Tuesday, December 30, 2008


My entire family is on an organic kick thanks to my dear sister-in-law. It actually really feels good to live organically as they say.

Why not do the same for your wedding? Here are some easy ideas to have an organic wedding.. yes, Indian Weddings too.

1. Serve organic wines... go to sites like www.fourchimneysorganicwines.com or ask your venue if they recommend something. They may already have an organic wine.

2. Look for a location for your rehearsal dinner or actual wedding that is organic. For example:
-- Riverside Farm is a 300-acre luxurious private New England country estate. Located in the heart of the Green Mountains, Vermont.
--Gustorganics in Union Square is a great venue for smaller events and it is certified as a "Green Restaurant".
-- The Desmond Tutu Center in Chelsea, NYC is a great "Green" Venue. It has Geo Thermal Heating and Air conditioning throughout the facility.

3. Get your hair done for you and the bridal party at a place like Grace Heaven Organic Salon. They say, "Synthetic fragrances and toxic ingredients have no place in our salon". They use all natural and organic products for hair and makeup.

4. Choose to put your out of town guests in designated "Green" hotel. Look at sites like www.greenhotels.com or www.greenseal.org to get a list of hotels that are doing the right thing.

5. RSVPs-- why not just do it via email or telephone as oppose to mail? Yes, we know it is not the traditional thing to do but you are helping to save the environment by not having all that paper go to waste. Remember-- less inserts for Indian Wedding invites helps you and the environment. Also check out this statement on my new favorite place to order invitations: www.sarahmarie.com

"Sarah Marie is a small graphic design studio located in Manhattan. We specialize in letterpressed greeting cards and wrapping paper.

Our greeting cards are printed using soy-based inks, and tree-free (100% cotton) paper. Our wrapping paper is printed with an FSC-certified printer, on 10% post-consumer recycled paper. Not only do we feel we get a better product using soy-based inks and recycled papers, but it's also better for the environment".

There are so many other things such as organic tea favors, tree seedings from the Arbor Day Foundation (also great favors), lucky bamboo favors,and organic thank you cards.


P.S: For Christmas, I purchased my entire family only organic gifts! It does feel good!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Candy Display Tables


At one of our recent weddings, we did two display tables that represented the bride and the groom.
At the entrance of their sangeet ballroom, we set up two large tables- one had photos of the bride with her family and friends, and the other with the groom's side images. We added accents to it by showing their hobbies. The bride loved to shop so we did bags from Manolo Blahnik (my favorite), Gucci, Burberry, Cartier and Tiffany & Co. The groom loved the Chicago Cubs. So, we displayed a Cubs hat, blanket, baseball, and coffee cups. We also set out about 50 different sizes and style of jars and added in the bride and groom's favorite candies. IT WAS A HUGH HIT! WE COULD NOT GET THE GUESTS AWAY FROM THIS VERY ENTICING TABLE. Just one of the great ideas our team came up with for this wedding. Remember, think outside of the box at all times!
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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I just wanted to say Merry Christmas to all our vendors, brides and of course, their wonderful families! I feel truly blessed to be surrounded by such a wonderful staff and clients! I especially want to thank my husband, Jay, for all his patience and support. I also want to thank my family for always believing in me... you are the best.

Hope everyone is enjoying the Holidays.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Ask Them In Style

Why just telephone your friends to ask them to be your bridesmaids when you can put it in writing. Gone are the days when you just say, "Will you be my groomsmen or flowergirl?". For the modern bride, the way to do it is by mailing them a speically designed card asking them to participate in your special day.

Check out the cards from Jenny Sweeney.

Monday, December 22, 2008

New Movie-- Bridal Wars

Like any wedding obsessed person, I love movies about weddings. Some of my favorite movies are Father or the Bride, The Wedding Singer, The Wedding Planner, etc. I cannot wait to see the movie Bridal Wars, a movie about best friends that choose the same wedding date and the tension between them. This is every bride’s nightmare.

It has two of my favorites... Anne Hathaway (who did not love THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA?... I only saw it 30 times!!)and Kate Hudson. I think we are all going to see it together, which should be fun!

The Knot is even taking part of it and having a premier in certain cities. Everyone should go see the movie, and if you’re at The Knot premier look out for Sonal J. Shah Event Consultants watermelon chapstick and notepads. It opens January 2009!

A movie about brides, New York and The Plaza Hotel... it's like my dream come true.. I cannot wait!!

Great Email I received .... Celebs in Saris

From Shital's Point of View

Hi I am Shital. A bit about me. I grew up in Dubai. I got married and moved to New York. New York (the multi-cultural city) and I love the fast paced life. I read this statement once which I think is so true "If you get bored in New York, it is your own fault".

On the professional front I was an executive assistant for 12 years. I did a lot of corporate events and that is where my interest in event management grew. I was always the go to person for all my family and friends every time they were planning a birthday or a wedding or a baby shower or even a simple dinner at home. From the menu to the music to the decorations I would be involved. I planned all aspects of my own wedding in less than 2 months in Mumbai.

Someone casually mentioned to me that since I enjoyed doing this I should make a career of it. That got me thinking and I decided to test the waters and see what was out there. I came across an intern position at Sonal J. Shah Event Consultants, LLC, and after I met with Sonal and expressed my interest in the position she decided to give me a break. Since then, I have been part of 3 events and have been assisting Sonal with planning many others. The last 6 months have been so satisfying for me professionally and personally as I have the good fortune of doing something I like and its my job.

My last event was a wedding in Birmingham and it was a big scale event wih over 500 guests. The event was grand and spanned over 3 days. At first it was a bit overwhelming but working with Sonal and the girls we had a successful event. T most gratifying moment for me was at the end of the event when the bride and her family came up to us and told us how much they appreciated our efforts. I knew at that moment that this was what I wanted to do and I was here to stay.

I have learned so much from Katherine and Neeti and I thank them for all their help and guidence.

A special thanks to Sonal for giving me this opportunity and letting me be part of this wonderful team. I admire her talent and knowledge of this business and her attention to details. I have learned a lot from her and with each passing day I learn something new.

I look forward to working with you (the reader of this blog) on your special event. I hope my work makes your day special and memorable.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Distinctive Stamp for your wedding

So many of our brides are looking for ways to personalize their wedding.

I found this great company online www.customwaxnseals.com that does wax seals.

You can add a custom designed wax seal to the following: invitations, menus, escort cards, save the date cards. It could be one of the items you carry over onto everything paper at your wedding.

Normally, one stick of wax will produce about five or six seals.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


We always have brides ask us what they can do as a different idea to traditional guestbooks.

We found some companies that can do some cool things other than just getting boring autographs.

www.guestbookstore.com lets you personalize your event by having your guests write out special wishes, their favorite memories of you and the groom and asks your guests questions such as,"Where did you travel from?","How do you know the couple?" It is just more fun to read this as opposed to the normal signiture on a line. What are you going to do with that anyways?

Another nice site we found is www.cathysconcepts.com. This site really lets you personalize EVERYTHING! It is always so much nicer to have photos for guests to look at and then sign next to.

Please make sure you have a guestbook attendant at your wedding! No Indian people sign a guest book unless they are asked to and you will be kicking yourself about having only two or four guests sign your guestbook.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Seema and Anish's Wedding

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Here are some photos from the wedding we just did at the JW Marriott.. Wedding Day for Seema and Anish. How awesome do they look? The weather was a perfect 65 degrees.
Yes, that is Katherine setting up all the Mithai for the ceremony.
The bride and groom's garlands were delivered from NY.. how cool.
This baby was soooooo cute.. we fell in love with her.. love the blue eyes and the bangles.. she had the cutest gold, Indian Outfit on.. Jessica could not leave her alone! We wanted to take her back to NYC with us!
The Mandap was made of pink and red crystals from our florist, Rene. We also incorporated strings of carnations and roses. The shine on the mandap from the sun was amazing!
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How Interesting!


I find inspiration in the most unlikely places.. I really love this centerpiece.
I was crossing a hotel today in Manhattan and saw this lovely centerpieces..
It was so clean but the wired callas were so pretty. Goes to show you that
you can find inspiration everywhere.
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Monday, December 8, 2008

Our Team at Dulhan Expo



We had such a great time at Dulhan Expo yesterday. The brides who stopped by our lovely booth had so many questions for us.. it was great. I really enjoyed meeting them and their parents. It is so cute when all the family members come to support the brides and make a family event out of it.

Our booth looked great thanks to our friends at Elegant Affairs. They really went out of their way to decorate our booth. We also really need to thank our wonderful dj, Dj Raj, for setting up our plasma so our brides could see all the lovely photos from our past weddings.

Our team looks amazing and very professional! It was cold but they all showed up to share info about our company with the brides. Photo: L to R: Meera, Nicole, Me, Jay, Shital, Jessica and Neeti (since everyone wants to know what we all look like)

Some common questions we received:

Q: Why hire you over the other planners? A: We have seen it all... we have experience and that is what you look for in a planner.. experience to handle anything and any emergency. Also, this is our full- time job. I am not doing this for fun. There is a big difference between someone who does this full time and someone who has another full time job.

Q: How many people do you come with? A: We normally have about 1 per 100 guests. We recently heard of a bride who had 600 guests and it was the planner and an assistant at the wedding. Really? Ask yourself, how can two people manage a crowd of 600? There is no way I would do this to myself or my assistant. We have 5 or sometimes 7 people for our larger events and we are still all exhausted! How can two people do a job of 6? It is impossible! That is not taking care of a bride... it is called cutting corners.

Q: How much in advance should we book a planner? A: Call us the day after you get engaged! Our job is to help you save money and save time.

Q: Do you help us find a venue? A: Of course! That is the fun part about it. We do the research to help you narrow down the options. We will assist you to weigh the pros and cons of a venue and also give you lots of suggestions on what works and does not work at that location. We can also help you negotiate the contract.

Overall, it was great to be at the expo. We saw a lot of vendors that we had not seen in a long time since we do nationwide events. We saw our dear friend, Lilly, from Bridalgal... Dj Sharad, Preeti from Preeti Exclusive (yes, she is a planner too) but we are good friends.. We loved seeing our friends and fellow planners from Whose Wedding Is It Anyway? James Tramondo and Stella Inserra who stopped by to see us at the booth.

I really want to thank our brides, Tina and her mom and Binita and her mom, for coming to the show! Binita and her mom came all the way from San Antonio! What a great day.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Rain in Arizona!

Here I am... back in AZ! Yeah! Well trying to escape the cold weather of Philly/NYC did not work as it is COLD, COLD, COLD here!

We did a wedding last Thanksgiving in Arizona for Meghana and Yagnesh and it was so cold. Kayleigh, Monica and I were frozen solid! The hotel was giving out beach towels and blankets to all the guests not to mention the 50 heaters we had out during the ceremony. I am actually seeing Meg tonight as it is their 1 YEAR ANNIVERSAY!

I am hoping it warms up for the wedding we have this weekend! Seema and Anish are coming out here for their destination wedding (She is from Iowa and he is from Chicago). The ceremony is outside and of course, I am concerned! To my disbelief it was actually raining this morning. Prayer always helps so I am going to continue to pray that all the bad weather clears up! We need divine intervention right now!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Day in the life of our new Intern, Kristina

I haven't even been working for Sonal J. Shah for a week, and I've already taken more notes than I did all throughout college. Of course, I am an American girl testing the waters of Indian weddings. I was fortunate that Sonal took a chance on a newcomer in the wedding industry. Luckily, she has been quite understanding as I have tried to grasp the customs. Three days of events?! Four hours to get your hands painted?! An elephant at a wedding?! I didn't really know what I was getting myself into. Each day at the office is filled with researching, phone calls, emails, organizing, negotiating and following up. All of this with the bride's best interest in mind. These weddings are so elaborate that every detail must be considered and then reconsidered. Unlike American weddings, certain days of these events can last up to ten hours. Knowing what, when and how things are supposed to happen is our job. That's why I've been spending many hours watching YouTube trying to make sense of it all. So far, so good. I'm loving my new job! And with only a short period of experience under my belt, I'm already looking forward to the many weddings we have planned for 2009. Keep you posted...

Kristina Curtis
Events Intern
Sonal J. Shah Event Consultants, LLC

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

From Neeti

Working in the wedding planning business has its ups and downs. Things can get really stressful one moment and plain old silly the next. Here are a coupe of silly moments that we’ve encountered through he months.

We were in Virginia for a pre wedding event and Sonal mentioned that the location was easy to miss for our guests. She suggested that we go to Party City and get balloons to tie onto the stop sign at the end of the street. Sonal, Ellen, Katherine and I set off for what I call our adventure. We ended up getting lost on our way to the store. And when we finally got there we purchased two dozen orange and pink balloons. Although Sonal owns an SUV, having four people in it with two dozen balloons was not the sanest moment of the night.
The picture below shows Ellen and me in the back seat trying to hold down the balloons because Sonal, who was driving, couldn’t see behind the car. I was sitting with my face flush against the side window the whole time.

Eventually we made it back to the event in one piece. But I don’t think we will be purchasing this many balloons at once again.

At another wedding also in Virginia we stayed at the Westin hotel (Sonal's Favorite Hotel). They have a signature bed that they sell called the Heavenly Bed. Apparently this bed is the most comfortable bed you will ever sleep on. The picture below shows our attempt to test this theory.... Sonal was so silly probably because she just had driven 5 hours and we got to our hotel at 12:30am!

So as you can see we have had some silly and crazy moments when traveling to our events. I wonder what is in store for next year.


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Every morning I look our out balcony and see the wonderful Art Museum! Yes, I have pretended to be Rocky and run up the museum steps.

I love the Fall colors. I really like incorporating the Fall colors into weddings.

Indian Brides can really use the trend of rust orange during this season with gold accents.
We had a bride last year that we did Chocolate Brown Lamour linens and rust orange Callas.
All topped off with gold chargers and an amber/orange hue to the room.

All the branches are the rage in centerpieces and you can really use this during the Fall to accent your tables and bring out this theme.

I hope these photos inspire the brides in Philly and Beyond
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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Finally Back in NYC!

Today I am finally back in the office in Manhattan. It is so exciting as everyone moves so quickly and there is so much to accomplish in one day!

I really enjoy being in Manhattan. Most of our brides are all over the country but we have a handful here in NYC.

We started to put the final details on our other Arizona wedding this month. It will be nice to be back there to do the wedding of Seema and Anish. I just hope all this change in weather does not get me sick.

Neeti and Kristina are at the office today. They are hard at work and doing research.

My drive to Manhattan from Philly was just looking at all the trees with the golden orange and red colors. Fall in the Northeast is so pretty. Really inspires us for all of our Fall Weddings.

I will have to put a photo up soon of the view from our Philly apartment. It is just beautiful!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Whose Wedding Is It Anyway?

Almost forgot to mention that the wedding of Rupali and Chetan is on tomorrow... Tues, Nov 4th at 7:00pm!

7:00 pm Whose Wedding Is It Anyway?: Let Them Eat Meat Cake
An Indian couple hires Sonal Shah to throw a three-day wedding for 1000 guests, and Donnie Brown is hired to bring the swinging 60's into the 21st century.

Back to Philadelphia-- Finally

Well, after being away from home for 2 weeks.. I am finally back in Philly-- HOME SWEET HOME!

It feels so good to share the couch with my pookie... my husband, Jay.

We had such a great wedding in Arizona. I know that all the weddings are terrific but the natural scenary of the desert was so unique!

Harini and Andy left to go back to London yesterday. Here are some photos of their wedding...

Natural Arizona beauty, rehearsal on Friday with both families, a cute photo of the couple and the reception with white hot flowers and aubergene linen.. Yes, aubergene! THE 2009 COLOR TO WATCH OUT FOR!