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  • Writer's pictureAjay Manaktala

Indian Wedding Planning Mistakes You Need to Avoid (2023-2024)

Updated: Dec 10, 2022

Ajay Manaktala does Bollywood events in Los Angeles and has personally DJ'd over 500 Big Fat Indian Weddings, including over 50 destination weddings. He knows the ins and outs of Indian weddings in the USA. For specific questions anything shaadi related please comment below.

10 Indian Wedding Mistakes
"Wow I did not realize photos take this long. It would be nice if we enjoyed the reception instead since it's costing us $100 per minute"

Planning your Big Fat South Asian Wedding?

You’ve got the dress bought, the venue booked and the guest list figured out.

What else is there to do for your Gujarati or Punjabi or South Indian (or whichever) wedding?

Well, in short…plenty!  

Made in Heaven shined the light on our crazy Indian wedding industry and in this post I want to shine the light on mistakes I see couples make EVERY WEEKEND.

Having done hundreds of weddings including planning my own, I guarantee you'll catch something on this list.

1. Not Letting Your Guests Rest!

So many times we think we constantly need to keep our guests busy. Welcome snack at 3PM, wedding at 4PM, drinks at 6PM, receptions at 8PM, etc…but guess what!

Guests need time to catch up with one another also!

Not to mention that things go late as they always do.  

Indian wedding mistakes.
Massages and rest time between Mehendi and Sangeet or upon check in are the X factor in making your wedding memorable. Cost effective and an amazing touch (Pun, get it!)

Don’t be shy to pad an extra 30 minutes here and there depending on how large your party is.  Generally guests will always appreciate not being rushed and not worry about chatting while your events are going on, as they had ample time to chit-chat. 

This is also a very big destination wedding mistake!

2. Thinking the Heat will be Fine

We understand, you have this beautiful mandap by the beach, but it’s also 98 degrees outside.  

What to do?  

Put a canopy or curtains to increase the shade but also worry about the photographs having less light?  

These are all wedding day decisions you need to make and think about.  

I’ve seen grooms spend thousands of dollars on a very gorgeous Sabyasachi outfit only to be covered in sweat 10 minutes after putting it on.  

Do you want to sweat in a $5000 Sabya?

indian wedding baraat mistakes
Trying to plan your mandap near a hotel room or place where you can change is a great way to be fresh during your 90 minute program. Me at my Brother's wedding in Thailand!


Make sure you factor in the temperature when thinking about your venue, your guests, yourself and others.  

A sweaty groom in a million dollar venue, three thousand dollar sherwani and a thousand dollar photo isn’t helping anyone!

PRO 2020 WEDDING TIP: These days at baraats, it is VERY common to wear a nice Kurta then change closer to the altar into your wedding Sherwani. My own brother had his mandap in a hotel so he quickly showered up there AFTER HIS BARAAT!

Indian Wedding in Mexico heat.
Indian Wedding in Cancun. Yup.

Five Destination Wedding Mistakes to Avoid (Indian Wedding)

3. Sending Too Many Emails

You ever gone to a wedding, and the months leading up to it you got an email every other week?

  • Save the Date,

  • here’s the invite,

  • book your rooms,

  • what to wear,

  • check out our website,

  • pick your meal,

  • did you book your rooms yet!?!

Oh. My. Goodness!  

indian wedding mistakes
Bro enough with the messages, we get it!

In this day and age of digital detox people are busy and while they’re happy to attend, most of us ignore everything but the save the date and hotel reservations and figure out the rest a week or two before.  

Try to minimize your emails, or simply get your website/RSVP/hotel rooms all done via one mail/website from the beginning.


Your guests will appreciate it!

4. Too Many Venues Outside Main Hotel

It sound’s nice that you start at the beach, then move inside to the hotel lobby, then whisk them away to a beautiful restaurant on the cliff you guys love and then again take a bus to ballroom for a reception.  

But you ever tried to simply get 20 of your friends to all be ready for a dinner while on vacation!

Don’t try to do too much, as when you try to move more than 100 people someone is in the bathroom, not on the bus, on a phone call, whatever.  

Rule of Thumb: Never have more than two venues in a single day. 

5. Giving the Bride and Groom time to Socialize. 

Guess what? Everybody wants a selfie, and also a nice family portrait photo. As bride and groom, you both need a good hour to socialize and mix in the room.  

I recently asked a high end wedding coordinator what makes a good wedding, and her answer was simple.  

“People need to feel the warmth of the bride and groom.”  

A simple “thanks for coming” and a photo isn’t really warm is it?  

Indian wedding mistakes
Wow I hope I'm not taking all their attention! Unless they seem fidgety, you're fine!

Try to make sure you can talk to each group of guests for at least a few minutes, so they know their presence was felt.  

HONESTLY: the BRIDE AND GROOM saying hi and hello for more than just a picture to extended family and guests is the best FREE HACK for any Indian wedding. It will be the one thing guests take home with them more than any sushi or fireworks or expensive gifts.

The gift of time is the most precious!

6. Not Letting There Be Lighting

As professionals in this space and the best Bollywood DJs in Los Angeles, we always get asked “why is lighting such a big deal?”

 Well, you ever seen a before and after picture of a ballroom?