If you are lucky enough to manage a trip to India for ‘wedding shopping’ here are a few pointers. WHEN TO GO India’s ‘wedding season’ is in December/January. All of the newest apparel for the season comes out just before this in November. The best time to go is at the end of November (for Americans, this is around Thanksgiving). It allows for the best of both worlds – the shops are not packed with NRI visitors, the shops are fully stocked with the latest styles. As the weeks progress, items are sold and often the selection is reduced. If you are able to select items in November, stores will also have more manpower to get you what you need in a hurry. WHAT TO BUY There are endless thing to buy from India for an Indian wedding. It is important to evaluate what you buy on several fronts: - How much space will it take up in your suitcases? Do you have the space? - How much does it weigh? Are you within airline requirements? - How much does it cost? - Is it worth shipping? The most important items to buy are probably: - Bride/ Groom outfits for all events - Outfits for Family for all events - Outfits for Bridal Party - Pooja materials (cloth, powders, stone, etc) And if you can bring back more, consider bringing: - Gift bags (ex. Decorative bags for saris, hotel welcome bags, bags for take home favors) - Take home gifts for guests (ex. Icon of Ganesh, devo candle holder, silver coin) - Centerpiece cloth accents for table centerpieces - Printed Menu cards and Table number cards - Pooja decorations (ex. Material to hang around altar, sheet in front of altar, larger god/goddess figure) - Home decorations (ex. flower garlands at doorways/ garage, decorations for main room inside house) If you have anyone arriving from India within a few days of your wedding, you could request: - Sweets (mitai) WHAT NOT TO BUY Often families buy their wedding invitations in India. Unfortunately, the majority of the feedback from this task is horror stories – typos, haggling, the wrong size of RSVP cards so they cannot be mailed in the USA without special postage, ‘India smell’. If you are particular about what your wedding invitations should look like, this is not an option that will work for you.