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How to plan a timeline for an Indian wedding

Indian Weddings are bursting with fun, vibrant, cultural events, that consist of many important and meaningful moments over a few days. The events include The Haldi, Mehndi and Sangeet ceremonies, that then culminate with the wedding day.

It is important to have a set wedding day timeline, so all the parts run smoothly and you can enjoy your wedding day knowing it’s all sorted.

Here’s an example timeline to help you with your planning.

4.30 am: Preparation/ make-up and hair

Prep time can take a while so be sure to get up early and straight into it. Ensure you’ve had a consultation with your make-up and hair providers ahead of time, so you know exactly what you want on the day. Then sit back and enjoy getting glammed up!

7.00 am: Photographer/ videographer arrive

Your photographer and videographers will arrive and get straight to it, taking imagery of all the details like your dress, jewellery and invites as well as portrait shots of the bride and bridal party. You’ll capture the best of the morning light in your photos alongside some special keepsake shots of your special day. Your photographer and videographer will also take some getting-ready shots, and likely some photos of the bride with her bridesmaids and parents.

8.30 am: First Look and Couple Photos

First-look photos are absolute magic, setting eyes on your partner on your wedding day is a moment that’s not to be missed. It’s also nice to have this as a more intimate moment with just the two of you… plus your photographer and videographer of course. Set aside half an hour or so for this, you may even want to make it a bit longer and have some of your wedding party and immediate family photos now too.

10.00 am: The Baraat

The Baraat is a tradition where the groom parties with his family along to traditional Indian music in a procession to the ceremony. The groom will either be seated on a decorated white horse, or sometimes in a blinged-out vehicle. The bride will be in her room while the groom has his Baraat.

10.45 am: Milni

The Baraat leads into the Milni, here, the groom will meet the bride’s family and take off his shoes as he goes to enter the mandap. His shoes will then be stolen by the bride’s sisters/ family in a fun tradition known as Joota Chupai. The groom will have to pay for his shoes after the ceremony, to get them back!

11.10 am: Ganesh Puja

The groom will now enter the mandap and the priest will begin Ganesha Puja, a prayer to Lord Ganesha, God of beginnings, to remove any obstacles and bless the upcoming ceremony.

11.20 am: Kanya Aagaman “the arrival of the bride”

The bride will make her grand entrance accompanied by her maternal uncle, relatives and bridesmaids.

 11.30 am Ceremony begins

The main ceremony then begins which is an hour or so. This consists of many parts including Varmala, Kanyadaan, Hastmelap, Mangalsutra, Saptapadi or Mangal Fera, Kalasha, Laaja Homam, Kansar Bhakshan and Ashirwad.

12.45 pm Vidaai

The ceremony concludes and the bride’s family say farewell as she departs with her new husband.

1.00 pm: Lunch

Lunch is served. Formal family photos will take place during this time. Make sure you have a full list sorted ahead of time so this runs smoothly, wrangling family can be tough!

1.30 pm: Couple photos

Now is a good time to take some photos as a newly married couple at some picturesque spots around the ceremony location.

2.30 pm Downtime/ make-up and hair touch-ups 

By now you’ll be needing some downtime. Set aside some time to relax, and then get dressed in your evening attire for the reception.

5.30 pm Cocktail hour

Guests will arrive at the reception and enjoy cocktail hour while you are away taking more photos in your evening attire. Your photographer and videographers will also capture photos of the details at the reception.

6.45 pm Reception Doors Open

Guests will enter the reception hall and be seated ahead of your grand entrance.

7.00 pm Bride and Groom’s Grand Entrance/ Dinner etc

You will make your grand entrance as a married couple, followed by dinner and the evening’s programming including performances by professional dancers and family and speeches from family, the Maid of Honour and Best Man.

09.30 pm: Dance the night away

Time for your first dance, then the dance floor will be opened so guests can dance the night away! The evening can then include cake cutting and some couples choose to sneak away for a few night photos. You may wish to have a grand exit at the end of the evening.

Written By Jem –  Feature Weddings