Pop the champagne, play the dhol and dance the night away! Expect all this and more on your big day. But first, make a note of these top tips straight from an Indian bride.
So you’re planning an Indian wedding? Welcome to the ride of your life! The day your wedding was announced, it probably felt like you had suddenly been cast as the lead actor in the greatest Bollywood rom-com ever made. We bet congratulations came pouring in from friends of friends, grandparents’ friends, your neighbour’s dog… And your social media, for want of a better word, exploded. Welcome to the life of the Indian bride-to-be.
Needless to say, this sudden claim to fame comes with a whole lot of responsibility and meticulous planning. From picking outfits to breaking down traditions, here’s what you need to know before you get down to planning your big fat Indian wedding.
1. Setting Expectations
The first step to planning a wedding (Indian or otherwise!) is setting the right expectations. Talk about how you want your dream wedding to be. Whether you envision a lavish affair or a simple traditional ceremony, you need to make sure that you and your partner are both on the same page. Compromise may be key here!
2. Don’t Cave Into Pressure
Thanks to the big Bollywood blockbusters, Indian weddings are expected to be grander with every passing year. But bride to bride, don’t buckle under the pressure! Intimate weddings can be as beautiful as larger-than-life ones. Remember, you are not obligated to invite everyone you know!
3. Delegate Responsibilities
There are just two words to describe what happens behind the scenes at an Indian wedding: utter chaos. From picking the right florist to coordinating the dance performances at the sangeet (a function where everyone parties all night), it’s an impossible task to take on solo. Whether it’s enlisting the help of a wedding planner, or putting members of your family to work, do yourself a favour and don’t be a control freak.
4. Think Beyond Red
Traditionally, a Hindu Indian bride wears a red lehenga or saree to her wedding ceremony. But times are changing, especially since Bollywood icon Anushka Sharma wore pastel pink to her star studded wedding. It’s now become the norm to experiment with the colour of your outfit. Remember, anything other than white or black is great.
5. Custom Made
There are many different castes, sects and religions within India. If you’re doing an inter-caste marriage, be prepared to perform a number of ceremonies and traditions in the lead up to your vows. It’s always best to ask your priest about these customs well in advance in order to avoid any surprises on the day.
6. Groomed To Dance
The most interesting part of an Indian wedding is the baraat — a procession led by the groom and his family as they dance their way to the wedding venue. Whether it be a cool autumn evening or a warm and humid afternoon, things are sure to get hot and a little tiring. Make sure there’s enough water being passed around the guests to avoid any mishaps. It also wouldn’t hurt to have a foot massage counter at the wedding venue for those who have braved the wrath of high heels to get there.
7. The Sacred Vow
As it’s typically an Indian priest who will recite the vows at an Indian wedding, it’s quite common that most couples won’t really understand what’s being said. As a heads up, you have the option of asking your priest to explain these in English (or another language of your choice) to make the ceremony a little more meaningful for everyone involved. Just make sure you make this clear in the planning stages!
8. Food Selection
Thou shall be judged by thy wedding menu. An Indian wedding is no less than a mega three-day cultural festival. With this in mind, it’s good to make sure every ceremony has a wide variety of food options so your guests don’t get bored! You’ll want to dedicate a little less than half of your venue space to the dining area, with at least five to six world cuisines on your menu. FYI, Italian, Thai and Chinese food in particular are always popular with the Indian crowd.
9. Eat, Sleep, Party, Repeat
An Indian wedding is basically a never-ending party. And as the star of the show, every event will require you to have a truckload of energy. Unfortunately, once the festivities get under way, you’re going to have very little time to fuel up on food and drinks. As such, make sure to eat before an event begins. It’s also a good idea to put one of your bridesmaids in charge of keeping you hydrated. The cocktails will easily find their way to you, but water won’t!
10. Make Time For Photos
Yes, there’ll be paparazzi everywhere. But if you’re wanting more structured family pictures and couple portraits, make sure you get them out of the way before every event. Once the ceremonies start, you won’t have time for those fairytale shots.
Read more: The Best Wedding Photographers In Hong Kong