Wedding aisle decorated with pink and red flowers
Zohaib Ali Photography

We love talking about the fun parts of wedding planning, whether that's dress shopping or menu tasting. But we're also well aware that among all the excitement, there can be more difficult times - including culturally specific challenges.

"Planning any wedding can come with its fair share of challenges, but planning an Asian wedding can come with some extra challenges itself," says luxury planner Rohita Pabla, founder of Rohita Pabla Wedding & Events.

"From who to invite, to how to keep guest numbers low even though parents feel the need to invite certain family members or friends - it's about finding a balance between pleasing everyone yet sticking to budget."

From her years of planning weddings and events, Rohita knows exactly where the stress traps are - and how to avoid them! We asked her to share her secrets for putting together a low-stress Asian wedding.

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1. Be Aware of Your Budget

Long wedding tables decorated with tall arrangements of pink flowers
Zohaib Ali Photography

The trouble with wedding planning is, even when you're determined to stick to your budget, it's all too easy to find yourself over-spending.

You may think that it's things like décor and wedding fashion that cause over-spending. And while that can be true, one significant thing that stretches the budget is an increasing guest list.

If it you're adding people gradually, you may not even notice that it's affecting your budget at all.

"Budget management is generally the most stressful of wedding planning - trying to manage a budget alongside managing expectations and requirements," says Rohita.

"Guest numbers can be a stressful task especially where the venue has limited space and the realisation of additional costs as guest numbers increase."

It's important to keep a close eye on the guest list and to keep updating your budget if people are added later in the process.

2. Hire a Wedding Planner

Woman playing a violin on a dance floor next to a multiple-tiered white wedding cake
Zohaib Ali Photography

Engaging a planner is one of the biggest favours you can do for yourself if you're going to have a wedding with a large guest list and a lot of different suppliers.

"Include their fee into your budget from the beginning," says Rohita. "It may be a cost that you haven't anticipated but it will save you time, money and a lot of stress in the long run, which is priceless to your wedding planning journey."

Once you have your planner, don't be afraid to get in touch at any stage of the process - they're there to help. That's particularly true if you're starting to feel overwhelmed.

"It's natural to be stressed over a wedding, especially as the majority of couples would never have planned a wedding before," says Rohita. 

"It's a learning journey along the way. But as every bride wants the big day to go without a glitch, there is likely to be something which has been forgotten.

"This is where an experienced wedding planner can really take the stress off you and be able to share their experience with the couple, ensuring their big day goes perfectly."

3. Start Early

Reception room set up with lots of round tables and a stage
Zohaib Ali Photography

If you've decided on a long engagement, it may feel like you have all the time in the world to plan the wedding. While you should definitely take some time right at the start to simply enjoy being engaged - congratulations, by the way! - there are some decisions you need to take straight away.

"As soon as you're engaged, get your largest vendors booked ASAP," says Rohita. "There are only a finite number of wedding venues in the UK so get your date booked as early as possible."

Once your main suppliers are booked - venue, of course, and caterer, photographer and florist - you can spend more time considering the finer details.

READ MORE: The Ultimate Wedding Planning Checklist: Your Month-by-Month Guide

4. Focus on the Fun Parts

Close-up of an arrangement of red and pink flowers in a grey stone vase
Zohaib Ali Photography

Remember, for every stressful thing you encounter during your wedding planning journey, there's also something to enjoy.

"Generally, the most enjoyable parts of planning an Asian wedding are the design and concept," says Rohita.

"That's from coming up with ideas and seeing the design in its infancy, to actually seeing it come together with your decor company and finally seeing this on your wedding day - and even afterwards when you see people's reactions as they walk into your wedding and are blown away by the whole concept coming together.

"The best part of a design and concept is tying everything together from your décor to the food and your outfits."

5. Lean In to Having a Smaller Wedding

Gold hoops decorated with pink and red flowers on a table at a wedding reception
Zohaib Ali Photography

For some couples, Covid or budget restrictions may mean a guest list that's smaller than originally envisaged. If this is you, it's totally understandable to feel disappointed. However, bear in mind that you can still have a very special celebration.

"Having a smaller wedding doesn’t mean you have to shrink the look and feel of your wedding," says Rohita. "You can still have a luxurious, extravagant wedding with just 30 guests by thinking about the details."

Sometimes, a little creative rethink is all you need to turn a smaller-than-hoped wedding into the day of your dreams. "Still do everything such as table plans, favours, bespoke menus etc," advises Rohita.

"Keep your décor as previously planned (minus the reduction in tables). Maybe repurpose the décor for entrance purposes. Maybe go for pre-plated meals as this is much easier to manage with smaller guest numbers."

READ MORE: 18 Things to Add to your Wedding with Fewer Guests (& More Budget!)

6. Keep the Excitement Going

However much you can't wait to marry your partner, it's normal for there to be times when your enthusiasm for the wedding flags.

Maybe that's because you've had a long engagement; maybe it's because you've had to postpone due to the Coronavirus pandemic. 

"Always remember, there is light at the end of the tunnel, your wedding will happen soon," says Rohita.

Rohita Pabla is the founder of Rohita Pabla Wedding & Events - a luxury wedding and event planning service.