How Much is Entertainment at an Indian Wedding in 2023?
Updated: Sep 3, 2022
Ajay Manaktala is a DJ, event planner and consultant for Big Fat Indian weddings all over the world. He knows the ins and outs of your special day. In today's post he breaks down the average cost of a DJ, MC, Dancers, Bollywood Singers and more for a Big Fat Indian wedding in America or other western country.
DJ Please Don't Stop the Music!
Are you curious how much to pay a DJ, a live band, a stand up comedian, an emcee a Bollywood act, a Punjabi rapper...or even John Legend for your Indian wedding?
Well here is a start.
All prices are in USD.
Obviously in India/Thailand/elsewhere prices can vary about 20-40%.
How much is Indian Wedding Band or Entertainment?
1. Live Band - $8000 to $25,000 (Just the Fee to perform, not the sound/lighting/stage/travel/hotel/breakfast/expenses.)
Folks like Vidya Vox or Bryden and Parth are all popular on youTube for their mashups of Bollywood meats Hollywood which is perfect for a Sangeet or Indian wedding reception.
Additionally you can get amazing flute players and other folks who have been on Indian reality shows and more.
Expect to pay around $10000 for the 5 member band and two singers for a 2 hour set.
Travel depending on their location and yours can run another 40 percent as they'll likely travel with a manager and sound technician.
2. Bollywood Act - $40,000 to $500,000
Whether you want Honey Singh or Badshah or Neha Kakkar or even Shaukh Khan/Salman Khan to come and give a toast, expect to shell out the range above plus another 20-30 percent on expenses.
3. DJ and Lighting - $5000 to $30,000
Depending on your sound and lighting requirements, the number of events, the specific DJ, number of people...you can hire a DJ to simply show up with his mixer and play the two to three events or you can hire a package for your entire 2-3 day affair.
A normal DJ will charge $1500 to $5000 just for his/her fee and then adjust accordingly for all the extra sound/stage/lighting you need.
Also ask about Dhol Player packages with your DJ for extra savings.
4. Stand Up Comedians - $1000-$10000
Indian comedians have become huge in the last few years and some even emcee.
If you have a diverse group of people and are worried about living up the event (and don't want too many of your own speeches), this is a good option.
Again, add travel and expenses (which are generally much lower for bands).
5. Hollywood Singer - (e.g. John Legend, Sherryl Crow, etc..) - $25,000 to $500,000
I'm sure Beyonce isn't in the cards (she was 5M or more USD) but major singers who are popular for wedding functions would play a 40 to one hour long set in the range above.
We've seen R&B bands like 112, John Legend, the back street boys and more play at private functions.
The above is obviously a range, but it's important to remember that most artists prefer to play public functions rather than private events, so the costs for high profile artists will vary accordingly. When hiring Bollywood/Hollywood expect to pay.
However when hiring cover bands, comedians, DJs and so on they're pretty much used to working in the wedding industry so feel free to negotiate and discuss openly.
PRO TIP: If you contact your favorite artist and their manager keeps chasing you for a confirmation, don't be afraid to negotiate. If they really did have "another enquiry on that date so hurry up", they wouldn't care if you confirmed or not because they got the other date locked. However more often than not they want to confirm it so you have some bargaining power to close the deal.
HOW TO SAVE MONEY ON YOUR WEDDING ENTERTAINMENT?
You'll definitely need a DJ and lighting if your wedding is above 100 people, but aside from that you can think about:
1. Having one of your friends MC (make sure they're ready to and don't get drunk/disappear, otherwise your DJ will not bring an MC)
2. Find a local band you saw in Vegas or on vacation somewhere, and pay them a basic rate but try to find them work in the future. (But don't flake on that promise).
3. Ask a few of your friends who sing, to sing.
4. Take out live music from your wedding ceremony (most weddings don't need the live flute guy, but it's a nice touch if you can afford it).
5. If you're having a Gujarati wedding, have a Garba!
As I always say, the more money you spend does not mean better wedding.
But if you also cut too many corners, you will notice when the ballroom feels empty without the walls lit or the DJ simply plays the music and your friend is nowhere to be found to do the grand entrance announcement.
That being said, since you're busy and got 100 other things to do, we do have a full list of hacks that REALLY make weddings be priceless memories that don't break the bank.
It's going to be awesome regardless and we wish you the best!
And for our America or West Coast readers, do contact us anytime for a quote for DJ and Lighting or anything wedding related!