Moving on from the intro post on this topic, I focus on the first four points I'd put up there. ( Oh God, I do sound like a strict professor discussing stuff point-by-point!)
So here goes...
Everyone keeps harping about planning, but where does one begin? There are simply too many things. Therefore the easiest and the best thing one can do is to first make a wedding diary. You can write anything and everything into it. First make a list of lists - sounds funny? But yes, you need to make one, for example a list of guests, a list of things to shop, a list of jewellery- got it? A mega list of lists. You could get one of those stiff 5-subject notebooks and dedicate each section to one part.
The guest list
I initially started writing this one down but when the numbers got out of hand and I realised that I had repeated few names thrice, I decided to re-do it again. Excel to the rescue! When I'd finally finished adding the last name, I had three files, each with 4-5 sheets. You can even color code it based on various other factors as to how you're going to invite them (by post/courier, personally, email, whatsapp, etc), their stay, location where they stay (if you plan to go personally to invite) etc.
Talking of inviting people, as soon as the final list is ready, printing the cards would be the next thing to do. The thumb rule that the printers told us was roughly at a rate of 2.5:1 (2-3 people per card), i.e. if you have a list of 600 people, you might need 200-250 cards roughly. You could have different ones made based on who it is for- an elaborate one for the family, a crisp one for your colleagues, and a soft copy to mail or Whatsapp. Please make sure you save the files securely on more than one device or on cloud, you don't want to lose any of these files at crucial moments.
It's a nice idea to send out 'Save the Date' cards well in advance, so that people can start planning if they really mean to come. Another thing to do simultaneously is to start collecting addresses of people who you intend to send out cards to. Print them out on on sticky papers, so you just have to stick it on the cards, and you're saved of the trouble of writing each one down.
Book places to stay accordingly, early enough as good places in peak wedding season sell like hotcakes, and they tend to throw their weight around a bit.
According to me, this is THE factor that decides how you ought to plan the rest of the things. I strongly don't believe in overdoing stuff that goes beyond your means. Of course, wedding is a once in a lifetime event. However I don't see the logic of spending your family's life savings in trying to please everyone, nor taking a huge loan to host a grand affair. People who comment will do so no matter how hard you try to please them. Therefore earmarking money for different things right at the beginning will prevent you from spending the money that you don't really have.
Am I missing something? Please share your thoughts!