Indian Wedding Decor 101: The Ultimate Guide To Indian Wedding Decor

By Arjita | 15 Nov 2021 | 14 min read

Indian weddings are truly magical - you can transform a basic banquet hall into a Rajasthani mela, a Moroccan-themed affair, a secret garden or luscious forest, or a floral romantic fantasy. The ways in which wedding decor can elevate your events are endless. Indian wedding decor is one way to transform a venue into your wedding venue. 

How do you go from a banquet hall or a farmhouse to a Punjabi dhaba or a rustic chic wedding? With the million and one options and decision, planning your wedding decor can also feel overwhelming. You can easily go from $200 here, $5000 here to $100K + decor bill. From getting the most value from your decor investment to balancing between too little and too much decor, with input from Bilen Walga (Designer at Prashe) and Ketan Mistry (Founder of Divine Decor of Dallas), we have created the Indian Wedding Decor 101 guide to help you on your wedding planning journey.

Outdoor indian wedding by IVY Weddings and Prashe Decor

Photo credit: IVY Weddings, Decor by Prashe
 

How much does Indian wedding decor cost in Texas?

Decor is easily one of the top costs of your wedding budget, alongside your venue and catering / alcohol.

Indian wedding decor is usually 20-30% of your overall wedding budget. As an example, for a $150,000 wedding in Dallas, your wedding decor may cost $30,000 - $50,000 (across a sangeet, wedding ceremony, reception and a home mehndi / grah shanti / haldi). Notice how there can be a large range in the cost of decor. There really is no cap - the more fresh flowers and customization you add, the higher your bill will go.

You’ll find other frequently asked questions and answers if you scroll to the bottom of the Wedding Decor page on The Desi Bride.

Luxury and bespoke Indian wedding mandap by Altair

Image via Altair


The Main Elements of Indian Wedding Decor

While we included a more detailed checklist of decor items at the end of this article, according to both Bilen and Ketan, there are four main components you will want to think about:

  1. Mandap: Your mandap will set the tone for your Hindu wedding ceremony. You can choose from a traditional gold mandap to a minimalistic floral mandap to rustic wooden mandaps and even modern mirror or metal mandaps. While there are so many options to choose from, one key decision is determining how many flowers you’d like. You can go for a heavy floral vibe or a more minimalistic mandap with only flowers on corners or certain spots. Also note that for all floral decor, you can opt for a mix of silk and fresh flowers. Doing a mix allows you to redirect funds to other parts of the wedding and if you wish, be sustainable, given that silk flowers can be reused. 
  2. Flowers: Flowers can transform your decor, but they can also add up, especially if you are ordering flowers not in season or exotic flowers that need to be flown in. Often, couples will opt to mix fresh flowers with silk flowers, which look real and can be reused. Bilen recommends using silk flowers in areas that can not be touched. The other benefit of using silk flowers is that they don’t need to be watered, so they look fresh regardless of how early decor is set up (e.g., the night before) or if flowers are reused. Silk flowers also allow for more variety of flowers as not everything is always in season or easy to find. With that said, Indian weddings love flowers, and there’s nothing wrong with having your wedding decorator or florist work with all fresh flowers or a mix, given the direction you choose to go in. 
  3. Stage and dance floor: Whether you plan for a swing at the sangeet or a monogrammed or a printed designer stage at the reception, the last element is your stage decor and dance floor. Sometimes DJs will be able to supply your dance floor, so check with both the decorator and the DJ on their options. As a tip, make sure you include uplighting and larger pieces of decor, given how large the banquet hall or wedding venue in Houston might be. Lighting really elevates aesthetics and can transform a banquet hall into a nightclub or a venue to get people on the dance floor.  
  4. Centerpieces: Your centerpieces will light up the tables are your sangeet, wedding ceremony and wedding reception. Ketan’s tip here is that if you have evening events, opt for more candles / lights and larger pieces that take up table space over lots of flowers. Secondly, if you are having lunch after the wedding ceremony, most people grab food and get out as quickly as they can to rest and get ready for the grand reception. Most will not pay attention to your centerpieces, so we recommend going for something more simple for the lunch tables. Finally, your mandap and stage should be at the center, and your centerpieces should just subtly elevate the entire room. Bilen, from luxury wedding decorator Prashe, actually says that he likes the couple to focus on the mandap / stage designs, and he can design the table centerpieces around that design.

Luxury and glamourous Indian reception decor by Prashe

Decor by Prashe


How to get inspired and figure out the vision for the different wedding events, from the sangeet to the wedding reception

  • Given the amount you will invest in wedding decor, we recommend that each event have a very different vibe or theme. Even if you end up having your grah shanti and pithi at home on the same day, you can work with the wedding designer to make each room or backyard feel completely different. The change in aesthetics will help guests feel the change in tone between events, and of course, you’ll appreciate seeing your vision come through in pictures and videos after the wedding. Bilen Walga, a Lead Event Designer at Prashe, often uses color to create different looks. “Different monochromatic colors can immediately change the whole look and feel.”
  • As you attend other friends’ and family weddings, take note of what you like and don’t like for each wedding. As an example, you may find that you want more dark and bold colors, or you may want more florals. It’s much easier to build a vision from weddings you see in real life over Instagram pictures. While Instagram and Pinterest pictures can help you get a feel for themes, they are often filtered, cropped, and not always the real deal! Bilen mentions that he likes for couples to point out things they might like across different pictures e.g., you may like colors from one sangeet but maybe the mandap from a different wedding.
  • Create mood boards on Pinterest, with one board for each event. Here you can start pinning inspiration from what you see on Pinterest, Google, Instagram, Facebook, and real weddings you’ve attended.
  • If you are positive about color themes you like, one way to get decor inspiration is by searching for Indian weddings [sangeets etc] with those color themes on Google.

Luxury lavender mandap for outdoor Indian wedding by PeeraPach

Image via Design By PeeraPach

 

The process of selecting your Indian wedding decor

Every decorator has a separate process, but we recommend giving yourself at least 6-12 months from conception to design to execution of your wedding decor. Some of the best designers, like Prashe, get booked out well over a year in advance.

After you have designed your mood boards, ask potential wedding decor vendors to see actual pictures of what they have done for couples in the past. Instagram is not always reality and does not have a portfolio of all of their work. Phone pictures are great because you can see the work without as much editing. Secondly, videos are awesome, because you can see all angles of the decor and see how the room was brought to life.

Additionally, before you put a deposit down, ask the vendor to provide a couple of sample designs or let them take you through their warehouse to see your options. A luxury wedding decorator will create something unique for you, so while looking at images from other weddings is great, it’s also helpful to see what the designer would create for your wedding.

Set wedding decor budget: Once you have selected a decor vendor, you always want to set expectations on budget. They can easily take a $50,000 decor budget and make it $200,000 if you add a ton of fresh flowers and all of the bells and whistles. By setting a budget at the beginning (and really 10-20% below your actual budget as you will go over when you see the beautiful decor options), the decorator should make recommendations that fit your budget. 

Get decor vision mock-ups: Many decorators, like Prashe and Rao Factor, will provide a mockup of your vision before you sign a contract. This mock up gives you the opportunity to figure out which styles resonate with you and what is realistically achievable in your budget.

Warehouse walkthrough and discussion: Now that you have aligned on budget and priority events, we recommend doing a warehouse walkthrough with your significant other or your maid of honor to start selecting the type of wedding decor you like and point it out to the decorator.

Design and blueprint: After you’ve met with your wedding decor vendor to discuss your vision (or theme) for each Indian wedding event, show mood boards, get inspiration from their warehouse, your designer or decorator can go off and create sketches of how they will bring elements of your vision to life. They can add colors and actual pieces and come back to you with a detailed sketch as well as a line item level quote.

Site visit: We recommend visiting the wedding venue(s) with your decorator and talking through the space and anticipated design. You should make sure the decor fits the space, so your stage etc don’t look too small or too large for the space. 

Final decor selection: When you meet with your decorator ahead of the wedding, they should take you through the sketches and show you exactly which inventory items they’ll be using, colors, fabric types, and flowers. Note that we always recommend asking for a line item level invoice ahead of your event, including labor, so there are no surprises the day of. At this time, you can still change decor elements. Also, make sure to review layouts with your decorator and ensure that decor takes up the right amount of space, the mandap and stage are set up so guests can openly see what is going on, there is enough space between tables for guests to move around and mingle, etc.

Final site visit: We recommend a second site visit with your wedding decorator and / or wedding planner to make sure everyone is on the same page about the layout and design. You can make last-minute adjustments as needed.

Contemporary mandap with pink flowers and greens by PeeraPach

Image via Design By PeeraPach


General tips on planning Indian wedding decor

  • Make sure you ask the venue how long they will give you the venue for setup. Walga said a typical wedding decor setup takes his team about 8 hour, but can take longer depending on the intricacy and labor required. If you are using the same room for the morning Hindu ceremony and the evening wedding reception, flipping the room generally takes 4-5 hours.
  • Be honest with your budget and vision. Walga says one of the most challenging parts as a designer is trying to interpret what the South Asian bride might want. If you provide clarity of thought in what you’d like (and maybe don’t want), he can design and make sure your dream wedding comes to life on the day of each big event, from sangeet to wedding ceremony and reception.
  • Ask the venue if they allow fresh flower petals and if they have any decor restrictions.
  • Repurpose wedding flowers across events to get extra mileage. We’ve written an article about how to throw a sustainable Indian wedding, and repurposing flowers can be a big win. Bilen likes to reuse flowers from the wedding ceremony during the reception to get the most usage from the flowers. Adding a dance floor, chairs, linens etc immediately change up the look of the room, so even if you are in the same room at the original mandap, no one will notice that you used the same flowers. 
  • Focus on candles and lighting during the wedding reception over flowers for pictures and set the tone for opening the dance floor. Ketan from Divine Decor of Dallas says that in evening receptions, it’s hard to see flowers, especially in pictures. Candles and lights evoke a romantic spirit.
  • Make sure your couple’s loveseat is simpler than your backdrop to ensure the backdrop is not overshadowed. Ketan, who has been designing Indian weddings in Dallas and around the country, talked to us about the importance of making sure the backdrop elevates the room. 
  • Make sure that the mandap’s front pillars don’t block the guests’ view. One option to have a more open view is to opt for an angled pillar mandap, so your mandap looks more like a trapezoid instead of a rectangle or square.
  • Your wedding venue should be a part of your decor. A good decorator can elevate your venue with decor instead of attempting to drown it. Make sure to incorporate elements of the venue like mirrors, intricate furniture, and other details into your overall decor vision.
  • Make sure your guests have a view of the dance floor at the sangeet and wedding reception. One of the hardest parts is finalizing the table seating charts. You can make everyone happy by creating a layout where they have a view of what’s going on regardless of where their seats are. If you have pillars obstructing views, ask your coordinator or wedding planner to get creative with layouts. Alternately, have projector screens set up, so all of your guests have a view. 

Luxury floral mandap by Prashe Decor for Indian wedding

Decor by Prashe

 

A checklist of the basic decor pieces for a modern Indian wedding in Dallas, Houston, or Austin

Aside from the details like signage, entrances, and props, we’ve included a checklist that will take you through the basic decor items you will need for an Indian Hindu wedding.

Wedding Ceremony

  • Mandap
  • Sofa chairs for couple, parents, pandit and siblings if you like
  • Mandap
  • Chokhi for fire and pooja saman
  • Charter or decorative plates for pooja samagri
  • Aisle decor
  • Ganesh statue
  • Baraat entrance gate / decor
  • Toran
  • Linens and centerpieces for lunch

Mehndi

  • Seats or cushions for guests
  • Backdrop
  • Swing or couch for the bride / couple

Haldi

  • Backdrop
  • Swing or couch for the bride / groom

Grah shanti

  • Backdrop
  • Chairs / sofa seats for the parents, bride / groom and pandit if required
  • Chokhi for the fire
  • Matki if you choose
  • Guest seating

Sangeet / Garba

  • Swing or loveseat for couple
  • Backdrop
  • Dance floor
  • Table centerpieces

Wedding Reception

  • Loveseat for couple
  • Sweetheart table
  • Backdrop
  • Stage decor
  • Dance floor
  • Welcome table decor
  • Reception table centerpieces

Bespoke Indian wedding backdrop by Social Sticker

Backdrop by Social Sticker

 

About Bilen Walga, Designer at Prashe

Originally from Ethiopia, Bilen grew up exposed to both American and Ethiopian cultures. His dad ran one of the largest souvenir shops in Ethiopia, which inspired Bilen’s creativity at an early age. Bilen was approached by a floral shop owner and started working there during school. For the next 12 years, he enjoyed creating and designing different flower arrangements and centerpieces. He would bring home fresh flowers every Friday and design for his home. He fell in love with the colors and the ability to create something beautiful. The designs just came to him.

About 12 years later, Prashe, the top luxury and bespoke decorator in Dallas, approached Bilen, and the rest is history. He very quickly learned about the extravagance, colors, and vibrancy of South Asian weddings, and the cultural nuances. Today, he is one of the lead designers on Prashe’s team and has become one of the most sought after designers to work with.

 

Ketan Mistry, Founder of Divine Decor of Dallas

Ketan Mistry is the man behind Divine Decor of Dallas. He has been in the wedding decor industry for years and has a large warehouse in DFW with a variety of mandaps, ganesh statues, swings, food carts, and whatever else you would want. Ketan and his team design for everyone from the lavish, Gujarati weddings to the smaller, intimate Indian weddings. Ketan’s team is known to have anywhere between 4-6 weddings or more on a busy weekend, so make sure you book them in advance.

Tags
Other Articles You Might Like
Sign up to get exclusive information