Food, the one thing that is talked about at every wedding and for years after…I’ve heard aunties (all the women who are likely to be the same age as your actual aunties) at weddings, ‘did you see what the bride was wearing, no but I didn’t like the food’ – People always seem to come back to talk about food and so food is an integral part of an Indian wedding celebration.
Indian weddings are lavish when it comes to food, we have an extensive menu and not just for the one day, but for all the events leading up to the wedding day itself and after. For me, as long as there is gulab jamun, I’m a happy bunny.
It’s paramount to have good food, but its even more important that you keep in within your budget, when you’ve got 250 guests, the cost of catering can be a large part of your wedding budget.
Planning a menu can be tricky, for example if you’re having a Hindu wedding do you go for a vegetarian menu for lunch and then a non vegetarian menu for the evening reception? Or do you just have one big vegetarian dinner? What are the preferences for both sides of the family, what do they like and not like…lots to decide about.
So first decide on the vegetarian/non vegetarian option.
Then choose a caterer who can provide you with the best options, so in the case of a Hindu wedding, if you are having a fully vegetarian meal, then make sure that the caterer you choose specializes in providing this type of cuisine to ensure quality of taste and a wider selection of items that you can have on your menu.
Make sure that you always cater for more people than you have invited, the last thing you want is for your guests to go home hungry, so a buffer of 20 guests may be an option.
If you are having a fusion wedding, you may want to incorporate different cuisines within the menu so that you cater for Asian and non Asian guests.
You then need to decide if you are having a sit down meal or a buffet and whether your starters will be served as canapés during the reception or when guests are waiting, or if they will be served on the tables.
For your starters try and include at least three to four items, the most popular choices are samosas, gol gappe, chaat and aloo tikkis, offer plenty of salad for those who don’t want to eat all the fried food.
The main courses that are popular include at least 2 vegetarian options and 2 non vegetarian options, some popular choices are dal makhani, some kind of chicken or lamb curry, a vegetarian curry and naan bread with some condiments.
This is then followed by dessert (my favourite part). At an Indian wedding you’ll often find gulab jamuns, ras malai and ice cream. If you’ve not tried any of these, you will want to find the nearest Indian sweet shop and try them all out.
In all, you want to first decide what cuisine you want to go for, then choose your caterers, make sure you go and taste the items you want to have on your menu (keep the aunties voices in mind). Once you’ve done this place your order and decide whether you will have a sit down meal or a buffet and don’t forget keep the budget in check at all times.
Right, I’m off to eat some gulab jamuns with ice-cream. Happy wedding planning.
Now go watch this to find out what the desserts are…
Indian Wedding Photography by Bhavna Barratt