"I knew my outfits had to bring the presence"
A US Indian couple got married in 2022. The bride has now shared the eye-watering price of her five-day wedding, which included spending $700,000 on decor and $130,000 on catering.
Carlita Nair and her husband Sanjay Balgobin, who work in real estate, tied the knot in Orlando, Florida in December 2022.
Around 400 guests were invited to the event, which cost nearly $2 million.
The ceremony was held at the Ritz Carlton and the reception was held at the JW Marriott – both decorated with flowers and complete with unique entertainment and performances.
The pre-wedding events, such as the haldi, mehendi and sangeet, were held in Sanjay’s backyard, where a 12,000-square-foot structure was built.
Carlita said choosing locations in Florida was quite difficult due to a lack of resources for South Asian community events.
Carlita said: “There are maybe one or two fantastic South Asian wedding planners, but they were booked on our event days.”
Wanting to serve traditional food, the couple chose the Ritz Carlton because there is an Indian chef who will fly to Ritz Carlton hotels around the world to cater for Indian weddings.
She stated that the wedding had to happen indoors because of the hot Florida weather plus their outfits were heavy.
Over the five days, $700,000 was spent on decor for the wedding and reception. An extra $100,000 was spent for the pre-wedding events.
In social media videos, bright floral arrangements were seen draped from the ceiling and along the sides of the curved runway.
For the celebrations, Carlita had multiple looks.
Her wedding outfit weighed 22 kilograms and she waited five months for it to arrive, paying $9,000.
Sanjay’s outfit cost $5,000 and weighed nearly seven kilograms.
Carlita’s wedding lehenga weighed six kilograms and cost $15,000 while her white reception outfit was created by Manish Malhotra.
She said: “He’d just dropped a collection right before the wedding, so my outfit was straight off the runway with a custom blouse. It cost $21,000.”
Carlita knew there would be a lot of people in attendance and it was going to be a big event so she chose her outfits accordingly.
She continued: “I knew my outfits had to bring the presence that I needed for such a grand event.
“I spent around $38,000 in total on my outfits alone.”
Carlita’s bridal makeup was done by her longtime makeup artist, who flew out for the event from Canada.
In a TikTok video, Carlita said a lot of non-Asian people did not understand her wedding could cost so much.
Carlita admitted the event cost more than expected, claiming they received some hidden fees from their vendors that they weren’t expecting.
There were a few things included in their traditional wedding which were an extra expense but worth it.
This included the entertainment – hiring two Indian Caribbean celebrity performers, Ravi B and Savita Singh and even having LED robots that were a hit on the dance floor.
Other additions included drummers on stilts and a fire show.
“We even considered getting real-life elephants and tigers, but they were too expensive.”
“Our whole family came out to help us for our wedding, including financially, during the planning process, and with the small details.
“In Indian culture, the bride and groom often aren’t obligated to pay for the entire wedding, and cousins and aunts buy things here and there.”
A Breakdown of the Wedding
- $700,000 in total on décor
- $100,000 for the pre-wedding events
- $130,000 on catering
- $400,000 for hotel hire
- $10,000 on sound and the emcee
- $40,000 on entertainment
- $50,000 on lighting
- $30,000 for rigging
- $40,000 for a photographer
- $20,000 sound and special effects
- $15,000 videographer
- $60,000 climate controlled tent
- $31,000 for a wedding planner
- $38,000 on Carlita’s outfits
- $25,000 for hair, makeup, jewellery and turban
- $10,000 for Sanjay’s suit
- $2,000 for chauffeur driver
- $57,000 for feeding vendors and AV
- Plus extra for added entertainment, permits, live music, travel for vendors, clean up, portable bathrooms
Total: $1.9 million
Sanjay wanted to throw a grand celebration for everyone because he is an only child and has a big family.
The couple currently live with Sanjay’s parents in Florida.