The Full Indian Wedding Checklist
Planning and preparing for a wedding can be quite stressful and challenging if you don’t get organized from the beginning. Indian weddings, in particular, tend to require some serious advanced planning, as they can be pretty elaborate affairs and require months of planning.
One way to help take the stress out of planning a luxurious Indian wedding is to have a thorough and comprehensive checklist for all the items and activities you will need to consider over the next several months.
Ideally, preparation should commence anywhere from 6 to 12 months before the wedding date, just to ensure you have enough time to cover all your bases.
Even 6 months of advanced planning is typically enough time to bring it all together as you have originally envisioned it.
Need some assistance with wedding planning, preparation, or design?
For professional and experienced assistance with planning and designing your Indian wedding décor, SAWC Planners are available to help with whatever you may need.
We specialize in helping coordinate a variety of South Asian Wedding style and we have a ton of experience planning:
- Hindu Weddings
- Sikh Weddings
- Muslim Weddings
- Interfaith Weddings
SAWC Planners can assist with things like:
- Planning for your event (Planning packages available here)
- Helping with design and décor
- Floral arrangements
- Furniture rentals
- Coordinating vendors
- And more!
The Wedding Checklist
SAWC Planners would like to help you get ready for your important day is to provide you with a complete checklist, to help make sure nothing is forgotten or overlooked.
The most effective way to present an extensive checklist like this is to lay it out chronologically and then to begin working forward.
So, what’s the first step?
9 to 12 months in Advance – Phase 1
For comfortable planning, and not having to rush anything without sufficient consideration, it is recommended to begin planning somewhere between 6 and 12 months before the event.
During this time period you should:
- Pick a date
- Establish a budget
- Decide on additional events
- Start working on the guest list
- Start looking at venues
- Hire a wedding planner/designer
Pick a Date
First things first, it is time to pick a date for the wedding! Once the date is selected and confirmed, it makes it easier to begin building a timeline of things that need to be done before that date.
When choosing a date, the main focus should be on the season you want to have your wedding and ensuring there is enough time before the date to adequately prepare.
Establish a Budget
This is a good time to figure out who will be paying for what, and how many total funds you will have to allocate to your wedding event.
It can be tricky to nail down an exact number, but it is important to get as close as possible on this one to finalize a budget.
If you don’t do this in advance, you may quickly realize your spending is spiralling wildly out of control.
A professional wedding planner, like SAWC Planners, can help you set a realistic budget and make sure you stick to it if you are having some doubts in this area.
Decide on Additional Events
Generally, there are other activities and smaller events that take place before and after a wedding.
For example, some pre-wedding events may include:
- A Haldi Ceremony
- Sangeet celebration
- Engagement party
It is a good idea to plan for these additional events as soon as possible to ensure all your intended guests are available.
Please remember to take your budget into account when deciding on other events to include.
The Guest List
The guest list doesn’t have to be finalized immediately, but it is wise to get started on it right away. That way you can start narrowing down the selection to a final list when you are sure about the size of the wedding you want.
Again, the number of guests you invite will affect your budget.
Once you have determined a set number of guests, it makes it easier to plan for other aspects of your wedding like food and entertainment.
If you are set on a specific wedding date, finding an appropriate and available venue at your location may be more challenging than you think.
Wedding venues are typically booked many months in advance.
The earlier you get started, the better chance you have of nailing down your dream venue.
If you are hosting additional pre or post-wedding events, you may need to consider venues for those activities as well. Find out what is included with each potential venue.
Hire a Wedding Planner
Hiring a professional wedding planner or designer can be very helpful in many ways. Ways that you may not have even considered.
Some of the greatest advantages of enlisting the services of expert wedding coordinators, like SAWC Planners, are:
- Expert advice
- Years of experience
- Access to better deals from vendors and for rentals
- Help to stay on budget
- A huge time saver
- Saving money
- Superior organizational skills – comes with years of experience
- Can handle unexpected complications
- Desired results for venue décor
- Peace of mind so you can appreciate your wedding day
Some couples try to avoid hiring a professional wedding planner because they believe it is an unnecessary expense.
The truth is, the money and time you will save with the assistance of SAWC Planners will be well worth any up-front expenses.
6-9 Months in Advance – Phase 2
Once all the initial arrangements have been made and the big things have been decided on, the next step is to begin filling in the details.
If you are just starting to plan now, 5 months before your wedding date, no big deal. You will just have to make some quick decisions about your venue, décor, and guests.
SAWC Planners are available if assistance is required.
At around the 3 to 5-month mark, it is time to start taking care of things like:
- Deciding on and booking catering
- Set up a wedding registry
- Begin planning your attire
- Coordinate the wedding party
- Begin planning décor
- Plan engagement party
- Finalize venue
- Plan Honeymoon
Catering is a big part of the wedding reception, and a good caterer can make your guests happy.
You will need to decide on what your menu will consist of, and how you want to present it.
Will it be self-serve style or a sit-down dinner? Buffet style or set menu? What kind of foods options do you want to provide for dietary restrictions?
Beverages are another consideration.
Check with your chosen venue to see if they provide their own catering, which can help simplify things.
This is a good time to begin compiling a registry of suggested gift ideas for your guests.
Choosing your wedding attire is also a big decision. There are many options for traditional Indian wedding attire in Toronto and throughout the GTA. Online options are also available.
You may also want to consider booking a hair and makeup artist at this time.
If you wish to have mehndi art as part of your attire, you can begin sourcing out mehndi artists.
The experts at SAWC Planners can help point you in the right direction.
At the 4- or 5-month point, it is recommended to have your wedding party finalized so there is no confusion or complications. This will give the people in your wedding party adequate time to plan accordingly.
At this stage, it is time to start planning the décor for your wedding venue. You can begin to pick out your favourite designs, themes and colour schemes.
SAWC Planners can help you bring it all together to create a cohesive and alluring motif.
If you choose to have an engagement party, you can figure out who you want to invite, where you want to have it, and what kind of refreshments you would like to serve.
Do you want it to include friends or just family? Outdoor or indoor? An afternoon or evening affair?
Once the details have been ironed out you can start sending out invites.
By now you should have finalized your venue or risk not getting the date or location that you want.
You can also begin planning the honeymoon at this stage. You may consider this to be part of your wedding budget or a separate expenditure.
1 to 3 Months in Advance – Phase 3
This is the stage where decisions about details are made and the event begins to take shape.
During this time period, it is important to:
- Begin implementing décor
- Choose a photographer/videographer
- Choose a DJ
- Book your rentals
- Shop for rings
- Send out invitations
- Book a priest
- Choose a cake design
- Choose wedding party attire
- Arrange transportation
- Book hotels
This is around the time you should consider finalizing your choices for the wedding décor.
You can lock in your selections for:
- Floral arrangements
- Backdrops etc.
To avoid disappointment, it is a good idea to have these details arranged as early as possible.
SAWC Planners can be a big help at this stage.
A good wedding photographer or videographer is usually booked months ahead of time. Requesting samples of their work, or a portfolio you can view will give you a better idea if it is a good fit.
A photographer that has experience with Indian weddings is ideal, as they will have a better idea of the traditional progression of events.
Choose a DJ
Again, it is a good idea to do some research and talk to people about hiring a good DJ. Find out what kind of set up they will be using, what kind of musical selection they offer, if video options are available, etc.
It is also suggested to secure your rentals at this time to ensure your venue is equipped with all the tables and seating you require.
Other things you may need to rent could include:
- Table décor
SAWC Planners can get you good deals with vendors for many of these items.
It is a good idea to choose your wedding bands in advance, especially if they are going to be personalized.
Rings may need to be ordered and could take some time to be crafted and delivered.
It is recommended to give guests as much notice as possible when sending out invitations in order to get the highest number of invited guests as possible at your wedding.
Book a Priest
This may be a good one to ask your parents about. The priest you book should have full knowledge of all your wedding events and ideally experience with Indian weddings.
Find out if the wedding cake is included with the venue or caterer you have selected. You will also need to decide on a design for your cake.
Wedding Party Attire
This is a good time to coordinate the attire to be worn by your wedding party.
To find the best deals for wedding party attire and jewellery in the GTA, SAWC Planners are at your disposal.
You can arrange shuttles to and from the venue for your guests. Transportation for the bride and groom may also need to be booked.
If you have a lot of out of town guests attending your wedding, it can be a good idea to book out an entire section or wing of the hotel close to the venue in advance.
This avoids people having to scramble for last minute accommodations.
Arrangements can be made to organize a shuttle from the hotel to the wedding venue and back.
Final Weeks of Planning
By now, most of the arrangements should already have been made, and now it is all about making sure it all comes together as planned.
During the final weeks, you can take care of some last-minute activities, like:
- Confirm services and deliveries with vendors
- Delegate tasks to people. Someone to take charge of gifts, someone to carry your things and the like.
- Arrange a seating plan
- Set up place cards and guest book
- Dress fittings
Complications are bound to arise in the final weeks and days as the big day draws closer.
SAWC Planners can help reduce some of that stress by providing you with an experienced wedding planner to lean on when things don’t go as planned.
Then all you have to do is relax and enjoy the day!