Here are some tips for planning an Indian Wedding in Philadelphia:
- The baraat is a joyous and colorful procession… but the guests who are dancing- and the groom on the horse- will get rather warm in warm weather. Suggest that you have water for participants after the baraat and before the ceremony… It is helpful to have it for the bridal party in their holding room(s) and for the guests on tables at the back of the ceremony room.
- Check on parking for horse (and trailer) that will be used for the baraat. Where and for how long.
- Make sure to have permit from Department of Streets for the baraat. In Philadelphia, permission was given to close the north footway of a particular street for two hours for a “Family processional.”
- There will be a number of ceremonial items associated with this wedding. Keep a list and know who is bringing what, who is doing what. Make sure that someone is assigned to bring the ceremony articles for the baraat and for the ceremony itself… and that they are brought on time and later removed to a safe and secure place.
- A planner definitely needs at least two assistants on the wedding day. One person needs to be able to be at the ceremony venue, check on the sound system, seating, mandap, programs, water for the guests, and the rest of the details… then check with the dhol player, horse manager, the streets, the people bringing ceremonial items, etc! The men and guests will need to be accompanied to the baraat at the designated time and place, and the bride will need to be accompanied as she gets ready and arrives at the ceremony venue.
- Ask the bride and groom if there is a possibility that there will be guests who didn’t rsvp, and plan accordingly. This may mean an overflow table or just the availability of some chairs and some meals just in case. Be sure to discuss ahead of time!
- Check on the stage for the mandap, the mandap, and the ceremonial table(s). Make sure the color of the floor is the color you want. Use the rehearsal to check every single item and who is bringing what and when.
- If the bride/bridesmaids are wearing saris, plan for who will help get them dressed. You may not know how to put on a sari. Bring extra safety pins.
- Check on food allergies, as always. Check on other food preferences, as you may need more (or all) vegetarian/vegan foods for this wedding.
- Enjoy the sights and sounds of this incredible wedding!
Photo courtesy of Nute Nicholson