we know what you’re thinking. Planning a wedding is no mean feat even more so when you’re managing everything on your own.

Whether you recently got engaged or perhaps you are in the throes of wedding planning, now is the time to dust off the cobwebs and start afresh.

Thankfully for you, we have compiled a few pointers to help you kick-start your wedding planning for 2016.

 

Banner 1 New Years post | The Maharani Diaries

There’s nothing worse than not having any idea of where to begin. As mentioned in part 1 of our wedding planning series post, create a master list of things to do and delegate the tasks between your friends, family or fiancée.

Focus on the big picture. Manage your time, prioritize tasks and be flexible. Above all, take the time to relax with your better half. Go out for a coffee or watch a movie. Rest assured, everything will fall into place.

Banner 3 New Years post | The Maharani Diaries

Save money and stick to a budget. The perfect wedding day shouldn’t come at the cost of anyone’s financial stability. Let’s face it, it’s not the most ideal way to begin your married life.

Yes, having an over-the-top ceremony sounds memorable, but wouldn’t it be lovely after returning from your honeymoon to not have to cope with the stress of huge bills to pay back. Invest in your marriage and do not take out a loan.

Shop around, DIY and use seasonal flowers. There are many clever ways in which to stretch that dollar.

Banner 3 New Years post | The Maharani Diaries

If you’re managing most of the wedding planning decisions, costs and general coordination yourself, we can’t stress how important it is to trust your vendors. They have your best interests at heart and if you control their direction from the very outset, you won’t have a good working relationship with them.

Be happy with your decisions.

Banner 4 New Years post | The Maharani Diaries

Develop a good beauty regime, sleep well, exercise and stay healthy. No, we’re not doctors, but it’s common sense. After all, these rituals will have you looking your absolute best on your wedding day!

Working out is a New Years resolution that tops most people’s list every year, but it’s difficult to stick to.

Having an incentive is great and what better incentive than to wanting to fit into your wedding dress! Sign up for Bollywood dance classes, Zumba, yoga.. whatever! Motivation is the key and if you’re lagging behind, find a friend to support you or if you have budgeted for it, hire a personal fitness trainer.

Banner 5 New Years post | The Maharani Diaries

You don’t have to be a craft whizz to personalise your wedding. Take the simplest task, for instance ceremony programs or place card settings and you’ll be surprised at what you can achieve. If you’re eager, but don’t have a clue of where to start, Pinterest is a great tool and it’s completely free to sign up! Our favourite stationery stores, Kikki K or Cristina Re often organise monthly workshops for creative minds out there and also keep an eye out on unique wedding or craft exhibitions such as The Finders Keepers Market who also like to inspire you.

There’s something special about discovering the joys of do it yourself crafting projects. Try your hand at it, let those creative juices flow and you’ll be surprised.

Timing is everything. Start early and don’t leave this to the last minute.

So, there we have it. Remember that wedding planning isn’t always as stressful or overwhelming some brides make it out to be. Take care, look after yourselves and here’s wishing you a very happy and productive 2016!

What are your New Year wedding resolutions? We’d love to hear your stories! Drop a comment in the box below.

A Guide To Planning A Modern Wedding – Part 1 – Planning & Budget

A guide to planning a modern wedding - Part 1

So, you and your partner just got engaged and now you’re asking yourselves, what’s next?

Planning a wedding can be somewhat of an exciting time in your life, yet stressful at the same time. It’s very easy for couples to feel overwhelmed when planning a wedding. In particular, for Indian couples given that our weddings are multi-day affairs comprising of gatherings, rituals and numerous pre-wedding events. 

In this special 5 part planning series, The Maharani Diaries will guide you through some useful planning tips to help make your wedding planning process run smoothly.

Let’s start off with some basic planning and budgeting rules.

PLANNING STAGES

Planning A Wedding - Part 1 | The Maharani Diaries

Delegate tasks

First and foremost, I highly recommend that you share the planning duties with your partner. It is the best way to get things done more efficiently and the best part is that you can assign tasks for each other. Brides-to-be will honestly be very surprised at how much the groom will want to be involved during the planning stages of your wedding. Reach out to your bridesmaids, friends and family as well. Enlist the help of those who have been in your shoes before and if you have budgeted for it, hire the professionals.

Stay organised

The most important aspect of wedding planning is to be super organised. This means having everything compiled in a spreadsheet, notes an organisation app on your phone or perhaps for the traditionalists, a fashionable little folder or hard copy wedding planning diary.

Planning A Wedding - Part 1 | The Maharani Diaries

Stay organised during your wedding planning.
Purchase a pretty little planner or start a spreadsheet.
Most importantly, keep on top of things.

Be realistic

Draw up a timetable and set aside time (perhaps over the weekends) to plan and to visit your suppliers or to fit in any shopping trips. Don’t leave things to the last minute. If there are certain tasks on the list you simply don’t have the time for or cannot accommodate for, cross it off.

Enjoy the day

Accept the fact that at the end of the day, your wedding may not go as planned. If you’re anything but a control freak, then you will most definitely notice all the little details, but at the end of the day, enjoy the moments. Don’t let the small things spoil the festivities and remember that from here onwards what’s most important is that you will be spending the rest of your life with the man or woman of your dreams.

Planning A Wedding - Part 1 | The Maharani Diaries

BUDGETING

Set a budget

I cannot stress how important setting a budget is. Set a realistic budget and try and stick to it. Decide on the costs, spread the finances across each important category and then track the expenditure.

Sort out what are the must have things and what you are content with leaving out.

More and more couples these days are choosing to take responsibility for their own expenses and foot their own wedding bills. Discuss this with your parents and if they are wanting to contribute to the budget, include them in your discussions.

Planning A Wedding - Part 1 | The Maharani Diaries

Involve your parents in your wedding planning process.

Guest list 

Try to limit the guest list. Only invite who you know, not who your parents know.

Seasonal

Opt for an Autumn or Winter wedding and that also choose to host your wedding on a day other than a Saturday. I guarantee you, it is much cheaper.

DIY

Craft your own invitations and save on hiring decor.

Embrace Pinterest, but don’t go overboard. There’s a limit to how many henna adorned mason jars you can use.

Planning A Wedding | The Maharani Diaries

Save on decor. Opt for DIY, but don’t go overboard. Remember, less is more.

Hope you will find this series helpful. Would love to hear how you are going with your wedding planning or if you recently got married and you have some useful tips to share, please let me know in the comments below.

Happy planning!

Stay tuned for part 2 of this planning series. We’ll discuss the types of weddings to choose from – modern, traditional or destination.. Everybody’s different these days and there’s no right or wrong.

*Images courtesy of: Pinterest

Introducing, Leena Mistry of ‘Ratanji Rani’ – bespoke wedding invitations, rakhi’s & more!

Ratanji Rani | The Maharani Diaries

Leena Mistry is a woman of many talents. An accountant, a part-time beauty therapist and if that isn’t enough, a stationery designer!

Originally from the UK, Leena always had a creative side to her. She has been hand crafting rakhi’s (threads) for raksha bandhan (Hindu festival celebrating the bond between brothers and sisters) as well as custom invitations and wedding stationery for many years.

Now based in the beautiful beachside suburbs of Sydney, Australia, she is continuing her passion for creating gorgeous stationery whilst also successfully running Ratanji Rani – The Beauty Room.

LEENA MISTRY OF RATANJI RANI

LEENA MISTRY OF RATANJI RANI

Welcome to The Maharani Diaries vendor directory, Leena. Tell us about yourself and your amazing talents?

I’m British born, currently living in Sydney and married to an amazing man. I had a standard Indian upbringing and an education in accounting. I was always creative but I don’t think it fully unleashed until after my year out travelling and a few years in the working world, I realised I had little interest in climbing the corporate ladder. I wanted to be my own boss and experience as much in life as I could (life is short as they say). I wanted to learn something different on the side so I took evening classes in massage therapy and beauty.

Back in London it was actually quite difficult to strike the right balance. I would work as a full time accountant and then in the evenings I would either be with a client or making stationery. It was tough and a little tiring but it is a passion of mine, so I had to make it work.

When we moved to Sydney, my priority was to find a balance between all of this. So I chose to take on part time accounting and spend the free time on building the business. I couldn’t have done it without my husband’s support – honestly he has been my rock! It can still be a struggle, but I really value the time with loved ones and now I get to spend evenings with my husband and friends.

Leena Mistry of Ratanji Rani | The Maharani Diaries

How and when did you start Ratanji Rani?

I turned my hobby into this little venture three years ago. I wanted to share my love for natural beauty, wellbeing and traditional crafting with everybody. I always knew I wanted to set up my own venture and after creating the stationery for our own wedding, I felt that it was time to give it a go.

Could you tell us a little about the story behind the name, ‘Ratanji Rani?’

Well I actually set up the business in memory of my maternal grandparents, Mr Ratanjibhai and Mrs Rattanben Mistry, so it’s a name close to my heart and full of childhood memories. Growing up, my mother’s side of the family would often spend weekends and holidays together. My dads side of the family is very male dominated which I love, but it was always refreshing to have some sisterly company.

The girls all had a traditional Indian upbringing (meaning learning how to be a domestic goddess and mastering how to make the perfect round roti), so during our visits, we would help my grandmother, mum and aunty. Naturally the older we became, we would enjoy spending more time getting ready and catching up on gossip than finishing our chores. My Mum and aunt would always tell us to hurry, calling us “rani’s”, meaning queens! The rani name surprisingly stuck and we’d always joke that we were the Ratanji Ranis’ – Ratanji Queens.

Such a delightful story. Take us through the various styles of wedding stationery you create.

Well, I’m not an expert digital designer, (I am slowly learning with help from my very talented cousin, Mitesh) but what I do have, is a passion for traditional crafts. I love to source pretty papers and patterns, incorporate old crafts like binding, embossing, stamping and wood block printing. More importantly, I handcraft each invitation from the first cut to placing the last embellishment.

My styles are simple. A fusion of modern print and traditional finishes, which is perfect for the modern bride looking for something a little different.

What is your design process when creating wedding stationery for the couple?

I love to sit with my clients and discuss their ideas, work with them on a one-to-one basis to create stationery that is unique to them. Sometimes it isn’t always possible to meet, so if the client is abroad or living in another city, I try my level best to keep them updated at all times. If they already like something they see, then that makes my job easier. But more often than not, I’ve found my clients come to me, as they are looking for something unique and personal.

Do you prefer that the couple has an idea of what they want to create for their wedding or do you like to work with a blank canvas?

I do love to work with a blank canvas. In fact I am in the midst of doing exactly that for an invitation I’m working on at the moment. It does help if the couple have an idea, no matter how small or silly they think it might be. I have had some brides bring in invitation samples of a concept they like. Every couple’s wedding is an opportunity for me to create something new or to mix and match my previous designs. I love that each order has been slightly different from the others.

Do you like to keep up to date with the latest trends in wedding stationery?

Yes, most definitely! I’m always researching and getting inspiration from Pinterest, Instagram and reading great bridal magazines/blogs. It’s good to know which colours are on trend or if certain themes are arising amongst the creatives. I don’t necessarily follow it but it always gives me ideas to experiment and create.

What advice can you give to a couple when choosing their wedding stationery?

Be prepared to pay a little more than you expected for your wedding stationery. Amazingly, a lot of couples don’t budget well for stationery and it ends up being one of their bigger costs. Keep it simple but striking. Having one beautiful element on your stationery can tie in your whole wedding theme and that’s what I’m here to do for you.

Be open to ideas and don’t be afraid to share your own ideas too. Handmade stationery takes a lot longer than a digital print process, so when planning, ensure that your invitations take the first priority on the ‘to do list.’ It’s good to start this process early with your stationer if you are opting for the bespoke range.

Ratanji Rani | The Maharani Diaries Ratanji Rani | The Maharani Diaries

You also create cards for various other occasions and beautiful hand made rakhi’s for raksha bhandan. Tell us more about that.

It seems the era for putting pen to paper is slowly dying so I love it when clients get in touch and ask me to make a custom greeting card. There are still a few of us out there who enjoy writing and sending things by post. Making other paper goods, keeps my creative mind active and allows me to experiment with new and old traditions. I really enjoy it.

Raksha Bandhan has definitely grown over the years! I’ve been making my own rakhis since high school. I’m very family orientated and my brothers mean the world to me, so making rakhis for them is special and my little way of saying I love them. A few years ago, I had a few requests from friends and I posted the photos on to my Facebook page and well, since then I’ve had a lot more requests.

I use 100% cotton and traditional macramé knotting techniques to hand make each rakhi. You may often find me making rakhis on the bus or in a café, just to make sure I keep on top of orders.

I believe in giving back too, so every year I donate a percentage of my rakhi sales to the Meningitis Trust. My younger brother had meningitis when he was born and without these guys, he wouldn’t be here today. I am very lucky and forever grateful.

What do you enjoy most about creating/designing and have there been any memorable moments to date?

What I enjoy most is bringing ideas to life. I love the freedom to experiment and test my ideas. Not everything works out but that’s all part of learning.

Some of my memorable moments have actually been learning. I learned an old tradition of book binding and incorporated it into my stationery. I also had an opportunity once to have a go at letterpress printing using the traditional plates. That was amazing!

Who or what inspires you?    

Lately fashion has been a huge inspiration for me. From the amazing designers on the runway at Lakme Fashion Week to the modern geometric prints I’ve seen on the rails at Sportsgirl and Country Road (Australian Fashion stores).

I find a lot of inspiration on my travels too. For instance, patterns engrained on trees, the vivid colours of the ocean, printed fabrics or even tattoo art on indigenous Maori people.

Being Indian and learning about my own culture and background is also very inspirational. We come from a heritage of great craftsmanship, and its fascinating!

Thank you so much for your time Leena. You are so inspiring and it goes to show that with a little determination, you can achieve anything in life. All the best for the forthcoming wedding season. If people would like to get in contact with you or purchase your creations online, how can they do so?

Thank you.

The easiest way to get in touch is to send through an email (even just to say hello). I also have an Etsy Shop where at the moment I sell a selection of my paper goods and rakhis but I’m hoping in the next few months to add my wedding stationery collection on there too. For the social butterflies, there is always Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

If any of Leena’s work caught your fancy, follow the links on our vendor page.

*Aussie brides to be, Ratanji Rani will have a stand at The Annual Wedding Expo at Sydney Showground, Sydney Olympic Park on Sunday, 23rd August 2015. For further information visit the Wedding Expos Australia website here.

18 Ways To Budget For Your Wedding

18 Ways To Budget For Your Wedding | The Maharani Diaries

A recent article published in Australian bridal magazine, ‘Bride To Be’ magazine suggested that the average cost to have a wedding now in Australia is estimated to be over $65K. Just a little over 2 years ago, the average was around $36K which indicates that the cost has almost doubled. The article was based on a survey that the magazine had been conducting since 1997 and wedding watchers say that there are many contributing factors to the rise of wedding costs.

There is a rising popularity in couples opting for destination weddings, purchasing couture made bridal wear, pre-wedding photo shoots, hiring photo booths, dessert buffets and not to forget the fact that traditional hens and stag parties are turning into weekend long parties or overseas getaways.

Save The Date | The Maharani Diaries

PLANNING THE PERFECT WEDDING DOESN’T HAVE TO BE A FINANCIAL STRUGGLE.

The way in which couples choose to approach their weddings has taken a dramatic shift from the days of hiring your local community hall down the road to massive function venues in hotels, resorts, vineyards and even palaces. It’s all about the ‘wow-factor’ and creating something magical and everlasting for not just yourself, but for your family and friends as well. 

Yes, it’s true. Planning a wedding never comes cheap and it’s difficult to stay within budget. Many couples often have to seek financial support from their parents or dip into their own savings accounts in order to cover costs. But, the truth is that your perfect day shouldn’t have to be a financial struggle. It is possible to plan the perfect wedding on a budget. It is also important to remember that weddings shouldn’t be about showing off how much money you have or about making comparisons about whose wedding was better. Traditionally, Indian weddings are about the joining of two families and spending it with your loved ones.  That is all that it should eventually come down to.

Your parents are around to support you.

YOUR PARENTS ARE AROUND TO SUPPORT YOU.

Of course Indian weddings have their own challenges. It can sometimes be difficult to convince your families that this day is about you and your fiancé. They may prefer to focus on the religious aspects whereas you on the other hand want to make sure everyone has a memorable time. Try to strike a compromise. Nowadays, couples are more inclined to take charge of their own weddings but do ensure that families have their input. Nothing will happen unless you have their support. My advice is to break it all down. Break down the events, costings and components. Start a spreadsheet and perhaps even draw up a timeline as well. This is especially relevant given that Indian weddings run over several days. So it’s essential to discuss aspects such as finding a priest, ceremonial costs and mehndi/henna artist hire. But, for now, let me share a few tips and ideas on ways you can save or budget on one of the most important days of your life.

via Marigold Tales | The Maharani Diaries

1) Host your pre wedding puja’s, religious ceremonies and parties at home

These events do not have to be over the top and perhaps invite only your closest friends and relatives. If your house is too small to hold a sangeet or mendi party, host it at a friend’s house or a well equipped and acceptable looking local community hall. When I say ‘well equipped’, I mean with kitchen facilities. I also suggest that you seek assistance from your relatives and friends to help with decorations and if need be, song and dance routines.

Pinterest | The Maharani Diaries

Pinterest Inspo | The Maharani Diaries

2) DIY or purchase decorative items

Often wedding decor is expensive to hire. But items such as candle votives, candelabras or mason jars are not difficult to source yourself and are often cheaper than hiring. Collect them or try purchasing them online, at the local dollar store and op-shops.

Pinterest (as in above images) is a great tool for creating an inspiration board or brainstorming image boards. It’s free to use and is possibly the most popular website for future brides seeking inspiration for their own weddings. Through Pinterest, you can narrow your likes and dislikes and it can certainly assist you with DIY decorating ideas. However, don’t go overboard with do it yourself decoration. Trying to include every single cute Pinterest idea will make your venue look tacky and over the top. One thing I learnt during my wedding and event work experience, is that ‘less is more.’

Bridal party tug of war | The Maharani Diaries

3) Small bridal party or none at all

A modern day dilemma that all Indian brides face these days, is whether to have a bridal party or not. It isn’t actually a part of Indian tradition, however times are changing and modern, western values are becoming a norm for south asian weddings. I suggest you really think hard about whether having a bridal party is really going to make a difference for your wedding. Your family and friends are going to be around anyway to help. You don’t necessary need a label for them.

Understated wedding decor also makes a beautiful statement.

UNDERSTATED, SIMPLE WEDDING DECOR MAKES A BEAUTIFUL STATEMENT.

4) Don’t go overboard with flowers

Wedding flowers are expensive. But, some florists are very accommodating and often suggest floral arrangement options that fit within your budget. Selecting floral arrangements which are smaller or at the less expensive end of the spectrum as your centrepiece isn’t always a bad thing. As an alternative to flowers, choose candelabras as your centrepieces. It all depends on the overall look or theme that you’re trying to achieve. Often wedding venues may be able to include centrepiece or floral arrangement packages or offer recommendations to florists or stylists that they have affiliations with. But do your homework and shop around for the best deal and remember to choose flowers that are within season as well.

As for bouquets, paper flower or plastic ones look just as impressive and much cheaper. Don’t believe me? Check out this link for proof – http://liagriffith.com/diy-paper-rose-wedding-bouquet/

5) Don’t hold your wedding on a Saturday

Did you know that more and more couples are now opting for a Friday or a Sunday wedding? Not only because it’s cheaper, but you could also cut back on numbers if you’re after a more intimate wedding. 

Other factors such as the season makes a huge difference as well. Summer is the peak season with Spring coming in a close second.

6) Opt for local wedding vendors

This is a no brainer really. Interstate wedding vendors are always going to charge more for travel, time and transport.

This Kikki K wedding planner file was a life saver during my wedding planning.

A WEDDING PLANNING FILE SUCH AS THIS ONE FROM KIKKI K IS USEFUL FOR PLACING ALL YOUR VENDOR
BROCHURES, BUSINESS CARDS, DEPOSITS, RECEIPTS ETC.

7) Keep a diary or planner and set up a wedding savings account

As mentioned earlier, draw up a spreadsheet and break down your wedding costings. Purchase a planner or notebook and write everything down. This will ensure that your sanity is in check and that you’re not wasting unnecessary money. Stationary aficionado’s like myself will know that Kikki K produce beautifully presented notebooks and planners that keep you inspired. Use the planners to keep on top of your budget and keep track of deposit due dates as well.

Setting up a wedding savings account is a brilliant idea and is certainly something I wish I had thought of during my own wedding. Every week leading up to the wedding, set aside a certain amount of money for the big day. It doesn’t matter how much it is, just remember that every little amount goes a long way. If you can avoid it, try not to use your credit card.

Indian wedding buffet | The Maharani Diaries

8) Save on catering

Catering is a delicate topic when it comes to Indian weddings. Many couples don’t even know where to begin with this. After venue hire, food and beverage is the next biggest expense. In my opinion, I don’t believe that you should cut costs on catering. After all, what is an Indian wedding without delectable curries right?

What you could do though, is cater less. You can save on costs by reducing the amount of food and alcohol you serve. Indian food is generally heavy so it makes sense to do this. For my wedding, I opted for a basic beverage package and a few canapés, some starters, a couple of meat and vegetarian curries, naan and rice. There was of course dessert and the cake as well.

Try to restrict the amount you serve and you can of course discuss this with your caterer as they would know best.

If you’d like to serve a signature cocktail as well, then perhaps eliminate a couple of other drinks or one food item from the menu.

Indian wedding cake | The Maharani Diaries

9) How about the wedding cake?

Ask your cake decorator to make a cake that is just about the right size and has enough servings for your guests and yourself to enjoy. For example, for 200 guests, a 3 or 4 tier cake should be sufficient.

It is also entirely up to you if you would like a cake or not. You could opt for cupcakes instead or just a dessert table. Why not save on costs by asking a friend to bake the cake for you? I’m sure everyone knows of a friend or family member who is a keen or avid baker.

10) Hold your wedding and reception at the same venue

Venue hire is expensive. Don’t forget to factor in travel costs for your vendors and family and friends who are coming from interstate/overseas. How about holding your wedding and reception at the same venue? 

The beautiful RACV Club set in the winery region of Victoria, Australia was the perfect backdrop for my outdoor fusion wedding ceremony.

THE BEAUTIFUL RACV CLUB SET IN THE WINERY REGION OF VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA WAS THE PERFECT
BACKDROP FOR MY OUTDOOR FUSION WEDDING CEREMONY.

11) Choose a beautiful venue

I hate to say this, but opt for a wedding venue which doesn’t require too much decorating. This way you don’t have to spend a fortune on styling it. For instance, a venue that is visually appealing and has sweeping views would make a great choice.

On a side note, remember that lighting is costly. You can be quoted up to $1000AUD or more for ambient or mood lighting. You can definitely create ambience by simply telling your venue coordinator to dim the lights at the venue. Candles or tea lights create a romantic atmosphere as well.

12) Involve family and friends

Delegate tasks to family and friends. Accept help when it is offered, but be organised.

13) Save on wedding wear

I know the dream for most Indian brides is to wear a Manish Malhotra, Sabyasachi or Tarun Tahiliani creation on her wedding day, but reality is that you’re looking at paying upwards of $2000AUD for a couture lehenga or sari. There are alternative options. Elegant and classy Indian bridal wear isn’t difficult to source and I will discuss this in future posts.

14) Design your own wedding stationary or don’t have it at all

If you have the time, I would seriously consider this. If you have an eye for design or have a clever graphic designer friend, by all means opt for this. Design can take time, but it is a huge cost saver.

Otherwise, there are some great online wedding invitation businesses out there that offer great packages for you and can work within your budget. Just don’t forget to double check the spelling.

Another option is to create a wedding website which might not even cost a thing. The only risk here is that some guests might not even bother to check their emails.

Decide if you want to have programs or a wedding guest signing book. Guests will look at these things if they are there or if an announcement is made, but I don’t think they will notice if these two items are missing.

Finally, after returning from your honeymoon, it’s important to snail mail or email thank you cards to guests for all of the generous gifts and for being a part of your special day. Thank you cards are simple to design and/or print. Simply type out the same gratitude message for everyone and send them off. For your online alternative, take a look at Paperless Post. 

15) Don’t include wedding favours

Wedding favours add a nice personal touch to your wedding, especially if they’re DIY. But if you are really on a tight budget and don’t have the time, then eliminate them all together. In the end, all that really matters is that you host an amazing function with delicious food and peppy music and your guests won’t even know.

Wedding guests | The Maharani Diaries

A SMALLER GUEST LIST CAN UNDOUBTEDLY SAVE COSTS.

16) How about a smaller guest list?

I know your parents are probably insistent on inviting Uncle Raj or Aunty Renuka or some distant relative or friend you haven’t seen in years. The truth is that you don’t know who they are. Is it really necessary and will you be paying them regular visits in the years to come? You could really save on costs here. Catering for one person these days can cost upwards of $100AUD per person. Try and come to some sort of compromise on this with your parents.

Ace wedding and event planner, Sonia Sharma.

ACE WEDDING AND EVENT PLANNER, SONIA SHARMA.

17) Hire a wedding planner

If you really don’t know where to start or are extremely time poor, I suggest hiring a wedding planner. Your wedding planner will complete all the note taking for you, create schedules and timelines and ensure everything is running accordingly.

An experienced wedding planner will offer you smart advice and provide you with some sort of direction. They will only work with trusted vendors and will also be able to work within your budget. Some of the more experienced and celebrity wedding planners will obviously cost an arm and a leg, so take some time to shop around for the best deal. I recommend contacting up to four or five wedding planners.

You won’t believe it, but a wedding planner can save you time and money. You won’t have to worry about whether the cake has reached the venue on time and spend more time focusing your efforts on enjoying the wedding day with your family and friends.

18) Save on photography, videography and entertainment

I’m sure you have a photographer or videographer in mind whose work you absolutely love but can’t afford their charges. One option could be to ask them if they have an associate photographer or videographer who will photograph your wedding for less. Opt for one of both as well. Two or more photographers or videographers will set you back thousands of dollars.

In terms of entertainment, hire a smaller band or just one DJ. If you’d like some Bollywood dancing as well, I’m sure you could coax some friends into performing at your sangeet party or reception without charging the massive fee.

'2 States' | The Maharani Diaries

In the end, you know your budget, your needs and wants. Try and save on money where you can. The Indian culture is so rich, colourful and vibrant. Try and save where you can but my advice would be to not hold back on food or entertainment.

Are you planning a wedding soon? What are your budget tips? Let us know in the comments below.

Introducing ‘Henna by Alisa Parveen’ – a budding architect with a passion for henna

Henna, or ‘mehndi’ parties are one of the most important functions for a Hindu bride in the lead up to her wedding. But until very recently, finding a quality henna artist in Australia was a challenge. 

I caught up with one young, up and coming talented artist by the name of Alisa Parveen who gave me an insight into her work as well as share some common myths and misconceptions about henna.

Henna artist, Alisa Parveen | The Maharani Diaries

Alisa has been trading at markets and festivals in and around Melbourne, Sydney and Singapore. In fact, the architecture student/part time henna artist was just recently in Singapore for the launch of her book, titled, ‘The Henna Narrative.’ She also appeared at The Henna Circle Australia conference over the weekend in Sydney to run some workshops as well as attend a few herself.

The talented artist has 15 years of henna drawing experience behind her. A native to Singapore, she started applying henna frequently at the mere age of 9 at the Hari Raya Bazaar in Singapore as well as in her mother’s henna studio (Parveen Ayurvedic Beauty Care). She would watch the Pakistani women working in the studio and picked up the inspiration to try her hand at the delicate art of applying henna. In between attending school and studying, Alisa continued her passion for henna art by participating in events, festivals and facilitating bridal appointments.

Alisa’s designs are unique, intricate and look highly professional. She can differentiate between Indian, Arabic, Indo-Arabic, Moroccan and Western henna patterns. She loves to challenge her creativity and is always experimenting with new, innovative designs as seen regularly on her Facebook and Instagram accounts.

‘The Henna Narrative’ was Alisa’s first publication and she’s still abuzz with the success of the book launch held a few months ago in Little India, Singapore.

“I finished my first book 5 years ago before moving to Sydney for studies. However, there was never a right moment to launch the book. I was travelling back and forth from Sydney to Singapore and it would never be for long periods of time. I desperately wanted to showcase it in my home country and preferably during the Diwali or Hari Raya festival. So, I sought approval and support from the National Heritage Board of Singapore (NHB) and finally the ball got rolling. Within 1 month, I completed the book featuring new, more updated designs, sent it to the printers and launched it during the South Indian festival, Pongal.”

The response from the book launch was beyond her expectations and she was elated that she managed to sell numerous copies of her book.

In addition to launching her book, Alisa collaborated with the Little India Shopkeeper & Heritage Association (LISHA) to organise Singapore’s first henna competition. She saw it as an opportunity for the henna artists of Singapore to showcase their work and expand their portfolio. This was the first of its kind and given the chance someday, she mentioned that she’d love to take part in it herself.

Whilst chatting to Alisa, I found her to be a well grounded young woman who shares equal passion and drive for henna and her architecture studies.

Henna by Alisa Parveen | The Maharani Diaries

You will often find Alisa creating brilliant works of art such as this at popular markets around Melbourne and Sydney.

 

Alisa feels incredibly calm, relaxed and in her element when doing henna. She loves creating and coming up with new patterns every week. It gives her joy when she can make someone else happy by doing something so effortlessly. She finds inspiration everywhere and also adds that architecture and henna design sometimes goes hand in hand.

“Inspiration is all around you, everywhere you go. I often find inspiration from my henna books from India, but I also love Instagram. The henna community on Instagram is huge and it’s nice to take a look on social media every now and again to not only connect with the artists, but to also see what they are creating.”

Nowadays, in Melbourne, apart from studying for her Masters degree in Architecture at the University Of Melbourne, she’s also constantly looking for opportunities to show her talent. Alisa has applied henna for many brides in Singapore and a few in Melbourne and Sydney. She has expressed a desire to work with more brides in Australia.

On the topic of bridal henna, I asked Alisa what she thinks brides should be weary of before selecting a henna artist for their wedding.

“I believe that you should be able to see the artist’s work before hand. If they have a portfolio or website where by you can see their work, that would be great. Ensure that the designs they show you are legitimate and their own work. This is extremely important as there are a lot of imitators out there. Finally confirm what type of henna they will be using. Some henna can often cause an allergic reaction in some people, particularly the ‘instant’ ink type which isn’t commonly used. If possible, have a trial done a month or two out from the wedding day.”

She also added that she doesn’t have a personal style and doesn’t believe in trends. For brides, she has exclusive designs which she offers as a special ‘bridal package.’ She will always do finer, Indo-Arabic henna work for Indian brides. However, the use of void space in bridal henna is becoming increasingly popular these days. She also added that some brides still love the fuller style designs, but every individual has different tastes and also an idea of what they’d like their henna to look like on the big day. Furthermore, it also depends on the religion or background of the bride.

Alisa only uses natural henna and specifically mentions that it’s the same henna for every client. There is no such thing as “bridal henna.” All her cones are made up the same way and she never compromises. She’s a perfectionist when it comes to applying henna and prides herself on the quality of her work.

Currently, she is based in Melbourne and provides henna services for public or private events held in Melbourne, Sydney and Singapore. Having just returned from conducting some busy Indo-Arabic and bridal henna design classes at the henna conference, she said that she’s going to now focus on completing her Masters course and once again return to Singapore. She expressed a desire to appear at more markets in Melbourne and would also love more appointments.

Alisa’s book, ’The Henna Narrative’ includes a series of more than 40 henna designs ranging from basic beginner designs to intricate bridal narrations and a peek into Alisa’s 13 years of henna experience. She sets high achievements for herself and would love to produce more books in the future, continuing her passion for this popular art form.

The Henna Narrative | The Maharani Diaries

Henna by Alisa Parveen | The Maharani Diaries

If you are a bride in Melbourne, Sydney or Singapore or someone who just loves henna and you’d like to get in touch with Alisa or get your hands on a copy of her first book, visit the vendor page.