So it all begins, the stress, the worries and the anxieties. I was lucky enough to choose my wedding venue. Obviously both sides are given the opportunity to look, but whatever culture it is, it is always what the bride wants. (Sorry guys)
From the sinipaan, (check previous blog, “I said Yes”) it was agreed to book the wedding date around the first week of Easter 2018, as it is more convenient for everyone that has children, that go to uni and work etc.
I had a few venues written down, I wanted a place that was scenic and wanted somewhere that gave calm vibes, if that makes sense? As I’m lucky enough to live in Essexxxxxx. (Or the country side, as my in laws like to call it) 😐 There’s a few venues around the area, I visited Stock Brook Manor, Three Rivers, The City Pavilion, & Ariana Gardens.
It was Ariana Gardens that called out to me, I know many people get married there, but there was just something about that place I liked, the scenery, the space and also, they had the date we wanted vacant. The added bonus? Is the fact that it is literally 12 minutes away from where we live, lol!
I met with the owner, and the event managers there, they were so welcoming and kind, they went through the packages they offer, whether it is in house or outhouse catering, they can still manage, work around and provide amazing services for the wedding, all based on your budget. They sat down and listened to exactly what I wanted, and boy, I was picky but I was also so specific to what I wanted. So I wasn’t hard to deal with, I don’t think? 😛
My in laws came and visited the place too and gave their approval, we agreed on numbers, which was good, because it meant the venue could hold that capacity, I put down the deposit, and then started my research on catering companies, whether it would be beneficial to go with the venues, or get catering from other companies.
I wanted my husband to feel like I included him, because it’s his day as much as mine, which I did, in every decision I would run it by him, he wasn’t difficult, he just agreed with everything, I think he just didn’t want to deal with the headache. (Such a guy!) We both talked about wanting little extras for our big day, I wanted a customised mirror and guestbook, and we both agreed on a candy floss and popcorn machine for the guest to enjoy while they waited.
As I had no knowledge on how much I should expect for these vendors, the best person to ask was my event manager at Ariana Gardens, Sojib, he was so kind and helpful, he helped a great deal and took the responsibility to book those extras for me, for the big day.
The next thing was to book someone for my wedding cake, I went with one of my close family friends, she’s made many amazing cakes over the past few years, and I trusted her to make my wedding cake. My husband left all that up to me, so it was me who had to decide what I wanted, and how I wanted the wedding cake. I wanted to make sure my cake matched my theme, the decor and the setting. I created a mood board on Pinterest and got some ideas on a rough idea on how I wanted the cake to be.
Then, it was deciding on stage and decor, I knew exactly how I wanted my decor, black and gold, I wanted the setting to be all black with gold decor, for the stage, I left it up to my friend who has his own stage company, (IG: @xquisite_events). Most weddings have two stages, but as I would be having my nikkah (islamic marriage) I decided to just have one stage, as they had a bride room, and I knew I’d be there for most of the day. (So regretted not getting another stage for myself, smh!) I told my friend that I wanted a floral stage and a gold and creme backdrop, then I left the rest up to him and he delivered 100%.
The final factor, as mentioned before, and the most important factor of the wedding, was the FOOD! Yes, the food is the most important part of the day, albeit, you’re saving up for a life time to pay for a wedding and to feed 500 plus people you hardly know, it’s all about the food. If the food isn’t good, you get comments like “no, the wedding was shit!” Just because they didn’t like the food, which is not fair, so its a tricky, how are you meant to cater for 550 peoples tastebud? Everyone has different tastebuds, not everyone likes the same food as somebody else.
We did a few food tastings, mostly my dad and uncle, my dads been a chef for 50 plus years and he knows his stuff for sure! My dad wanted my in laws to be very much involved in the food tasting but due to living in South East London, it was bit of a trek and they left it up to my dad. We tasted food from Silver Service, Eastern Pride and Elite caterers, but they didn’t tickle the tastebuds. 😛 (No hate)
We went with an out house caterer, BAC, (British Asian Caterers) we’ve tried various food from themselves at different events and they always met the criteria. We sat down with them and the event manager and discussed what we wanted on the menu, welcome drinks and canapés, starters, main course, deserts, and drinks. We got a final price and negotiated a decent price per head, (boy, was it expensive) after my dad discussing it with my in laws, it was finalised. And I paid the second big deposit securing the food.
This was all spaced out from August to December, so it didn’t happen in a day, or in a week, it was constant back and forth, going to the venue and meeting others etc. It was stressful, but if you’re planning a big wedding by yourself, you got to be there and make sure no one else takes over and allow it to turn into “their day.”
Hope you enjoyed reading Part One of my Wedding Preps, the next post will be me discussing the stress of finding a Mehndi Venue due to the date it had fallen on.
So stay tuned for more, let me know if you’re enjoying my Life of a Bride Series and follow me on my Instagram: @iMonafWonders