29 October 2016
My Sister’s Big Fat Indian Wedding: 4 Tips to Plan a Big Wedding
It’s my sister’s wedding next year. However, it’s not just any ordinary wedding – it’s a big, fat, juicy Indian wedding. Yep, that’s right – it’s one of those weddings. “Those” weddings are 20 times more stressful and chaotic. It’s full of festivity, culture and tradition – accompanied by swarms of family and friends prying over the bride and groom!
With approximately three events in 2 days with roughly 300 guests in India and a reception thereafter in Sydney, (this is small compared to most Indian weddings), the months leading up to the big day is far from a walk in the park.
If you’re planning on a big wedding yourself, where do you start? As a current “sister of the bride” – let me give you some 101 tips to get you through this journey.
TOP TIP: You’re going to need a stiff drink for this journey! A good glass of whisky (the Indian way) would accompany this read really well.
In the Indian culture, marriage symbolises not just the sacred union of two individuals, but the coming together of two families. The level of involvement of the parents is profound – from deciding the flower arrangements, to the venue locations to financing every aspect of the big day. (I know, too good to be true!) My sister’s in-laws are great – open to conversation, listeners, idea makers and just overall loving, heart-warming humans. All the ingredients that are vital for the planning stage to progress.
However, in some cases this may not be the case. Not all in-laws get along, and that’s tough when it comes to planning a big wedding. But don’t panic, here are a few tips to manage both sides of the family.
Tip 1: Communication with the in-laws is paramount
1. Discuss: An open discussion is vital between both families, especially for the parents and it should begin at the early stages of planning.
2. Compromise: Agree to disagree. There will always be differences between Mums and Dads, but always count on the bride and groom to be the medium!
3. Split: Finalising all costs and finances between all parties should happen from day one of planning.
4. Lastly, always remember this is your new family. Lunches, dinners and celebrating birthdays are always a good way to get to know your in-laws. It’s not just a wedding to organise; it’s planning the rest of your new life with your new family.
Traditional Indian weddings last a week and start with pre-wedding ceremonies. Thankfully, in my sister’s case, we have only three ceremonies; the Mehendhi ceremony the night before the wedding day; the Wedding ceremony; and the reception thereafter.
All events during an Indian wedding have to be planned with great care as there are many aspects involved in each event: from the right venue location, card design and printing, decor arrangements, music/DJ, ritual procedure and necessities, to menu and accommodation arrangements for family and guests. The list seems never-ending and there comes a moment in the planning when you hold your head in pain (Mum and mum in-law breakdowns are common during this stage!)
Tip 2: Do your homework
1. Write: Write down everything. Confident as you may be, you can never remember all that needs to go into each event - jot it down and tick it off when it’s done. A collaborated list from both sides makes this process so much easier.
2. Research: Having a few months to do your background research on venues, prices and styles really gives you a sound perspective on what’s out there.
3. Compare: Always compare prices so you are not busting your pockets but remember, be flexible here and there. You can rarely get the price you want when it comes to a wedding!
An Indian wedding is a very colourful affair. And when I say colourful – I mean colourful in price as well. The bride and groom clearly steal the show with their exquisite and expensive outfits, but the relatives and friends are not too far behind in prestige and cost of their attire.
Indian weddings are a glamour showdown with the latest trends, designer wear and custom-made outfits. To stand out from the crowd, you need to invest time and energy to find the perfect outfit for all events.
A golden rule to note: no attire is repeated during the festivities. Thus, buying 4 to 6 different outfits is a must. Thankfully, this isn’t always the case in less traditional weddings!
Tip 3: Set a fashion budget
• Research: It takes months of researching which designer, price and style you want. A trip(s) to India is essential to find the perfect attire for all events during the wedding. However, as Indian weddings are becoming a profitable market, the online shopping scene is growing and is an excellent option to find your dream outfits.
• Budget: Most Indian wedding attire costs roughly $500 to $1000 per piece. (That’s not the price of a wedding dress – that can be from 5K to 20k!) Always have a budget to stick to.
• Colour: Never settle for just any colour – choose a striking bold red or a light rose gold to make everyone jealous!
POST WEDDING CELEBRATION:
After the wedding, there is a reception for the bride and groom’s family and friends. The event is non-ritualistic and combines colour, vibrancy, food, people, music and lots of dancing. This event is to offer their greetings and blessings to the newly wedded couple. More importantly, this is the time for the bride and groom’s side to relax and unwind.
Tip 4: Make Time to Unwind with Your Guests
Wedding planning is no fun at times (stress me!) and post wedding celebrations are always a good time to reflect on the success of your wedding day and the memories created along the way. Sure, you’ve got the honeymoon to relax, but post-wedding events give you a more casual and relaxed environment to spend time with your guests after the chaos of the wedding day has subsided.
You’ll be surprised how quickly the wedding day flies by and many of your guests are likely to be from out of town, so be sure you get to spend some time afterwards, enjoying the company of those who helped make your wedding day so special.
Dhwani Mathur (a.k.a Dee)
Young and fresh. Suburb girl at heart. Creative genius.
Dhwani is a blogger and content enthusiast for various lifestyle, fitness and educational profiles. She strives on creativity and loves sharing all things life - from business to leisure to everyday stories that makes the heart fuzzy and warm.