Pro-tip: Plan Ahead to Avoid Agni Agony

Most Hindu wedding ceremonies require an open flame in an earthenware pot as an integral part of the ritual. This fire, or agni, is a symbol of the Hindu fire god and is a critical element of a Hindu wedding. The saptapadi, or the ritual of the seven steps, is performed by the couple circling the agni seven times in order to consecrate their vows to each other. Not to put too fine a point on it, but this is possibly the most important (and well-known) part of the wedding ceremony!

So here’s the pro-tip: Not all wedding venues allow the burning of an open flame. Whether due to venue policy or legal requirement, many venues prohibit the burning of an open flame (larger than a simple wax candle) within their facility. A traditional agni would, in these cases, be a pretty clear violation of such a policy or law. One of the first questions you should ask when shopping for venues is whether or not an agni will be allowed and, if so, whether there are any special rules you’ll have to follow, e.g., keeping a fire extinguisher nearby; notifying the fire department, etc.

Corollary pro-tip: Get explicit permission in your venue contract regarding your ability to have an agni at your ceremony! We have heard of too many last-minute disasters because of this issue.