Unplugged | Designing without flowers

Every Sunday, Devika writes about ideas that inspire and things close to her heart,Unplugged! 

Big news: We’ve finally moved into our new office. I have a proper space and if you thought that would be the end of what seems to be the greatest project of my life, you’re mistaken. Tiny details emerge. A doorbell needs to be installed coz people just come walking in. We need mousepads, boards and pens every day because they are missing (I’m certain someone is hiding these in a corner as a joke!) and we’re already running out of space as ribbons and fabrics and bought on a whim. To top it all, it’s super-hot outside and even though it threatens to rain every day, the weather is good enough to melt any half-decent soul. And between all of that, we’re in the process of conceptualising and planning for the coming season. *makes a zen face!

Having said that it’s great to finally have a space of your own. I get a warm fuzzy feeling every morning when I walk in the door and enter this place that is bursting with creative energy. The wedding season will be upon us soon and I am thankful to get home each day, put my feet up and watch a movie till I fall off the couch in my sleep.

I digress, we’re here to talk about designing without flowers. Below are my ideas for things that won’t die in this weather and will make any space look cheery in this heat:

Origami

I love paper and there are some unique things you can do with it. Read: origami. For a recent wedding, I partnered with an NGO and had some wonderful kids make birds and boats for me. Not only did it make my décor feel purposeful, it added a super fun detail to the Sangeet. For the not-so-adventurous ones, I recommend large paper flowers as a backdrop or paper art in cream and gold- elegant, yet fun!

Play with light

I love chandeliers, bulbs and lamps. I love draping bulbs and fairy lights, they instantly make a setting more intimate and cozy. In February, Suryagarh, brought out these gorgeous green glass lamps to create an interesting buffet display for dinner- I have never seen something as stunning! A good lighting system just takes care of everything!

Fabrics

Oversized / Embellished / Fun cushions and beautiful drapes can make anything look pretty. The wispier the material of the drapes, the better it looks because it accentuates the space and the decor. Cushions always add character to the setting, make them to match your theme in terms of colour and texture and you’re set. Layering and working with textures and prints to create a dramatic setting always works.

Go local

I love walking around the local market outside my house, when I am feeling uninspired. I find the most interesting things there and love to add them as details in décor. They could be household items or even fashion accessories, everything can become something, if used right. So my weddings were peppered with tambourines, pinwheels, bangles, pickle jars, pompoms, trunks and even fruits. Dilli Haat, Janpath and Kinari Bazaar in Delhi are heaven for quirky things- Crawford and Chor Bazaar in Bombay are great too!

Simple as these ideas sound, they make any special event even more gorgeous. So go out and try these ideas today. In my opinion, they’re not just great decor for weddings but wonderful ideas for home decor as well. 

So anyone can try their hand at them. As for me, I’m going to spend the day pottering about in my small garden and picking out flowers to take to my new and improved office tomorrow.

Things to ask your planner

What should you ask a planner is one thing. Why hire a wedding planner is another, right? Well, in simple words, hiring a wedding planner is crucial because you need someone who can handle your entire event + logistics + ideas and pull all of the functions, vendors and themes together to make your wedding a grand success.

And not just that, you need a wedding BFF, not your cousin who’s busy, not your uncle who’s clearly here to have a drink and chill out and certainly not your parents, ones who are already busy with the finer details of your wedding that they might just not be ready to deal with monies and vendors. No, none of them.

Because a wedding is a beautiful time to really enjoy the moment and revel in it, not run behind someone to get the tents done according to your colour theme. Well, now that the reason you hire a planner is out of the way, it’s time to focus on how to work with their services effectively.

A planner literally pulls together your entire wedding and makes all the various bits work seamlessly together. That’s why you need to know if the planner you hire is indeed right for you. We cut the line to make sure you get the correct advice and so we made a list of 10 questions you need to ask. The answers will probably make you hire or fire the planner because these do determine the course of your wedding planner. So gear up and fire away!

How do they charge?

Okay, economics come first and why not? The planner needs to fit your budget. But that doesn’t mean that a planner who only does destination weddings might not be ready for a budget one. So, first ask their budget details first. Some take a fee, some a percentage - so be sure! I, for one prefer to take a fee and charge the rest as per actuals- that keeps things simpler and works much better. 

Do they take commissions?

This one is super important, cos it will define your budget. What percentage or commissions are they looking at. Firstly, are you comfortable around money calculated this way. It’s good to know how their professional services, contracts and payment processing works. Some will request full amount including all services and they do all the hiring etc. Others will ask you to cut the checks yourself. 

Will they be physically present throughout the wedding?

Don’t want the person you have been dealing with throughout the planning process to suddenly send an intern into the picture at the venue. Assistants, trainees, relatives and friends - whoever they might be to the planner, that’s not your concern. What you need to know is that, no matter what - a planner who brought together everything must be present. Cos that is when you will need them the most.

 Photo: Google

Photo: Google

What all do their services entail? Areas of help?

We overlook certain things and expect that they will get done, instead of asking what they do. That’s why, it’s always good to be clear. Make a list of things that your planner needs to pay close attention to. Ask what they don’t do too, so that you can account for it. For example, some do take care of invitations, some don’t. Some will get you a mehendi artist, some don’t. Your wedding designer will not run your event, you need to be sure of what you need. Your planner will account for all.

Do all their weddings look the same as they have the same vendor list?

Hmm, this one is super important. You might like your planer but you might not like the fact that they often work with the same vendor. If you have these reservations, best to ask before-hand. Because a planner might or might not use the same vendor list - that is a call they will take. Unless you want something different. I like to work with the vendors I am comfortable with. 

Do they also design or would you be okay with them hiring someone else to do the design?

Some planners design, but all designers don’t plan. So remember that when you ask a planner to step in. The best planners also have their own design workshop. But some, outsource it out and that means, extra costs.

 Photo: Google

Photo: Google

What is their general philosophy on weddings?

If the company’s main focus is creating elaborate floral displays, or renting you the very hippest chairs, that will be obvious. Make sure their philosophy matches yours in terms of creating an overall picture, a grand plan. You may want an intimate fun wedding, but they may specialise in creating OTT weddings. You want a boho one but they will insist on a glam one with a filmy touch. For best results, it pays to know what their philosophy is to get an idea.

Will they answer your calls at night? Are they willing to work on weekends if the need arises?

There are unsaid rules and planning weddings can be a full-time job. But as long as you know their timings and get an idea of how you work together, it’s great. If you are an NRI bride then it makes more sense to know the earliest you’ll get a response. Personally, I love whatsapp groups. A lot of my brides are in different time zones and some think early in the morning and some late at night- so I make Whatsapp groups with them where they can post whatever ideas they have - it becomes a log of notes basically. No detail gets lost!

In a line, what is their speciality? Their one big USP?

This question can show you the lengths a planner will go to make your wedding successful. By asking the top things they have done at their previous weddings, you’ll have a fair idea as to who they are and what they can achieve. Nice to know.

 Photo: Google

Photo: Google

How many people from the planner’s side will be at the wedding?

Ok so accounting for them is crucial so know how many assistants or help your planner will have with her. Knowing her strength is important both from a stay + flight bookings point of view. 

My Favourite Instagram accounts

Just like you, am super guilty of spending all of my time on Instagram -zoning in on some really cute wedding ideas or keeping it fancy with those sweet DIYs or just drowning in pure puppy love and funny memes. And being a wedding planner does not mean that I’ll only look at hashtags like #indianweddings or #decorateindianweddings, I also pretty much follow everything that’s quintessentially fun and intuitively good. Because if there’s one thing I have learnt in this business, it’s the fact that inspiration can and will strike anywhere and everywhere. Ladies and gentlemen, presenting to you, my list of awesome on Instagram and I’ll say turn on the notifications because you wouldn’t want to miss these gems.

1. Sabyasachi Official

For my daily dose of Sabya inspiration because no one quite does art and fashion together like this man. Sabyasachi will always be my go-to designer and his store my muse and that’s why this one’s never going away from my list. Maybe it is a cliche  *makes monkey covering eyes emoji*- a wedding designer who loves Sabyasachi but for me, there is inspiration there and I’ll always look forward to it. Follow him here

2. Flora Forager

Botanical artist extraordinaire who she makes gorgeous patterns with flowers. It’s a well known fact that I’m a lover of anything nature-inspired - so this one’s just a whole lot of inspiration. The artist uses petals and unique flower arrangements to make beautiful designs, ones that will stay in your head for a long while. And if you thought that she only works with exotic flowers, you are so wrong. It is the way in which she uses everyday flora that gets my attention. Follow her here

3. A Beautiful Mess

I’m sure everyone loves this account because it is full-blown inspiration for the bored mind. These two are the reason I started reading blogs and then blogging myself. Their Instagram page is testament to the super pretty life they lead and how they keep it new and exciting  every.single.time! What do you need to look at? Their DIYs and their fun food experiments. Follow them here

4. Moon Canyon

They make the most swoon-worthy floral arrangements. Some come in moving cartons, some in garden utensils and interesting ones, come together stacked up in newspaper. The way this account makes you look at decor is the only reason you should put on that notification - because there’s beauty in the simplest of spaces. Follow them here

5. Raw Mango

I’m in love with Raw Mango. There, I said it! It’s probably my biggest love and one that I don’t see waning soon, or ever! The way in which Sanjay Garg transformed Chanderi into a global phenomenon is mind-blowing and aspirational. The beautiful thing about his saris is the way they bring back vintage India with it’s all it’s glamour. What’s not to love! Follow him here

6. Daniel Machado Cruz

This wedding decorator from Rio is as fun as he is classy - he plays with elegance like no other designer I’ve come across. He has a natural style of making spaces feel natural and lived in. His work doesn’t look run-of-the-mill, his decor gives an almost “lived-in home” feel and is bursting with character. We also share a mutual love for natural greens and antique wooden furniture. I’m currently majorly crushing on his work because every picture of his showcases a part of himself. Follow him here

7. Parisian floors

One guy, lots of shoes and the most beautiful patterns. This one is so addictive because you’ll fall in love with architecture and decor in a big way. It’s so amazing how the patterns on the floors can make you look at things in a new light. There is art, symmetry and colours all mixed up like a beautiful cocktail of sorts. P.S I’m in love with his shoes. Follow him here

8. Yolo Beagles

My friend’s pups, Yoko Ono and Kylo Ren are the only therapy you need in life. Their beagle-ful feed is all you need after a tough day at work (Bonus: I get to play with them in real life too!) and see how they’re growing and thriving everyday. #Win-Win. Follow the cuties here

9. Southern Fried Paper

‘Cos they make the prettiest stationary in the world. And they shoot it amazingly well. Those who know me know that I am addicted to good fonts and impeccable showcasing - ah, I can browse through it  forever. Follow them here

10. Stories From Above

For some serious travel inspiration because the world looks so much better from above. This one is a part of a new adventure by the good people at my favourite wedding photographer’s HQ, “Stories by Joseph Radhik”. Beautiful aerial pictures guaranteed to make you book that next trip to #thenextawesomeplace featured here. Serious manna for the soul! Follow them here.