With the popularity of extravagant Indian weddings, major U.S. hotels, including the Ritz Carlton and Four Seasons, are actively wooing Indian couples with attractions, such as a designated path for grooms to arrive by horse. (IANS photo)
WASHINGTON, D.C. — With Indian Americans splurging on big weddings, U.S. hotels are actively wooing couples with all sorts of attractions, from a designated path for grooms to arrive by horse to a crash course in South Asian traditions for hospitality staff.
Venues that have the capacity to host Indian weddings are starting to do some big business with the Indian-origin population, now one of the fastest-growing ethnic groups in the U.S., CBS News reported.
From brides on rickshaws to Vegas-style floor shows, Indian weddings are part-celebration, part-spectacle and June has long been the most popular month of the year for weddings, the report said.
“For us, an average Indian wedding is around $300,000 to $400,000,” said Ani Sandhu, whose company planned a recent event at the Ritz Carlton, Tyson’s Corner in Washington, D.C.
“With both sets of parents paying and a minimum of 250 guests attending, the money adds up fast,” Sandhu was quoted as saying by the daily.
“Any business wants to get a piece of that, especially hotels,” he added.
Major D.C. hotels, including the Ritz Carlton and Four Seasons, are actively trying to woo Indian couples. The Willard Intercontinental even has a designated path for grooms to arrive by horse.
“As we see the rise in that population and the spending power, it’s something you can’t ignore,” Apoorva Ghandi, vice president of multicultural affairs for Marriott International, was quoted as saying.
In the past three years, his D.C. area hotels have hosted 415 Indian weddings, bringing in $12 million of revenue, the report said.
Marriott has gone so far as to institute an Indian Culture Day, a crash course on South Asian traditions, food and fashion for hospitality staff.
Neel Patel and Nisha Kumar, two Indian Americans, said one of the reasons they chose a Marriott property for their upcoming wedding was because of the hotel staff’s knowledgeable experience with Indian weddings.
“I was surprised there were places here that knew exactly what they were doing,” Patel said.
“For an Indian wedding, the groom has a procession outside,” Kumar explained. “Is that allowed? Not allowed? Open flame? You need that permit.”
In addition to having space for hundreds of guests, hotels need to know what animals are allowed in their jurisdiction. Elephants have been banned in some places but are still allowed in Maryland, D.C. and Virginia.
This Is the Business of Indian Weddings in America~