Wedding Q&As from Instagram

I know this post is long overdue, but I still get questions as I friend more people on Instagram, and it is impossible to round them all up in one post. So I finally decided to do multiple Wedding Q&A posts, starting with five questions today. Some from personal experience, some that I don't relate to but I did my best to answer:  

1. How do you find and choose the right photographer/ videographer?  

Most photo/ video teams in India offer similar basics in terms of packages; come up with a top 5 list after perusing websites, Instagram/ Facebook, blogs, and client testimonials. We usually go by word-of-mouth for wedding photography, which is great, but talk to more than one past client and read multiple reviews. Set up interviews with your top 5 photographers to see how you connect on a personal level.  Fact: our photographer, Ram, watched some of my vlogs and was actually excited that I wanted to "vlog" my own wedding! He patiently listened to all our ideas, and knew that Kiran and I would have irregular demands. He sounded so positive about bringing that vision to life, I think that closed the deal. So yes, talk to your prospective photographers extensively...chemistry and comfort level could be the distinguishing factors. 

2. Is hiring a wedding planner worth it?  

Wedding planning, if you do it yourself, can bring with it the highest of highs and lowest of lows. I think it is important to embrace the latter - it is an opportunity to learn how to handle situations together with love and grace. But it  takes practice and patience, and is actually, truly what you should focus most of your energy on, in the days leading to your wedding. Hiring a full service wedding planner will bring you so much peace of mind. I didn't need one because I was in an unbelievably lucky situation:  together, (don't mind the immodesty) Anandita and I are basically a dream design/ events team; our parents took over all things ceremony related, and Kiran + our siblings were terrific month-of-coordinators. So unless you are going to start planning a year+ in advance, are obsessively organized, are well-connected, and have a solid team of ten, I'd say invest in a planner, sit back, and soak it all in. 

3. What's the deal with Kanjivaram saris? How do I pull it off if I'm petite? 

A Telugu wedding ceremony has two changes for the bride and groom both, and I was just told that sari #1 could be any color, but sari #2 had to be off-white. Full disclosure, my bridal Kanjivaram sari meant more to my mother and mother-in-law than it did to me. To them the resplendence of the sari mattered, so I let them decide how much to spend. Together with your jewelry, makeup, and your gorgeous self, a Kanjivaram sari, no matter how much or how little you spend, is going to look fabulous. 

Honestly, size and price do not matter as much as the fitting and draping do. If you have those two covered but are still not feeling comfortable, here are some ideas to give an illusion of length:

• Pick a thinner Kanjivaram fabric so that it drapes and sits well on you

• Don't pick a sari with a broad border

• Wear a thin petticoat to avoid adding bulk

• Forget about what is trending, opt for a well-fitted blouse, and a design that adds some length (high neck, boat neck, shorter sleeves in comparison with elbow-length)

4. How do I decide my hair and makeup? 

In this order: outfit, jewelry, hair & makeup. Your outfit is the base that everything else should be layered on; in many cases jewelry is heirloom/ traditional/ gifted so I suggest that you work around that. 

Makeup: For our cocktail night, I did a makeup trial at Sephora before I left for India since I finalized that outfit first. My Holi makeup was very spontaneous and I went along with whatever Faye suggested; we all loved how it complemented the accents in my outfit! For the wedding, we did a trial 3 days prior, and we kept it minimal but effective.

Hair: I recommend deciding your hair based on what you'll be doing - I didn't mind my hair turning into a mess during our Holi sundowner so I let it down, and  I put it in a bun vs. a traditional braid during the ceremony, which made the outfit changes, and the garlands/ Mangalsutram parts much easier. 

5. I'm worried about how the photos/ videos will turn out... (say no more!

I'm going to say something that I know is very ironic - social media has kind of f*#ked up wedding photography and the purpose behind it. Think of people who have gotten married before social media took over: their photos are totally #breaktheinternet delightful. I feel like the more access you have to photos of weddings from around the world, the more the pressure and unrealistic expectations. I say unrealistic because it is impossible to recreate an "inspiration" photo unless you also recreate the setting, the colors, the lighting, and every other factor that led to a single perfect frame. Once you have signed a contract, trust your decision, and give your photo/ video team the creative freedom to tell your story. Never direct them on the day(s) of. Share and discuss your ideas well in advance, be open to suggestions and feedback. Don't hand a Pinterest Board or Instagram Collection and expect something never-seen-before.

Discuss your schedule for the wedding week with  your photo/ video team. We didn't go for a pre-wedding shoot, instead we set some time aside to shoot portraits before each event. We didn't do any elaborate setups, and barely choreographed any shots. But Ram  and team were totally in their element, and we could tell that they were pleased with their work :) It put us in a great mood throughout the events too because we were so confident in their work. 

That's all for now! Feel free to comment/ message/ email/ whatever works if you have more questions!