Thaali – The Ultimate Tamil Hindu Wedding Planner

About Janithaa Kandiah

My full name is Janithaa Kandiah (although I don’t even recognize that as my name because nobody has called me that before my in-laws, my parents have only called me Jani for as long as I remember, my full name doesn’t come out even when they are mad!)  and I live in Toronto with my husband. A spoiled little girl since birth, Labor Relations graduate by education and a bratty wife by marital status. I am the Owner/ Executive Author of Thaali. The first ever Tamil Hindu Wedding Planner.

I love dressing up, weddings, traveling, meeting new people, weddings, sarees, cooking, weddings and makeup. Did i mention weddings enough?

promo 8 .jpg
Image By: Luminous Illustrations

How did you come up with Thaali?

I was at my all time low when the idea of Thaali was born. In every family there is that one child with the most promising future, I was that child. With a degree in a field I was so passionate about and so much encouragement and expectation around me I graduated from University with my undergrad in Labour Relations, (basically labour law for those of you who don’t quite know what it is). With my original goal to go into law school I wanted to work for a couple years to take a breather from school.

I was so adamant on working a job in my field, I didn’t want to become those people who work so hard to pursue an education in something they love and default to a job that had nothing to do with their education or passion for money’s sake. My parents who are completely understanding let me go about that choice, but soon after many job applications I realized my career path required either a recommendation from someone in the field or a hefty experience on my back, both of which I didn’t own.

I was pretty much broken, depressed and unhappy with who I was as a person. My spirit started dropping and my very bubbly personality started fizzing away. I couldn’t see myself as “worth it” anymore and I had felt I let everyone down, I was a nobody in my own eyes because we live in an era where the first question anyone asks you is what you do for a living and I had nothing to say. I told my family, Nero and myself I would do something where everyone knew me on a first basis. I would turn heads when I walked into a room and people would recognize me for something phenomenal. I had no idea what I was going to do when I said that to everyone.

promo 4 .jpg

A lot of people gave me ideas, told me to become a makeup artist, I even tried sewing, but I wanted to pioneer in something, I didn’t want to follow a walked on path. I was also certain I wanted whatever I do to be in the wedding industry.  By character I hate following footsteps, I’m always trying something new and crazy.

At this point my wedding was planned which completely took me by shock because it was unexpected, we were supposed to get married but not anytime soon. ( I can thank horoscopes for that!) I started planning my wedding on a word document on my computer *cue entrance music for the first sighting of Thaali*. Amidst all the wedding planning it was taking way too long to make my own and I resorted to buying a notebook and commenced from there. Whenever I got time to be home ( which was almost never) my mom is a very astounding wedding planner if I say so myself, everyone should probably hire her! I had my own schedule, but hers always overruled, and we were always doing something!

One day I told Nero I was going to publish the first ever Tamil Hindu Wedding Planning book and he looked at me and said “go for it, you love weddings anyway”. At this point everyone needs to know Nero is the type of person who will encourage any crazy idea I cook up. I could call him and say I’m going to be late for dinner because I’m going to catch a star and he would tell me to make sure I pick the brightest one. So naturally he was all aboard. However for me it was a joke, I looked at him and laughed. Even though weddings were the only thing that could possibly make my face light up with happiness I had no idea how to go about creating a book but the thought lingered in the back of my head and I went about writing it whenever I had time but I didn’t think anything of it or take it seriously.

promo 5

What is one of your least favourite parts of a wedding?

My least favourite part of a wedding is when guests do not pay attention. I understand social gathering are places that people mingle and you get to rekindle with people you may have lost touch with in the past. However it really bothers me when people flat out don’t pay attention to the couple or the wedding and are just doing their own thing.  I personally feel that weddings should be a very intricate and personal event. With only people who genuinely care about the couple and know them well. Everyone else should just be invited to the reception. Of course this is coming from the girl who had 600+ people at her wedding. I also understand sometimes we don’t get our way and parents want to invite everyone. However if you have the option to make it a small personal event with loved ones I suggest you do that!

promo 9.jpg

What is one thing you wish you could redo at your wedding?

My wedding was my dream come true, I honestly wouldn’t change anything about it for the most part. However one major aspect I would change if I had the chance is to have Nila Haran do my makeup. I would also opt for a raw edge net, i didn’t think to much of it and went with what the makeup artist had but I like the light airy feel of the raw edge net.

I would also just like to relive my wedding day so I can enjoy it more! I had fun at my wedding and enjoyed all the emotions but I’m not a carefree person and I feel like i was so caught up in doing everything on time that I never really got to enjoy the little moments. I would like to relive it so I can ignore the little things and be care-free.

Image By: Divinemethod Photography

How long did it take to come up with Thaali?

The whole process from innovation to release took just above 2 years. After Nero told me to go ahead and make it an official Wedding Planner I went about working on it, not as actively during my wedding time but post wedding I was full swing into the creation of Thaali. I must say getting married really did help shape the course of Thaali and set me on the right path. Getting married definitely helps when creating a wedding planner because you know what was important to you as a bride and what other brides will find important and need help with, which also helped greatly when writing my tips in Thaali.

I would have to say the biggest push for me was when we went to our vendor meetings I would always ask how they came about their career paths in the wedding industry and it was so inspiring to see people leave a comfortable lifestyle to pursue something that was totally different from their educational backgrounds just to fulfill a dream or pursue a passion. My eye opener was when we left our appointment with Zehra from Fine Cakes By Zehra. That woman is phenomenal and her story is definitely one for the books. When we heard her and her husbands story I was genuinely shocked. We walked out of that appointment and Nero looked at me and said, “All these people have risked so much to follow their dreams, what’s holding you back?  You have nothing to loose!” That was the day I made the decision to make Thaali, I didn’t know how or where to begin but I was going to do it.

It was a very long two years, to say I endured a lot of road blocks would be an understatement. Up until release on November. 24th. 2017 I was a mess. I was extremely stressed, constantly in tears and wanted to give up at least 5 times in every step. Every time one positive thing would happen, five things would go wrong. When you work on a project so big a lot of things can go wrong and no matter whose fault it is, you have to deal with it. Nero was the one that made sure I was on track and not giving up, he would pick me up and force me onto my feet. If I had to put it in raw terms, The Thaali you see was my dream but Nero’s passion and dedication towards my dream.

promo 11

How did you decide on the name Thaali?

When I started the project I was deciding on a name and I couldn’t think of anything so I thought I’ll name it Thaali for now and think of something when I’m done. Once I got back to it I tried to name it many different things, and found fancy ways to say things in Sanskrit even. But I always found myself coming back to Thaali. It was perfect, and that’s when I realized the climax of the rituals, the day, the planning, it all leads up to the very moment you get the thaali tied around your neck. It is the most important part of the wedding and that’s when it hit me that there could not be a more perfect name for the Ultimate Tamil Hindu Wedding Planner.

promo 2

Why did you decide to make a book for others?

Our wedding played a huge role in why I wanted to make a book for others. Almost all of our vendors are big shots in the wedding industry. Each one leaders in their own sector. Amongst those people, Narayani akka and Manchuthan anna from Aalayaa Ethnic Designer Wear, Siva from Divinemethod Photography, Nila from Beauty by Nila, Ramesh anna from Butterfly Squad, and Zehra from Fine Cakes By Zehra are people who definitely shaped our wedding and us as people for the better. All these people have one thing in common, they strive to genuinely help their clients and they do more than “their job”.

Narayani akka and Manchuthan anna are people who make Aalayaa feel like home. Aalayaa is pretty much a second home for me! These two know how to make someone feel at ease through all the stress that is wedding planning and one main quality that made me fall in love with them is that they do not cater to their clientele as customers. Selling you a saree is probably the last thing they think about, they care about your preferences and wishes and cater to your needs. They wont stop till they help you find what you are truly looking for, but never once do you feel pressured to buy a saree. They care about their brides and their weddings and if there is anything I learned from them it is to genuinely care about your brides.

Which leads right into Siva and Nila, these two are people who strive to make their clients feel comfortable. They do way more than what you sign up for on paper. They do everything in their will to make their brides and grooms feel at ease. One thing I learned from both of them was to do things without thinking twice of what you get in return. The more time you spend with them you realize they don’t look at their couples as clients they honestly and truly care for them and their events, and do the best they can to make it perfect.

All these people taught me that there is more to life and business than money, and making other people’s lives easier and happier in small acts makes the world of a difference. Thaali makes my brides lives easier, and every time I get a message or call from them telling me how they can’t imagine planning their weddings without Thaali, it fills me with happiness, to know I was able to make a difference in one of the most stressful and important times of their lives means the world to me. That feeling proves to me over and over again why I chose the wedding industry!


Leave a Reply