Smooth Scheduling: Nick and Neelima, San Mateo Marriott

Neelima and Nick
They had a Jain as well as a non-denominational ceremony
San Mateo Marriott


How many venues did you consider before finalizing the San Mateo Marriott?
We reached out to 20 and visited about 8 venues. We loved the San Mateo Marriott. They do a lot of Indian weddings. There’s a gazebo that can be used for a mandap and they recently renovated their ballroom. Their staff was professional and responsive.

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Did you look at other types of venues besides hotels?
I really like some of the golf courses and wineries here in the Bay but it made more sense for me to do it at a hotel because I had two ceremonies – an Indian ceremony and a non-denominational ceremony. It was more convenient for my guests to have everything in one place. It is also easier for your photographer/videographer to have everything in one location.

We considered getting shuttles to take people back and forth, but that can get really expensive and hectic for guests.

Plus the Marriott is in the Peninsula so it wasn’t far for guests flying into SFO. And my mehndi was in Fremont so again, the Peninsula was just convenient.


We did the Indian ceremony at an auspicious time in the morning. The non-denominational ceremony was in the evening. Our guests appreciated having time to rest in-between as it’s a really long day!


How much time lapsed between your engagement and finalizing your venue?
We moved really quickly. I think within 2 weeks I finalized the San Mateo Marriott. People told me that venues book really fast so we moved really quickly once we got engaged.

Can you share how you educated Nick’s family about Indian weddings and traditions?
Nick had attended Indian weddings with me so he was somewhat familiar.  I started setting his expectations early.

  • Presented it as a conversation as opposed to “this is what you have to do”
  • I basically planned the wedding but looped him in when he needed to be looped in
  • Helped his family get Indian clothes
  • Nick shared info with his parents and family and because we started working on it so early there was plenty of time to understand, ask questions, and comfortable.
  • On the day-of the wedding, we got the good dancers to go to the front of the baraat
  • Our day-of coordinator made sure she was mindful of directing his family

Nick’s mom’s best friend is Indian so she would call me too – that was helpful.

Any tips for scheduling the wedding day?
Yes! I must have pored over the timeline 50 times. I suggest starting a schedule early on – because at first you might not even realize there are things you want that you haven’t thought about yet.
I started by listing everything that I wanted: hair/makeup, baraat, 1st looks, photo shoots, vidai, meals, etc.
Then I drilled down into each item even more i.e. do I want 2 first looks? Photo shoots before and after each ceremony? With who – whole extended family or just immediate?

We did a First Look before the Indian ceremony and a family photo shoot…which I baked into the timeline. Important to ask your photographer/videographer how much time they need to do a First Look/photo shoot; don’t underestimate how much time that will take. For the non-denominational ceremony we did the photo shoot afterwards.
Then I assigned an amount of time to each item including time to walk from one place to another. That helped me make a spreadsheet for the whole day, starting at 5am to midnight. It had everything that was going to happen – what time I’d be ready, vendor arrival times, event times, meal times, grand entry times etc.

That day, I ended up being ahead of schedule and was able to take a nap!

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