I have almost been habitual of downloading atleast 10-12 inquiries in my inbox every morning from couples across world writing to get married. Many of them have already set their heart over India (or any specific location in India) however there are few who would be just keen to know “how does it work in India and how much does it cost”.
With those who are sending a very casual inquiry its easy to give a ballpark idea of cost pertaining to the major variables like
1. Travel Cost from their country to India
2. Cost of accommodation
3. Price range of the Big Day in summed up as an all inclusive package
4. Other additional services which could be availed
The above gets a good idea if the plan to fly down to India is a feasible one or not as compared to other destinations the couple might be planning for.
However its a tough challenge to please the couples who want “THE PRICE” for a wedding event when they are not looking for a ballpark idea of cost rather need to understand the cost factors in details. Problem is not to reveal the details to them, it is rather the fact that the figures might mislead them at this stage of planning they are presently.
While towards the beginning of the wedding planning they have gathered some basic information about the destination and might be the potential venues they are very much unsure about “what exactly they would require to organise the wedding events, working out a list of possible things may sound as nightmare to them”. That too when they are deciding to organise it overseas, imagine the kind of confusion they could have for every aspect.
Here its obvious for the couple to approach a Wedding Planner company or may be Hotels directly (some couples even contact Travel Agents) with this big question “how much would it cost”. Within a few hours or days they get several quotations either giving the ballpark idea of cost or just a general pricing list. Couple would try to compare the various quotations to reach to an understanding who is sounding more reasonable and who should they shortlist to talk further.
Here they might be missing a big picture!
First of all I personally do not think that wedding package is a product which could be standardized with certain specifications and sold at fixed price. I am not talking about a “couple only wedding here” who are just keen to exchange their Vows and Rings and declared married at an exotic location. That is a simple case. I am rather talking about the couples who are planning the big day spread over 2-3 days of events which would attended by the Group of guests weather small or large.
Without understanding their detailed requirements in terms of what they have visualized for “the aesthetic feel of the venue, setup in various events, scale of decoration of the venue and the location, quality of services expected, capacity and willingness to spend, specific requirements that might not be cleared to them right now but are integral part etc.”, I seriously doubt how could they be stuffed with several quotations to mull over overnight. There could be pictures to demonstrate the things but here Pictures may not be sufficient to understand what is being delivered and what will be actually delivered.
Couple might not have even seen the destination or the venue personally and it would still be struggling hard to understand who is cheaper and who is costlier and why?
Here is what I recommend to couples to not get carried away by the prototype information available on internet or “fast emails”
1. If you are just keen to find out weather the Destination Wedding would fit in your budget, try to work on the major cost figures and approximations. Wasting time in detailed quotation could be misleading.
2. If you are considering more than one destination then try to shortlist based on your “deciding factor” weather you are willing to go with costlier option if it offers what you want or you would rather prefer something beautiful which is under your budget.
3. Based on the ballpark idea of costs you gather decide about your budget for the major cost points mentioned earlier in post like Air Travel, Accommodation, Events and other special requirements. Without budget if you proceed for planning further you are yourself leaping towards unnecessary details.
4. Communicate your budget clearly to the Wedding Planner making his/her job easier to suggest you possible options and workaround a budget proposal rather then sending blunt list of services with pricing. This budget proposal should contain the list of possible venues.
5. Suggest your priorities while you ask the Planner to work out a budget proposal e.g. if food is more important than the decoration or you are happy with staying at a 3* Resort as long as it offers good services and amenities. You know what I mean!
6. Web is full of Pictures, sort some Pictures of Setup, decoration, color schemes, cake designs, ideas about Favors etc which you like and send them to wedding planner making sure he/she is on the same page you are.
This should give a good start point to take the wedding plan further!
If you do the above exercise even with more than one wedding planner, I am sure you shall be able to better decide who is able to translate you priorities, requirements and budget into a good wedding plan as compared to “you struggling over cut and dry cheese pricing list you receive from several wedding planner and finding difficult to decide who is cheaper .. who is costlier and why”.