Listen up my dolls! The only place to get industty asvise from an industry expert - Sonal J. Shah - is right here! Based on NYC, Sonal J. Shah Event Consultants is a highly prominent firce in the world of weddding planning & design. She is a long-established and highly revered, international celebrity wedding coordinator! She's designed for big names, such as Jay Sean, Amir Kahn & Reshma Shetty! In fact, she's now regarded as one of the top South Asian wedding planners in the world! And now she's sharing some of her exellent expertise with us! So, girls, perk up those eyes and ears because here are Sonals 6 priceless tips for planning your big day!

1. Start early! This is the fundamental key to the success of any event. That's not to say that it is impossible to pull off a successful wedding in a short space of time, but weddings are stressful enough as it is so leave yourself as much planning time as possible to help take some of the edge off. Plus, it means your options and availability will be much greater. More time equals more options.

2. Assign key tasks to family members - this will also help to relieve some of the stress on your big day. Even small tasks, like picking someone up from the airport, is really something you just don't need to worry yourself with!

3. Set a budget and stick to it. This rule is important as it's so easy to go off on an unrealistic tangent when planning a wedding. If you make a budget, it's for a reason, and having one in place will definitely force you to come up with more economical ways of creating your ideal event.

4. Tip number 3 brings us on to this one: Find innovative ways to maximize your budget without increasing your spending. One example is to mix and match ultra-conservative centerpieces on the majority of your reception tables with maybe a few eccentric and lavish ones, which will create almost the same effect, but at half the cost!

5. If you choose to stage an outdoor wedding, or wish to host at least a portion of your event outside, you must take a range of other factors into consideration. Although outdoor venues make for beautiful photos, make a list of positives and negatives and seriously evaluate whether or not you will be able to handle them all. Failing to plan for any number of things - including an indoor weather back-up, bug repellent, drink stations or shade providers - can really create a bad atmosphere and have your guests remembering your events for all the wrong reasons. 

6. You must be realistic about the number of guests that you expect to attend your event. Most people tend to overestimate how many people will turn up which can have a terrible impact on your budget. The majority of caterers and venues will insist that you pay for your estimated guest count, regardless of how many people actually show up, making it vital that you estimate your numbers wisely. Make it easy on yourself and take the number of guests invited and calculate at least 20% less.

There you have it ladies! Hope you're taking notes because I definitely am!

For even more invaluable tips from Sonal, you can purchase her recently published book here!

Planning & Design: Sonal J. Shah Event Consultants |