Indian Wedding Details That Differentiate Venues

Updated March 2020 

When you’re researching venues for an Indian wedding, you’re probably looking into anywhere from 5 to 30 venues and across a large region, such as Southern California which spans over 200 miles from Santa Barbara to San Diego.

Venues can start to blur and appear the same, an many venue packages are similar. They pretty much all offer:

  • ceremony venue 
  • reception venue
  • ceremony amenities: chairs, stage, sound system, water station, gift table and other tables
  • reception amenities: tables, chairs, linens, china, flatware, glassware, stage, dance floor, buffet tables and other tables, chafing dishes, servers.

{So How Do You Compare Venues and Differentiate Them Aside From Fees?}

Well first, there’s the obvious – which venues you like best in terms of the overall look and layout of the venue and the:

front entrance
ceremony space
reception space

Then there are subtle details that will help you understand value you’re getting for your dollar. Start with the reception package. What does it really include?

{Room For the Couple The Night Of the Reception}

Most venues include 1 room for the couple, the night of the reception but there are some that don’t. Some venues include a suite. Still others, don’t even include a room, and then there are those that include two rooms the night before the wedding and a suite for the night of the wedding. Then there are venues that include the rooms for the couple AND two additional rooms for each set of parents for two nights as well. 

What do most South Asians need?
Most couples need two rooms the night before the wedding and one room the night-of the wedding (of course it’d be nice if this was  suite). Additionally most need two rooms for two nights for the parents. There are VERY few venues that offer this already included in their package. It’s most likely going to be something to ask for/negotiate.

{Soft Drinks Included}

Some venues include unlimited soda during cocktail hour and dinner service. For couples that are looking to keep their costs down this can be a great savings. One soft drink costs anywhere from $5-$10 per drink depending on the venue.

If the venue includes soda, don’t forget to look into how the soft drinks are served. Some venues setup a self service station. Some venues place pitchers on each table. And at other venues soft drinks are served at the bar just like any other drink.

{Chairs}

Most venues include chairs for the ceremony and reception. The type of chairs varies for indoor and outdoor events. Take a look at the chairs and whether you’d like to use them. If you don’t you’re welcome to rent chairs, but that is an additional cost of anywhere from $5-$15 per chair (pricing varies based on the type of chair). And if you’re having 350 guests, that’s anywhere from $1750 to $5250 in additional cost – something to keep in mind.

For outdoor ceremonies most venues setup white folding chairs pictured below. They will provide the chairs setup and tear down.

ProTip: Also make sure to verify the number of chairs. Somewhat oddly, there are some venues that don’t have inventory of the number of chairs of their capacity. They will make up the difference with a combo of the chairs they do have.

White folding chairs setup theater style for an Indian wedding ceremony in San Diego, California. Venues provide the chairs, setup and tear down after the ceremony.

For indoor ceremonies and receptions, most venues have what they call, their standard banquet chairs. These vary at every venue in terms of style and color but the chairs below are a very typical looking standard banquet chair. For most Indian weddings, couples opt to rent alternative chairs.

And a handful of venues have started including chiavari chairs in their package – not many, but a few. You might be wondering why more venues don’t keep chiavari and other more celebration-friendly chairs in house and there are two reasons: 1. storing that many chairs requires a lot of space. 2. These chairs are sturdy and built to withstand the wear and tear from being stacked, moved, and sat on over and over for everything from business to social events.

Chiavari and other chairs are more delicate – thus they scratch and break easier.

As a side note and point of interest, the venue’s white folding chairs and standard banquet chairs tend to be more comfortable than chiavari chairs (pictured below).

These are the chairs that come with reception packages. You’re welcome to rent and bring in other chairs.
Chiavari chairs are decorative and look beautiful. They come in a variety of colors and usually cost anywhere from $5-$10 per chair. Photo: Lin & Jirsa Photography

{Guest Parking}

Hosting parking for your guests is a very nice gesture. Some venues include complimentary event parking in their package; others don’t, especially if the venue is a valet-only property.  Look at the reception package to see what is offered at the venues you’re interested in. If you don’t plan to host parking and it’s included in the package, ask your Catering Manager about it. Sometimes it’s included as an amenity and the cost is built into the package. Thus if you remove it, it may be something to negotiate. 

{Dance Floor}

Most venues include a wood, parquet dance floor in their wedding reception package. VERY few include the coveted white dance floor. But there are a handful that do. So that is something to be on the lookout for when you compare venues.

Indian wedding reception, Bollywood dance wearing a lehenga
Most venues include a wood, parquet dance floor in their reception package. But there are some that include the highly sought after white dance floor. Photo: Global Photography

{Linens, China, Flatware, Glassware}

Pretty much every hotel includes linen, china, flatware and glassware in their outside catering lunch and reception packages. But still, we always recommend to verify. Where venues vary is in the colors and number of options of linens that you can select from. And they may also offer a few different ways to tie and display napkins and setup the table scape. Most venues only have one set of glassware, flatware, and china.

This is not the case at some banquet hall and other non-hotel venues. We know a couple that was completely blind sided by this, the week before their wedding when they discovered that their banquet hall venue did not include china, flatware, and glassware and were charging an additional $1500 for it.

Most venues do not include charger plates. Charger plates are the decorative plates placed underneath the dinner plate. At most Indian weddings, which have a buffet style dinner the dinner plates are stacked at the buffet.

The hotel provides tables, standard banquet chairs, linen, china, glassware and flatware. Charger plates and other decor are not usually included in the Outside Catering Package. Photo: Harvard Photography

{Stage for the Ceremony and Reception}

Similarly, pretty much every hotel venue includes the stage and skirting for the stage, for your wedding ceremony and reception. This is not necessarily the case at non-hotel venues such as golf clubs and banquet halls, so we recommend you look into this. And if it’s not listed an an amenity, ask about it.

In this photo, you can the sweetheart stage as well as the skirting, covering the stage which are provided by the venue. The venue may offer a few different colors for the skirting such as white, ivory, and black. Your decorator sets up the furniture and decor on top. Not every venue includes the stage and skirting for the ceremony, nor reception. Photo: AJ Studios
At this wedding, the couple worked with their decorator to bring in their own stage that didn’t require skirting.

{Venue Catering Manager: Sales AND Service?}

Venues – resort and hotel venues each have different ways of managing their accounts. At some hotel and resort venues they have a sales team and a separate operations team.

The impact on you and your Indian or South Asian wedding is that once you sign the contract you’re no longer going to work with that salesperson anymore. Someone in the banquet operations department will be your new point person.

Some couples are blindsided by this, as they built rapport and a bond with their salesperson who was often an integral reason why they went with that venue in the first place!

Couples find a certain comfort and peace of mind when the salesperson is with them through the entire process and is staffed there that day/weekend as well.

{Catering Attendant}

Higher end venues may offer a month-of coordinator as well as a dedicated catering attendant, which is someone whose role is to liaise with the caterer the month-of and day-of your wedding. This is a nice service, as food and drink are such important aspects of any Indian wedding. Having the peace of mind in knowing that there’s someone whose sole job is to run this operation, working closely with the caterer, is really nice.

For other types of venues such as golf clubs and banquet halls, their catering department is often comprised of only 1 or 2 people so they will be there the day of your event as well.

{Day or Month-of Coordinator}

Some (few) venues include a coordinator the month-of your wedding. Most Indian weddings have a day-of coordinator so this is either redundant or a replacement for bringing in your own coordinator. If you’re planning to bring in your own coordinator then negotiate the venue’s coordinator fee out of their fees.

For some couples the month-of coordinator is a great value-add as from what we’ve seen their fee is a lot less than bringing in an outside coordinator.

{Lighting}

Hotel and resort venues have some lighting and audio visual capability in-house. Some venues include a basic lighting package in their reception package.

Indian wedding reception ballroom at Hotel Irvine
In this photo you can see the swirly patterned lights around the perimeter of the room and the blue up-lights, as well. Photo: Global Photography

Other Things to Consider When Comparing Venues

{Private Drive for Baraat}

Some venues have a private drive for the baraat. Resorts host the baraat ‘inside’ the grounds of the venue. Many non-resort venues host the baraat in front of the venue, often in the parking area leading to the valet, porte cochere and front of the venue. Every venue and couple is different in terms of with preferences and wedding vision.

When you’re comparing venues think about how much having a private drive matters to you and whether or not you’re willing to pay a premium for that and if so, how much.

{Fun Place to Watch the Baraat}

On your wedding day, you want to watch the baraat arrive. And it’s even better if there’s a really good place for you to do that.

Bridesmaids watching the baraat! Photo: Wedding Documentary Photo + Video
We love this photo of the bride watching the baraat. Photo: Lin & Jirsa Photography

{Hotel Rooms and Room Block}

If you’re looking at hotel and resort venues, how are the hotel rooms and the room block policies? Will your guests be comfortable? Do you like the rooms?

{Take Aways}

When you’re comparing venues, look beyond price but also at the amenities. Additionally look closely at the value – to you and your families – of each of the amenities. Some value the chiavari chairs and extra room nights whereas some like the dedicated Catering Attendant. Don’t forget also that everything is negotiable and don’t be afraid to ask for amenities and services. Don’t expect amenities and services for free, but venues will work with you to customize their offerings for you.


We hope this article has been helpful to you. If it has, please let me know in the comments; and you might like to follow us on FacebookInstagram, and Pinterest – whatever your preferred media is, as we frequently publish articles to help make  planning an Indian wedding just a little bit easier.


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