- byMarisa Jenkins
- December 6, 2020
Indian weddings are notable for being flashy and expensive, riddled with Indian cultural practices and traditions. The extravagant celebration consists of many parts and usually takes up two to three days.
The average Indian wedding in the United States costs $225,000 to $285,000. This price range is for a typical Indian wedding with 300 guests and takes place in major American cities like Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, and New Jersey.
Punjabi Wedding Flow And Breakdown
This is the most common marriage style among Indian couples, characterized by loud music and a lot of merrymaking at the venue. This wedding style follows a traditional format with different ceremonies.
Roka And Thaka
This is the pre-wedding ceremony. The families of both bridal parties visit each other’s houses for the Roka Rasam. The groom’s family bears plenty of gifts for the bride’s house. However, the bride won’t take part in the ceremony as she will be in a separate room or another location.
This ceremony is started with a puja in which all the members of the families seek blessings from God so that the couple will have a bright future together.
This ceremony is when the groom’s family presents a red scarf or a chunni to the bride. This scarf is placed on her head and dye will be placed on her hands and feet. This officially signifies that she is the fiance of the groom.
Sagaai Or Engagement
The engagement is a major component of a Punjabi wedding. This ceremony is when the bride and the groom exchange their rings. It is usually organized by the relatives of the bride and groom and is celebrated in a large function hall. For the main ceremony with 300 people, the breakdown is:
ItemsCostHotel/Snacks/Alcohol$3,000Venue Lighting & Decor/Flowers/Stage$15,000Bride’s dress, Groom’s suit, Parents’ Outfits$5,000Wedding Photographer &Videographer$3,000Total cost of Main Ceremony:$24,000 to 30,000
This ceremony usually takes place in the house of the bride. Mehendi designers come over and create beautiful henna patterns on the hands of the bride. Relatives and other family members may also take part in creating the designs. There’s also a bit of henna placed on the hands of the groom as part of the tradition.
For a Mehendi ceremony with 300 people, the breakdown is:
ItemsCostHotel/Food/Alcohol at $66 per head$16,500DJ/Venue Lighting & Decor/Flowers/Stage$15,000Bride’s dress, Groom’s suit, Parents’ Outfits$5,000Wedding Photographer &Videographer$3,000Total cost of Mehendi:$39,500
This is the major wedding event, characterized by many guests and musical performances. It celebrates the official union of the bride and the groom. This is the event that racks up the price of the entire wedding because it means booking a large venue, decorating it accordingly, serving food to hundreds of people, hiring high-class entertainers, and more.
For a sangeet with 300 people, the breakdown is:
ItemsCostHotel/Food/Alcohol at $80 per head$24,000DJ/Venue Lighting & Decor/Flowers/Stage$25,000Bride’s dress, Groom’s suit, Parents’ Outfits$5,000Wedding Photographer &Videographer$4,000Total cost of Sangeet:$59,000 to $65,000
The wedding reception is the general celebration after the ceremony. This consists of toasts, entertainment, and general merriment. The breakdown for an Indian wedding reception with 300 people is:
ItemsCostHotel/Food/Alcohol at $150 per head$45,000DJ/Venue Lighting & Decor/Flowers/Stage$32,500Bride’s dress, Groom’s suit, Parents’ Outfits$5,000Wedding Photographer &Videographer$4,000Total cost of wedding reception:$85,500 to $90,000
Other Wedding Expenses
Decor — $25,000 to $75,000
Indian wedding ceremonies occur in a grand mandap or marriage stage. This is a covered structure with pillars and it serves as an altar. Usually, this is adorned with colorful and luxurious fabric.
ItemsCostMandap$5,000 to $10,000Flowers$5,000 to $10,000 per eventCenterpieces$100 to $1,000 per tableCutlery/Chairs/Art/Archways/Lobby Decor$10,000Total cost of decor:$25,000 to $75,000
Entertainment — $20,000 to $35,000
A good DJ that specializes in Indian party music, alongside the stage decor and lighting, will cost $20,000 to $35,000 for a 3-day wedding event. This cost also covers insurance, performance fees, meals, and more. You can also hire a Bollywood singer or professional comedian for $5,000 to $50,000, depending on their acts and expertise.
Professional Wedding Documentation (Photography And Videography) — $3,000 — $5,000
It’s important to hire a professional events coverage team for high-quality photos and videos. This will make your wedding memories last longer and the quality is so much better than relying on footage from the wedding guests.
Some couples only hire a photographer for pre-nuptial and actual wedding photos. If you want more detailed event coverage, you can go for both wedding photos and videos. There are different packages at a diverse range of prices. It’s often cheaper to get both the photos and videos from the same company.
Food Or Catering — $66 to $150 per head
Food is often calculated by plate. It’s not a good idea to skimp on the food because it’s one of the significant things that the guests will remember about your wedding. It’s cheaper to avail of the catering service offered by the hotel venue but you may opt for an independent caterer if you prefer their food.
Select the dishes and cuisines that your guests will appreciate. If you have no idea what to pick, you may send out a survey form alongside the wedding invitations. When guests send back their reservations, they can also tick off their food preferences.
Flights And Accommodations
An Indian wedding in America means flying in Indian relatives and spending for their hotel rooms during their stay. Since the average Indian wedding lasts for 2 to 3 days, your relatives might come in a day or two early and leave a day or two after, leaving some room for sightseeing in the foreign country.
Assuming that they’ll stay for a week, that costs $1000 to $1300 per person. The average roundtrip airfare costs $600 per person. With around $200 for food allowance for that week, that means you’ll spend roughly $2100 per person.
Indian weddings are known for their grandeur. Big weddings stretch for three days with different phases and ceremonies. The costs to accommodate 300 people will surely rack up. However, an Indian couple can still opt for smaller weddings that are significantly cheaper than the aforementioned. Numerous adjustments can be made regarding the number of ceremonies, guests, wedding location, decor quality, type of entertainment, food selection, and more.
Marisa Jenkins is a wedding planner and event coordinator. Her main goal for WeddingFrontier.com is to simplify the wedding planning process by sharing her years of expertise in the industry.