How a Venue Lost a $40k Indian Wedding in One Phone Call

While planning her wedding, (pre-ShaadiShop), a bride did what all brides do – called venues one-by-one to find out if they could accommodate a South Asian wedding.

Photo: NST Pictures

One particular bride was on the phone with a Catering Sales Manager at a hotel with a world-recognized brand, located in a major U.S. city and asked the manager about the hotel’s open flame policy – as an open flame is needed for many South Asian weddings.

It was clear from the Catering Manager’s reaction, “you want to have a fire at your wedding?” that she had no knowledge of South Asian weddings – and that’s actually ok. This bride expected that she might have to educate some venues about the cultural customs.

However this Catering Manager’s tone was sarcastic and loaded. The bride answered the sarcastic question, “yes” and quickly followed up with “the fire is a tradition as part of the wedding ceremony.” The Catering Manager didn’t ask any follow up questions and came across closed-minded to the idea – she said they usually don’t allow open fires and that she’d have to talk to her manager about it.

Three {business} days later when the bride hadn’t heard back, she called again and later that day received this voicemail from that same Catering Manager, in an unpleasant and loaded tone, “I spoke to our Catering Director, who’s done hundreds of Indian weddings, and she said that you can just skip the fire part of the ceremony. We don’t allow any open flames at this property and that part of the ceremony isn’t really necessary anyway so most couples just skip it”. 

Jaw drop. Seriously? Their ignorance and cultural insensitivity was blaring.

Her total wedding budget was $110k and she was ready to spend $40k at the venue. She took her wedding elsewhere as she knew there was no shortage of beautiful venues, that are experienced and would be open to hosting it.


Samta Varia is the Founder of ShaadiShop, a marketplace website where venues directly market to the South Asian community and consumers get personalized help throughout their venue booking process. They have closed over $2MM for venues in 2 years.

ShaadiShop logoDiscover & Book South Asian-friendly Wedding Venues

cover image: Lin and Jirsa

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s