Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thank you from Sureena and Neal

Meghna and her team are absolutely amazing!  Neal and I have nothing but positive things to say.  We are so grateful for all their efforts!  Our wedding events – beginning to end – flowed so well, Thanks to them.  We feel so lucky to have worked with you all and wish you the best of luck and success in the future events you plan!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Interactive Entertaining Ideas

Bringing family and friends together to celebrate your wedding day is more than planning a night-out with your girlfriends.  Once all the guests have, enjoyed the Groom’s procession on an elephant, or were enchanted by the bride’s entrance, or witnessed the most breath-taking vows, how can you keep the party going? Well the answer may be simple, you can always hire outside entertainment! (Entertain Your Guests Blog) But what can you do to make your event unique and offer guests more interactive ways to enjoy the evening? The answer is simple; Use any of the four interactive entertainment ideas below that will have your guests asking for more!

Wine-Tasting Stations
Remember to be adventurous and practical while selecting your wine list for your guests to try.  Personalize this tasting by choosing wines from the different countries you have toured together or simply arrange them by flavors from sweet to dry with white wines and progressing to a light to full bodied red wines.  Atmosphere is the key for this station, make a lounge setting or work with your designers to create a romantic, smooth, setting with candles, rose petals.  Seal the tasting by giving your guests delicate organza or silk wine bottle bags with your monograms!
Stand-Up Comedian
There is nothing better than laughter to add that special touch that your event needs.  A comedian can leave your guests roaring in laughter and thus keeping them involved and feel part of the whole event. This is also a great entertainment while your guests are enjoying a formal reception or a family style meal.  Seal the performance by giving your guests a DVD of your favorite hilarious movie scenes or a performance by your favorite comedian! And personalize the DVD cover with your monograms! My favorite is Russell Peters, who is yours?
Hire a Caricaturist
We have all heard about having a live artist at a wedding, but this process is not only long, but is not as interactive for your guests. So why not consider hiring caricaturist instead? A talented caricaturist will fit right into your event, whether it is a formal affair or an intimate setting.  The caricaturist typically can sketch one person within 5 minutes, allowing other guests to enjoy the art! And if they opt for a cartoon caricature, well everyone including the guest will get a good laughter!
Contemporary Photo Booth
Say goodbye to small dark booths that are claustrophobic and say hello to the new contemporary walk-up photo booths.  These are the modern day photo booths not only come with extensive selections of backdrops and props to suit your event, but can also accommodate up to 20+ people at the same time! So why wait! Let your friends and families enjoy the most by allowing them create one-of-a-kind memorabilia from your event! And the best part is, at the end of your event, you will receive an online catalogue of all the pictures taken during your event for your scrapbook down the road. 
In the end, whichever option you choose, you will leave your guests asking for more!  Call us today and let us help you make your event a talk-of-town spectacular!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Guest Accommodation - Our Guide to help you make the right decision

In addition to having clean rooms and safe neighborhood there should be other priorities to keep in mind while seeking accommodations for your wedding guests.  There are numerous points/ fine prints/ fees that you should ascertain while interviewing potential hotels.  To help you make the right decision, here are some key pointers to keep in mind and questions you can ask during your interviews:
1.     How far is the hotel from the venue?  Do not book a hotel outside of 15 miles of the venue. 

2.     Is there a complimentary shuttle service available with the room block

3.     Is there complimentary parking / valet parking / garage parking? And is there a discount available for your guests

4.     Complimentary breakfast available with room block or is there a cost?

5.     Complimentary internet service available or is there a cost

6.     How many complimentary rooms are included with a block? Traditionally, one complimentary room is available per 15 booked rooms

7.     Is there a complimentary turn-down service available for your VIP rooms

8.     Is there a “minimum booked room’s requirement” to guarantee a block? Even though you have a room block, some hotels require that you must pick-up X amount of rooms under that block for the “group rate” to apply.  This is usually listed in the fine print, so please read the contract carefully

9.     Is your credit card required to hold the room block?  They should not charge you for any rooms that have not been reserved from the block

10.  Once all your questions are addressed, inform the hotel sales person that you are shopping around and will choose the right hotel for their guests.  This alerts the hotel to keep their pricing at the market price and may be offer amenities that other competitors may not include in the package!

Above are few FAQ that our couples have. But there is lot more to “room blocks” than a clean room, so call us today and allow us to handle your hotel room blocks so that your guests are well taken care of.

Priest / Pandit / Officiant - Ask the "Right" questions

A wedding is not only a marriage between a couple, but a union of two cultures, sometimes two religions and definitely two families.  And this union starts with the ceremony.  It is safe to say that couples typically spend more time focusing on the “dos & don’ts” for their reception, but what is a reception without an exquisite ceremony? And what is a ceremony without a knowledgeable Priest / Pundit / Officiant?  Believe it or not, your Pundit is in-control of your ceremony and therefore it is important to ask the “Right” questions before hiring your Pundit

  • What are the religious or cultural aspects we must cover during the ceremony
  • What are your thoughts on incorporating two different cultural beliefs into one coherent ceremony
  • If your family believes in “Muhurat” then ask the pundit whether he can provide those timings
  • What will be the duration of the ceremony and can it alter based on your timeline
  • Do you speak English / Sanskrit fluently – most Hindu ceremonies are conducted in Sanskrit and it is important to have a priest who is well versed in both languages so that he/she can translate and educate the marrying couple throughout the ceremony
  • Do you have your own reliable transportation and do you charge transportation fee
  • Do you provide a “puja items list” in advance or do you bring all the puja items required during the ceremony with you?
Now that you have your answers, remember to have the priest sign your Marriage License.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Entertain Your Guests

Your Wedding Reception may be the biggest party you will ever host, so why not get creative and make this party memorable for your guests! Here are some simple things you can keep in mind while planning your reception:

·       Keep the speeches short and sweet

·       Choreograph and practice your first dance.  It can set the tone of your party and make the guests re-live their wedding day! So don’t be shy and make the most of it.

·       Bharatnatyam and Kathak are two well known Indian classical dances, while they re-unite us to our culture; they are overplayed and NOT as entertaining to most guests attending your reception.  So breakaway from the usual and ask your cousins or bridal party to come-up with something with more flare.  Skits, Bhangra Performance, Qawwali, Dance battle may be bridesmaids vs. groomsmen!

During the cocktail hour or while dinner is served, hire professional entertainers to perform.  Such as:

·       Aerial Show
·       Belly Dancers
·       Bollywood Dancers
·       Pianist, Harpist, Tabla, Sitar Players
·       Live Band
·       Stand-Up Comedian

So don’t wait, plan your reception today with the help of innovative event consultants at Bells N Rings Events and mesmerize your guests!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Budget Tips

Planning a wedding within Budget can be an overwhelming task, and while hiring a wedding planner can seem like a superfluous cost, it could save you money in the long-run.  Bells N Rings Events have valuable connections with every central name in the business, which afford them discounts and special advantages that would not be open to just anyone.  We help you create a budget that best suits your vision and help you maintain it.  We can stretch your dollar and give you everything you desire, perhaps a little more!
In the meantime, here are some tips to help you create a budget that works for you!
FIRST of- You must have a budget! You have got to create a list of each and every vendor that you plan on having, then come up with a reasonable figure that you would want to spend on that service / product and stick to it. Without a budget, your bottom line will HIT the roof before you know it.  As for cutting corners, here are some tips:
a) Invitations:  DIY.  Buy your paper from whole seller and make them on your own.  It takes time, but you will def. cut the cost by 50%.  Tip:  Make invitations of a normal envelope size available in market because creating custom sizes means, spending lot more on the envelope.  Use light weight paper when possible, will save you on postage
b) Cake / Topper:  Get a Small most a 2 tier cake.  Indian caterers already offer desserts, so save money by ordering smaller cake.  Instead of monograms/ figurines use flowers or roses instead to top the first layer
c) Day of Transportation:  Use your own car! Since you are only having a reception, no one is going to be around to see what car you leave in at the end of the day!
d) Flowers:  Avoid them as centerpieces! Instead use Petals and Votives; you can go to a whole seller for the votives. And if you are set on flowers, there are lots of whole-sellers, so shop around and get a bargain.
e) Shopping:  Shopping in India is the best, if you have a close aunty/ cousin or a relative that shares the same taste as you, ask them to buy your outfit and ship it to you.  I can give you store names that they can visit; they can email you the picture before they purchase it! For alterations, send them an outfit of your own for sizing. 
f) Photographer/ Videographer:  This is possible in your budget, but you must shop around

g) Bar Options:  DO NOT have a cash bar! I know it can save a lot of money, but after all, this is your wedding, not a club scene! Although, what you can do is, Instead of having a 5 Hours Open bar, do a 4 Hours; utilize that money to get another station from the venue during cocktail hour! Guest will always remember the food...

h) Makeup/ Hair:  Find a simple yet elegant hairstyle that works for you on and then ask your sister or brides maid to assist; this way you don't have to spend $$$ to hire a stylist.  Makeup- use MAC Products! Once you have your outfit, take it to a MAC Counter and ask them to design a look for you- than buy the products and DIY.  However, if you have the budget for this, hire a MAC Rep to do your makeup that day! MAC Reps also do freelance makeup services and you'll save lots of money vs. hiring a Desi MUA.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Confessions of a ShopoJolic - Tips on India Shopping

I seriously believe that if you follow my “smart-shopper” list below, you will have a pleasant wedding shopping experience in India and enjoy your trip! But before you go, please create a budget and stick to it! 
If you need help creating your budget, contact your Indian Wedding Planner at Bells N Rings Events today! Let us guide you…
1. Get started on Malaria preventive care medication prior to leaving for India. Talk to your doctor for prescription.
2. Get Invitation / Program description/ details drafted beforehand.
3. Arrange for an air-conditioned taxi with driver that knows the town and is trustworthy. There is nothing worse than depending upon rickshaws / trains plus it is a hassle to walk around lugging your entire day worth of shopping with you everywhere.  Just keeping throwing it in the car and you are hands-free and your goods are in safe hands!
4. Plan on staying at a hotel.  While living with relatives has it perks, but with that you may end up spending lot more time inside the house mingling or meeting extended family vs. shopping.
5. Upon arrival into India, first get your invitations done – trust me, it will take more time if you wait around too much. – always get them made in the city you plan to spend most of your time in because you will be meeting with the invitation designer’s couple of times before they go for printing! Save travel time and avoid phone communication
6. Go shopping for Bridal outfits.  Rule of thumb: if you don’t like the first 5 outfits shown by the shop, walk out immediately! You will thank me for the time you save/ un-wanted sales talks and headaches.  Be very clear and firm with the store on your fitting / alterations / pick up date.
7. Grooms Outfits.  Tip: Purchase matching paghadi / shoes from the same place.
8. BM and GM outfits... Remember to find something different for MOH and Best Man
9. Party favors and favors bags. Decide your budget before you go and stick to it!
10. Special relative’s gifts
11. Jewelry for Bride
12. Shop for wedding bands
13. Shop for BM accessories
14. Stay hydrated
15. Carry sun block
Most importantly please have fun and research before you go on latest trends / colors/ styles/ this will save you time and help you remain focused in the chaos.  For additional tips to make your travel to India smooth contact your Indian Wedding Planner at Bells N Rings Events today!!!

From Ms. to Mrs.- Tips On Name Change

Apart from changing your single status to a Mrs. you might also consider taking your spouse's last name! Changing your name is no walk in the park, hence, I thought I would give you a list of some of the places to get you started...

1. Change of Name on Social Security Card.  For this you will require the following items:

a. Your marriage license
b. Completed form SS-5 available at website
c. State ID or some form of identification confirming your current name

2. Drivers License and Insurance information
3. Payroll information, 401K/ IRA/any other investments
4. Bank Accounts [you may be required to go in-person depending upon your bank, and present your Marriage license]
5. Credit Cards
6. Passport
7. Utility and other bills

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Touch of class with pink

After reading that the color for 2011 is Honeysuckle Pink [per pantone], I felt a bit relieved because this color is exuberant and when infused with other colors, the décor looks enchanting and sophisticated. To be honest, turquoise (color for 2010) was great, but after a point it was a bit droning and masculine when paired with some colors at weddings!  And hereof, I urge my brides to use the honeysuckle pink passionately; and try to mix it up with my personal favorites:
Top 5 Color Schemes for 2011                                                           
1.       Honeysuckle Pink and Apple Green
2.      Honeysuckle Pink and Red and Vanilla accents
3.      Honeysuckle Pink and Mango Orange
4.      Honeysuckle Pink and Yellow
5.      Honeysuckle Pink and Grey
Now that you have a color scheme to suit your wedding style, call the experienced wedding planners at Bells N Rings Events today, to add the touch of class to your wedding deserves.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Must-Haves for an Outdoor Wedding / Reception

Many couples give up on the idea of having an outdoor affair only because well, mother-nature and the stress an outdoor event planning can bring.  While one cannot go against the heat, wind, rain or simply overwhelming greenery, we can prepare and plan ahead to make the  most of these elements and turn our outdoor dream wedding into an accomplishment.  To help you along the way, here are some "must-haves" for an outdoor wedding.

1st.  Backup Plan always begins with a great venue- find a venue that has both, lavish outdoors and cozy indoors.  So in case you have to move the party inside, it still complements your overall look and feel

2nd.  Make your guests comfortable, refreshed and happy.  I highly recommend that you should serve mock-tails, gelato, fresh fruit [berries] and or water prior to the start of the ceremony.  Use of an outdoor tent, hand-held fans and or parasols is advisable.

3rd.  For high-winds area, avoid light weight fabric usage in your Mandap and isle décor such as: chiffon, organza, silk.  Wind can get caught in the fabric and sometimes can make a Mandap fall!

4th.  During most seasons you will have great backdrops of green trees and seasonal flowers, however, these can sometimes over-power your décor, so please keep your surroundings in mind while designing your Mandap/center piece and the general décor of your ceremony.  In order to bring more attraction to your site, concentrate on your focal point eg/. Mandap décor should be vibrant colored flowers, use of luminaries, colorful paper lanterns, draping of bright fabrics, strings of lights, hanging lanterns, electric candles, etc can really make your ceremony or reception area stand-out.

5th.  Please don’t think citronella candles can look un-attractive! They come in all shapes, sizes and colors, so don’t think twice and please use them.  The only bite your guests should remember is that of fresh fruit and berries they ate.

Join hands with Bells N Rings Events today and make your lavish outdoor Indian wedding a chic, well-designed, and an exuberant event for you and your loved ones.