Budgets for Indian weddings vary from $40k to $400k+. Regardless of how much you plan to spend, there are several decisions to make for your wedding:
- food: how to serve meals
- vendors: selecting them
- number of guests: invite everyone to everything?
- decor: mandap/altar decisions and steps to design your reception decor
- accommodations: cost effective ways to serve breakfast at an Indian wedding
- welcoming guests: Indian wedding welcome bags
- clothing and jewelry: Shopping in South Asia
Amongst all the items you’ll need, the venue is the biggest single purchase – usually around 35% of the total budget. The venue is also usually the first thing you book as everything else anchors around it – the date, where the sangeet/garba/maya/dholki and other pre-wedding day celebrations will be held, where guests will stay. Your vendors will want to know what venue and the date to determine whether they’re available for your wedding. You get the point – the venue is important.
Once you find your venue, there are loads of ways to decorate and create an experience, whether the venue is a ballroom, an open field, or a Pavilion. Below we’ve detailed some of the things to consider
- Round vs. Rectangular tables. At most Indian wedding receptions, we see guests seated at round tables. It’s increasingly popular to have your family and wedding party stand out, by seating them at rectangular (aka King’s) tables, as you see in the photos below. In the photo with the white dance floor, this couple selected a venue that already has built in lighting. FYI, you’re more likely to find built in lighting at banquet halls and theater venues vs. hotels and resorts. Both types of venues are great options for Indian and all South Asian weddings – you just have to decide what will work for you. Here’s a link to our compare and contrast guide on types of Indian wedding venues.
- Where do you place the cake, DJ booth, head table, dance floor, bars, dessert bar?
At most receptions there’s a pretty standard layout. The sweetheart stage is the focal area, with the dance floor right in front, the guest seating surrounding the stage and the rest of the ballroom. The DJ booth is usually to the side of the sweetheart stage. The only thing that tends to change is the cake (assuming you’re having one; we’re increasingly seeing couples that choose to skip the cake and offer extensive dessert bars). We recommend placing it to the side of the sweetheart stage – visible but to the side. Read this to see why we make this recommendation. Usually the dinner buffet is not inside the ballroom – usually it’s in the foyer. You don’t want the buffet in the ballroom anyway, it kinda takes away from the elegance.)
- Venue’s chairs vs. upgraded-rented chairs vs. chair covers
- Table display – this might sound simplistic but when you start thinking through flatware, glassware, and charger plates, you realize this requires some thought and has implications for the reception logistics. See more details in this guide.
- Decor for the sweetheart stage
- Colored dance floor vs. wooden dance floor
Why would anyone select chair covers over chiavari or other upgraded chairs? Because they tend to be less expensive. And some (not many) but some venues will throw them in during contract negotiation.
- For cocktail hour: Food stalls vs. passed hors d’oeuvres vs. buffet
- Buffet vs. plated vs. family style dinner
For more decor inspiration, follow our Indian Wedding Decor, Pinterest board.
There are several considerations to think about while designing your Indian wedding ceremony and reception. Use this guide as well as the links to other guides throughout this article, to help you decide on how you want it your reception look, the experience you want your guests to have, how much you want to spend and what trade offs to make.
From all of us at ShaadiShop congratulations and cheers to your upcoming wedding!
Cover image: Global Photography