Are you looking to plan your wedding during the pandemic? First of all, congratulations! Second, fret not—we’ve got you covered.  We recently invited Ambika Gupta, Event Designer and Entrepreneur, to host an Ask Me Anything session for Malini’s Girl Tribe and help us trudge into areas that are unfamiliar. Ambika answered all questions related to planning a wedding such as finding the perfect venue, onsite logistics to ensure safety, choosing an event layout that allows for social distancing, preparing for the unexpected, planning the budget, trends to keep in mind, etc. Scroll down to read all about it!

Q. How do you create the grandeur of a wedding when only 50 guests are allowed?

The definition of grandeur is different for different people. In a small space when you do up the place nicely, it will most definitely look grand on pictures and in person. If you are inviting 50 people, choose a location that is not too big or the crowd will look sparse. Try picking a smaller location or within a larger location, you need to construct a smaller space. For example, space within a space, to make it suitable for just 50 people. That’s the trick!

Q. What is the best destination for a wedding right now?

As of now, considering the pandemic, it’s safer to look within India. The destination you choose should resonate with you and your personality as a couple and as a family. Taj Bekal in Kerela, the Leela Palace and The Oberoi Udaivilas in Udaipur, Alila Diwa in Goa, etc. are some great options in India. Choose your vibe and then settle on a venue, and consult a wedding planner about everything related to that property before booking.

Q. What should one keep in mind when picking a venue for an event, especially right now?

It’s crucial to check the sanitisation protocols and guest-list restrictions that the hotel you are choosing is providing. Since safety and health is key, it’s is important to see how they’re managing food, cutlery and every minute detail for sanitisation. Most 5-star hotels now enforce that venues should be given three hours prior to event commencement by decor teams so that they can thoroughly sanitise the venues. Don’t assume the rules; ask your planner or the hotel. Every property has its own measures in place. For a destination wedding, try doing a buy-out so that only your guests are within the property and others are not allowed. You can protect your guests by tying up with a laboratory to reduce the chances of infection. These are a few of the key pointers to observe at the moment.

Q. What should be the minimum budget to set aside for three wedding events, all at the same location?

Your budget greatly depends on what all you book and want from your wedding. It also depends on whether you are having it indoors or outdoors. For outdoors, you need to spend more as everything needs to be hired, even the furniture, and if it’s an evening event you need to spend more on lights. Your decor and entertainment expenditure will greatly depend on what you are choosing and how grand you want your celebrations to be.

The minimum expenditure for 3 events (I’m assuming two are big and one is a small event) for 200 people in an indoor environment would be three to four lakhs all-inclusive. This goes up as your setups go bigger. If you go super basic you could also find vendors who would finish it within three lakhs maybe. For an outdoor event four to five lakhs, at least. It really depends on what kind of decor, how big an artist or how elaborate your food choices are. In short, your budget is defined by your taste and ideally, you should work backwards.

Q. Can a budgeted wedding be done with extravagance?

Let’s say that a budgeted wedding can be made extravagant subject to that budget. More extravagance can be achieved provided you don’t go in for fresh designs and fresh production under the same budget. If you are on a budget, make sure to tell your vendors that you are okay with using their previous inventory, and tweaking colours to match your aesthetics. By doing that you can get a lot more within the same budget.

What’s your biggest concern when it comes to planning an event during a pandemic? Please share it with us in the comments below.

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