Planning your Wedding in Pakistan?! Here is a quick step by step guide
Weddings are extravagant in Pakistan. People save money all their life just to have an elaborate arrangement. The Pakistani wedding festivities comprise of two receptions, the “Rukhsati & Baraat’ organized by the brides side and the “Walima” arranged by the grooms side. Apart from these grand functions, the other events that are held include “Mehndi”, “Mayoon” etc and there is no end to it depending on the customs, religious beliefs and social status of the families. Behind the scenes, there are many vendors and service providers working together with the families in order to organize a smooth and spectacular event to match the expectations of the bride and grooms families. The key distinguishing factor of a well organized wedding is managing a grand occasion in a budget! And this is a challenge specially since the key service providers charge a six digit figure (In Rs.) for a mediocre wedding.
The venue provider:
The general trend in urban cities is to rent a hall or a book a hotel. The venue rentals can start from Rs. 10,000 (community centres) and can go up to Rs. 1,000,000 .The rates depend on the number of guests you are inviting. The average middle class hall prices start from Rs 35,000.Please bear in mind that venue rental means just the venue only which means a bare hall, ground or open area to get your arrangements done. Some important points to consider are:
- Number of guests
- Parking availability
- Payment terms and conditions, usually they ask for 25% payment at the time of booking or some other form of down payment.
- Dates availability: if the venue is available for booking on your wedding date. During the wedding season it is very difficult to get hold of the right venue and pre booking should be made 6 months prior to the event.
- Security of the area, if the area tends to get easily disturbed in case of political disturbances
- Availability of Air conditioned bridal room/washrooms
- Panel of caterers & decorators that they work with
- Check the lights & carpeting
Caterer & Decorators:
Usually the vendors have their own panel of caterers and decorators who they work with. Some halls do not allow any vendors that are not included in their panel, so ensure that the decorator & caterer you have chosen work well with the venue provider. Caterers provide menu options at a per head cost (ranging from Rs.750 -1300 per head). The price depends on the number of guests, and the menu you choose. Quite often the caterers also provide decoration services and it is easier to ask one vendor to do both things. In this case, you need to visit their office and see their portfolio of the wedding themes they provide. They will invite you to see one of their functions, if one is nearby, to see the ambience, theme, decorations and to taste the food. One point to ask is, will they provide the stage and the back drop and what kind will they provide. In most cases, stage/backdrops are not provided by the decorators & caterers or even if they do it is as simple as setting up three sofas on an elevated platform! So in this case, you will require a separate decorator to do the backdrop/stage and the flower arrangement behind it.
Some questions to ask your caterer & decorator are:
- Will they provide the stage/backdrop and what kind
- Is glass/wooden flooring + walkway included
- Will they provide fresh flower arrangements on the walkway and behind
- Sound system/Screens
- Other things to check are the carpeting options, and the themes
- How many extra guests will they be providing for(usually 10-15)
- Drinks included or charged separately (usually they are charged as per consumption.
(The rates are Rs.15 per drink for soft drinks)
Decorations or flower arrangements
As mentioned above, for the back drop, and additional flower arrangements you will be requiring the services of another decorator or flower arrangement person. They will propose different rates for different kind of set ups. For Mehndi function the set up(backdrop) starts from Rs 15,000 onwards and the usual theme is yellow and green. For the Rukhsati and Barat function the theme can be anything of your choice and the backdrop starts from Rs 25,000 (if you are lucky and on average Rs. 50,000 including the flower arrangements. If you want flowers n the walkway, there is an additional charge.
This is one of the key extravaganzas of the event. The wedding photography prices start from Rs 35,000 per day and there is no limit. The average is usually about Rs 100,000 for a 2 day photo and movie coverage. Some questions to ask your photographer is:
- How many albums they would provide you
- See the kind of work they have done including the videos
- If they would be able to provide soft copies for sharing on internet
- Price of the reprints
- How soon would they be able to give you the completed job (usually one or two months after the event)
- These days photo journalistic wedding photography is being preferred more to so you need to be sure if they would be giving you the HD version of everything.
- The album styles need to be checked
- If they would be offering any complimentary portraits
- Where will the bride groom session be held i.e. Beauty Salon, Hall inside the bride room or the studio? Accordingly the time needs to be set with the photographer and others.
Bridal/Groom Dress Designers
For anyone planning their wedding, they should closely watch the Bridal Couture week. This will not only give you an idea on what is in and what is not but also give you some names of the designers you may want to work with. The bridal dresses as well as the grooms dress are quite an expense these days. For the bridal dress, the range can be from Rs. 40,000(simple ones)-no limit and for the Grooms sherwani, they usually start at Rs.18, 000 and there is no limit.
The key decision here is whether you want to go with a designer bridal dress or have your own dress designed. Pakistan with its amazing stone work and tailoring talent gives the right platform for you to design the right bridal dress yourself. You just need to know which markets to go for what. The work (kaam) can take upto 3-4 months and allow 1 month for tailoring. So you need to plan well in advance if you want to choose to design your own thing.
Otherwise, pay a little more and get it off the rack from leading designers! It will save you a lot of time, hassle and visits to the tailor.
Bridal Makeup/Beauty Salon
If you ask my personal opinion, the salons in Pakistan (especially in urban cities) have come a long way and the Pakistani bridal makeup is comparable to international standards. For your own wedding, we would advise you to go to the best, with your dress and check their bridal makeup portfolios. See what kind of magic the makeup artists created for other brides wearing similar colors and dresses. Choose the best bridal makeup for yourself u and guess what? You can try it first by getting the 1 eye trial done.
Other questions to ask are:
- The complete bridal makeup package which includes Mehndi, Baraat and Walima
- Will the package include bridal services, and what would the services include
- Will they be charging you separately for henna or is it included
- Will they allow a photoshoot before hand
- Choose your makeup artist according to your clothes and the portfolio you see
- Payment terms and conditions
- How much will they charge for the person accompanying the bride(usually its half price)
The key choice here is whether you want to opt for a Gold set or a matching artificial one. Traditionally, gold was preferred but given the security situation and gold prices, the matching artificial sets are a good substitute. Whatever the case, you need to take your dress to the jewelers shop, try different styles and choose the one that suits you and get the alterations done. You may find a style which you like, with the crystals in different color which you may want to have changed. Once again, time is the key element, even this can take from 1 week to 1 month depending on the order and what you require .However, if you buy something straight off the rack it will just take you a few hours in the market.