12 MONTHS BEFORE
Imagine. Work with your partner to visualize a theme, color palette and focus for your wedding. Are you thinking destination wedding? Do you want a luau? Ice sculptures? Photo booths? An elephant? Bollywood nite? Create a wish list and then discuss options to narrow it down.
Guests. Start collecting your guest list, their contact information and mailing addresses for invitations.
Budget. Discuss your budget.
Wedding Date. Choose a wedding date. Back out your additional ceremonies, such as sangeet, garba, henna and reception. This will help determine the venues needed to check on availability. Keep in mind that some of the most prestigious venues, experts, including henna artists, may book out even a full year ahead.
Wedding Planners. Begin researching wedding planners. They have relationships with venues and other wedding vendors to help put together your various ceremonies: mehndi, sangeet, reception and, of course, the wedding.
Announcement. Place an engagement announcement with Indian Weddings magazine.
11 months before
Planners. Narrow down your list of wedding planners. Find one with an expertise across many sites and vendors.
Venues. Once your wedding venue is finalized, begin thinking about the logistics for decoration, transportation and setup. Check fire codes and alcohol policies. Also look into venues for your additional events: reception, mehndi, garba and sangeet.
Research. After choosing your wedding planner, start looking for vendors and themes that reflect your style and mood. Also start thinking about florists, videographers, photographers, caterers, henna artists, DJs, live entertainment, jewelry, linens, cake artists and lighting experts. Use our Pinterest board for inspiration.
Budget. This is your chance to reconnect with distant family members to tell them about your upcoming happy day. You or your parents can ask if they want to help contribute to the festivities. Remember that you’ll have several events, including sangeet, garba, reception, as well as the wedding.
Guest List. Start your list of potential guests and combine with your fiancé’s. Be sure to ask family members who they want to invite. Consider space and budget considerations, and then begin adjusting the entire list accordingly. Start a spreadsheet with fields for names, addresses and events they will be attending, RSVPs and thank-you notes.
10 months before
Website. Create a wedding website or event page. Update frequently because the information will be particularly important to your out-of-town guests as they finalize travel plans.
Photographers. Make sure that your photographer is familiar with your particular ceremony and the specific shots you want. If you’re having a destination wedding, be sure that your photographer is available for travel with proper documentation. Discuss timelines of photo availability. Ask to see their portfolio.
Videographers. Begin researching videographers. Ask your photographer for recommendations. The videographer is key in creating engagement videos and other lasting memories for you to share.
Wedding Party. Begin thinking about your wedding party, bridesmaids and groomsmen.
Engagement. Go ahead and throw that engagement party. Set up a cocktail hour with some of your favorite people and keep it small since you will also be inviting these people to the wedding.
9 months before
Bridal Ask Party. Throw a surprise party of your own by hosting a Bridal Ask Party, where you ask your bridesmaids to participate in your upcoming special day.
Videographer. Get your engagement video done, telling the story of how you met. Play it at your wedding.
Baraat. If you are interested, look into animal options, such as a horse, for your baraat. You will also need the appropriate permits from your city and venue.
Cocktails. Have you thought about creating a signature cocktail that signifies the blending of both you and your partner’s personalities? Something sweet, something spicy….
Hotels. Research hotel options for you and your guests. This is particularly important for a destination wedding or if many of your guests will be coming in from out of town.
8 Months Before
Photographer. Now that you’ve done your research and interviewed some photographers, go ahead and hire the photographer and finalize a contract and dates.
Entertainment. Book your entertainment acts, particularly the dhol player or band for the baraat, live music during the wedding and shows for the reception. If working with a choreographer, you’ll want someone who will teach your friends and family the dance routine.
Caterers. Check out caterers. Arrange for tastings and review possible menus. Also verify the service items they provide and how they coordinate with your selected venues. Do theyalso provide alcohol and liquor?
Hotel. Reserve hotel rooms. Provide price options for your out-of-town guests.
Registry. Begin your bridal registry, focusing on at least 3 retailers. Also provide a charitable option for your guests if they choose.
7 Months Before
The Dress. Begin looking for your outfit options, including stores and boutiques. Ask about lead times for providing a custom fitting and when the new season’s fashions become available.
Bridesmaids’ Outfits. Ask your bridesmaids to choose or try on their outfits. Often, the outfits require custom fitting or alterations, so get this taken care of sooner rather than later. Remember, you can buy or rent the outfits.
Invitations. Send out save-the-date cards. Look into working with a calligrapher if you want personalized invitations and placecards for the event.
Flowers. Now that you have completed your research, choose your florist.
Transportation. You will have many transportation needs, for yourself and for your many guests, especially out-of-town guests.
6 Months Before
Honeymoon. Begin looking at your honeymoon options. Beach? Scuba diving? Hiking? Food?
Timetable. Go ahead and prepare tentative timetables for each of your events: sangeet, garba, henna, haldi, reception and wedding.
Officiant. Meet with your officiant, imam, pandit, pastor or priest. Ask if any special ceremonial items are needed. Share your proposed timetable and get their feedback.
Invitations. Work with your invitations expert to finalize the invitations and mail out. Customize the invitations for each event that your guests will be attending, since not all guests will be attending all events. Be sure to include maps, RSVP cards and even thankyou cards.
Cake. This is the yummy part. Go to cake tastings with themes in mind. You have many, many cake options, so work with a specialty bakery that understands your needs.
Henna. Since you’ve already done your research, go ahead and finalize your timetable with your henna artist.
5 Months Before
Bridal Shower. Share your potential guest list with the maid of honor or the person organizing the shower.
Hair & Makeup. Interview hair and makeup artists and book an initial consultation. Try out a few looks and take pictures before making your final decision.
Music. Work with your DJ on your music selections.
Lighting. Lighting is becoming increasingly important in creating mood and theme. In addition, lighting ensures good photos.
Name Change. Look into documentation needed if you are choosing to change your name. Include your social security, bank accounts and passport. If traveling overseas for your honeymoon, be sure your name on all documents is consistent. It’s perfectly okay to keep your name.
4 Months Before
The Dress. With fashions for the new season now available, look for your outfits. Be sure there is time for necessary alterations. Remember, you need several outfits: haldi, sangeet, garba, mehndi, reception and wedding.
Jewelry. Now with your outfit chosen, it’s time to choose the jewelry as well, including fine jewelry and additional accessorized pieces. Remember pieces for your bridesmaids and family members who will be receiving jewelry gifts.
Schedule. Send your event schedule to vendors. Giving them a first draft now allows ample time for adjustments and feedback.
Furniture. Be sure to have enough chairs and tables for all guests at each event. Also consider draping needs for décor.
Honeymoon. Considering new luggage? Now is the time to finalize your honeymoon plans, including travel and hotel options.
3 Months Before
Guest Book. Choose your guest book. This is the book placed at the entrance that all of your guests sign and for your record so that you thank everyone who attended.
Toasts. Finalize the order of the toasts.
Groom’s Clothing. If you are coordinating the effort, finalize clothes for the groom and groomsmen to allow custom ordering and sizing.
Menu. Finalize and print menu cards.
Rings. Purchase your wedding rings to allow time for resizing and engraving.
2 Months Before
Guest Packages. Put together care packages for your out-of-town guests. These may include a map, chocolates, your contact information, a schedule and some sightseeing highlights. Leave these at their hotel to receive upon check-in.
Gifts. Work with local artists to create customized take-home gifts for your wedding party members and guests. Henna candles make the perfect thank-you gifts, customized with your initials and wedding motifs.
Childcare. If inviting families, arrange for a childcare option, particularly for long ceremonies.
Insurance. Confirm with your vendors and venues that all have the required insurance paperwork completed. If you need event insurance, your own agent can provide it at a reasonable rate. This is important, so don’t leave it until the last minute.
Honeymoon Suite. Make reservations for your wedding night.
6 Weeks Before
Vendors. Reconfirm dates, times and planning with all vendors, including caterers, venues, stylists and transportation. Also, decide how returns will be handled after the event.
Photographer. Meet with your photographer and outline specific photos and shots you want.
Music. Review your playlists with your DJ.
Invitations. Make sure all of your invitations have been sent. Continue checking for RSVPs and update your database.
Take Time for Yourself. Go out and enjoy your bachelorette party.
1 Month Before
Marriage License. Be sure to get your marriage license. Check expiration dates and ensure that your ceremony happens within the correct timeframe, which varies by state and locality.
Florist. Work with your florist to make sure all floral needs are taken care of, including boutonnieres, centerpieces and bouquets.
Shoes. Be sure to break in your shoes: you’ll be in them all day.
Hold Mail. If you will be traveling for your honeymoon, ask the post office to hold your mail.
Guests. Check your database again and confirm all entries are current to ensure an accurate headcount.
2 Weeks Before
Vendors. Your vendors need the final headcount, including the caterers for food and alcohol.
Venues. Work with your venue to coordinate logistics and arrival of your vendors.
Seating Chart. If catering a sit-down dinner, a seating chart for all guests is essential. Use sticky notes to move them around as needed. Share the final seating chart with the relevant vendors.
Transportation. Finalize all transportation for your events, including schedules and maps. Also, make sure transportation is available for all out-of-town guests.
Thank-You Notes. Go through your registry gifts and start on your thank-you notes. Update your tracking spreadsheets.
1 Week Before
Vendors. Address envelopes containing payments for each vendor. Be sure to include tips. Hand these to your wedding planner for distribution.
Rehearsal. Run through the main parts of the ceremony with your officiant and wedding party. Make sure that each member of your wedding party has a set of written directions and a list of contact information.
Vows. Memorize your vows if they are short enough to be memorized.
Honeymoon Suite. Confirm your wedding night reservations and pack your overnight bag. On your wedding day, ask someone to deliver the overnight bag to your hotel for you.
Honeymoon. Pack for your honeymoon: passports, bathing suits and sunscreen.
Ask your photographer to submit your wedding photos to Indian Weddings magazine. Enjoy your big day!