If you remember any part of the definition of a perfect Muslim wedding, the focus is on the planning. Here are some of the key steps you need to do to set the stage:
- Get in the right frame of mind. Whether you look at Olympic athletes, or Nobel Peace Prize winners, great accomplishments require you to be prepared, mentally. This means dealing with conflicting needs, wants, opinions and then being able to use diplomatic skills to compromise and/or make decisions. It’s a fine line, but figure out what you are willing to be flexible on and what you are not, and would oppose your core values. You cannot micro-manage every detail, nor can you control the outcomes. Plan for the worst by making contingencies and then pray and hope for the best. Yes, and don’t forget to have a little fun and smile. The rest of your team will take cues from you. If you are all tensed up, it will impact the mood of everyone else.
- Determine your budget and stay in the spirit of it. Just as with constructing a house, it is difficult upfront to estimate to the penny what the wedding will cost. Given your means follow the prophetic middle way, don’t be miserly and don’t be extravagant. Don’t spend money you don’t have, alternatively even if you are blessed with wealth, contain yourself. A perfect wedding isn’t the most extravagant, or picture-perfect. It is how you make your loved ones and guests feel and that can’t be bought. The largest cost factor in the wedding will be the reception, including catering. With whatever budget you come up with it’s okay to breakout in some areas and hold back to balance the budget in others. Some things you will only want a professional to do and others you can do in-house.
- Converge on possible dates. Pick dates based on when all essential people, without which your wedding cannot go ahead. Although summer is more popular than other seasons for weddings, remember that if guests are flying in especially from overseas peak travel times including holidays are premium in airfares. Depending on the size and complexity of the wedding, it can take anywhere from three months for a short notice to up to a year for a larger wedding. Converge on possible dates and this becomes an important reference point for the venue.
- Pick the venue. Based on the size, style and suitability pick a shortlist of potential venues. Decide with your fiancé, family, in-laws whether you want a simple, outdoor, grand, or other type of wedding. Put a first-pass together of number of guests for each side and determine if the venue has the capacity. Think about ambience, ease of access, along with convenience for guests and suitability for vendors. Think about how prepared the place is and or what you will need to get it the way you would like. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays are the most popular days for weddings, Saturdays carry a premium. If you are using a wedding planner, they can help you narrow down venues and then based on your, their, and the host-site’s availability, budget and other factors, pick the venue.
- Catering the guests. Depending on the venue, you may end up choosing either a venue that offers a package that includes the catering or work with an approved vendor of your choice. Packages offer convenience. Selecting your own caterer and menu gives you more choice and flexibility with the caveat that this becomes one more thing for you or your team to manage.
- Get organized. It is easy to get overwhelmed with so many details and decisions in the planning process. If you are taking on the wedding coordination/project manager role, we want to help you. Even if you hire a wedding planner, you will still have to be aware of what is going on in each part of the planning process. To help you with this, we have put together spreadsheets to remind you what to ask vendors and venues. Although these lists are based on a lot of research and fairly comprehensive we encourage you to edit these lists with your own questions. Also, we encourage you to share any “holes” or ways to supplement these resources.
There are many other steps including selecting a theme, wedding dress, groom’s outfit, gifts, decorator, florist, honeymoon travel, etc. These are covered in other parts of the site as well as future blog posts. This list is meant to get you started with some of the most important parts of the planning process.