How Long Does It Take To Plan an Indian Wedding? (Infographic)
Updated: Aug 13, 2019
I get emails to DJ weddings that are happening next week, next year and sometimes even next decade. Bride and grooms are always wondering how far ahead they should start planning their wedding, so I put this guide together to let you know if you're on par with the rest.
So how long does it take to plan a big fat Indian wedding ? Most Indian weddings in America will take a minimum of 12 months to plan, from the moment you get engaged until you're at the altar (mandap). In India hotels and halls can be booked sooner, so there it can be done within 6 months.
What factors determine how far ahead you should plan your Indian wedding?
If you're targeting a wedding six months from now in New Jersey or Toronto and just getting started, that's ok too. In 20 years of doing south Asian weddings, I've seen million dollar productions happen in 3 months and very small intimate weddings be planned two years out. Planning lead time isn't always correlated to how big or small the wedding is, but other factors for planning might be:
How many people are on your guest list and what time is good for all of them (e.g. Indians or Pakistani traveling to America, flight ticket prices, etc..)
Hotel Availability and costs for various dates
Lead time for outfits (minor)
Auspicious Dates based on star signs and horoscopes (this is still very common, even in America)
Average Times Couples in America Take to Plan
On average, as I write this it's August 9th, 2019. I'm getting calls and emails for weddings in June/July next year. And we still have some open weekends in March and April scattered throughout. So the average middle class couple I see will start THINKING about their wedding around the moment they get engaged, and usually plan their wedding to be 6 to 9 months away from that.
Infographic To Guide You on a Wedding Planning Timeline
This Infographic gives you an idea what you should be doing from 12 months before until the day of your wedding.
Pin it, print it, plan it!
Although your experience may vary, it's good to start early and most couples we speak to daily follow some version of this.
While the Infographic is below at the end of this post, I first suggest you see the five things you need to do after getting engaged FIRST:
Once you figured out the who (guest-list), where (location), when (date), you can look at this below.
1. What are the first steps to plan my Indian wedding?
Once you've gotten engaged, take a month to enjoy it.
Then go through the guest list process.
Once you know who/where/when, look for hotels about 7-8 months out.
2. How do I plan a wedding in 3 months?
This one is done all the time. To be honest sometimes these weddings are more fun as couples are less hung up on that centerpiece or this caterer...they just a get together a huge bash and rock out, glad it all worked out. If you have 3 months, I would:
Send your RSVP's and close them out a week later. Call everyone personally.
Book a hotel AFTER that so you know GUEST-timates. (Wow, what a joke I just made!)
Scrum (software term) an agile methodology to finish the rest of the stuff (photographer, DJ, etc..). Yes you won't get the ideal vendors BUT to be honest, most people don't notice a difference between option one and option four. (e..g Would you notice a food difference between a place with 9000 Yelp reviews and one with 8000?)
3. Should I hire a wedding planner?
If your wedding is more than 125-150 people and well, big and fat, then yes, you definitely should. They're worth the $10K or $20K most charge in America, so if you can afford it, please go for it.
INDIAN WEDDING PLANNING INFOGRAPHIC
Your big fat Gujarati or Punjabi wedding may have the budget of a small business in America, and they do forecasting and accounting, so at the very least, we can do a little planning. I hope this helps.
By the way we do Indian wedding audits all the time to save you double the cost of it.
Planning your Indian wedding steps with milestones is really that simple when you see it visually right? Don't stress yourself out on your wedding day.
Lehenga, Hairstyles, bridal Make-up artists, I get it. Things going over budget? Ditto, been there.
But if you're going to go all out, have fun doing it. Otherwise rethink your strategy and do something that will put a smile on your face. Be present, be grateful you can experience this and have a ball!
Ajay Manaktala is an expert at Indian weddings with over 20 years of experience across the world. In this post he breaks down a planning schedule for planning your Big Fat Indian Wedding in America or Canada!