Are you planning a BIG luxury wedding? Nathalie of Pillingers Hiring Service spoke with a couple who planned for over 700 people to find out just how it can be done.
There have been some very special couples walk through our doors over the years. Sometimes they have their eyes set on the perfect intimate wedding, sometimes they have a unique venue in mind and sometimes they have a massive guest list to accommodate for. Once in a while you get the couple who requests all three! The whole gosh-darn kit-and-caboodle!
Sydney newlyweds Shalin and Neha were just that couple. Their guest list was over 700 large; but they were adamant they wanted to keep things intimate, unique and involved. Their ambition was admirable and their planning skills were second to none (Shalin is a project manager so we’ll warn you, spreadsheets were definitely involved!). As a weddings coordinator I see many couples struggle with the lead up to their big day, Shalin and Neha are an inspiration to couples and wedding industry types everywhere.
We sat down with them in an attempt to prise open their super-organised brains and figure out exactly what a couple has to do to get a 700-guest wedding running smoothly.
How did you meet?
We met through mutual friends at an event; we started dating pretty soon after that.
How did you know you’d found the one you wanted to settle down with?
We can’t say that there was any one particular moment. It just felt like after a few months of being together we knew it was right.
Who took over the wedding preparations?
Neha: We set the rules right up front. Shalin is a project manager, it was very important for him to have the roles and responsibilities agreed upon early on.
Shalin: Because there were so many events we really divided the key responsibilities between Neha’s parents and between myself and Neha. Of course as the bride, Neha felt that she has overall responsibility but it was nice to give over the preparation of certain events to others.
Neha: At the end of the day it feels like it was a real team effort.
Who had control of the guest list?
Neha: No one really… parents have a huge influence and we knew who we wanted to invite, too. There was a lot of negotiation as we wanted an intimate wedding but come from large families and close knit communities. Despite having a large wedding when compared to most, we feel like the guests that are invited are people we’re close to and know very well, so it will still have that small wedding feel to it.
How did you go about planning a wedding for so many guests?
Neha: Most things were okay; it just takes longer – the guest list takes longer to sort out, seating arrangements take longer, etc.
Shalin: We had lots of friends and family offering to help. It was nice to have that support there.
Neha: As well as having a large number of guests we also had a total of five events, so we divided the lead roles of organising amongst ourselves.
Shalin: As we had picked to have an outdoor wedding we had no central event coordinator for the day, so it was extremely important for us to choose suppliers that we trusted and could have good working relationships with.
What steps did you take towards planning the wedding?
Neha: Shalin and I spent a few weeks discussing what our vision was for the wedding and other events “” what theme we wanted, different ideas of what we thought would separate each event apart from the others and locations. Shalin and I are very organised by nature so some things worked naturally.
Shalin: We set up clear roles and responsibilities and took over what we needed to do. We also had to make sure that we were discussing our tasks with each other to ensure that everything was going on track and that we had time to share ideas. We set up tools -online spreadsheets- to help us stay on top of things “”painful at times, but looking back it helped us stay on top of things.
Neha: We did all our shopping in India six months before the wedding. We have some wonderful friends and family around who helped whenever we needed them; from cooking (preparation for which started five months before the wedding!), to helping with making decisions and helping out during the various events. Most people just stepped up an assumed different tasks to ensure the events went smoothly.
Shalin: However, it’s important to mention that there were many sleepless nights and couple of minor hustles in the boxing ring!
What feeling did you want people to walk away with?
Neha: We just wanted people to share this auspicious day with us. We want people to leave feeling like they have an important part in our lives because they could witness our wedding and give us their blessings and love.
Shalin: Having been to so many weddings ourselves we were looking for things that would give the day our own personal touch. So we worked on some of the table decorations ourselves, made the table cards and some of the other decorations as well. The event is specific to us as individuals and matches our style and personality.
Images courtesy Omid Daghighi