Indian Wedding Mandap Styles

The mandap is integral to any Hindu or Jain wedding ceremony. It’s sacred and a symbol of love. No wonder so much time is spent designing them. This is a step-by-step guide to help narrow down your choices. This article details things to consider and mandap styles for Indian weddings.

When it comes to Indian wedding mandap styles creativity abounds. People are not afraid to modernize, balancing this sacred tradition with practicalities of working with the venue.

1. Location

{Will Your Wedding be Indoors or Outdoors?}

Indoor mandap at an Indian wedding
Photo: Lin and Jirsa Photography

If you’re having an indoor Indian wedding, some things to consider are:  

  1. weather worries. rain or shine, your guests will be shaded from the elements
  2. privacy. except for the baraat, other guests/public won’t be stand around and watch the ceremony. 
  3. lighting. indoors, it’s a good idea to add some lighting to the stage and mandap.
  4. some venues let you continue the baraat (sans animal) through the venue to the ceremony space…now that’s really cool.
  5. not all venues allow a flame indoors
  6. re-use the same space. At some venues you might have to use the same space for the ceremony and reception. Some couples don’t prefer that as they want a totally different look for each event.

In the photo below, you can see the resort guests watching the Indian wedding happening below the pool deck.

Indian-wedding-destination-Maui-Wailea-outdoor-ceremony-mandap-Hindu-wedding-lehenga-dulhan
Gorgeous beachfront Indian wedding ceremony at the Wailea Grand Resort on Maui. Note resort guests watching from above. Photo: Image IQ

At this Hindu wedding below, the couple had the ceremony and reception in this same ballroom. So they built in enough time in-between the wedding and reception so that the venue staff and their vendor team could ‘flip’ the room from a ceremony setup to a reception setup.

Photo: Samson Productions

Outdoor Considerations:

  1. All the colors coupled with the fresh air just makes the whole event more grand.
  2. Something different. It’s kinda nice to be outdoors, especially since other events are going to be indoors.
  3. There’s always a risk with weather but you can take steps to be prepared if the ceremony has to be moved indoors.
  4. I strongly urge you to invest in a canopy to place over the guest seating

2. Type of Structure
{Gazebo vs. Custom stage}

There are two basic ways to build a mandap:

  • on a pre-existing gazebo/pergola at your wedding venue
  • on top of a custom made stage.

The photo below shows an outdoor, Hindu wedding with a custom made mandap on top of a stage that the venue provided. (By the way, most venues hotel and resort venues provide that stage whereas golf clubs and banquet halls may/may not).

4 pillar Indian wedding mandap style
 Mandap Design: Sheer Romance; Photo by: Lin and Jirsa

Gazebo vs. Custom Considerations:

1. custom mandaps are just that…custom so you can make it look however you want; whereas mandaps on pre-built gazebos can be decorated differently but the core structure is always the same.

2. custom mandaps take more time to setup. You’ll want to work closely with your design and decor team and your venue to ensure there’s enough setup time.

3. gazebos are sturdier – I’ve heard about mandaps that were blown down by the wind or the structure wasn’t strong enough to hold the wight.

In the photo below, this venue already has a pre-built gazebo which couples choose to decorate for the mandap. The photos following show that same gazebo but at other Indian weddings so you can see what the same structure looks like when decorated differently.

Indian wedding mandap style designed on a pre-existing gazebo at the venue.
 Mandap Design: Bridal and Event Lounge; Photo by: Lin and Jirsa
Photo: Lin & Jirsa
Photo: Aaron Eye Photo + Cinema
simple Indian wedding mandap style on a gazebo at the venue.
Photo: Lin & Jirsa
4 pillar rectangular mandap style for an Indian wedding.
Square mandap on a pre-built structure at the venue; Photo: Lin & Jirsa

A structure-less ceremony doesn’t have a mandap but has all the furniture etc. This is an ultra-modern style. Some might like that it provides unobstructed views for guests. Furniture: Us To U Rentals

3. Shapes

 {Circular vs. Square vs. Open}

Large mandap style at an indoor Indian wedding.
The circular main section looks grand. Notice this mandap is flat at the top. Mandap Design: Deepti’s Floral; Photo by: GreyCard Photography
Ghost mandap style for an indoor Indian wedding.
This transparent ‘ghost’ look is very modern and elegant. It goes well with any type of decor. Photo: Randery Imagery
custom dye cut mandap style for an Indian wedding.
Very unique customized, die-cut, white, hexagonal mandap Mandap Design: Shawna Yamamoto Design; Photo: Braja Mandala
Dome, 4 pillar mandap style for an outdoor Indian wedding.
The dome-top mandap is another style. Photo: Global Photography
Rotunda mandap style for an Indian wedding.
Pre-built gazebo with a dome top that’s covered in draping.

{Open Mandaps}

Not only are these super modern mandap styles for Indian weddings, but photographers and cinematographers love them too because there aren’t any pillars obstructing their shots. Now traditionally a mandap, by definition, is a structure with four pillars but we’ve seen couples take a fresh approach to the mandap concept and done some beautiful things with it.

In the Hindu wedding below, they simply had the green archway with no canopy or anything. In the photo below that, they had a completely open mandap with 270-degree seating around it. Now that’s a photo/cinema team’s dream come true as they can get truly unique shots at various angles.

Open faced wall mandap style for an Indian wedding.
Open faced mandap style for an Indian wedding.

4. The Look
{Canopy, Transparent, Metalic}

Canopy mandap style
The canopy style mandap is light, airy and offers unobstructed views as it can be made very wide. Mandap Design by: Ethnic Essence; Photo by: Payal Photo & Video
Indian-wedding-Hindu-ceremony-fire-Ritz-Carlton-Dana-point-Lin-Jirsa-mandap
The transparent mandap design is ultra-modern and elegant. It’s often combined with the ghost chairs as well. Photo by: Lin and Jirsa

In the photo below, this couple had a floating mandap style designed on the resort’s swimming pool. Click here to see their full wedding feature on ShaadiShop.

Mandap Design: Flowers by Cina; Photo: Jim Kennedy Photographers
Indian-wedding-mandap-Hindu-ceremony-fire-Arizona-Phoenix-Chateau-Luxe
The metallic look is very regal and pairs well bold colors and especially indoors. Mandap Design: Jessica Barry; Photo by: Ushna Khan Photography

5. Dressings
{Drapes, Flowers, None}

Indian-wedding-mandap-Hindu-outdoor-ceremony-Punjabi-Lin-Jirsa-2-Create-Designs
One decision you’ll make is the ratio of flowers and drapings or elect to have none of the above. Mandap Design by: 2 Create Designs, Photo by: Lin and Jirsa
Indian-wedding-mandap-indoor-Hindu-ceremony-fire-Greycard-photography-Deeptis-florals
Flowers dress up the metallic mandap too. Mandap Design: Deepti’s Florals; Poto by: Greycard Photography

Compare the photos above and below. The mandap structure is very similar. However the styles vary. In the photo above they decorated it heavily with flowers whereas the mandap below has none. What do you like better?

Indian-wedding-mandap-Hindu-indoor-Ushna-Khan-Photography
without flowers or drapes the mandap looks beautiful – esp. mixed with with red and the matching gold chairs. Design: Jessica Barry; Photo by: Ushna Khan Photography

6. Dressings Coverage
{Whole vs. Some; Floral vs. Draping?}

In this article you see a lot of different Indian wedding mandap styles. Selecting and/or designing a mandap is very subjective and personal. The photos in this article are inspiration. Make sure you read the photo captions!

Newport-Beach-Marriott-Indian-wedding-Jain-Patel-Hindu-Gujarati-fire-Samson-Productions
The whole top of the gazebo is covered. Photo by: Samson Productions

In this gold mandap below, they skipped floral designs altogether.

Indian-wedding-Hindu-ceremony-fire-phere-mandap-indoor-Casa-Real-Pleasanton
Instead of full coverage this mandap is partially adorned with green draping. Design by: Fantasy Sound & Events; Photo by: Charleton Churchill.

7. Aisle-way
{Ground/floor vs.  Elevated Runway}

On this mandap at an Indian wedding, they emphasized draping with a flower framed Ganesh in the background.

Indian-wedding-ceremony-palki-walk-down-the-aisle-Hindu-Jain-phere-mandap
Design: BEL Events; Photo: Harvard Photography

You see elevated runways at weddings like the photo below. It looks really cool and creates a whole different flare when the wedding party and the bride walk down the aisle. This dye-cut mandap has a floral pattern built in and the yellow flowers are the perfect accent.

Things to consider with runways:

  • For brides arriving on a palki, the ground/floor is more stable.
  • Cinematographers find the runways difficult because there’s no way for them to shift to either side of the mandap, quickly with minimal disruption.
Indian-wedding-Marina-del-Rey-Marriott-phere-mandap-outdoor-ceremony-Hindu-fire
The runway aisle and custom designed dye cut mandap style. Design: Shawna Yamamoto Design; Photo by: Braja Mandala
Decor: BEL Event Production; Photo: Braja Mandala Wedding Photography

8. {Backdrop Decor}

Indian-wedding-Hindu-ceremony-phere-mandap-outdoor-fire-Randery-Imagery
You can also dress up the mandap with backdrop decor. Images of Lord Ganesh are very common. Mandap Design: Deepti’s Florals; Photo by: Randery Imagery
Beautiful frame around Ganeshji - love his decor idea!
Photo: Harvard Photography

{Take Aways}

This article is all about Indian wedding mandap styles. Mandaps are a major part of the decor at many Indian weddings and its design and style are completely subjective. This article is meant to be used as a guide and provide inspiration.

Here are 4 important things to think through:

  • 1st: is your wedding going to be indoors or outdoors?
  • 2nd: do you prefer a pre-built gazebo or something more custom?
  • 3rd: what shape are you going for? Round, square, 360-degree, open against a wall?
  • 4th: what design are you looking for? lots of flowers/decor? minimal? draping?

If you keep these things in mind while you scour Pinterest and Instagram it will help you home in on ideas and designs.

Resources

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Congratulations on your upcoming wedding! 🙂

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Cover image: Lin & Jirsa Photography

13 thoughts on “Indian Wedding Mandap Styles

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