Indian weddings with an Open Flame

Indian Wedding Open Flame Ceremonies

Updated March 2020

As more and more venues are opening their doors to Indian weddings, they are embracing the open flame necessary for Hindu and Jain wedding ceremonies. This is a necessary custom for Hindu and Jain wedding ceremonies. This is your guide for everything about Indian wedding open flame ceremonies. Venue policies around open flames vary. We’ll detail:

  • Venue policies on open flames
  • Proactive steps you can take to ensure the ceremony is the way you want it
  • Fees you might incur for the open flame

{Outdoor vs. Indoor Indian Wedding
Ceremony Flames}

Venue policies with regards to open flame ceremonies for Indian weddings differ between indoor and outdoor ceremonies. At most venues with outdoor ceremony space, the open flame ceremony is not really a big deal; meaning that venues are fine with it and there aren’t any additional policies, restrictions or fees compared to indoor ceremonies.

So, when the ceremony is taking place outdoors it makes things a lot easier for venues. And it works out nicely as many couples prefer an outdoor ceremony. But for those that don’t and want an indoor ceremony, no worries. We’ve covered that in detail as well.

Indian Wedding Open Flame Ceremonies
Photo: Wedding Documentary Photo + Cinema

Indoor Open Flame Ceremonies at Indian Weddings

Many venues allow the open flame indoors but there may be some additional policies, fees, and restrictions.

Fire Permit – some venues require you to acquire a fire permit from the city where the event is being held. Every city has different requirements and fees to get the permit. Apply for permits ASAP. You never know how long this will take. To obtain a fire permit visit the website for the city or county where the wedding is taking place. There are fees to obtain a fire permit which vary.

Fire Watch – in addition to the fire permit, some venues may require a fire watch at the wedding ceremony. Someone from the venue will oversee the ceremony with a fire extinguisher at the ready, just in case. This person will be conspicuous and not stand out. Venues charge for this and the fee varies from $500++-$850++.

Flame Size Restrictions – some venues impose restrictions on how big the flame can be.

Discuss venue policies with your Maharaj to make sure everyone is on the same page. Most Maharaj’s are familiar with these venue policies and have no issues adjusting accordingly.

{Open Flame Ceremonies and
Inclement Weather}

Some venues only allow the open flame indoors when the ceremony had to be moved indoors due to weather. However, some venues won’t allow the flame indoors even if the event has to be moved indoors due to weather.

Some venues might say to tent the outdoor space – an expense that you will be responsible for; $5000-$10,000.

Some venues will allow the flame indoors and will charge a fire watch fee. Clarify if they will also require a permit. If they do, then you should obtain a permit just in case – to be ready for the possibility.

It is VERY important that you clarify these policies with the venues you’re interested in before you sign a contract. We have seen highly unlikely situations such as heavy rain during mid July (summer) in California; and an Indian wedding that had to be moved indoors. No one thought it might rain and it caused the entire day of events to be delayed by two hours.

The impact of which was, guests were hungry and tired. Dinner wasn’t served until 10pm. The couple had to pay overtime fees for the venue’s staff and additional facility overtime fees.

{Indian Wedding Open Flame Ceremony Misperceptions}

While many venues have embraced Indian weddings, there are some that require education about the open flame and other customs. We’ve heard it all from venues:

suggesting to “just skip” the flame part of the ceremony
venues jumping to the conclusion that the flame is a huge bonfire
recommending the venue’s fire pit be used for the ceremony.

Venue Managers that are unaware of this wedding tradition, {understandably} get nervous when they hear the word(s), “fire”. After all, building + fire, do not mix well. The key is to characterize the ceremony in a way that reassures them and opens their mind to the possibility. And as we know, the flame is small is extinguished after about 10-15 minutes. These are vital details that they don’t know.

If you find a venue that you love that has never hosted an Indian wedding take the time to educate them. Or better yet, send them this article that we published specifically to educate venue managers about the open flame.

{Summary and Take Aways}

This guide is about Indian wedding open flame ceremonies and details venue policies, fees, and restrictions. In general, venues are a lot more open to outdoor ceremonies than indoor ceremonies. Venue do not impose the same restrictions and fees that they do for indoor ceremonies – which is completely understandable.

That said there are many hotels and other venues that only have indoor space and host a lot of Indian weddings.

Some venues do not allow the ceremony flame at all. Some don’t allow it indoors – even in inclement weather. Speaking of inclement weather we dedicated a section of this article to that topic and encourage you to plan for contingencies with the venue if you’re planning an outdoor ceremony. What if it has to be moved indoors due to unexpected weather? Will the venue allow the ceremony flame indoors? Does the venue charge additional fees? Would you need a permit?

Lastly, we addressed what to do with venues that are unaware of Indian weddings. If you find a venue that you love that is in that position, then educate them. For many people, naturally the mind wanders to worse case scenarios and they image the venue burning down. Send the venue this article that we published explaining the open flame to venues.

Congratulations on your upcoming wedding! 🙂

Cover image: Lin and Jirsa Photography

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