7 Ways Catering Managers Can Book More Indian Weddings

Over the past few years Indian weddings have gained media attention as the Indian diaspora in the USA grows as well as the big ticket weddings. Indian wedding budgets start at $50k and reach into the millions such as this Las Vegas wedding at the Bellagio.

Venues and the media have taken notice as seen in the Washington Post, CBS News, the LA Times, the Chicago Tribune and many more major US publications.

Despite all the buzz and the fact that wedding trends change constantly, the core needs of an Indian wedding haven’t changed. That’s great news for Catering Execs at venues because of scalability. Once you learn the basics, you’re golden and you can keep building your name in this niche market segment.

{What You’ll Learn In This Article}

In this article I’m going to share the essential things to pay attention to. They’ll improve the number of leads, quality leads, and customer responsiveness and ultimately more bookings. This is part of our series:

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{Awesome Outside Catering Package}

1. Great outside catering package. The venue’s outside catering package is often one of the first interactions that couples have with a venue. After an initial call, it’s the first sales tool. Your goal is to make a great impression and motivate the client to reach out for more info or a site visit.

Make sure the outside catering package includes:

  • all fees (including service charge percentage)
  • ceremony fire and outside catering policies
  • a list of all included amenities
  • a lot of Indian weddings serve lunch after the ceremony. What are the fees?
  • hospitality room policies and costs
  • snacks before or during the ceremony?
  • number of hours of venue time included
  • make sure it’s competitive! Read our article on venue competitiveness.

ProTip: The difference between a good outside catering package and a great outside catering package is great ones are easy to read/follow.

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2. Site visits. When brides, grooms and their families visit the venue for a site visit the two photos below sum up what they’re thinking about.

A beautiful scenery and mandap/altar and imagining herself looking beautiful and sexy in a gorgeous lehenga while her groom is nearby anxious to get married….that is what’s rolling through their minds. It’s the magic.

So what are you doing to bring the magic to life?

Pink and Purple mandap setup on a beach for an outdoor Hindu wedding ceremony
Indian wedding mandap. PC: Randery Imagery

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3. Learn About Indian weddings. There’s a lot to know from the differences between Sikh, Hindu, Muslim and Jain weddings to the differences in Gujarati, Punjabi, Telugu, Pakistani and all the various Indian, South Asian cultures. Follow this blog as we continuously publish content to help you!

At the very least know about your venue’s ceremony fire, inclement weather back-up, outside catering and baraat policies.

ProTip: There’s a lot of competition when it comes to venues and couples/families will opt for venues that knowledgeable about Indian wedding customs.

Do you know which Indian weddings have a garba? In which Indian weddings does the groom wear a sehra?

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Dandia for dancing at a Gujarati garba event. PC: JSK Photography
sehra-bandi
Sehra is worn by North Indian and Punjabi grooms. PC: Arjun Mahajan Photography

4. Responsiveness. In this age of insta-info, coupled with that it’s for a wedding, couples want info pretty quickly – like within 24 hours or less.

5. Differentiate Your Venue. Point out the tangible and intangible benefits of your venue from water features to outdoor cocktail hour space to affordable pricing. Couples consider anywhere from 15-40 venues for their wedding so how is yours different?

Indian wedding at the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa, in the Rose Garden.
Outdoor ceremony space surrounded by palm trees. The white garden chairs AND the sun umbrellas come with the outside catering package. PC: Lin and Jirsa

6. Ask Questions and Listen. Get to know the couple and their family. What’s important to them?

  • Is this a destination wedding? If so, don’t they need a venue for their sangeet? mehndi and other functions?
  • Even if it’s not a destination wedding, what are they doing for the sangeet/garba?
  • Will they need a hospitality room?
  • Do they want to host a brunch the day after the wedding?
  • Where is the bride having her bridal shower?
  • What are they doing for lighting?

Hint: have you ever considered a package that includes a bridal shower?

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7. Show up…no I mean show up. 

At ShaadiShop we say “show up”. And it means more than being somewhere physically. To us, it means being  prepared.

  • Does the venue have any space availability the night before the wedding?
  • How about the morning after?
  • How much would you charge for basic ballroom perimeter uplights?
  • Cost to rent chiavari chairs through the venue vs. a decorator?
  • Cost to rent an upgraded dance floor through the venue vs. a decorator or dj?
  • Arrange a spa day for the bride and bridesmaids before the wedding.

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  • If they can rent chairs through the venue at a competitive rate, that saves them time.
  • If they can rent a dance floor through the venue at a competitive rate, that saves them time.
  • If they can get uplighting at a competitive rate that saves them time.
  • If they could arrange a spa day before the wedding it brings the bride joy.

You can say things like, “because we’re a more affordable venue you can spend more on decor. By the way, we can save you some money on a lighting package with # uplights around the ballroom which is more than plenty for the number of guests you’re planning o have. If you sign with us by the end of the month, we can include that for y% discount. 

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{Conclusion}

Catering Sales Managers that take the time to understand Indian culture and the emotional aspects of buying a wedding venue will do so much better in closing Indian weddings.

The keys to closing more Indian weddings are establishing an emotional connection,  packaging your products and services in a way that brings value to each client.

You can’t do any of this if you don’t understand Indian weddings and some aspects of Indian culture. So we recommend starting  by following our blog as well as simply Googling things like “Indian wedding”, “Punjabi wedding traditions”, etc. Once you start researching you’ll find lots of articles and links and I guarantee within an hour you’ll learn a ton!

All the best!


ShaadiShop logo

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Samta Varia Founder & CEO ShaadiShop: Indian Wedding Venues

{ShaadiShop Testimonials}

“We just booked a full Indian wedding through ShaadiShop at the Hilton Waterfront Beach Resort. In addition to the business, we appreciate the exposure ShaadiShop creates about our venue, as the couple didn’t know about our resort until ShaadiShop told them about us. Additionally, we appreciate the pre-qualification work that ShaadiShop does to match couples and venues that are a good fit for each other. We had all the info needed to conduct the initial meeting. What a great service for venues to market to the South Asian community!” Angie Florence, Catering Manager at The Waterfront Beach Resort, Huntington Beach, CA


“We’re so glad we joined ShaadiShop to market this hotel to the South Asian community in the Orange County area. Every wedding we close from their leads returns more than 3x our investment. Moreover, they pre-qualify leads and educate consumers creating a much better sales cycle for our catering team. Venues looking to reach this market, join ShaadiShop!” – Ryan Hurd, Catering Sales Manager, Wyndham Anaheim Garden Grove


“Shaadishop helped me not only find venues but also understand how they work, the fees, and tips that I wouldn’t have otherwise known. Definitely a need service in the desi community. “ Hinna S., Bride


“Cannot say enough good things about the service from Samta and ShaadiShop who helped us research venues for our wedding this year. We wanted a non-hotel venue, and to get married within 6 months. ShaadiShop immediately found us venues, contacted them and educated us about all the things we needed to think about while selecting a venue. They put all the info together in a fabulous, super impressive, spreadsheet that helped us compare venues – seriously amazing and such a great help. Working with them made the whole stressful process MUCH easier and I can’t believe it was all free! ShaadiShop’s website is fantastic and such a great service for South Asians – so glad I found them!” Anjli S., Bride


“We’re so glad we used ShaadiShop to book our venue. The info on the website is amazing and then they gave us such personalized attention! They were such a valuable resource for selecting venues, helping us understand policies and logistics. Their suggestions saved us a lot money too! They really understood us, what we wanted and helped us get it. AND it’s free! So glad there’s a service like this for South Asians. Awesome that there’s something like this for South Asians!” Janki K., Bride


“I worked with ShaadiShop to find a venue for my daughter’s wedding. The website is easy to use and has so much useful information. ShaadiShop made everything easy for me – getting quotes, suggesting venues, explaining fees and policies. Most importantly, my daughter and son-in-law are happy with the venue. ShaadiShop is a great and service for our community. I’m so glad I found them!” Charu S. Bride’s Mother

 

 

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