Indian weddings are lavish and grand and so is the wedding cost. With the growing inflation and costs of Indian weddings, more and more couples are wondering how they can reduce the expenses of their Indian wedding. This blog post talks about what has worked for couples in our experience.
The average Indian wedding in North America costs between $75,000 to $150,000, which can be a lot of money, especially for couples who are paying for their wedding right after college or in the early stages of their working lives. Even if couples have the money to pay for their wedding, do they need to have a grand wedding, trying to please half of the guests they have never met before?
If you are planning a wedding and wondering how to save costs, here are some things we think may help:
1. Cut down the guest count
- Guest count – Trust us, trimming the guest list is one of the easiest and most difficult ways to cut Indian wedding costs. Indian Sikh or Hindu weddings have multiple events, and costs can easily add up when you are inviting a big guest list for each of these events.
Reception costs per guest for Indian weddings for food and an open bar alone can be roughly $65 to $150 based on the city you are in and how luxurious your venue is. Once you add up the cost of the venue and other factors depending on the number of guests, the cost per guest can add up quickly.
It might be a tough decision about who to trim from the list. Indian culture is very mindful of society, and things like “What will THEY SAY if they don’t invite this or that person?” is a common things we hear all the time.
Some people will never understand if you do not invite them to the wedding, but if they do not understand that couples are constrained while planning a wedding, those people will understand better when they have a family wedding to plan.
It’s okay that your parents or family were invited to a wedding, but you are not inviting this person or family back at your wedding. There could be various reasons like your families are not close anymore, you may have moved to a different area or city, and you have not stayed in touch for a really long time.
With so many wedding invites sent to each family every year, some families might not want to attend a wedding and be obligated to take time off work to be part of your wedding. Attending a wedding can be a cost for guests as well. There is a thing called wedding fatigue during the wedding season, especially when guests are tired of attending weddings, so you might be doing a favor to some guests by not inviting them.
2. Split Guests into Multiple Events
Indian weddings usually have multiple events like Sangeet, Cocktail night, Garba Night or Engagement Party.You can always split your guests into multiple Indian wedding events. Usually, the Sangeet night is on a weekday evening, and your venue may be cheaper than your reception night. Usually, the reception night is the most elaborate of them all, so the cost per guest is much higher.
We have attended weddings where not due to cost constraints, only the bride and groom did split their colleagues and their parents’ friends circle to a cocktail night or Sangeet night only. That way, they were able to keep their wedding reception more intimate.
Advantage – If you are looking for more boutique venues, they may not even be able to accommodate more than 200 guests, which is hard for Indian wedding receptions. Having a smaller guest list will open doors to unique venues which were not possible with a big guest count.
3. Planning a weekday wedding
Opportunity cost in the wedding industry plays a major role. Weekends are the prime time, and wedding receptions on Saturdays are considerably more expensive, about $20-40 per guest. There are creative ways to plan a Thursday Hindu or Sikh wedding and Friday reception which may save you an extra $8-10K. That way, your guests will still have to take a day off, only the same way as a Friday-Saturday wedding. We have a full blog on weekday weddings, and here is the link which might help you consider those options. Here is a link to weekday Indian weddings – Link
4 The fewer events, the better it is
Indian weddings are known as multi-day events, and we have had brides split their Choora, Mahiya, Jaggo, Chuni, and Mendhi into multiple events running out every day. The more events you compile together, the more you will save on photo video, makeup, clothing, and jewelry costs. All in all, it does get very hectic for brides and their families, as well as planning a week-long wedding schedule.
5. Intimate Pre-events
Pre-wedding costs can easily climb up if you are planning an event each day. You can also keep events like Choora and Mendhi more intimate with close family, so there are fewer guests to cater for. We have seen pre-events with over 400 people and which again shoots up the cost of your wedding.
6. Being mindful
Have a rough wedding budget that will help you plan accordingly and keep realistic numbers in mind. You will know what is important to you and where to invest. A lot of couples we talk to believe that after the wedding, photos are the most important way to relive their wedding memories, so they may trim the budget on other vendors. We are sure some couples might believe that they want the best decorators or the best caterers to serve their guests. Know what is your value.
Trust us, there are some things in the wedding industry that are totally unnecessary, but that is the decision you can take based on what is important for you as a couple. Here is another article from Maharani Weddings on budgeting – Link
There is no end to how luxurious your wedding can be. We have photographed a wedding in the US, where the fresh flowers budget was $600K, and the overall decor budget was $1.2 million dollars. On the other hand, we have photographed weddings where even though the parents were willing to pay for the reception, the groom and bride decided to buy a house instead of throwing a wedding reception.
We hope that this blog was helpful. Again, our goal is to help couples make better decisions and find what works for each couple. If we have offended any vendor or any individual while sharing our opinion, we apologize in advance. Here is a list of couple wedding budgets and temples you can find online to plan your Indian wedding. Here is another blog that talks about why photographers cost what they cost – Link