Indian Wedding Ceremonies With an Open Flame: A Venue Guide

As more and more venues are opening their doors to Indian weddings, they have to learn about the open flame which is an integral part of any Hindu or Jain wedding ceremony. Every venue’s policy about open flames varies. In this guide we’ll share the details of things:

  • you need to know
  • things you might have to do
  • fees you might incur, associated with having a flame at your wedding ceremony.

{Indian Wedding Misperceptions}

I work exclusively with venues for Indian weddings so I have a lot of conversations about the open ceremony flame with venue staff. What I have found is that I have to always be prepared to educate venue catering staff, as there are A LOT of misperceptions about Indian weddings floating around out there.

When I was planning my wedding in Southern California a few years ago (before I started ShaadiShop), I called a venue that had recently done a few Indian weddings. I saw some of the photos and liked them so I called that venue.  The Catering Manager I spoke to had no idea that there was an open flame involved in the wedding ceremony and she said she’d have to talk to her director and get back to me about it. When I spoke to her, she told me that they don’t allow open flames at their property and that her director, “who’s done hundreds of Indian weddings” said to “just skip” that part of the ceremony.  (My reaction HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!)

Another venue suggested that I could use their fire pit for the ceremony.

The thing was that both of these venues had hosted Indian weddings before. It was just that the person whom I was talking to didn’t know anything about them. And what I realized is that most people immediately imagine a big, unruly bonfire that will burn their hotel down and it will be that Catering Manager’s fault for allowing it.

So I don’t say “open flame” anymore. Now I say, small contained fire. I also never assume that just because a venue has hosted Indian weddings before, that they know about the fire. Also because I don’t know what type of Indian wedding they’ve hosted: Sikh?, nikah?, Hindi?, Jain? We all get put into the same bucket.

I have had to correct catering managers more than once when they bucket Middle Eastern weddings with Indian weddings too.

Anyways the point is, when you go on your venue site visits (if you didn’t work with me to find your venue) then don’t assume the catering manager knows the ceremony flame.

{Outdoor vs. Indoor Ceremony Flames}

For outdoor venue spaces, the open ceremony flame is not really a big deal; meaning that venues are fine with it and there aren’t any policies and restrictions. Once they realize or (if they already know) that it’s a small contained flame then they are fine. It also helps when they realize that the fire part of the Hindi or Jain wedding ceremony is only about 10 minutes out of the whole thing.

So, when the ceremony is taking place outdoors it makes things a lot easier for venues. And often couples like having their wedding outdoors, especially in places like California. But for those that don’t want an outdoor ceremony, no worries. I’ve detailed everything you need to know below:

Fire permit – some venues require you to get a fire permit from the city where the event is being held. You’ll find a link in the “permit” section, for each venue that requires, it on ShaadiShop’s main website. Every city has different requirements and fees to get the permit. Apply for permits ASAP. You never know how long it will take.

Fire watch – in addition to the fire permit, some venues may require a fire watch at the wedding ceremony. All this means is that someone from the venue will be overseeing the ceremony and have a fire extinguisher at the ready…just in case. This is a precaution – I’ve never heard of anyone ever having an issue. Venues do charge for this though since it’s additional labor. Expect to pay anywhere from $200-$400 for this.

Size restrictions – some venues impose restrictions on how big the flame can be i.e. it can’t exceed the top of the container.

Talk over your venue’s policies with your officiant to make sure everyone is on the same page. Most Maharaj’s are familiar with these policies and have no issues. 

{Take Aways}

I hope this guide has helped you understand some policies and fees you might face to have an indoor Hindu wedding with an contained, open flame. I work with venues to help them understand this and create Indian friendly policies so that they can be attractive venues to our community. Refer to ShaadiShop to see which venues allow  ceremony flame indoors or not and links to city fire departments where you can obtain a fire permit if you need one.

Did this article help you? Let me know in the comments. And follow ShaadiShop on Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram so you can see our latest guides and tips.

Congratulations on your upcoming wedding! 🙂

Samta Varia
Founder & CEO
ShaadiShop: Indian Wedding Venues

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Cover image: Wedding Documentary