It’s no surprise that the big fat Indian wedding is one of the most significant expenditures incurred by Indian families. In the case of the upper-middle-class wedding cost, banquet weddings scale up to anywhere between Rs. 25 and 70 lakhs. How does the expense of one ceremony reach such large amounts? Here’s the cost breakdown for a typical Indian upper middle-class wedding.
A significant chunk of wedding expenses is based on the venue selected. These venues are large open spaces that might come furnished or unfurnished. Hence, the cost breakdown varies. Booking a banquet hall or a hotel for a single day event can cost anywhere between Rs. 1 lakh to Rs. 2 lakh. In addition, paying for a traditional three-day ceremony chalks up to about Rs. 6-10 lakh1. Each ceremony involves its own apparel, decorations, and venue.
The next massive expense is catering. Upper-middle-class wedding costs are high as they tend to offer a variety of cuisines like Indian, Italian, Chinese, and Mediterranean.Food and drinks can cost a cumulative of Rs. 5 lakhs, depending upon the number of guests. In addition to the venue, decorations contribute to another 10% of the wedding costs, falling anywhere between Rs. 2.5 lakhs and Rs. 5 lakhs.
Next, hiring professional photographers and videographers is a standard cost incurred by every family to capture memories from their precious wedding day. Certain families hire around 10 to 15 photographers and videographers for the entire ceremony lasting three days. Some families choose to capture the event in the form of a movie with fancy photoshoots, behind-the-scenes footage, and production costs. Hence, with this cost breakdown, filmography costs close to Rs 1 lakh2.
Outfits and jewelry are incredibly crucial during weddings. Hence, upper-middle-class wedding costs are unsurprisingly high. Designer jewelry is estimated to cost between 3 lakhs to 5 lakhs. The bride’s wedding sari alone - often embellished with precious stones- can be priced at Rs 50,000 with the groom’s attire following up at Rs. 30,0003.
Indian weddings are famous for their disco dance parties. While some venues such as banquet halls provide a disco dance floor, the families are often responsible for hiring a DJ for the night. DJs work long hours up to 10 hours a night, sometimes- and typically charge by the hour. The expenses for a DJ and tent house can scale up to Rs. 5 lakhs4.
One unanticipated cost is that of wedding invitations. Indian wedding invites emphasize style, and are rarely minimal or inexpensive. Some families indulge in sending out Indian sweets or chocolates with each invite. The cost breakdown is as follows: a fancy invitation goes up to Rs. 1 lakhs while delivering the invites is another Rs. 1 lakh5.
Another added cost is Rs. 3 lakhs for the transportation6 of guests and extended families to and from the venue. The upper-middle-class wedding cost skyrockets when families hold weddings in exotic locations like Goa, Bali, and Bora Bora, to name a few. Booking flight tickets, accommodations, and transportation can add up significantly.
Even with the general costs of a typical Indian wedding covered, there will always be additional expenses that cannot be anticipated. Booking makeup artists, havan pandits, and having emergency first aid preparations are essential. Yet most articles on weddings do not provide the cost breakdown of such expenditures. A simple rule-of-thumb is that the cost you arrive at will still be significantly short of the actual cost of the wedding.
These expenses are evidence for the fact that weddings cost Indian families a small fortune. Hence, families need to begin planning well in advance when it comes to financing a wedding. Taking loans is a common way to fund weddings. Another option is making use of the assets that have been collected through insurance plans over the years. Browse PNB Metlife’s website to know more about the various Life Insurance and Term Insurance Plans offered.
In conclusion, while this cost breakdown suggests that weddings are expensive, it is possible to save significantly on the costs. Based on the family’s priorities, an Indian wedding can be lush and ornate or modest and homely. By altering simple traditions like keeping the marriage at a temple, renting the wedding saris and jewelry, and keeping the guest list minimal, one can significantly reduce the overall expenditure.
*Tax benefits are subject to conditions and other provisions of the Indian tax laws and are subject to amendments made thereto from time to time.
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