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How to make preparations for Indian / Hindu wedding

Hindu marriage is a highly auspicious event which involves series of religious / ceremonial events that span for several days. Hindu weddings are rich in ancient traditions, customs and rituals. It binds the bride and the groom in the sacred bond of marital union and also the union of two families.

Hindu marriages are very lively with full of joy, happiness, laughter, harmony and with much of enjoyment and entertainment that is cherished the most. In the olden days marriage events used to take place for several days either in the house or in the temple premises. But over a period of time there is a change due to hectic life style. People are opting for marriages, by curtailing some of the traditions / customs and retaining only the important events, that take place within few hours .

Marriage includes much of responsibilities and preparations well in advance. The wedding process is too complex and is a serious affair which needs proper planning and preparations so that the wedding taking places without stress.

Mostly in Hindu marriages, the entire planning for the wedding and the expenses are borne by the bride's family. The bride's family is much stressed with responsibilities and preparations while the groom's party neither take up the responsibilities nor do they share the financial expenses. However, even the groom's family need to make necessary preparations for the wedding which is not that stressful. Planning and preparations for the wedding is not the same for the bride's family and for the groom's family but it differs.

Wedding planner and preparations

Wedding planner and preparations for the wedding start after the engagement when the wedding date is fixed. In Telugu Brahmin marriages, generally preparations start after installing 'Godhuma Rai' i.e 'Rata Patadam' which is done on an auspicious time / day.

Majority of Hindus go for arranged marriages. However, due to cultural assimilation even love marriages are acceptable these days with the involvement of family members. Hindu marriage is an occasion for community gathering which incurs huge expenses for the bride's parents. So, planning a budget is the first step of a wedding planner.

Plan a budget for the event

Hindu weddings are too expensive. Planning a budget for wedding is very important. In spite of a well budget planner, there will be unavoidable / unnecessary expenses as the wedding date approaches. Before making a budget planner, have a clear idea of what kind of marriage you would like to go for, a traditional one or a registered marriage. If you wish to go for a registered marriage, then no worries. 

But if you go for a traditional one, then you should have a budget planner. Make a list of all the expenses that are incurred for the wedding which involves major expenses like engaging a priest, booking Kalyana Mandapam (Wedding Hall), booking caterers for a grand wedding feast i.e 'Pelli Bhojanam', cleaning-up the house and if necessary painting the house, selecting / printing of wedding invitation cards and above all heavy purchases particularly for the bride and the groom. If  there is financial constraint, you can try to cut short some of the unnecessary expenses. Be judicious in planning wedding budget and try to make an economic planner. Once you are done with the budget, the next step is to look for a venue according to your budget and book it in advance.

Booking a wedding venue - Kalyana Mandapam

Book a venue that provides all the necessary facilities within your budget. Many cities in India have good AC function halls with modern facilities. Selecting and booking a venue depends on the number of invitees / guests. Before booking a Kalyana Mandapam, be clear with the list of invitees as this is the main deciding factor for selecting a venue. Location of the venue is also important. Select and book a function hall which is easily accessible, preferably closer to the bride's location. As per Hindu custom, the bride's party has to arrive prior to the groom's party and then give a grand reception to the groom's party on their arrival to the venue.

Book Kalyana Mandapam and engage a priest well in advance as it is not easy to get one. After fixing the priest, get a 'To do list' from him and start your preparations asap.

Invitation cards

Selecting and printing of wedding invitation cards is time consuming. In spite of the tech-dominated world, Hindu weddings and the wedding preparations go in the most traditional way with a blend of modernity.

Wedding invitation cards are the formal invitation sent to near and dear ones. Wedding is a once in a life-time event, so the bride's party wants everything in the most special  / unique way. Wedding invitation cards should compulsorily have auspicious symbols like 'aum', 'subh labh', 'toran', 'palanquin procession' etc and with an embossed impression or impression of gods particularly of  'Lord Ganesha'. These days customized cards are available but it all depends on your budget and you need to go with your budget. However, do not overdo with the things. These days people prefer the most traditional / ethnic look wedding cards.

Send the wedding cards to out-station near and dear ones well in advance so that those who want to attend the function can make necessary arrangement like booking travel tickets etc without waiting till the last minute.

Booking caterers for wedding feast

Hindu weddings are rich in flavors and is known for sumptuous food that is really relished by the guests. Till recent past, serving burelu and pulihora in main course meal in a Telugu wedding was compulsory but the food preferences of people has changed in the recent times.  In the olden days, food was cooked by skilled cooks and was served to the guests in plantain leaves (aritakulu in Telugu language) in the most traditional way with the guests seated in rows on mats on the floor which was considered sacred. But with the changed lifestyle, people have given up some of these old traditions as they are not comfortable with these.

These days, good number of catering services are available at reasonable prices who charge according to the number of food items per plate / per head. As per your budget, you can book the caterers and give the menu as per your choice. However, keep the food preferences of your guests while selecting the menu as this is a one time event and satisfying guests, in particular, the groom's party is important. In fact wedding feast starts with start-up drinks which are served till the end of the wedding event followed by starters, main course meal which should be rich and sumptuous with several food items. The feast includes dessert / ice-cream / fruit bowl and a 'pan' in a typical Indian style. A wedding feast is really incomplete without a pan. Plan accordingly and give a customized menu to the caterers.

Heavy shopping for the event

Shopping for a Hindu wedding is one of the most adventurous event which is equally filled with lots of fun. People go in groups and enjoy shopping. Before you go for shopping, have a clear idea on what to buy for the event. Have a checklist of things to be purchased. Most important part of the shopping is bridal jewelry and natural silk saris for the bride and other important members. You can get all the required items from the trusted jewelry shop in your area. Wedding purchases also include other unavoidable items like silver articles, cosmetics for bride, return gifts etc. For return gifts, you can have customized packets with the names of the bride and groom and the date of the event on the packs. There are lot more things but it all depends on how well you can spend and whether it goes with your budget planner or not.

After important purchases, get the list of items required from the priest and get all the things purchased in advance.

It is good to cut short the expenses and go for the important purchases only.

Photos, videos and live streaming of the event

Photographs, video recording for the wedding are yet another important thing in the planner. Engage a good photographer and videographer for a reasonable price. If affordable, arrange for live streaming of the wedding for those close relatives who are in distant lands who cannot attend the function.

Get customized wedding albums and video recording with special effects. You can decide according to your budget.

Wedding stage decoration

Wedding stage is the center point of function as the major fun-filled ceremonial events take place here. The bride and the groom formally meet on the stage and see each other for the first time. The invited guests who are seated in the hall can see the ceremonial events from a distance. The guests go in lines to bless the newly wedded couple who are seated in the stage. Wedding stage plays an important role and it has to decorated in the most attractive way. 

These days, there are different styles of decorating a stage with natural fragrance flowers with a glittering backdrop. The more you spend, the more attractive the stage will be. Ultimately, it all depends on your budget planner. 

Preparation for minor things

Certain minor arrangements like car decoration, flower decoration at home, post wedding preparations etc can be done in the last minute. An important preparation in Telugu marriages is 'sare' at the time of  'appagintalu' or handing over of bride to the groom's family. 'Sare' mainly includes special sweets of special size in specified numbers given to the groom's family. Mainly 'boondi laddu', 'ariselu', 'sunnundalu' 'chalimidi' and other sweets along with household items for the bride. 'Sare' has no special significance or importance. In the olden days when women were totally dependent on the males for all their needs, the custom of  'sare' was introduced. The new bride after going to her new house / in-laws place, feels shy and hesitates to ask her new family members for each and every need of hers. Above all, she has no freedom to go out and purchase the required items. So in view of overcoming such a situation, it has become a custom for the bride's family to give all the required items to their daughter when she moves in to her new family / house.

Due to drastic change in the outlook and lifestyle of the people these days and also due to women empowerment, the present generation women are no more the shy types. They readily face challenging situations in life. So, 'sare' has lost its significance over the passage of time and this is confined to only sweets.

Depending on your budget and interest, arrange a music show or a dance show to entertain the guests.

Spending time together after marriage is important for the newly wed couple. This helps for a better understanding of each other. Choose a best honeymoon destination within your budget. Have a trip planner in advance for an enjoyable and comfortable honeymoon which remains as a cherished moment of your life.  

Do's and don'ts for wedding

There are certain do's and don'ts to organize a successful, tension-free and enjoyable wedding ceremony. 

Do's

  • Be clear whether you want to go for a traditional marriage or a registered one.
  • Prepare a checklist for the ceremony well in advance and get few copies of the same.
  • Keep ticking the list when a work is done, so that you can easily get to know the pending work.
  • After purchase of wedding items, immediately place these in separate suitcases / boxes and label the list of items placed in it. This would make it easier for you to get things readily when required.
  • While moving these things / boxes to the venue, entrust the work to a reliable / trustworthy family member who is competent of taking care of such things without a forgetful mind.
  • Try to be organized as this will reduce your stress levels and unnecessary tensions.
  • Try to face the challenges, if any, in the event and ensure that everything goes on smoothly.

Don'ts

  • Do not book hotel accommodations, if any, for the guests (groom party) which are at great distant from your place of residence or from Kalyana Mandapam. 
  • Do not keep major works pending till the last minute. This would create unnecessary tension as the wedding date approaches. 
  • Though you are fully prepared well in advance, do not expect things to go smoothly. There could be some disappoints and dissatisfaction in such major events. 
If affordable, you can engage event managers, who take care of organizing the entire event in the grandest possible way.

Post wedding preparations

Post-wedding preparations are meant for the groom's family who plan for a grand reception at their place. Make necessary arrangements for performing Satyanarayana Vratam in you house by the newly wed couple as this has become mandatory. You can even perform Venkateswara Deeparadhana for the overall well being for the family.

Marriage receptions are arranged in hotels. So, you (the groom's family) just need to make selection of the hotel at a convenient location and the menu for lunch or dinner. The rest is taken care by the hotel once you book and make payment for the reception.