The Client: Sandeep Marwaha & Joseph George
The Wedding Date: October 2010
Prior to even getting engaged, my fiancé and I acknowledged the importance of a wedding planner. We are an intercultural, interreligious couple. And not only are our families diverse, but so too are our friends. We believed that a wedding planner would help us address any cultural or religious issues in an objective manner, and she could be the neutral party we could refer our parents to if there were any questions or problems. A planner could also guide us through the planning process and help with decision making.
Yes, wedding planners cost money. But, let’s be real here. We entrust others to cut our hair, thread our eyebrows, do our nails, wax our arms—and they ain’t free. Why the heck wouldn’t I want someone to help plan my wedding—one of the grandest events in my life???
We wanted to get married within the same year, and so we started researching planners a week after our engagement. Because we’re having a Sikh ceremony and the guests will be primarily from my (Punjabi) family, we wanted a South Asian wedding planner familiar with the customs and traditions. As we did not know anyone who had a planner, we searched online. Suhaag.com was a useful resource, as was our good friend Google. We came across 4 companies, and I emailed them immediately. 3 replied within a day or two; 1 company replied 3 or 4 days later. I crossed her off the list—if she couldn’t reply to my inquiry promptly, could I depend on her during the planning process?
Prior to our first meeting, I asked the potential planner #1 to bring her portfolio; she replied that she did not have one and all of her pictures were stored on her computer. Strange, I thought. We met with the planner at a coffee shop. She presented as nervous: her voice was shaky, she stammered when first speaking, and she became flustered when we asked about her work. She said, “I feel like I’m being interviewed.” Of course she did because it was an interview! She did not present us with examples of her work, nor did she have a breakdown of her services. We asked her several questions. Oddly enough, she brought a laptop with her. When we asked for pictures of weddings she’s planned, she responded that her pictures were stored on an external hard drive she did not have with her. Inconsistent, much? To say the least, we did not leave the meeting impressed. Interestingly enough, her cost was the highest of all the planners we interviewed!
Richha was the potential planner #2; Bineesh also attended the meeting. Instantly, my fiancé and I *felt* something. Richha and Bineesh were friendly and open. They asked details about my fiancé and me, they asked about our engagement, and they asked about our vision. They expressed genuine interest in us. We immediately felt comfortable and the conversation flowed well. I remember us having a few laughs and connecting about growing up in the same area. They provided an exceptional presentation, explained the breakdown of their services, and showed examples of their weddings. They impressed that they wanted to be involved with the wedding and would give as much, if not more, thought into the wedding as my fiancé and I would. Overall, they were professional, yet approachable. My fiancé and I left the meeting feeling good and that we’d found our planners.
I felt so positive about meeting with Richha that I wanted to cancel our next meeting with the potential planner # 3. We went anyway. The last planner had the most experience compared to the other planners. She had a good presentation and breakdown of services, but we didn’t feel a connection. She didn’t show much interest in my fiancé and me: we were just another couple who needed wedding planning. She even answered her cell phone towards the end of the meeting—a big faux pas for my fiancé and me. We found it inconsiderate and symbolic of her lack of investment in the process. Although we were positive she would do a good job, we thought she would care more about the end result and how she looked rather than about our wedding.
Our last meeting helped cement what we wanted in a planner: professional, approachable, personable, invested, and involved. Richha met all of the above. And she hasn’t disappointed.
Hiring a wedding planner and choosing Richha were the best decisions my fiancé and I have made (other than choosing each other, of course). She has been elemental in our search for vendors, our creative process, our decision making, answering questions, providing suggestions, and, most importantly, controlling my stress levels and keeping me sane.