• Ajay Manaktala

2020 Indian Wedding Trends

Updated: Jan 22

Ajay Manaktala is one the leaders of planing, organizing and DJ'ing Big Fat Indian weddings across the world. His Quora answers alone have helped hundreds of thousands of brides on their big day.



Great Indian Weddings Balance Trends and Tradition


Indian weddings continue to set the stage for lavishness across the globe.


Akon recently performed at this wedding in Phuket (along with some other familiar looking guy named Salman) and everyone is trying to do things differently.


However, for most of us even if you have a million dollar house or both of you are doctors and engineers, you don't want to spend half your savings on an insanely luxurious wedding, because, well...all of us are still middle-class deep down.


I see a lot of articles on magazine sites talking about the hottest designers and the best organic sushi for your wedding...but like, come on na?


Sushi is awesome but get me the GARLIC NAAN BRO!

I'm so glad we didn't insist on suits cause this outfit is fire.

We want our good Indian food, we want Bollywood music despite however cool the young kids push for Drake, and we want our moms and dads to be smiling as we rock that Sari or Kurta.


For Indian weddings in America, you can easily do the hottest trends and also make it all come together for the entire family.


What Makes a Good Indian Wedding?


Being in this business, the number one thing I notice is that many people correlate spending more with better wedding.


That couldn't be further from the truth.

  • Yes a beautiful venue helps.

  • Yes a Hawaii is awesome.

  • Yes fireworks are cool.


But have you ever been to a wedding and heard a guest say "Wow she should have worn Manish Malhotra instead of that simple $2,000 lehenga?


Probably not right?



In all my years of doing this, I can tell you, aside from hiring John Legend to play (for $400,000) or having a groom helicopter into his baraat (which again, isn't even really enjoying your Baraat), the number one thing that makes a good Indian is stuff that makes your guests feel welcome.


And that you had time for them aside from just a selfie.

Ok? So....


What are the best Indian wedding trends for 2020?



From belly dancers to magicians, stand up comedians and singers, these are some the latest trends we're seeing in the Indian wedding across the world:




1. Bridal Fashion Styles | INDIA is KILLING IT


Now that Sabyasachi and others have become household names, the style choices for the gorgeous Indian bride have exploded.


Indian dresses for men are becoming very chic and the ladies are redefining the word elegant. The average designer lengha can run about $10,000 but you can of course find any option to suit your needs, or design yourself.


Regardless, it's a very exciting time for Indian fashion. Sabyasachi, Manish Malhotra, you name it.


As I talked about here if a Sabyasachi is really worth it, if you can EASILY afford it or really want to, heck yes, go for it.


If you don't go designer bridal (which are about 75% of us who do big fat Indian weddings), you can EASILY find designers on Instagram for a fraction of the cost who will give you a much more luxurious outfit with finer fabrics, quicker responses and overall just easier peace of mind.

Plus you'll likely be the only one in your circle wearing it!


If you know where to look, you will be spoiled for bridal choice!



2. Live Bands are increasingly Normal at Indian Weddings


Bands like Bryden and Parth are making live music at Indian weddings the norm.


They pick up the energy, freestyle, let your own singer in the family jump on, and much more.


A band can cost much more than a DJ (ahem, I'm a DJ!) but add something different for the first hour or two of your party.


Most bands who are worth it will run you between $10,000 and $30,000, but you're better of spending on them for your Sangeet or Reception rather than another $14,000 on centerpieces that may be overkill.



3. Violin/Saxophone/Live Instrument Mashups


Vidya Vox made a name for herself mashing up famous western songs with Indian influences.


Another cool style has been folks like this guy below, who play Bollywood saxophone on top of the backing music live for your guests.


It's very cool and sets a fun tone for the evening. And it doesn't break the bank (as of this writing).


Imagine the doors opening to your reception and a wireless saxophone is mic'd up playing really nice Bollywood numbers. CLASSY!


This guy is Thailand based but would charge between $1500 and $3000 USD to play at a wedding anywhere in the world (for a few hours).


A very classy touch that you can look at doing before everybody does!



4. Acrobatic Dancers


Get some Cirque de solei up in the mix!


I see them all the time for receptions to entertain the guests for about 20-30 minutes.

A great touch for your reception during dinner!


One Free Trick that can make your entire Wedding (and most forget)


5. Paperless Invites are Preferred


We're finally at a place where it isn't rude to NOT send a fancy paper invite, and thank goodness for that.


In fact these days most guests under 40 prefer the convenience of an easily searchable digital wedding invite.


Most of the Indian weddings we do for couples under 40 have a website, nicely designed soft-copy invites, and a whatsapp group that has the invites go out again a week before the wedding just as a reminder of all the events.


Yes it's normal now.

6. Live Social Media Screens


Imagine all the images and videos with your hashtag, across Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter...all in one place.


Guest's can see other's photos (assuming their public) and interact and actually see their memories in the moment.


And then even take more photos and put out more content! Most of the times we see a few

Facebook posts and then things dwindle away...but social boards are a great way to keep engagement strong and memories lasting actually forever!


Social boards at Indian weddings are a great way for guests to mingle.

7. LED Walls


LED walls are the new standards for backdrops.


The versatility to play video, show the live performance, add effects and their relative lower cost and convenience than traditional projector systems have made them a main stay for big fat Indian weddings.


Earlier on weddings would have a single backdrop, but with LED walls the benefits are:


  • also double as projector screens,

  • are easily customizable

  • wow your guests because well, they're tech savvy.




8. Hiring Online Choreographers


You're busy, your friends are busy, and you're not even a dancer.


You saw all the tutorials online but it would be so much easier to pay someone in India to do it.



You can get dances choreographed from around $200 for song, just for you and yours. Or buy a package for 8 dances (meaning 8 recordings) for like $1500.


ALSO: Easiest Way to Organize Sangeet Dances


We talked about it all here.


Pay them on Paypal for the first few videos, and then before you take final delivery pay them the balance. Easy peezy!




9. Daily WhatsApp Broadcasts just from couple


People send way too many messages before a wedding, and guests tend to ignore emails until the last minute. One of the best hacks I learned from my own cousins wedding, who ironically is a film producer so I guess creativity crosses domains...was this:


Make a whatsApp group with all the guests, but only the admins (aka you and your wife) can send messages. Then send one message daily the week of the wedding with all the details. It's an amazing hack and people appreciate the direct info of all they need to know handy on their phone, and also that it doesn't overwhelm them.

Bro they need to chill with all this spam. I'm here, I get it.

10. Comedian or Roasting at Lunch Events


Stand up comedy in the Indian scene has exploded, and you can hire a decent comedian in English, Hindi or even Punjabi/Tamil to entertain your guests.


Just make sure whichever language you pick is understood by all your guests, otherwise your comedian will bomb.


Comedy show before your Baraat? I like it.

At my own brothers wedding his friends roasted him and told a bunch of jokes (they're all comics) and it was HILARIOUS. Plus all the guests commented how different it was.


The beautiful added benefit here was also that his friends did less speeches at the reception, since a lot of them talked at this luncheon event!


You can call it like "LOL Lunch" or "Roast Lunch" or something to be quirky.




CONCLUSION


Regardless of how you structure your Indian wedding, whether you spend 10,000 dollars or 1 million dollars, the major point is this: Think about your guests, give them time to rest and mingle, and make sure you get to say Hi as a couple to each of them.


All the fireworks and celebrities and sushi won't make a difference if a guest didn't connect with you!


The number one thing to remember when planning your big fat punjabi or gujarati or any wedding is to keep up with trends BUT ALSO tradition.


If you give a good balance for the aunties but also the college kids you'll be fine.

That's me happy you're doing your research!

Questions? Please do message us on Instagram .


Need a DJ or Sound and Lighting for your Big Fat event? We serve all over the USA and destination weddings as well!




Ajay Manaktala is an Indian Wedding expert based in Los Angeles. He has DJ'd the official Slumdog Millionare after party and also played a Diwali DJ on NBC's the Office. Despite his 15 minutes of fame, his main expertise is in planning Big Fat Indian weddings with a middle-class twist. Sure you can look at a $10,000 Sabya outfits or million dollar Lake Como weddings, but for most of us...it's about getting the most bang for our buck.


In this post he explains the 10 best trends for 2019 and 2020 that will make your South Asian wedding be one where you and your guests actually have fun.


Updated August 1st 2019


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