First Steps of Planning an Indian Wedding

Yay! You’re engaged! Congratulations! Now starts the fun-work…planning your Indian wedding! First Steps of Planning an Indian Wedding provides a framework for thought. It’s the to do’s before you start actually planning.

We suggest that you read this article in full. Then create a system to stay organized, store and manage information that you’ll be gathering, referencing and storing throughout wedding planning.

You’ll need spreadsheets, a place to store proposals, Pinterest boards, and ways to chronologically manage information. We recommend Trello. There’s a free version. It’s a website as well as an app. You can store files, photos, create and manage tasks, and invite others to collaborate.

Regardless of whether you’re going to have the proverbial Big Fat Indian Wedding or a more intimate affair, you’ll find these Indian and South Asian wedding planning guides and steps helpful.

Note: This article is focused on the more tactical upfront wedding planning steps, not the sexy fun stuff such as deciding on decor and clothes. But, if you follow these steps, you’ll be glad you did, as they’ll be beneficial to you from start to finish.

{First Step of Planning an Indian Wedding: Gather Info}

When people start planning an Indian wedding, it’s a natural instinct to start calling venues and/or vendors. I’d suggest to take a step back. Don’t waste your time on that just yet. Venues and vendors are going to have questions for you. And if you don’t have the answers they’ll need then they won’t be able to provide you very accurate quotes.

At the least, they’ll want to know:

  • where your wedding will be
  • date(s)
  • number of guests
  • timeline of events
  • your budget

{How Much Does an Indian Wedding Cost?}

You might be rolling your eyes right now, thinking, “yeah but how am I supposed to know how much to budget I don’t know how much things cost? And there are SO many things we’ll need”.

I totally get it. And I felt the same exact way when I planned my wedding.  That’s why we created this: ShaadiShop’s South Asian Wedding Budget Infographic. It shows you ON AVERAGE, how much everything you’ll need for your wedding costs. I emphasize on average because by definition that means, you’ll spend more or less on some of these items but the average gives you a good benchmark.

Armed with this info, this will help you wrap your head around what to expect.

{Think About Dates}

When do you want to get married? Do you have to get the muhurat (auspicious date) from your Maharaj? What are the other considerations such as when do you both have time off? What season do you prefer? How much time do you need to plan your wedding? Do you want to get married indoors or outdoors?

{Avoid Holidays & Major Events}

South Asian cultures have several important holidays such as Eid, Diwali, Vaisakhi, Paryushan and more. Additionally you might want to take national holidays and local events into consideration. For example, do you want to get married in San Diego during Comic Con or Bay to Breakers weekend in San Francisco? Not that you couldn’t and it might be fun with all the buzz but hotel rooms are going to be extra expensive that weekend, not to mention flights. Plus there will be heavier traffic.

Hindu Holidays 2020-2025
Jain Holidays 2020-2025
Muslim Holidays 2020-2025
Sikh Holidays 2020-2025

The US Open of Surfing is held annually towards the end of July/beginning of August in Huntington Beach, California.

{Save Your Time}

Your time is valuable and we’ve published several guides to help you save a ton of it by walking you through several logistics for Indian weddings such as:

If you skim through all or some of these before you start making calls, I guarantee you’ll be better off for it. These guides answer a lot of your initial questions and save you a lot of time.

{Set up Your Pinterest}

Ok that was A LOT of info. It’s time to take a break for something a bit more fun…how about setting up your wedding planning Pinterest boards?!? You’re probably relying on Instagram too, which is great. I like the organization aspect of Pinterest and I suggest creating these boards for yourself:

  • Venues
  • Clothing
  • Wedding Party outfits
  • Sangeet/garba/dholki decor
  • Reception decor
  • Jewelry
  • Cakes
  • Dessert bar
  • Signs and accessories

{Set up a Mechanism To Stay Organized}

So this isn’t something most people do but if you’re a Type A person or a professional project manager of some sort, you’ll appreciate this. Get organized before you start planning your wedding.

  1. set up a new email account (you don’t want all those wedding planning emails clogging your primary inbox).
  2. set up a mechanism for keeping track of To Dos and things you can cross off your list.

We recommend Trello. We use it for everything to stay organized.  Trello is a virtual To Do List. And it has some awesome features that make it much more user-friendly than Google Sheets/Docs.

  • free
  • super easy to use
  • you can collaborate with EVERYONE – parents, in-laws, vendors
  • add attachments, notes
  • interact with specific people
  • assign tasks

You can download the free app as well, so that you can update Trello wherever you are – add tasks notes, attachments etc. on the go.

Note: We don’t recommend Trello for comparing venues. You’re better off with a spreadsheet for that.

{Ladies, this is For You}

Ok, we got super technical with Trello, time for another break to focus on some fun. Ladies, this applies mostly to you. Start your skin care regimen months before your wedding, for the best outcome on your wedding day. It’s very common for South Asian women to have dark under eye circles. Here are some natural remedies that you can start doing months before your wedding.

Want that flowy, shiny Bollywood style glam hair on your wedding day? Here you go. Totally natural, DIY things that won’t take up too much of your time.

Most brides wear lashes on their wedding day, but here are some things you can do for stronger, lusher lashes to look even better for all your pre and post wedding celebrations.

{Third: Find Your Venue}

The first step for most couples in planning an Indian wedding is to select the venue. It anchors everything else for your wedding, not to mention that it’s the biggest chunk of your wedding budget (about 35%). Find your venue on ShaadiShop.

How ShaadiShop Works

Indian wedding at the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa, in the Rose Garden.

Search for venues by location and further filter by geography, price, capacity.

Indian wedding mandap at the Silverado Resort & Spa

Detailed venue profiles have the Indian and South Asian-specific info you need.

Indian couple standing outside The Westin St. Francis in San Francisco wearing Indian wedding attire

Fill out the form for each venue that you’re interested in and the venues will reach out to you.

We’ve written some venue guides too; things that will help you understand:

{What’s a Food & Beverage Minimum?}

There’s a term that you’re going to come across: food and beverage minimum. Don’t worry, we explain it in terms of an Indian wedding. After understanding about Food & Beverage Minimums, you might wonder about serving your meals plated or family style instead of buffets.

{Fourth: Find Indian Wedding Vendors}

Once you have your venue, it’s time to start looking for all of the vendors you’ll need for your wedding. There are a lot of vendors that specialize in Indian weddings. Depending on your vision and budget, various vendors will be suited for you.

You’ll do all your due diligence of reading about vendors, getting recommendations and understanding the various options for each item you’ll need.

{Fifth: Clothes and Finer Details}

Once you’ve got a good handle on vendors then focus on clothes, jewelry, hair, makeup, mehndi, as well as details like signs and welcome bags that will make your wedding an experience to remember!

We’ve written guides for shopping too:

{Take Aways}

First Steps For Planning an Indian Wedding is a framework for thought. It’s the what to do beore you start planning. Before you start calling vendors, skim through the guides linked above. You’ll have a framework for making decisions and understand the considerations and best practices.


I know this upfront work may seem time consuming, but you’ll be much better off for it, throughout the duration of planning your wedding.

while wedding planning can be overwhelming, a lot of it overwhelming because you don’t know what you don’t know. These guides and articles on our website are here to bridge that gap, to make the whole process easier and more efficient.


Setup a system to stay organized.  We recommended Trello.

How ShaadiShop Works

Indian wedding at the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa, in the Rose Garden.

Search for venues by location and further filter by geography, price, capacity.

Indian wedding mandap at the Silverado Resort & Spa

Detailed venue profiles have the Indian and South Asian-specific info you need.

Indian couple standing outside The Westin St. Francis in San Francisco wearing Indian wedding attire

Fill out the form for each venue that you’re interested in and the venues will reach out to you.

ShaadiShop Indian Wedding Venues logo

The Largest Indian Wedding Venue Marketplace

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