One way to go over an Indian Wedding Budget: Opportunity Cost - Alfaaz
Ascott Parc Indian Wedding

One way to go over an Indian Wedding Budget: Opportunity Cost

One way to go over an Indian wedding budget is opportunity cost. It will easily double your Indian wedding budget. This is a rather common mistake – Indian weddings are split over multiple days where different events take place. There are so many rituals and it can get hectic to perform them all in one day. Therefore, most couples planning their wedding want to space out their events. When planning your wedding, keep in mind that opportunity cost may play a big role in your wedding budget. 

What is the opportunity cost? Opportunity cost is an economics term that refers to the value of what you have to give up in order to choose something else. In a nutshell, it’s the value of the road not taken. Let’s explain what that means in terms of your wedding and wedding vendors.

Weddings are the kind of event where second best is not an option. Finding artists who have experience and expertise in Indian weddings is so important. When an Indian wedding vendor is working full time in the wedding industry, they will most likely be taking multiple bookings per weekend for the artists in their team. 

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In Canada, most Indian weddings take place between April to October. Destination weddings in Mexico, Florida and California, where weather is warmer, may take place during November to April.

During the 6 prime months for the Indian wedding season in North America, there are only 26 weekends where most of the weddings will be scheduled. Weekend slots for Hindu or Sikh weddings are usually planned as follows:

  • Friday morning ceremony and Friday night or Saturday night reception;
  • Saturday morning ceremony and Saturday night or Sunday night reception;
  • Sunday morning ceremony and Sunday night reception. 

Same-day wedding ceremony and reception is less popular than multiple-day Indian weddings. Most of the pre-wedding rituals take place during the weekdays leading up to the wedding ceremony. With limited supply of talented Indian wedding vendors and venues in North America, 20 to 25 percent of the couples are now getting married with a Thursday ceremony and Friday evening reception. This way guests have to only take Thursday off for the wedding same way as a Friday ceremony and Saturday reception wedding. 

Here is a blog that explains more on that – LINK. Here is also another popular blog which talks about your Indian wedding costs going up for the long weekend – Link

Due to the limited number of weekend dates for the Indian Canadian wedding season, most established Indian wedding artists like photographers, videographers, makeup artists, DJs, and venues have an opportunity to make income on these time slots. From our experience of 8 years, photographers and makeup artists, and even some talented videographers get booked about a year or more in advance. There are limited dates and if we are assigned to an Indian wedding project on Saturday and Sunday, we will not be able to take on more projects per team or artist.

This is where opportunity costs come into play. 

We can define opportunity cost as the loss of potential gain from other alternatives when one alternative is chosen.

It is probably a subtle inadvertent way to double the cost of your Indian wedding budget. Understanding opportunity cost will help couples avoid increasing their wedding budget inadvertently.

When planning an Indian wedding split over multiple days

Indian wedding budget

How does opportunity cost play a role in your Indian wedding budget? How does it affect Indian wedding couples? 

Case 1 : Indian Wedding split over multiple weekends 

Ascott Parc Indian Wedding

For example, if the wedding ceremony takes place on a Friday morning and the reception on the following weekend’s Saturday.

In that situation, the artists may have to let go of one booking on the 1st weekend (‘Friday morning + Saturday night’ slot) or one booking on the 2nd weekend (Friday morning + Saturday night slot) during the prime wedding season. 

The opportunity cost for this Indian Wedding – Now this Indian wedding is basically taking two slots away from the artists. Therefore the opportunity cost of serving this Indian wedding is going to be double vs serving the wedding on one single weekend. 

Case 2 : Indian Wedding split over two weekends and two cities 

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Similar situation at an Indian wedding: the Sikh or Hindu wedding is in Toronto and reception is in California on the following weekend.

In this situation, artists will have to serve the Friday wedding or Saturday wedding morning and sit ideally on the following day for a reception slot. When an artist is travelling to another city for a Saturday night reception, he or she will have the opportunity to service a Saturday morning and Sunday morning wedding slots in Toronto.

The opportunity cost for this Indian Wedding – Now this Indian wedding is basically taking not only two but three slots away from the artists during the prime wedding season. Therefore, the opportunity cost of serving this Indian wedding is going to be three times i.e. equivalent of serving three weddings in the same city.

Case 3 : Pre-wedding events for Indian wedding on the weekend before the ceremony and reception

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The wedding is on the first week of September which is the most popular long weekend in North America for Indian weddings. The pre-events of the wedding, let’s say Haldi, Sangeet or Jaggo or Pithi, is scheduled on the weekend before.

In this situation, the artist will have to serve your Indian wedding project on one weekend however the artist will have to let go another potential client requesting 16-20 hours of service in order to service your 2-4 hours of pre-wedding event on a prime Indian wedding slot. 

The opportunity cost for this Indian Wedding – The cost of this Indian project, even though it is only two to three hours of service on the weekend, is doubled. The venue could reserve a wedding on the Saturday for 500 people which is now serving only 100 people pre-wedding event, therefore not only the cost of your artists goes up but also your venue budget goes up. 

Case 4: Indian Wedding on Sunday morning and Pre-Wedding events on a Friday/Saturday morning/night.

Opportunity Cost Indian Weddings

In this situation, the artist will have to service your Hindu or Sikh wedding on Sunday morning and let go a potential client for 16-20 hours on Friday morning and Saturday evening wedding slot and also Saturday morning slot. 

The opportunity cost for this Indian Wedding – The cost of this Indian wedding can double or triple depending on when you are planning your pre-wedding events.

We always recommend in this situation to plan your pre-wedding events during the afternoon hours of 3-6pm on Friday and Saturday. Usually during these afternoon hours artists will have a break between other projects and they will not have to let go of a full wedding project in order to service your pre-wedding events.

Case 5 : Two ceremonies for the same couple on two weekend days.

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In this situation, Friday morning for Sikh Ceremony and Saturday morning for Hindu Ceremony for the same couple is planned.

Now the artist will not be able to service ‘Friday morning + Saturday night’ as well as the ‘Saturday morning + Sunday night’ weddings. Since another client would not be able to book us for only Saturday night only and Sunday night as we are not able to service their Friday or Saturday morning ceremony.

The opportunity cost for this Indian Wedding –  In this event, the opportunity cost of an Indian wedding is double as due to your project the artist would not be able to serve another project. 

Case 6 : Indian weddings with less than 10 hours of service on a weekend slot. 

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In this situation, most Indian wedding ceremonies, Hindu or Sikh, are roughly 10-11 hours of service. In the event, the client wants only 6-8 hours, the artist will have to say no to a full wedding of 10 to 24 hours potentially.

That is why most artists in the wedding industry will have minimum booking hours for a weekend opportunity. The pricing structure is also designed that way if you book an artist for 10 or 12 or even 14 hours. The difference in either of these packages pricing will be marginal since artists will not able to commit to another project for the same weekend slot 

Usually, Indian wedding photography and videography packages are set in bundles. Less than a 10-12 hours project on a weekend slot is going to cost the artist the same opportunity cost. Therefore, the cost of packages does not substantially go up or down when you increase and reduce hours of service. 

From an Indian wedding couple’s perspective, if they are hiring a photographer or videographer for 16 hours of service on a weekend and now they only need 8 hours the price should be directly half of what they paid. It may seem like simple math, however with consideration of opportunity cost, the couple is taking away an opportunity to serve a full project. 

The opportunity cost for this Indian Wedding – In this event, the cost of serving this Indian wedding is almost the same as serving a full wedding project of 16-20 hours. 

Case 7 : Indian Wedding Reception only or Ceremony Package.

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In this situation, the couple hires a different photographer for the wedding and now wants to hire your service on a prime weekend slot for reception only.

Even though Indian wedding reception package is 6 or 7 hours. The cost of booking a photographer or videographer for the prime weekend slot of the reception only is going to be almost the same as booking a photographer for 10-12 hours of weekend slot. Reason being – if an artist reserves a weekend slot for the client on Saturday evening, most likely the artist will have to let go of a complete wedding on Friday morning since they are not available for the ‘Friday morning + Saturday night’ slot for other potential bookings.

For the Indian Wedding couple perspective – say if a full package of 24 hours costs for example $7000 therefore 6 hours of service should be 1/4th the cost i.e. $1750. However, once you understand the opportunity cost concept, it’s easy to understand why the fraction of service may be only marginally less. 

The opportunity cost for this Indian Wedding – In this event, the cost of serving this Indian wedding is almost the same as serving a full wedding project of 16-20 hours. 

Now opportunity cost does not apply equitably across all vendors. For example, this concept may not apply to vendors like Dhol players or henna artists, or emcees to the same extent it may affect your wedding photographer or videographer. Also more professional and more established your vendors are, the more likely to be booked two or three wedding slots per weekend. Opportunity cost also does not affect vendors who are starting their business, in the first 2 years of business or learning their craft, since the likelihood of all three-weekend slots being booked is low for now.

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If you wonder, what if we find a vendor who only takes one wedding per weekend as they can fully focus on our project. Yes, that may sound great from a client’s perspective. However, a full-time vendor who only does one wedding per weekend will either be really expensive as they can only do boutique Indian wedding projects or the vendor will have a full-time job over the weekdays to support this business. Again, the circle continues if the vendor is doing this as a part-time gig, will they be able to give you service the same way as a full-time vendor…

A great analogy for opportunity cost is – it’s the same reason why limo service providers charge a client for the whole duration you rent the limo even though you only have the limo chauffeured for 10 percent of the time you are paying for. The same is for renting a hotel room, you book the hotel room for 2 hours or 20 hours the cost is almost the same.

Please note above some specific examples explaining opportunity cost. However, there are times when vendors are available or winter or springtime. Every case is different so please feel free to ask your vendors your wedding planning options.

We wanted to educate our clients as well as planners on what opportunity cost is and how it comes into play for Indian weddings. Hope this blog explains this concept in detail. This video explains opportunity cost in less than 3 mins very well – LINK