Venue Topline Revenue vs. Bottomline Profit With Outside Catered Indian Weddings


Thirty years ago, the majority of venues did not allow Indian weddings on property for two reasons: the open ceremony flame and outside catering. Today Indian weddings are one of the most sought after niche markets by hotels, resorts, banquet halls and other venues. 

Especially in this climate as several hotels are experiencing lower sleeping room occupancy, partly due to a decline in international tourism to the United States and partly due to reductions in business travel as more and more business is conducted remotely. 

Now is a great time to focus efforts on attracting catering business. The economy and the US dollar are strong which means consumers are spending on weddings and other social events.

Most (not all, but most) venues have overcome the ceremony fire and other obstacles in hosting Indian weddings. The main barrier that remains is the debate between maximizing topline revenue vs. bottomline profit. 

And if you run some scenarios with Indian weddings what you’ll find is that you don’t have to compromise on either, when it comes to most Indian weddings. Why? 

{Indian Weddings Make Up For Topline Revenue
With Volume}

The average Indian wedding has 350 guests. Compare that to the average Western wedding which has about 150. So while the per person outside catering plate setting fee is lower compared to in-house catering, Indian weddings make up for that “loss” in revenue with volume. 

In-house catering revenue: If a venue charges $100 inclusive per person = $100*150 guests = $15,000

Outside catering revenue: If a venue charges $65 inclusive per person = $65*350 guests = $22,750


  • with outside catering there are $0 food costs, which means more going straight to the bottomline
  • that $22,750 doesn’t include the hosted bar
  • that also doesn’t include the 2 night room block
  • and many Indian weddings host lunch after the ceremony which is also not included
  • it also does not include the ceremony fee, but all weddings will have a ceremony fee so that’s a wash. 

So, when you look at the overall picture, Indian weddings represent higher revenue and higher profit. Now, it is important to remember that this scenario is based on the average number of guests at an Indian wedding, and of course, every venue’s fees vary. But this provides a great baseline for comparison. 

{No Outside Catering on Saturday Nights}

We work with a handful of venues that don’t allow outside catering on Saturday nights. While that doesn’t bar those venues from attracting and booking Indian weddings, that policy does self-cripple as Saturdays/nights are by far the most popular day of the week. 

My hope is that this article will open a few minds and commence a path towards loosening policies around outside catering. Consumers are always looking for new venues. When I say new, I mean new to the Indian community – not necessarily newly built/opened. This is because the number of venues that can host an Indian wedding in general is SO much smaller than Western weddings. There just aren’t as many options, which means consumers are always looking for something different. 

{Old Venue New Space: Real Story}

We worked with a venue last year that had been open for a long time but was not on anyone’s radar in the Indian community because their biggest ballroom sat, at most, 180 with a dance floor. That was their biggest space. Then they built a 400-person Pavilion and suddenly this waterfront hotel was on everyone’s radar. 

We booked 4 huge Indian weddings there within 12 months.


When it comes to outside catering, there’s long been a debate about topline revenue vs. bottomline profit. When it comes to Indian weddings, venues don’t have to compromise on either. Because Indian weddings have so many guests they make up for the “loss” in topline revenue. 

Scroll up to see the brief scenario run through.

We’ve come a long way in the last 30 years when only a couple venues in each market region allowed outside catering and Indian weddings to venues actively interested in attracting this business. As we move forward venues that have put restrictions on what days outside catering is allowed will hopefully loosen those policies. 

I hope this article opens up some conversations at your venue. Indian consumers are always seeking venues that are new to the community and opening their doors to Indian weddings.


This article is part of our series:



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Samta Varia Founder & CEO ShaadiShop: Indian Wedding Venues

{FAQs About ShaadiShop}

Is ShaadiShop a wedding planning service?

No. ShaadiShop is a tech company. We leverage software and web technology to drive quality leads to venues.
What does “Shaadi” mean?

“Wedding/marriage” in Hindi and Urdu (2 major languages spoken in South Asia).

What’s the difference between Indian and South Asian?
South Asia is the region of the world that includes India, Pakistan, Maldives, Nepal, Bhutan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. ShaadiShop is happy to serve the needs of all South Asians vs. Indians only.

{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


cover image: Randery Imagery