Our step-by-step guide to Indian wedding planning
Congratulations, you are engaged! Both you and your partner are now floating along in that blissful engagement bubble, and you’re ready to get excited about planning the wedding of your dreams. However, sometimes having so many ideas and choices can be enough to burst your bubble completely and leave you feeling overwhelmed very quickly. By using our step-by-step guide to Indian wedding planning, you and your partner can work together to make the whole process more relaxed and enjoyable. Get ready to bring your magical wedding dreams to life!
1. The ‘4 Ws’ – What, Where, When, Who?
The first step in Indian wedding planning is to decide what your priorities are for your big day. We always start our initial wedding planning consultations by asking couples the following questions:
What Does Your Ideal Wedding Look Like?
How many events would you like to host, and across how many days? Indian weddings are known for being held over a week-long period, with events like Ganesh Pooja, Mandvo, Pithi, Maiya, Mehndi party, Sangeet, Wedding and the Reception. When it comes to celebrations, the options are limitless!
Additionally, ask your parents if there are any specific ceremonies that are important to them and together agree on a rough schedule of events. Knowing the number of events is also a key indicator of the kind of budget required for your wedding.
Where Would You Like to Get Married?
This is one of the most exciting stages of Indian wedding planning! Perhaps you’ve always imagined getting married locally at a beautiful British country manor? Or maybe you’ve always dreamt of a destination wedding on the breathtaking cliffs of Spain? Our favourite question to ask couples is: ‘what is your ideal backdrop where you imagine taking your wedding vows?’. This is a great way to determine which magical location is right for you.
Check out our favourite luxury Indian wedding venues in London for venue inspiration!
When Would You Like to Get Married?
Whether you want to get married as soon as possible, or you need a bit more time to save up for the big day, it’s always a good idea to set a date. You can use this timeframe to find out the auspicious dates available with your priest, or even order the bespoke wedding dress that you are dreaming of!
Think of your favourite season when deciding when you’d like to get married. Have you always pictured the soft tones and wildflowers of spring? Or maybe you’re envisioning wintery whites and cosy vibes? Once you’ve chosen, use your destination to consider all the positives and negatives of the season. A summertime wedding, for instance, will mean a higher chance of sun, and children will be able to attend during the summer holidays. However, the busier summer season may make travel costs higher.
Tip: We always ask our couples to provide us with two or three preferred dates, as this opens up a lot more options when looking for venues and vendors. Indian weddings can take an average of 12-18 months to plan, so it’s good to be as prepared and flexible as possible.
Who Would You Like to Invite to Your Wedding?
Settling on a number for your guest list is the most difficult part of Indian wedding planning. It can be hard to make a decision but we hope to make the process a little easier with these top tips:
- Make a draft list with your partner. This may change a lot over the following months but it’s good to get a rough idea at the initial stage.
- Ask your parents to provide their guest list. You may end up with a list of over a thousand guests on your first total but don’t panic. This will come down!
- Split your guest list into three columns. Column A (you can’t get married without them), Column B (you’d love to have them there but it’s not the end of the world if they’re unable to attend), Column C (you’re not quite sure why they’re on this list in the first place!). In the end, your venue and budget will determine your final number so having a list of your most important people is essential.
2. Look for Inspiration
Make social media your best friend while you get inspired for your wedding day. Platforms such as Pinterest are a fantastic tool for getting creative and organising your ideas in one place. Plus, it’s a really fun and engaging way for you and your partner to ‘pin’ outfits, venues, and decor that are the perfect blend of both of you!
Instagram is also a great resource. Use the hashtag #indianwedding to find a myriad of beautiful images and click ‘save’ to keep them for the future.
Tip: Not a fan of social media? No problem! Use search engines like Google to find inspiration or make a collage of clippings from your favourite bridal magazines.
3. Hire a Wedding Planner
A wedding planner for Indian weddings is your organisational guru, cheerleader, and all-around support system during the Indian wedding planning process. If you’re considering hiring a wedding planner, this is the first person you need to research and book.
Call up a few wedding planners and arrange an initial consultation (normally complimentary) where they will be able to give you expert knowledge on Indian wedding planning, as well as budget guidance. It is extremely important that you feel that instant connection with your wedding planner as you’ll become inseparable over the coming months!
At Karishma Manwani Events, we like to invite parents to join the consultation too. We know how important parents’ opinions are while planning an Indian wedding, and the significant role they play in your special day.
So is hiring a wedding planner right for you?
We recommend hiring a wedding planner if your wedding falls into any of the categories below:
100 + guests
- Destination wedding
- 2 + days event
- Multicultural wedding
Remember, once you decide to hire a wedding planner, they will guide you through all of the following steps, saving you time and money, and relieving you of the stressful parts of planning your wedding. Bliss!
4. Look for Venues and Vendors
Using your inspiration board, start looking for venues and vendors that have your dream wedding aesthetic. Sharing similar styles and tastes with your vendors is extremely important, as you want them to understand your vision, and brainstorm with you about how to make your wedding even better!
Next, become the ‘Marie Kondo’ of spreadsheets! Make a list of three venues and vendors for each category, noting down the costs for each, so that you can easily make a price comparison. Some important questions to ask are:
How many hours does the fee include?
Are there any additional fees?
Is it possible to visit/have a trial? Will there be a cost involved?
All of these will help you to determine which vendors are the right fit and price for you.
Top tip: Don’t be afraid to take inspiration from the weddings of friends and family. If you loved their vendors, ask them for their contact details. You might even get a ‘friends & family’ discount!
5. Set a Budget
Using all the information you have collated so far, make an estimated budget (adding £3,000 more for any miscellaneous costs that may come up along the way). Decide with your partner and family whether you are comfortable with this number, as there is nothing worse than getting into arguments about finances later down the line!
If you are not comfortable with the final number, consider categorising your wedding wishlist into ‘non-essentials’ and ‘essentials’, cutting down your guest list, or going to the vendor and asking if they’re really offering you the best prices. Vendors might be able to adjust the services provided to stay in keeping with your budget. For example, they might be able to change your wedding to a weekday, move your wedding into the evening, or combine the Mehndi and Sangeet ceremonies.
Next Step: Once you have decided on a budget, book your venue and vendors! Make sure to confirm the venue first, as this information is needed to formalise the contracts of other vendors.
6. Send Out Your ‘Save the Dates’
Ahead of sending out your beautiful invitations, it’s a good idea to send out a ‘save the date’. This gives your guests a chance to block out your wedding dates in their calendar and ensures that everyone will be able to make the big day.
Closer to the wedding itself, send out your official wedding invitations. Keep the invitation in line with your theme to give your guests a sneak peek! An alternative to invitations is to set up a wedding website where guests can go to confirm their attendance. You can also include hotel booking information, special dietary requirements, venue maps, and flight details.
Now sit back, relax, and let the fun part of designing your wedding begin!
7. Get Creative With Your Decor!
This has to be the most fun part of Indian Wedding Planning, right? Go back to your magazine collages and Pinterest boards, and get creative! Follow your theme to choose everything from your flowers and table setting to the cake and wedding favours.
The designing process doesn’t stop at the decor! Make sure that you infuse your personality into every detail, including the flavours of the food and the type of lighting needed to create the perfect photos.
Once you have designed each event in detail and finalised all the logistics, you can go out and begin the search for the perfect outfits to match the aesthetic of each event. Watching your vision turn into something tangible is a feeling like no other!
8. Prep and Rehearse
Good preparation is all in the details when it comes to Indian wedding planning. Make sure to try on all your outfits and jewellery at least once before your wedding day, as you want to make sure you are completely comfortable and have time to make adjustments if necessary.
When everything feels right, start packing your wedding bag! Make another spreadsheet with a list of all the items you need, such as safety pins, double-sided tape, Pooja Samagri, etc. It’s a good idea to pack everything in separate labelled boxes so that you don’t have the stress of hunting high and low for items on the day of the wedding.
Last-minute touches: Make sure to check in with suppliers that everything is on track, confirm allergies with the caterers, and make the final payments.
Practice makes perfect when it comes to your wedding day. Consider having a dress rehearsal to practice the timings of each event, as things often take longer than you anticipate. It’s also a great way to get everyone to shake off the pressures of the wedding day, and feel more relaxed about their roles and responsibilities.
Additionally, have a pre-wedding photoshoot to make sure you are totally happy with the look of the images before the wedding. You want this to be the perfect snapshot of your big day!
Tip: Always have a backup plan. For example, you might be planning to get married outside, in which case you’ll need to make a plan if it rains.
9. Relax and Enjoy the Best Day of Your Life…
You have ticked off everything on your checklist. Now all that’s left to do is get married! Breathe in every last detail of the unique event you have created, laugh with your husband, hug your guests, and dance like nobody’s watching. Whether it’s admiring your gorgeous Mandap, sharing a special moment in front of the camera with your partner, or having a drink with your suppliers, these are the memories that you will cherish forever. After all, your wedding is the best day of your life!
Remember that sometimes things may not go to plan, so don’t sweat the small stuff. No one other than you, your partner, and your wedding planner will really notice the changes, so just enjoy your moment in the spotlight, with all the people you love the most around you.
Planning your Indian wedding has to be one of the most exciting chapters in your life! Here at Karishma Manwani Events, we work around you, listening to you, transforming your vision, and creating an event that is unequivocally yours. Visit our portfolio to be inspired or contact us here to find out more about our Indian wedding planning services.