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The Ultimate Checklist for Your Dream South Asian Wedding

You just got engaged… now what? After the initial excitement settles, you suddenly realize that you have the event of a lifetime to plan. How do you make it as smart, simple, and savvy as...

ultimate wedding checklist

You just got engaged… now what? After the initial excitement settles, you suddenly realize that you have the event of a lifetime to plan. How do you make it as smart, simple, and savvy as possible? Look no further! We have compiled the ultimate checklist for your dream South Asian American wedding. Whether you're a bride or groom, this comprehensive guide will ensure that your big day is everything you've ever imagined and more. So grab your notebook, print this checklist, or turn it into a spreadsheet - let's get started!

9-18 Months to Your Dream South Asian Wedding

  • Create an inspiration board, folder, or Pinterest page to gather ideas from wedding, food, and lifestyle magazines. Let your creativity flow!
  • Savvy Tip: Check out Shaadi Belles for Desi brides who take inspiration above and beyond.
  • Establish a budget that includes contributions from both families and the couple. It's essential to plan wisely and keep track of finances.
  • Set up a budget tracking system to keep your expenses organized. Trust us, you'll be grateful for this later!
  • Prepare the perfect guest list, including friends and family from both sides. This will help determine the size requirements for the venue.
  • Savvy Tip: Consider a destination wedding or intimate ceremony with a strict cut-off policy. You can always have a follow-up reception for extended family and friends.
  • Think about hiring a wedding planner who has the expertise and relationships to streamline your planning and costs.
  • Choose a date(s) based on your desired time of year, personal schedules, and availability of important friends and family members. If applicable, consult a religious advisor for auspicious dates and times.
  • Select suitable venues for the wedding service and reception, considering your budget, dates, and capacity.
  • Book your wedding officiant, especially if you have a family priest or a special person in mind to perform the ceremony.
  • Decide on your wedding party, if you're having one, and invite them to join you on this exciting journey. Their advice and support will be invaluable!
  • Research and book your photographer, DJ or band, florist, caterer, and other vendors who will contribute to making your wedding day unforgettable.
  • Savvy Tip: If you find vendors you absolutely love, book them right away. The best ones tend to get booked well in advance.
  • Mark your calendar for South Asian bridal shows, such as the upcoming ShaadiChic event on Sunday, November 10th. They can provide inspiration and essential contacts.

6-9 Months to Your Dream South Asian Wedding

  • Celebrate your engagement with a party or cocktail celebration. It's time to enjoy this happy occasion!
  • Register for gifts, even if you haven't finalized your list. People will start sending gifts for your engagement, so it's good to kick-start the process by selecting things you love and need. You can always add more items later.
  • Savvy Tip: Consider out-of-the-box options like a honeymoon registry. It allows your guests to contribute to an unforgettable experience.
  • Book your photographer and schedule an engagement photoshoot. These photos can be used for your save-the-dates or other pre-wedding materials.
  • Secure any additional vendors you haven't booked yet, such as musicians for the wedding service and reception, or caterers if they are not included in the venue package.
  • Don't forget to book a lighting designer. This is crucial for creating the right ambiance, often overlooked or underestimated.
  • Reserve a block of hotel rooms for your guests. Consider offering multiple options in different price ranges to accommodate everyone's preferences and budgets.
  • Plan your wedding wardrobe, keeping in mind that a South Asian wedding may involve a trip to a big city or even India. Start organizing early to avoid any last-minute rush charges.
  • Decide on the attire for your bridal party. Remember, if you're seeking input, it might take some time for the bridesmaids to come to a consensus on a dress they all love.
  • Start shopping for your wedding invitations. This process may take longer than you expect, especially if you plan on having them printed abroad.
  • Create a wedding website with all the pertinent information, including the registry, date, and fun facts or photos about the happy couple.
  • Finalize the guest list and compile their addresses. It's helpful to create a spreadsheet to keep track of gifts, RSVPs, and other important details. Consider sending thank-you notes as gifts arrive to make your post-wedding life easier.

4-6 Months to Your Dream South Asian Wedding

  • Reserve or purchase unique items needed for the wedding ceremony, including special religious items. Your florist can often assist you with this.
  • Savvy Tip: Get creative with your choices. For example, using a Jewish chuppah for a Hindu mandap might be a more cost-effective option, depending on your location.
  • Find and book a venue for the rehearsal dinner or any other pre- or post-wedding events, such as a Sangeet or brunch.
  • Find and try out your makeup artist and hairstylist, ensuring that you feel confident and beautiful on your big day.
  • Start to select your music or coordinate with your chosen band or DJ to ensure they understand your preferences.
  • Check on the progress of your wedding invitations and make any necessary adjustments or refinements.
  • Savvy Tip: Consider using an online-only RSVP system. It's a convenient way to keep track of your guests' responses and simplify the process.
  • Choose and order your wedding cake if it's not included in the catering package.
  • Begin planning your honeymoon and make sure all passports are up to date. If required, schedule any necessary immunizations or obtain visas.

2-4 Months to Your Dream South Asian Wedding

  • Meet with the officiant and walk through the ceremony. If you're having a religious ceremony, ensure that you and the officiant are on the same page regarding timing and details.
  • Create a wedding program that will guide your guests through the entire ceremony. Include explanations for each ritual, especially if the ceremony is not in English. This will keep everyone engaged and informed.
  • Reserve transportation for the wedding day, including cars or limos for the bridal party.
  • Savvy Tip: Consider arranging buses for guests traveling between the hotel and the ceremony/reception venue, especially if they're located in different areas. It's an additional expense, but it ensures everyone's safety and prevents any potential drinking and driving incidents.
  • Finalize the menu, alcohol selection, floral arrangements, lighting, and other essential details.
  • Begin shopping for wedding shoes, undergarments, and jewelry. Continue with fittings for your own wedding outfit(s) and the bridesmaids' attire.
  • Decide on party favors and consider gifts for the wedding party. Alternatively, you can make a donation in your guests' names, leaving a lovely card to let them know. It's a meaningful way to give back during this indulgent time in your life.
  • Plan activities for out-of-town guests before and after the wedding. Consider post-wedding brunches, welcome baskets in hotel rooms, and a list of fun things to do in the area.
  • Provide your invitation list to the bridal party so they can plan any showers or bachelor/bachelorette parties.
  • Prepare your wedding invitations for mailing. Send them out eight weeks before the wedding date, or up to twelve weeks in advance for holiday weekends or destination weddings that require extra travel arrangements.

1-2 Months to Your Dream South Asian Wedding

  • Revisit your registries and add more items if only a few remain.
  • Mail your wedding invitations and keep track of all RSVPs. Use the same list to record gifts received and send thank-you notes promptly.
  • Schedule your last dress fittings and ensure everything is perfect.
  • Consider announcing your wedding in the local newspaper to share your joy with the community.
  • Reconnect with all vendors and finalize any remaining details.

2-4 Weeks to Your Dream South Asian Wedding

  • Finalize seating arrangements and consider a visual aid. Cut out guest names on slips of paper and place them around paper circles representing the dining tables. This visual method makes it easy to move the slips and ensures a smoother seating process.
  • Create a detailed timeline for the wedding week/weekend, including all events. Share this with vendors and the bridal party for everyone to stay on the same page.
  • Prepare all the necessary details for the wedding site, such as the guestbook and gift containers.
  • Savvy Tip: Make your guests feel extra special by placing special baskets in the washrooms filled with lotion and other toiletries.
  • Print menu cards, seating cards, programs, and donation cards if you're using them.

The Day Before Your Dream South Asian Wedding

  • Review this checklist one last time to ensure everything is in order.
  • Treat yourself to a spa day for a manicure, pedicure, and massage. It's essential to relax and look your best on your special day.
  • Check in with your proxy, who will be in charge of wedding-related items on the big day. Make sure they have all the necessary information and details under control.
  • Assemble and distribute your wedding baskets to the hotel guest rooms.

Your Dream South Asian Wedding Day

Let go and have a blast! Many couples don't fully enjoy their wedding day because they're worried about the smallest details. Remember, no one else will notice if the service runs 5 minutes over or if the table arrangements feature peonies instead of tulips. Embrace the moment and treasure what this occasion is truly about. Your wedding day has the potential to be one of the most magical days of your life, so trust in your planning and indulge in wedding bliss!

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