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Indian weddings are grand affairs with the multiple rituals that take place on days before and after the actual wedding ceremony. Days before that are spent in relentless planning for the big day – from what to wear on every occasion to the perfect venue, the menu and the jewelry, the photographer and the makeup artist. All these aspect deserve the wedding brigade’s full attention. Although the modern trend is to hire a wedding planner who takes care of all the nuances of the event with consideration to the inputs from the clients, weddings in India are still largely considered a family affair where members of the extended family share the responsibility of planning and executing various tasks. Decoration of the wedding venue is one such very important task. It forms the backdrop of the most important event of the bride’s and groom’s lives. It also reflects your vision of how you picture your future as a married individual.A lot of thought and consideration goes into it while the perfect set of decoration is in place for the special day. Starting from draperies, to flowers to the stage to even the lights, everything needs to be on point to make the day perfect. So here is a checklist as well as novel idea to make the venue shine on your wedding day.
The Checklist and the Budget Sheet
It is very important to have a checklist of all the aspect that you need to cover while sorting out the decoration for the D-day. Take one point at a time and execute it with perfection before moving on to the next one after that big satisfactory tick against the first. That’s the ticket to plan your wedding to perfection. Apart from the checklist, another item that needs to be prepared beforehand is a budget sheet where each area of the wedding should be assigned certain amount which seems appropriate to you. That way when you actually finalize that item, you can see whether you had overshot your estimate or whether you were successful in being within budget. This is very important to keep tract of the wedding expenditures which can go awry very easily if not kept under constant supervision. Most areas of wedding decorations have been discussed below under each subheading.
Central Color Scheme
It is becoming more and more important to set a central color scheme in the event of a wedding. Each color has a special significance and all the decoration are centered on that particular color or colors. Various accent colors may be incorporated into the designs to enhance the chosen colors. From wedding invitation to the jewelry, from the Varmala to the table centerpieces, everything is a reflection of the chosen color scheme. This gives the event a well-planned and chic feel that is becoming widely accepted in today’s market. Red and Gold by far remains the most favored color pairing when it comes to Hindu Indian Weddings. It affords a rare mixture of tradition and opulence, red being the traditional choice for bride’s wedding attire. Other popular colors are Pink, Lavender, Royal Blue and Green. Some elegant and offbeat color pairing includes Green and Brown (for those who are thinking of an outdoor wedding) or Orange and Fuchsia (for those who prefer over-the-top colorful wedding) or Purple and White (for those who give elegance and chicness more importance than opulence). Besides these color combination, people also opt for seasonal colors like green if it’s monsoon, orange if its summer and pink if its spring.
Drapes and canopies give the wedding venue that special spruced up, ready-for-a-wedding look. If there is a specific color scheme in place, match the draperies with it. Yellow and red are pretty much standard color when it comes to drapes. It makes up the quintessential festive albeit auspicious backdrop for the event. Interspersed with twinkling lights and colorful flowers, draperies add character to the venue. From the walls to the staircase banister, a touch of color-coordinated fabric mixed with flowers and lights, lifts up the guests’ mood instantly. For outdoor weddings, one can go for regal-looking canopies in frothy white georgette or even dark wine colored velvet for that decadent royal feel. Add a mixture of floral motifs and even polka dotted fabrics to add the extra measure of funk. A touch of zari borders or dash of sequin and mirror work will create the extra oomph that we all look for in a wedding décor.
Flowers are perhaps the most important decoration aspect on a wedding day. Think about a wedding and you instantly picture flowers radiating their charm from every corner of the venue. Be it just plain old favorite marigold strings or some exotic imports like orchids and lilies, flowers never fail to lift up the spirits on the special day. In rural areas of India as well as in traditional settings, the house and the wedding venue have to be decorated with strings of yellow or orange marigolds strung everywhere. Roses and white flowers like jasmine or tuberose are generally used as accents in central areas like the stage. There is also this custom where generally a grand gate at the entrance of the venue made of flowers and foliages holding a sign mentioning both the bride and the groom’s names, also made in flower. The stage where the bride and groom do the meet and greet as well as the wedding mandap where the wedding rituals take place are the two focal points of the entire events are must be decked up in flowers. Special floral arrangements are designed by florists to make the stage most inviting and grand even. Roses are used copiously, along with Chrysanthemums and Gerberas. Floral Chandeliers are often made to dazzle up the entire venue. The flowers incorporated in the decorations largely depend on the budget of the wedding. Imported and rare flowers like lilies, orchids, peonies and baby’s breath can be used in the decorations as well as in centerpieces of the dining areas if the budget has less constraint. Weddings and India have now evolved and so has the floral décor. More and more international flowers and international floral decoration trends are finding their way in. Mixing flowers with crystals and fabrics like satins and silks is highly in vogue nowadays. Decorations nowadays incorporate statement pieces like Floral Sculptures where flowers are often arranged in the form of animals like Elephants or birds like Peacock or Swan and even objects like Chandeliers and Palanquins.
Lighting is an important aspect of wedding venue decoration. It can make small spaces look bigger and opulent. Depending on the type of ambience one wishes to create and the venue the lighting design and type changes. Chandeliers always add a touch of grandeur to the wedding venue. One must use ‘Uplighting’ at areas where they want to create drama. They might end up using spotlights if they want to draw attention of their guests to central objects like the stage. Washes of colored lights may be used if one is following a particular color scheme to accentuate the theme. In case of outdoor wedding strings of small lights are draped around the branches of the tree or along the canopy. Rows and rows of light strings may be hung along the entrance to form a twinkling backdrop for the entrance of the bride and groom. Use of candles on the dinner tables adds a touch of romance while use of diyas gives the whole ambience a traditional feel. Projections and Go Between light plates may be used to create a nice personalized touch to the wedding lighting schemes with initials of the bride and groom projected on the floors or backdrops.Zing up the venue by incorporating strategically placed water features spruced up with floating candles and flowers.
The stage forms the centerpiece of the entire venue. It is the place where the bride and the groom are brought in to meet the guests and seek their blessings. It is generally decorated most elaborately, with a beautiful backdrop and one or a pair of decorative seats. The fact that this will be the most photographed area of the entire venue must be kept in mind while choosing the stage décor. The color scheme as well as the theme of the wedding has to be kept in mind. Long flowy drapes works best, interspersed with lights that form nice bokeh effect in the photographs. Densely packed strings of frothy flowers may also be used as a backdrop of the stage. Id the themes and color scheme permits it is always good to plan the backdrop in colors complimentary to the bride and groom’s attires. The Chair on which the bride and groom are seated is often reminiscent of a throne, with lush velvet upholstery and gilded trims.High backed chairs in specific colors may also be used. One can substitute the settee with a beautiful wooden swing.
The mandap is where the actual wedding takes place including the Varmala and the feras. Be it square or round, it has to have proper seating arrangement for the bride, groom, pandit and generally the bride’s parents. It is also customary to have the mandap covered on top with generally four pillars supporting the overhead canopy. One can play around with the material for the canopy. One can use fabrics like chiffon or silk or satin. Or one can use a net made of garlands of marigold or jasmine or tuberose or other exotic flowers. Generally the pillars are decorated with flowers as is the frame supporting the overhead canopy. Diyas and candles, as well as crystal or mirror work embellishments can be used to enhance the décor.
Indian weddings generally involve a lot of drama and one of such is the arrival of the groom. Although it is customary in most culture that the groom arrives on horseback, he does so for generally the last few yards. He is brought to the wedding venue in a specially decorated car sent by the bride’s parents. The decorations can be kept minimal or they may be over the top depending on the overall theme of the wedding. Minimal decoration often includes ribbons and fabrics with small, elegant flower arrangements to decorate the front of the car. In over the top designs, flowers, garlands and even large bouquets in a riot of colors may be applied to the car covering the front, back and even the doors.
Invitation cards, although not technically part of the decoration, but is a very important aspect for the wending party to consider. It sets the tone of the wedding, right from the start, announcing the overall theme and style of wedding, sort of like a sneak peak. Depending on the taste, it may be simple or elegant or elaborate or colorful. Traditionally, wedding cards were printed in red, yellow and gold, but nowadays more and more colors are being incorporated including blue, pink, orange, teal and even beige.Choices of materials have also evolved: from silk to recycled paper, they come in all shapes and sizes. While a touch of gold or silver is always preferred, new generation card-makers are experimenting with fonts and designs, including customized calligraphy and photographs of the bride and groom in the cards. Accessorizing the wedding cards with ribbons and laces are also good ideas. In some cultures, the wedding card is accompanied with boxes of sweets (nowadays maybe replaced by chocolates) and other auspicious items like turmeric, honey and idols of deities like Lord Ganesha.
It is customary in most Indian cultures for the parents of the brides to present wedding guests with a box of sweets and may be some money as a thank you gift for attending the ceremony. While this is the tradition, like everything else this is also evolving, with modern day party favors being way more creative than your standard box of sweets. Scented candles, potpourri and even aromatic oil are quite in vogue. Instead of traditional sweets one can give away boxes of chocolates with unique flavorings, even Jams and bottles of honey. Photos of the guest with the bride and grooms in sweet customized frames are also quite popular party favors at the moment.
On a Budget
It is not always advisable to go overboard on all aspects of the wedding, especially when you are planning on sticking to a budget. One should decide from beforehand where they should restrict the finances and where they should not keep such restrictions. You can restrict the amount you spend on venue, going for an outdoor setting instead of booking an expensive banquet hall, depending on the weather. In case of decoration, you can reduce the budget either by opting to go for artificial flowers instead of fresh ones. If you prefer fresh flowers for the wedding day, they you should opt for arrangements with local and in season flowers instead of exotic and off-season varieties. Those little extra things like customized tableware, expensive invitations and elaborate return gifts may be skipped altogether to keep the whole affair in budget. Include simple hand-written invitations that you can either do yourself or create very easily on a computer. Play around with lots of do it yourself décor ideas if you are hosting the wedding at your home to reduce the decoration charges. Traditional decorative items like diyas and paper lanterns can be used for lighting up the venue and yet give it that nice warm glow. Another inexpensive way to spruce up the decorations is to created rangolis, either with traditional colors or with flower petals. Consider using those old colorful sarees as drapes at the venue to add a touch of quirkiness and reduce the decorator cost at the same time. Instead of going for an elaborately decorated stage, consider using a projector as a backdrop to either host a live broadcast of the wedding events or project a slideshow depicting the various events of the bride and groom’s lives up until the wedding.