Indian Marriage Planning

Our parents finally gave us permission to get married.” As soon as you realize that you’ll be planning an Indian wedding, read this article and make sure you do these 10 very important things first.

Tell People
It’s up to you whether you want only your closest friends and family to know right away, or, in addition, you want to send mass text messages and emails to everyone you know. In any case, make sure your parents and immediate family are the first to hear the great news, unless they were the ones who gave you permission in the first place.

Shop for engagement rings
This obviously applies to the couples who are planning on exchanging rings during the engagement ceremony. For the brides who already have their rings, take some time out to just stare at them. South Asians traditionally both exchange rings at the engagement so it would be worth your time to read up on diamonds. Whether you choose to shop together or keep your choices a surprise, make sure you keep communication open with one another to avoid any disappointments later.

Start organizing
A wedding is not something you can simply plan “in your head,” contrary to what your mother believes. You will have to take pen to paper and write ideas and lists down so you can keep track of them. Amongst your notes, articles you find, flyers from bridal shows, business cards, vendor contracts, etc … there will be a lot of paper! Find an organizational binder or folder for all this information. Also buy a small notebook to write down different ideas you come up with. Above all, remember the best way to organize your plans is to use a computer. Use a spreadsheet to keep track of these dates and delegating responsibilites to family members and friends. Keep things as organized as possible now so you can relax with a massage on the beach during your honeymoon.

Determine the date
This is the most important decision you’ll make, besides choosing the person you’ll be marrying! Some will need to contact pundits or other officiants to determine an auspicious wedding date. If this is not the case, choose a general time frame in which you want to get married; after one of you has completed graduate school, during a certain season, etc. Keep in mind that if you anticipate many out of town guests will be attending the events, try securing a long holiday weekend. The drawback to this is that many services will be booked if you don’t plan well enough in advance.

Decide on a budget
Yes, the dreaded budget. In the perfect world this wouldn’t exist but unfortunately it’s a reality and it’s important to set out a detailed budget before you begin planning. It is impossible to realize every cost that will come up, but it will be a lot easier if you divide everything into categories. Don’t forget that your parents will have a number of items that you may not even know about, like buying gifts and sweets for all of your relatives. Always overestimate your final budget as there will likely be small expenses that will come up along the way.

Choose your bridal party
These are the people who have been there for you through thick and thin, and who you will have to rely on them during this planning process. Choosing your bridesmaids and groomsmen can be fun yet difficult at the same time, so make your decisions carefully. Don’t worry about having an equal number of people from each side; you should only choose those people you are closest to. Also determine how involved you want them to be in your wedding. Will they stand out at your wedding wearing matching outfits or would you rather not make it that formal? If members of your bridal party have never been in a role like this before, point them to the Wedding Party section of this site for lots of tips and advice.

Prepare a guest list
You don’t have to start collecting everyone’s mailing addresses yet but you should set up a tentative list of people you want to invite. Divide everyone into groups – Bride’s College Friends, Groom’s Parents’ Family Friends, Bride’s Co-workers, etc. If you find that you are well over your limit, it is easier to cut out a whole group (i.e. your childhood friends from elementary school) than to choose individuals from different groups. Remember that this guest list will change often but it is important to start writing names down early so you don’t forget anyone later.

Envision your wedding event(s)
Are you dreaming of a traditional wedding, not very different from the one your parents may have had? Or do you want to throw the social event of the year? This is the time to figure out how formal you want all of your events to be, and not just the wedding and reception. Do you want the pre-wedding parties to be cozy and hosted at your house, or have live singers and dancers at a restaurant? Just keep your budget in mind before you get excited about flying your favorite bhangra group from the UK down for your reception!

Start planning your engagement ceremony or party.
Events like this are typically done soon after word of your upcoming marriage has been announced. However, if you know you will not be tying the knot for another 2 years, you may want to schedule the engagement event in between now and the wedding. If you are planning a religious ceremony, have your family do some research on securing the officiant and venue. Many couples choose to have a religious ceremony, following it up with a social celebration. This event can range from a lavish party at a hotel banquet hall, to a BBQ with your close friends and family in your backyard. Use your imagination with this one; it will be great practice for the wedding and reception!

Search for vendors
Search Vendor's Directory. Check out reviews other people have written to get a better idea of the vendor’s personality. Set up personal meetings with all vendors and go prepared. Remember that vendors are there to make your wedding perfect, so ask all the questions you need to ask!