What to Ask Your Maharaj (Wedding Officiant) for an Indoor Ceremony Flame at an Indian Wedding Venue
In my work helping couples find their wedding venue, for Hindu and Jain ceremonies, the ceremony flame pretty much always comes up. Some venues allow the indoor ceremony flame, others don’t, and some allow it with some restrictions and fees.
Even venues that have held Hindu and Jain ceremonies many times before, still want these questions answered by your Maharaj/Pandit:
1. What fuels the fire?
2. Provide a photo of the vessel in which it will be contained.
3. The length of the fire portion of the ceremony.
4. How far above the top of the vessel will the fire get?
5. Will it get big enough to set off the fire alarm?
6. How is the fire extinguished afterwards?
What I have found is that the key to getting a venue to allow the ceremony flame is about two things:
allaying their fears and worries
It’s hard for us to believe that most of the time (not sometimes…most of the time) when people hear wedding ceremony flame they’re thinking is this:
A huge ass fire that’s gonna get out of control and burn the whole property down and potentially hurt lots of people and it’ll be all the Catering Manager’s fault, which lead to him or her getting fired and then having to go into a totally different industry because he or she will never be able to work in hospitality ever again. Literally…that’s where their minds go when they hear open ceremony flame. Their minds do not go to the reality which is pictured below, a totally manageable small flame.
Over the last two decades Indian weddings have gone to being some obscure thing to coveted business for venues, decorators and wedding planners; attending one is on many people’s bucket list, to being featured on popular TV shows. Remember this from New Girl? Despite how much Indian weddings have permeated pop culture, they’re still a lot more education and work to do.
Part of my work is opening the doors of venues to Indian weddings. And a major component of that is educating the venue staff and management about Indian weddings in general and often helping them overcome their pre-conceived notions. Once I contacted a venue to ask them about opening their doors to Indian weddings. And the manager said to me, “Well we can’t have fires and wild animals running around our property”.
This is what some people think happens at Indian weddings. So keep that in mind when you’re talking with the venue’s staff. My advice? Ask them (nicely) about their familiarity with Indian weddings. And if they’re not that familiar then start off with the things they need to hear: the ceremony flame is small, it’s only about 10-15 of the 1.5 hour ceremony, and this is being done at major hotels across the country.
I recommend saying those things first, otherwise anything you say just isn’t going to land. To be clear, the worries mostly apply to venues where you’re doing an indoor ceremony. Outdoor ceremonies are a concern too but at least outside there’s not as much worry about setting off the fire alarm.
If you’re not working with us in your venue search and haven’t referred to this info on the ShaadiShop website, I always recommend everyone who plans to have a ceremony flame, to understand the venue’s policies about this. Even if you’re going to have an outdoor ceremony and even if it’s going to be during the summer, make sure you understand the venue’s policies in case your ceremony has to be moved indoors. I have personally witnessed weddings during July in Southern California that had to be moved indoors because of a fluke storm…no one would ever had expected that!
understand your venue’spolicies about indoor ceremony flames…even if you’re planning an outdoor wedding ceremony.
to be thorough, find out the answers to the above questions, in writing, from your Maharaj/Pandit.