Indian Wedding Timeline: What To Expect For Indian Weddings

Indian weddings and receptions are some of the most vibrant and rich in tradition, making them both exciting but also overwhelming at times. Below is a suggested Indian wedding timeline for the traditional Hindu pre-wedding and wedding events that happen over 2-3 days. 

How long is an Indian wedding?

Whereas many Western-style weddings typically consist of one day of events, traditional Indian weddings take place over three days. Each day consists of its own unique and time-honored rituals that play a vital role in the meaning and tradition of Indian weddings. Individually, the rituals themselves vary in duration. Scroll in to learn more about each part of the traditional 3-day Indian wedding itinerary.

3 Day Indian wedding itinerary

Day 1: The Haldi 

The Haldi

Also known as the Pithi ceremony, the Haldi ceremony typically takes place 2-3 days before the final wedding ceremony. The family prepares a paste consisting of turmeric powder to be applied to the wedding couple’s skin. In Indian culture, turmeric is known for its healing and cleansing abilities. 

This ritual symbolizes the purification and protection of the couple from evil before their union. The couple’s family will take turns spreading the paste onto their skin in a meaningful and loving manner. 

Day 2: Mehndi and Sangeet ceremonies

The Mehndi

The Mehndi ceremony is traditionally reserved for the bride’s family a few days before the wedding ceremony. At this time, henna designs are applied to the bride’s hands and feet in intricate patterns. Her friends and family may also have henna applied to their hands and feet. This ceremony is a time for bonding and love, all bringing good luck and health as she begins married life. 

While traditionally this ceremony is meant for brides and their family members, other members of the wedding party are often included too. This ceremony can last several hours depending on how intricate the henna designs are and how many people will attend.

The Sangeet

Previously this part of Indian weddings would last for days, but recently this time of celebration, music, and dancing is set aside for one evening. Oftentimes, choreographed dances will be performed by family members and friends. This large party is intended as a time of joy and union, allowing the families of the wedding couple to bond and get to know each other before the wedding. 

Day 3: The Indian wedding and reception

How long is an Indian wedding ceremony? 

Due to the collection of rituals during the Hindu Indian wedding, these tradition-rich ceremonies can take up to an hour. However, many of these rituals are optional, so couples can pick and choose which parts they want to include and which they leave out. The traditional full ceremony follows this order:



Vivaah Homa



Granthi Bandhanam

Saptapadi or Mangal Fera


Laaja Homam

Kansar Bhakshan



Sample Indian wedding timeline

6 am – Getting ready photos

7:15 am – First look and couple portraits

7:30 am – Wedding party portraits

8 am – Formal family portraits

8:30 am – Ceremony detail photos

9 am – Baraat procession begins

Traditionally, the groom and his guests will make a grand entrance to the ceremony location. The groom rides on a decorated horse, or in more modern interpretations, a luxury car, accompanied by his friends and family who dance and celebrate along the procession.

9:45 am – Milni ceremony

After the Baraat procession is complete, the groom meets the bride’s family at the beginning of the aisle where they will sprinkle him with rose water and exchange flower garlands or gifts. The groom then removes his shoes before he reaches the Mandap, or ceremony altar.

10 am – Ceremony begins

10:15 am – Kanya Aagaman

Directly translated, this is the “arrival of the bride,” who is traditionally escorted down the aisle by her maternal male relatives.

12 pm – Ceremony ends, formal portraits at Mandap to follow

12 pm – Lunch begins

1 pm – Vidaai

The bride and groom are bid farewell by the bride’s family.

2:30 pm – Prepare for reception

4:30 pm – Photography team arrive at reception space

5 pm – Couple portraits at sunset

5:30 pm – Reception details photos and formal portraits

6 pm – Cocktail hour

7 pm – Ballroom opens

7:15 pm – Reception program begins

7:45 pm – Dinner, performances, speeches, and dancing

8:45 pm – Open dance floor

9 pm – Couple’s portraits at night

9:30 pm – Dessert station opens

10 pm – Final reception photos

11 pm – Grand exit

Need help forming your Indian wedding timeline?

Being experienced in Indian wedding photography, we love to capture the exciting and meaningful traditions that happen during Indian weddings and receptions. Connect with us and we can personalize an Indian wedding photography timeline that works for your wedding and embraces your traditions.

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