Indian Wedding Cost in USA | Ultimate Guide | 2021-2022
Updated: Aug 6
I have spoken to thousands of South Asian couples after they got engaged and the obvious question on everyone's mind is "How much is this whole wedding thing going to cost?" So I put together this guide for our America based Indian bride and grooms (or parents) and figured you would benefit.
So how much does an Indian Wedding cost in the United States? The average cost of an Indian wedding in the USA is between $225,000 and $285,0000. This is for a wedding of 300 people in a major metro like Los Angeles, Chicago, New Jersey, Houston and so on.
Most articles and existing information online will give you figures like "shaadi cost is between $50,000 and $500,000."
Well that's not too helpful is it?
The major cost components of an Indian wedding are:
and F&B which are illustrated below.
Combine that with your guest count and location, you'll be able to quickly figure out where on the spectrum you'll end up.
Additionally, in this post I'm going to give you some pricing estimates and guidelines on the average cost of a Big Fat Indian wedding in North America, in dollars, for the ENTIRE 2-3 day function, as well as per day and per vendor.
HINT: It's not cheap.
Even in India, you can do a small local wedding for $500, or do a big crazy one for a million dollars.
I plan, consult, audit and DJ Indian weddings every week and have seen hundreds (if not thousands) of hotel contracts, decorator bills, photographer estimates and much more. If you have questions comment them below and I will answer the first ten in detail!
1. Assumptions that we'll make on guest count, decorations, and type of Big Fat Wedding.
2. Primer on Hotels so you know the lingo. (e.g. F&B means food and beverage)
3. TOTAL INDIAN WEDDING COST again with more considerations so You Have time to Breathe.
4. Indian Wedding Cost Breakdown by Event (Sangeet/Mehendi/Ceremony/Reception)
5. Indian Wedding Cost by Vendor Infographic (Hotel/Decorator/Entertainment)
6. Notes & Extra Points to Consider
Indian weddings often times have the budget of a small business, so it's important we plan them properly so that everyone's expectations are set and they're no last minute surprises.
Society will audit mom and pop shops, so we started auditing Indian weddings because the average luxury Gujarati or Punjabi or Pakistani wedding wastes at least $10,000 on things that aren't required. You get so caught up in the overall expense you let things slide and only regret them later.
You ready to talk shaadi pricing? Lets go!
1. Big Fat Indian Wedding Costing Assumptions:
Guests: 300 People
Hotel Class: 4.5 to 5 Star and above (Hyatt, Hilton, Ritz Carlton, JW Marriott, New Jersey Sheraton, Golf Course, Pelican Hill etc...)
Are you paying for all the guest's hotel rooms, flights, etc..?: NO
Financial Demographic: Middle class indian wedding tier (e.g. one or both partners working in a corporate) or sponsored by parents.
Buffet: Non Veg plus Veg and Indian plus Western cusine.
Prices: An elite hotel, a in-demand DJ or a Celebrity Photographer or Decorator may charge higher than you see here. And of course costs fluctuate based on season, location, etc... But these prices are what you would pay a professional who does this for a living during wedding season.
Style: I'll assume you're a middle class family and not trying to go crazy Beyonce Ambani wedding. But yes we also see million dollar golf course weddings all the time.
2. Hotel 101 for Negotiating Indian Weddings | (BALLROOM AND VENUE, FOOD, ALCOHOL, LODGING)
Most hotels agree to give you the ballroom and all power/technical requirements/setup time as long as you hit the minimum revenue (e.g. Food and Alcohol).
Obviously they're a million caveats here, but for 300 people, a Hyatt type of hotel near LAX in California would charge you about $80-$150 per plate per event.
The Ritz Carlton in San Francisco overlooking the ocean would probably be closer to $200-$250 per guest, per event. Ditto for Pelican Hill in Newport Beach, California. Remember, this is for food, venue and alcohol per guest, per event.
Tip 1: If you want your favorite Indian restaurant to cater, whatever you save on their prices will also get eaten up by the hotel telling you to pay for your caterer to use their kitchen. (Yes it's standard).
It's better if you find a hotel that has a good Indian catering team in-house.
The majority of your Desi wedding cost will go into your Hotel which is also the venue and food and liquor.
The hotel will likely be where you host your wedding ceremony, your Sangeet and your wedding reception.
HOW TO SAVE MONEY ON A INDIAN WEDDING HOTEL (#1 tip in this article I wrote: Ask your hotel for more freebies (e.g. extra room for florist, free breakfasts for guests, late checkout) than trying to keep decreasing prices.
Tip 2: If you're having a Punjabi or a Gujarati wedding or South Indian wedding without alcohol, then you can take out 20% from the figures below. Or you can reduce the cost (and give guests some variety) by having the mehendi or garba elsewhere, or keep some guests at another hotel, get a family friend to emcee, those are also ways to reduce, etc..)
3. How much does an Indian wedding cost in the USA?
California: Around $275,000 to $400,000
Kansas: Around $100,000 to $150,000
New York City: Around $300,000 to $800,000
New York Suburb: Around $300,000
New Jersey: Around $260,000
Texas: Around $125,000 to $175,000
Before we go on...let me remind you:
1. Does bigger luxury wedding mean better? Of course not.
2. Have I seen weddings done for less? All the time.
3. Should your families have a big wedding if it's going to cause undo stress? No, it's a celebration not a sad time!
Back of the Napkin Calculations (FULL Details below)
Photographer for 2-3 events: $15,000
Decorator for all functions: $40,000
Food/Alcohol/Hotel Ballrooms for 300 people for 3 events: $100,000
Miscellaneous Hotel Rooms for close family/friends: $10,000
New Clothing for bride/groom and their parents: $10,000 across 5 changes.
Miscellaneous Expense: $10,000-?? (e.g. Flight tickets, gifts, jewelry, LED Walls, live singer, band, comedian, backup venue, shuttles, horse for baraat at Hindu weddings, celebrity appearance, etc...)
4. DETAILED WEDDING COST BREAKDOWN BY EVENT
HOW MUCH IS THE SANGEET?
Alcohol and DJ Only (no live band)