Every girl worth her salt knows that after the dreamy proposal and showing off the sparkling rock to cooing friends, comes the inevitable panic. She starts to wonder silently: how do I start planning my Hindu wedding ceremony and reception?
Planning a Big Fat Indian wedding can seem like an uphill and overwhelming task. But worry not: this guide can help. We give you a step-by-step wedding planning checklist so you can easily plan your Hindu wedding ceremony and reception hassle-free.
Hindu Wedding Planning Guide, Timeline, & Checklist
Here are the first steps to planning the ultimate Hindu wedding ceremony and reception!
- Book your priest/pundit or officiant. Look into Dakshina (donation) and pick a date/muhurta.
- Sit with the family and draw the budget
- Choose the events you will have:
Event 1 (Mehndi) – Date
Event 2 (Sangeet) – Date
Event 3 (Tilak/Sagan) – Date
Event 4 (Roka)- Date
Event 5 (Wedding) – Date
Tip: Take your budget and out-of-town guests into account to plan the events.
- Start making the initial guest lists.
Tip: You can make a spreadsheet with the name of the guests, contact details like email ids and phone numbers, events invited for, out-of-town, save-the-date/invitations (sent or to be sent), gifts received, and thank you cards.
Planning Week 1
- Start by hiring a wedding planner or event coordinator–most planners will offer you a discount at the time of signing the contract if you pay them the entire amount up-front.
- Start the search for your wedding venues. You need to decide if all the events will be held in the same venue or different venues.
- Schedule appointments to visit the venues. Find out venue policies about decorations.
- Put a deposit on the venue.
Tip1: Not all venues allow you to conduct havan or light candles/diyas, so do check with them beforehand. At the Dallas Oasis, you can host an unforgettable Hindu ceremony indoors or outdoors with a facility for the havan and pretty much everything else you need for your Hindu ceremony.
Tip 2: Find out the venue requirements regarding parking, alcohol, vendor insurance, cancellation/postponing, etc. At the Dallas Oasis, you get a 10-acre venue with ample parking space, a grand ballroom, and a separate bridal suite. The venue has a waterfall, a spring-fed creek, and an outdoor seating capacity of 500+ guests!
Planning Week 2 & 3
- Buy/design/print your save-the-date cards and invitation cards
- Pick your wedding theme and colors. Take inspiration from blogs and magazines.
- Mail your save-the-date cards
- Start planning the first event: date, venue, etc.
- Start your wedding registry – pick the stores/websites.
- Set up a wedding website (optional).
Planning Week 4
- Start researching caterers. You’d need several caterers for the different events. Arrange for tasting sessions.
- Select cake vendor and design. Arrange the cake-tasting session.
- Start researching mandap decorators. You might need different decorators for each venue/event.
- Start researching photographers/videographers. You might need to book different photographers for the pre-wedding shoot, various events, and the main ceremony.
- Start researching DJs. Contact close friends regarding dance performances.
- Start researching makeup artists for different events. Arrange for makeup/hair tutorials.
- Start facial/hair treatments (optional).
- Book your rentals. This will depend on the venue.
Tip: Some venues arrange their own decorators so you only need to convey your colors and themes to the venue. At Dallas Oasis, we have a state-of-the-art wall mapping projection to provide your attendees with an incredible and engaging experience through visual stimulation. The floors, ceiling, and walls of the ballroom are your canvas to create endless possibilities!
Planning Week 5
- Finalize caterers, DJs, photographers, videographers, rentals, cake vendors, etc. Pay the deposits.
- Arrange baraat, Ghori, dhol players etc. Pay their deposits.
- Book a trip to India (optional). You can buy your wedding trousseau there.
- Book your honeymoon suite.
- Plan the honeymoon and book tickets.
- Arrange for a marriage license (90 days before the date) and blood tests if mandated by the state.
Planning Month 3
- Start shopping for outfits for the bridal party and bride groom, and buy your wedding rings, and jewelry sets.
- Finalize the menu and convey it to the vendor.
- Finalize the decor.
- Finalize your dance songs for Sangeet. Take dance lessons (optional) or arrange for choreography.
- Address and mail the invites.
- Shop for wedding favors.
Planning Month 4
- Finalize alcohol/bar arrangements for various events.
- Shop for wedding gifts for close friends/relatives.
- Arrange for the guestbook, pen, and pen holder.
- Try all lehengas, blouses, and saris, and make sure everything fits.
4 Weeks Before the Big Day
- Finalize and coordinate sangeet song lists with performers and the DJ.
- Get the final head count for the venue/vendors.
- Prepare a final timeline of all events and submit it to vendors.
2 Weeks Before the Big Day
- List and assign tasks to various family members.
- Coordinate seating and place cards.
- Prepare toasts.
- Make final payments.
Week of the Wedding
- Pack for the venue and honeymoon
- Hand over gifts, favors, place cards, programs, and guestbooks to the event coordinator/planner.
- Go for a relaxing spa massage!
- Enjoy the wedding celebrations!