According to CostofWedding.com, the average cost of a wedding in the U.S. is approximately $20,000—and that’s not including the trousseau and jewelry. Indian weddings are usually three-day affairs, sometimes in multiple locations or in dual styles, so the costs add up, sometimes to the tune of half a million dollars or more.
The vendors involved in putting together a wedding are numerous—specialists in makeup, henna, flowers, mandap, food, music, lighting, photography … the list goes on. Sometime back, NRI families would head to India to hunt for or commission one-of-a-kind trousseau and jewelry items for every family member mandated to be at the mandap, even years in advance of the announcement of a wedding date.
Today, they just head to an expo.

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The organizers of the yearly South Asian Wedding Expo, Yogi Patel of Sheer Romance event planning, Yogi Patel (no relation) of Global Photography, and Sandeep Sandhu, audio-visual engineer, are hoping to repeat the success of their 2010 by registering 2,000 attendees; the booth spaces are almost sold out. Examples of vendor services include makeovers, tent rentals, specialty food, ice sculptors, dhol players, even horse/ carriage rentals.

Bride-to-be Farisha Patel, and attendee of the 2010 expo says, “The fashion show was exciting—the various styles were gorgeous! I ended up selecting the event planner, DJ, and photographer from among the vendors I visited at the expo.” She will tie the knot in June 2011. Farisha’s mother and fellow expo attendee, Hemaben Patel, adds, “We have been preparing for my daughter’s wedding for almost two years now. The expo was perfect—it gave us a feel for what could be done and the latest trends.”

Recognizing that the bride and groom have more of a say these days than the parents in the planning of weddings, DJ Kamal of Dhamaka Productions, a vendor at the expo, stresses on providing the couple “VIP service.” He says, “Couples definitely know what they want nowadays, and we make sure we deliver—be it music, dance floor or mood/ambient lighting.”

Sunday, Jan. 30, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Pacific Palms Hotel & Conference Center, 1 Industry Hills Parkway, Industry Hills. Guests must preregister: www.southasianweddingexpo.com.

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