Hello there! Thank you for your attention! This marks 1 year since my wife, Ganga Kaur, and I got married. Last year, on our way back from our honeymoon in the Turks & Caicos, I got the idea to write an article that would provide an insane amount of value to other couples getting married and/or potentially running a business. I know how stressful it can be keeping it altogether (friends, family, business, self-care, etc.) so here’s an honest and first-hand experience of wedding planning.
My wife and I have teamed up to write this article to help provide you with a glimpse into our wedding planning journey. We hope our journey helps other entrepreneur couples that are hoping to tie the knot, or for those wondering if they should do business together. Whatever the circumstances you are in, we hope our journey inspires many. We would love your feedback, comments, thoughts. Feel free to reach out to us and our vendors, mentioned at the end of this article.
Personal insights from the Bride and Groom
Ganga Kaur: I could not have had more fun wedding planning with the love of my life. I was always nervous about how we would get everything done while running a business at the same time. Let’s not forget about making time for friends, family, and most importantly “self care.” My husband however was very confident and excited, as he reminded me that if we could run a business together, we could definitely kill wedding planning! Yes, it’s crazy – we started the business while we were still dating. The lesson here is that being excited and having faith in the process is what will put you in the right mindset to kill it and actually enjoy it!
Kamalpreet Saral: The past 12 months of my life have been a true blessing. I got to marry the love of my life that I have been with for 8 years and counting. Yes, the past 12 months have been chaotic but also so orderly – it’s all about “pulling from opposite ends” as Gary Vee says. I could not feel more grateful and happy to write this article. Why? I just want to provide value and insights to other couples and entrepreneurs going through wedding planning, and trying to manage their business and day-to-day personal affairs. So here it is, our 24 takeaways. Let us know what you think.
WARNING: Mediators are mandatory
Mediators you ask? While planning something so joyful and amazing as your big day? Yes, you will definitely need a minimum of 1 mediator on both sides. This mediator will be someone that is close enough to have the Bride and Groom’s interest in mind, but also neutral enough to help with facts, decisions, and getting things done. These mediators will definitely come in handy when decision making gets tough, emotions are high and pockets are burning holes. Also, these mediators should be in touch with one another just in case both sides of the parties need extra help getting things done. These mediators should be appointed by the bride/groom and approved by the families. For our wedding, our personal mediators were my wife’s twin sister and my brother. They kept us sane, alive and well. They made things happen and had one of the toughest/most stressful jobs. We couldn’t have had anyone better as our mediators and well wishers. You must be thinking why do you need mediators when you have a wedding planner? Well, there are going to be lots of behind the scenes times/conversations where the wedding planner will not be able to be apart of, or will not have the time for. In those times, your mediators will feel God sent.
#1. Plan and execute as much as you can in advance!
Don’t leave booking vendors to the last minute (this means don’t leave it to the last month). Meeting vendors requires time, effort, energy, and patience. It requires you to schedule time away from your business. Now imagine you are someone who is working 40, 50, 60+ hours a week. The last month of the wedding is crucial because you won’t be working these hours! I fucked up because I left some important things at the last minute. With the help of our wedding planner, SJ Soirée, we booked a harpist, a designer dance floor company, and a photo booth company all in the last month of the wedding. As a result, we were on the defense in our business and we were just trying to keep things running.
#2. Respect and hear everyone’s opinion…but what do what your heart and gut says.
Sikh Indian weddings are extravagant and expensive. They require a lot of willpower and patience. One of the biggest things I was against was having a bhangra dance team at our reception. A lot of these teams are insanely talented and very skilled, with some being part of international dance competitions and just crushing it in that arena. However, I felt we had witnessed a lot of this during our teenage years and also in our 20s…and so when the time finally came for our wedding it was a chance to do something “different”.
#3. Do your research on vendors ahead of time. Connect with like-minded entrepreneurs who are hard-working, humble, gritty, and respect the hustle/journey.
My wonderful wife did an amazing job researching most of our vendors. Then when it came to the in-person meeting/initial consultations, I knew within the first 30 seconds if I wanted to work with this vendor or not. This is where your intuition and gut come into play. Sure, pricing is important – but this was always a second for us. For example, in our meeting with our photographer/videographer L’Atelier Lumière, we hit it off right away with Jarar and Monty! The money spent with this company in the end was VERY well worth it. All pictures within this article by the way are taken by L’Atelier Lumière.
For each vendor category, as you may know by now there are a million, please do yourself a favour and narrow your choices down to three. There is no need to find more than three options for each vendor, unless you are extremely picky and dealing with a few “zillas”. This perspective was extremely helpful, as my wife and I would make our final decision on who we wanted to book after we met all the vendors in our top 3 list. Once we made up our mind, we shared our choice with our families and started putting in deposits. Also, do not wait to put down deposits, put them in whenever, wherever possible. Your pockets and sanity will thank you later.
#4. HIRE A WEDDING PLANNER!
Hiring a wedding planner is one of the most important things to do when planning the biggest day of your lives! It is something that is not very common in the South Asian Community. It is only recently that we have come to know of Wedding Planners in the South Asian community and beyond. We had a few options for wedding planners, but eventually decided to go with Jyoti from SJ Soirée. Not only was she a treat to work with, she understood us as a couple and did her best and always put us first. She ensured our needs were met before ensuring our families/relatives/friends were happy. This is crucial for your planner, as they can help with many unpleasant decisions, conversations, situations and yes arguments.
Jyoti did a fantastic job helping us out with planning every little detail and the overall big picture. We were lucky to have unlimited number of meetings/consultations with Jo. She made sure that everyone knew what was going to happen and that we all were ready for the big day and week of! We would definitely suggest finding a wedding planner that can be a great fit for the couple as Bride & Groom, as well as for both families. We are super grateful for all of the hard work that Jyoti put in for us for our big day. We did not feel for one moment that this was just a job for her. She was extremely organized, detail oriented, level headed and passionate. We got tremendous help and to name a few of the things you can find the list below (she provides an insane amount of value and she will plan your wedding from A-Z:
- seating charts
- food menus
- to do lists for each event for both Bride & Groom side
- all of the event itineraries
- overall budgets
- finding last minute vendors we hadn’t thought of (there are just too many things to consider!)
- milni lists (yes she organized that for us too!)
- confirming transportation details
- entrance songs timings and much much more!
#5. Delegate, delegate, delegate!
Get all the help you can get. Throw your ego and pride out the fucking window. No you cannot do this alone. No this is not a time to be selfish and say fuck the world haha. Your true family and friends really come through here! Those you least expect to help, come along in a BIG BIG way here and it’s something you end up treasuring for the rest of your life. Your level of gratitude for your loved ones around you, including all your wonderful cousins and nieces only exponentially increases. As a Bride and Groom, you want to do everything yourself, but you can easily become stressed and overwhelmed and lose sight of the fact that you are getting married to your soul mate. To keep things in perspective, it is important to ask for help with things that are way too hectic/time consuming or things you just don’t care about. Example: the colours the family members on both sides should wear? (definitely make this a group decision)
#6. Develop a Master Budget
Developing a master budget, similar to the one you would for your business, is a very useful idea for planning your wedding and projecting costs. It helps to track all your vendors, vendor payments, timelines and deadlines of payments, your total costs, and your cash needs throughout your wedding planning process. The bottom line is that you will end up spending more than expected, but where you can do yourselves a favour is figuring out what things matter the most to you as a couple. It shouldbe that simple: pay more for what you really give a fuck about (venue, flowers, photographers/videographers, DJ, decor, etc.)
#7 Use a Trello Board with your wedding planner and friends and family!
Using a Trello Board is very helpful for your wedding. It is excellent for project management, and if you’re not already using it for your business you should! Applying the Trello Board to wedding planning works wonderfully as well. It helps to track all the different activities and tasks you need to complete leading up to your big day. You can set deadlines on different cards and also assign cards to different friends and family. It helps to keep everything organized and keeps everyone on their toes and accountable! You can make it more fun by adding images to the cards so your Trello board is more aesthetically pleasing to open and look at everyday.
#8 Why you should care about your wedding cake!
Often an overlooked part of a wedding is the wedding cake! Please, please do not forget about this and please spend some extra time and money on this part. What happens at most weddings? “Wait, what!? There was cake? I never got to eat any!” We’ve also experienced this some time or another, so it’s important not only for you to have a wedding cake, but that you have enough slices for everyone haha!
For our wedding cake, we went with Fine Cakes by Zehra. Zehra Khan, who is the founder of Fine Cakes by Zehra, and is a bespoke cake designer that provides luxury custom cakes! All of her cakes are custom-made and she is a true artist and wizard when it comes to creating your dream wedding cake. Check out her Instagram page for some of her amazing cakes!
The cake that Zehra produced for us was just stunning! It all started from our initial meeting and it goes back to our earlier point #3 on getting with the right vendors! As soon as we met Zehra we knew it was the right match – the heart, mind, and gut were all in agreement and “it just felt right”. Our theme was a beauty and the beast inspired cake but focused in on the golden accents and royal aesthetics. We wanted something that focused more on the romantic aspect of beauty and the beast, something that was inspired by the blossoming rose. We wanted the classy element of the beauty and the beast to be captured. The gorgeous floral, the beautiful designs/paintings and art. This was appropriate as our love story was quite similar to beauty and the beast. This was our theme for our wedding, whether it came across or not – we were very happy and thankful to have a theme very personal to us as a couple. The cake was classy, gorgeous and royal looking. It really brought our vision to life and we could not have imagined a more delicious and gorgeous cake for our big day! We wouldn’t have been able to capture the theme and look of the cake if it weren’t for our meetings with Zehra and finding out the perfect balance of romance, classy and beauty and the beast.
#9 Yes, you should spend time working on your food menu (especially your reception one!)
The food menu is something that should be of quality. Food is one of the most important things that the guests will remember for your big day. Ensure that the food taste testings are done by the Groom/Bride and both families. Also ensure that all dietary needs (vegetarian etc) are taken into consideration. Must haves should be mentioned at these meetings, not the “wants.” Everyone will have a different opinion on how something tastes. It’s important to keep the venue, event, and guests in mind when finalizing your top choices! If you can agree to leave a few items out, that’s even better! You may want to take into consideration food for pre-wedding events, the engagement, the food at the ceremony (place of worship) and most importantly the reception. If there isn’t anyone in the party that is picky or really cares what’s on the menu, just ensure that you go with a quality vendor. Below, our reception food menu stationery was designed by the Groom’s brother, Baljot Saral and his company Web Sharx along with all of our other stationery needs.
#10 Signature Drinks
What are signature drinks? Signature drinks were made especially by my wife and I. No we did not bartend at our own wedding, but we did have a hand in creating a vision for special drinks. We created cute names like “dashing groom” and “blushing bride”. We provided our favorite flavours to the venue and we got these special drinks on the menu for our cocktail hour. Our “blushing bride” drink was ordered more times than any other drink that night. We were very pleased and really recommend creating your own signature drinks.
#11 Picking your first slow dance song for the reception
This was one of the toughest decisions to make. We always knew that we would pick a song by John Legend. We just didn’t know if there would be a remix, etc. We left this to the last minute, but we truly suggest that as a couple if you have a song, consider using it. Our song ultimately summed up our relationship and we couldn’t have been happier. Our chosen song was “Stay With You” by John Legend.
#12 Reception Seating Charts are NIGHTMARES!
For this part of the wedding planning, you will need extra tea, coffee, or maybe even a little whiskey haha. While creating seating charts, please keep in mind that your guests are coming to celebrate with you, the Groom and Bride, and not to mingle with one another. If you are going to do reserved seating for the closest families, please figure that out asap. Also not all venues are the same in regards to the number of seats, sizes of tables, etc. We had the pleasure of having an electronic and a seating chart board for our wedding. We did not want any confusion or questions about where our guests would sit. I had always told my wife that I wanted to mingle with our guests before our big entrance. So that is exactly what we did. We made a surprise entrance onto our balcony at the Arlington Estate and spent some time with our family and friends. We would say this was one of the best decisions we made, as we got to be captured having a good time before our reception began.
#13 Decide on your venues FIRST. The Venue Decision Matrix explained.
This decision needs to be made first. It may sound like common sense, however a lot of the time we can get bogged down by other details such as what colours, what food we want to have or what entertainment will we have. It’s important to have a list of priorities. For the venue as well, we would suggest having top 3 places and narrowing it down based on all the other factors involved. Please do not overwhelm yourselves and see too many venues, as you will lose sight of the big picture and be exhausted before any of the hard work even begins. You want to enjoy the process as much as possible. Keep in mind your vision as a couple and also keep in mind your “must haves” and “hell no.” While we did have an exhaustive list of venues prepared by my sister-in-law and brother (over 28), we only visited two venues. In the end we went with The Arlington Estate, which was our #1 choice. It was one of the best decisions we ever made, as we felt blessed to be able to confirm and book the venue of our dreams!
#14 Do not wait until the last minute to book Decor, that should actually be booked after booking your venues!
We actually booked our decor pretty late, and it’s one of those things we wish we did earlier. We were busy trying to confirm other vendors, when in fact the decor should come second right after the venues are booked! We got lucky that we found Supriya from Design Mantra, thanks to our wedding planner Jyoti from SJ Soirée. We would have been in a pickle if we didn’t find her at the right time!
#15 Decide on a theme for your wedding, this will assist in all of the decisions you make as a Bride and Groom. It will also keep you focused on what your big day may look like!
A theme is crucial for your big day, as it helps guide you when making small and big decisions. What colour jewelry should you wear? Gold, rose gold, silver, etc? The theme will also ease a lot of tension, stress, and noise from family and friends. The theme could be “classy,” “outdoorsy,” “super traditional” or whatever else you desire. As long as you have some sort of idea where you are going with your big day, you will be fine. This also helps the Groom and Bride see their big day come together. When you are booking vendors and making decisions, it is hard to see it all come together. With a theme in mind, however vague or detailed, you will thank yourself later.
#16 Choose a colour scheme for your big day
Colours are a huge factor of being Indian/South Asian. My wife had confirmed our wedding colours before we even found our venues! We found that this was the best decision we ever made, and we still get compliments until today for our wedding colours and our overall look of all of our events. Colours have you in many ways, as you may choose what’s in trend, or choose colours you love. But most importantly, make sure the Bride and Groom both love the colour, and that the colours suit both the Bride and Groom’s skin tones, personalities, etc. This is the time to look your best on the best day of your lives. Choosing the right colours will be the best decision you’ve ever made. I thank my wife for telling me not to change my mind once I agreed to her colour choices. Believe it or not we had many family members try to change our colours and change our minds, but my wife and I said hell no and stuck with it. When we look at our wedding pictures today and look back… we thank God that we did not budge on our colours…haha who would think that colours can create issues? When it comes to wedding planning, expect issues and expect lots of them.
Also the benefit to choosing your wedding colours is that you can ensure you have different colours for every event, and also ensure your guests are informed of what colours not to wear. My wife did her best to ensure she stood out and I am glad she did!
I wanted to make sure that my wedding was vibrant and that I got to have all of my favorite colours and shades for my wedding. I also wanted to make sure that my husband looked amazing in those colours and that we together, would look like royalty. Thankfully we have a very similar complexion, so the colours that looked amazing on me, looked amazing on him as well! moral of the story? Keep your groom/husband-to-be in mind. Ensure that he loves how he looks and is confident, happy. and glowing on your big day. These things really do come across in photography, videos, and Instagram Stories.
#17 Bride and Groom squad
Decide early on if you will be more traditional with your wedding or more western. Decide as a couple if you will have bridesmaids and groomsmen. Also create that list of who you would want well in advance. They will be a huge part of your pictures/wedding events and the big day itself. Choose people that will support you, help you out and help you relax and smile, not increase your stress. My wife was against bridesmaids, and so we did not have bridesmaids or groomsmen. Instead we decided to have special colours for the main loved ones attending the wedding. Even this was no walk in the park. My wife did however have two maid of honours, instead of one. This was something different and unique, and yes you want to be different, you want to be unique, and you want to be yourselves as the Bride and Groom.
#18 Entertainment for the reception!
It’s important to have some sort of entertainment for your reception, as this keeps the guests happy and entertained. For our wedding, we decided to go with Elena Thompson, who is an excellent live entertainer. She is a harpist and violinist, and used both of her instruments to her strengths as she played an excellent mix of pop and Punjabi/Hindi songs for our guests (This was all during our cocktail hour in the lobby). In addition, we also had a photo booth and decided to go with Snaptique. The couple that runs this company is a great pleasure to work with, and all your guests will be happy taking home a photo to remember for a lifetime. It just makes everything that much more evergreen and everlasting. Finally, to cap it all off, we had artisan wood fired pizza at the end of the night. This was a special request we had negotiated with our venue, The Arlington Estate.
#19 Choosing songs for your wedding
The importance of using new digital media tools like Spotify, Apple, and Soundcloud and creating wedding playlists is great! You can share these with your friends, family, and your DJs for all your different wedding events. Here is our Spotify Playlist, #KinnyMannsUp Wedding Playlist, we created which was a very fun little project for us. We got to choose our favourite music and put it all into one place…it was so much fun just adding to these lists each and everyday. Having this list was also very handy for any house party events and festivities we had before the wedding.
#20 THE FUCKING SLIDESHOW!
….This will be one of the most time consuming, emotional, and stressful things to do as your wedding is approaching. For couples that have been together long-term, do yourselves a favour and start working on this the day you get engaged. You will definitely thank us for this. Doing this slideshow later down the road creates more stress, especially when your parents/families will ask you to include pictures of people you didn’t even want to include in the first place. Start with your pictures as a couple first, then the Bride and Groom can gather pictures of themselves as children and go from there.. obviously this is not mandatory. If you want to skip this part entirely, then power to you!
#21 Choose a matching turban (“pagh”)
One great thing that I took for granted, was choosing the right turban to match my wife’s dress. My wife already had the colours of our wedding (turquoise and coral) in mind. Thankfully (and eternally grateful for this), when my mother-in-law visited India last year to go for wedding shopping, she was also able to find me matching turbans for my engagement and wedding outfits! This made everything so much easier for me as I was able to wear these matching colours with confidence. It was my first time wearing these colours in fact, but they’re definitely one of my favourites now!
#22 Finalizing a Wedding Card
Ahh that first exciting step in making it all official! What we have learnt during our experience was that it’s best to do this sooner than later. As soon as the Venue is booked for the ceremony and reception, the Wedding card/invitations should be drafted. We didn’t expect the invitation to take as long as it did, even though we had the invitation sent out well in advance. Top 3 vendors for invitation should be chosen to limit the confusion and stress making the decision. Also, ensure that you can go for consultations in office or have them over the phone. Ensure that you and your fiance are happy with your choices first. Then get the families involved in the smaller details such as including grandparents names, including timings etc This part doesn’t need to be stressful or time consuming, the best part to avoid stress and the tedious nature of this part would be to start as soon as possible!
#23 Technology is your best friend: Why you should create a website for your big day
You should definitely consider a website in honour of your big day. We were glad that we did, as you can keep track of electronic RSVPS, share location details, share e-shoot pictures, YouTube videos and much more (…also, the count down clock is lots of fun to keep track of!) Our website along with all our other stationery (including vinyl floor design) was created and designed by my brother, Baljot Saral and his company Web Sharx. Our website definitely was a plus and life saver. It was not something that anyone in our families had done before, and it was definitely not on our list of things to do. However, we are super grateful to have gone down that road with Web Sharx! Since our wedding, we have uploaded our wedding highlight videos, pictures, and even our own Spotify playlist from our wedding. This is definitely something we can look back on whenever we are feeling nostalgic. Link to our website created by Web Sharx: /
#24 Thank you to all of our families and friends!
Thank you to everyone from the bottom of our hearts. Thank you to Waheguruji (God) for making this all happen. We owe our family – our parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, nephews/nieces, our vendors, friends, neighbours, and anyone else that lent their support, gratitude and love from the bottom of our hearts!
God Bless you all and may you all enjoy this article!
Kamalpreet & Ganga
Wedding Planners Institute of Canada (WPIC)
Our wedding planner, Jyoti from SJ Soirée is professionally certified through an institution in Canada called the Wedding Planners Institute of Canada (WPIC). Every year, this institution holds an awards gala in which WPIC planners can submit the real weddings they’ve worked on throughout the year to be recognized for their hard work and dedication. Jyoti submitted our wedding for the category of “Best Wedding Over $100,000” just for fun! Thinking nothing of it, our wedding actually became one of the few finalists in this category. Although we did not win the overall award, we were truly grateful to know that the work and effort we put into our wedding was recognized by a well-established, national organization a part of the wedding industry. Also here is an article that was published by SJ Soirée on the WPIC website describing our wedding in more detail.
Referrals are important to sort out before you start meeting vendors that you have researched/found as a couple. Any referrals should be met first so that you can see if they are the right fit for you. Every Bride and Groom have different needs and perspectives. This also helps to know if these referrals will actually offer discounts or incentives. As well, the family and friends that have referred vendors to you will definitely want you to book with them or tell you how amazing they are. You might as well get through this awkward phase in the beginning. We personally did not have any referrals, as both my Husband and I were the first ones to get married in our families in a decade. So yes, we had to start from scratch. The wedding industry has blown up and changed drastically in the last 10 years. Please see our Vendor list below and feel free to reach out directly with any of them (you can mention this article and that we referred you)!
Planner: SJ Soirée
Venue: Arlington Estate
Photo/Video: L’Atelier Lumiere
Decor & Floral: Design Mantraa
Website & Stationery: Web Sharx
A/V & Lighting: bb Blanc
Floor Vinyl: GTA Dance Floors
Catering: Avani Asian Indian Bistro
Cake: Fine Cakes by Zehra
Photo Booth: Snaptique
Canvas Art by GN Picture
Harpist/Violinist: Elena Thompson
Bride’s Ceremony MUAH: Doll Me Up
Bride’s Ceremony Outfit: Bought in India
Groom’s Ceremony Outfit: Sia Importers
Bride’s Reception MUAH: Ready to Glow
Bride’s Reception Outfit: Sahiba Fashions
Groom’s Reception Outfit: Garrison Bespoke
Groom’s Turban Tying Services: Singh Me Up
Bride & Groom’s Family MUAH: Stylesesh
Transportation: Royal Chauffeurs & Lavish Limo
Our Wedding Website: KinnyWedsGanga.com
Our Business Website: https://www.thewrite-direction.com/
Ganga Kaur Personal Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/coachkaur/
Kamalpreet Saral Personal Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kinnysaral7/
YouTube Videos Below:
Next Day Edit of our Wedding: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UE4rlWhfri4
Reception Highlight Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mC6KFcLT068
Wedding Day Highlight Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HrO43RO0hqU
Jaggo Highlight Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EC0ZTXmqYGU
Engagement Highlight Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AU4XdxFTR0I
e-Shoot Photo/Video Slideshow: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmD0DM9Tuww