Indian wedding reception ballroom

What’s Included in Venue Outside Catering Packages for an Indian Wedding?

Updated July 2020

The venue is often the biggest purchase of any Indian wedding. Typically about 35-40% of the total wedding budget goes to the venue. That’s a big chunk! In fact, it’s the biggest chunk! If the venue isn’t providing the food, what are they charging you for? This article answers, what’s included in venue outside catering packages for an Indian wedding?

What is an outside catering package? It’s the services and amenities that the venue provides for events that they’re not catering. Most venues separate the ceremony package and the reception package. The reception package is often also referred to as the outside catering package.

{Ceremony Package and Outside Catering Package}

The ceremony package delineates how much it costs and the included services and amenities as well as some info about fees and amenities for an outside catered lunch after the ceremony. Most venues charge a flat fee for the ceremony although there are a handful of venues that charge a person ceremony fee.

The reception package aka outside catering package, similarly details the per person fees, ervices, amenities and policies.

{What Do Venues Provide?}

For the reception, if the venues aren’t providing food what are the per person fees for?

  • spaces for cocktail hour and the reception
  • tables, chairs, china, linens, napkins, flatware, glassware
  • sweetheart stage
  • champagne and/or apple cider toast
  • standard wood parquet dance floor (not the white, colored, lit dance floors)
  • servers and bar staff
  • buffet set up
  • bar set up
  • all tear down
  • room for 1 night (hotels + resorts)

Venue outside catering packages are designed to provide you most of the things you’ll need. They’re setup to be convenient and user-friendly as the include many services. The list above represents amenities that most venues include. Every venue has their own package, so make sure to thoroughly understand what is/is not included at the venues you’re interested in.

{Ceremony Package}

The ceremony package usually includes:

  • the ceremony site
  • chairs setup and tear down
  • risers
  • water station
  • mic and speaker

Like the outside catering package, the listed amenities are what most venues include. Every venue has their own package, so make sure to thoroughly understand what is/is not included).

{Food + Drink}

It’s called an outside catering package because you’re going to have the food catered from outside; not with the venue’s in house catering. Beverages are still provided by the venue but are charged separately. They’re not included in the outside catering package. In other words you’ll pay additional fees for beverages, whereas the items above come with the per person fees you’ll pay. You might like our guide on bar packages.

{Typical Outside Catering Packages Include}

ballroom – the ballroom + cocktail hour space. The ceremony is extra.

Hotel Irvine Indian wedding reception.
Photo: Global Photography

tables and chairs – including the setup and tear down

linens – for guest tables, buffet tables, gift tables, and the stage. Most venues have a limited selection of colors included in the package, like ivory, white, and black. Most venues can get you additional colors but they cost more.

napkins – similar to linens, available in limited colors included in the package and the design and style is usually simple, like you see below.

Napkin design and layout comes with the venue package; Photo: Lin & Jirsa Photography

china and silverware – you can specify what items you want and at what time throughout the events. In this table setting below, they have everything on the table when guests are seated – water glass, champagne flutes, coffee cup, silverware for dinner and dessert. Some people might opt limit the setting to napkin + silverware.

Most venues provide tables, standard banquet chairs, linen, china, glassware and flatware. Charger plates and other decor are not included in the Outside Catering Package. Photo: Harvard Photography

risers – You’ll need a riser to make the stage as well as the skirt on top. Your decorator brings everything on top of the stage.

Photo: Geeta Randery Photography

dance floor – venues include a wood, parquet dance floor. If you’re looking for white or any other color + customization, work with your decorator.

Photo: Greycard Photography

cake cutting – NOT the cake.

champagne toast – well…champagne or apple cider, your guests can choose.


bar + server staff – usually 1 bar for every 100 guests and 1 server for every 30 guests


suite for the couple – 1 night stay in a suite for the couple (hotels/resorts only – day of the reception).

extra tables – all the tables and linens you’ll need for food, gifts, escort cards etc.

This photo illustrates venue ceremony packages nicely. You get the space, the stage setup, the chairs setup theater style, and the venue would have setup 1-2 water stations outside or in the back. All of the decor and at this wedding, the runway, are not included in the venue’s ceremony package.

The Garden Court at a Dallas Hotel setup for an Indian, Hindu wedding ceremony.
Photo: VEK Photo

{Take Aways}

This article answers, what’s included in venue outside catering packages for an Indian wedding? We addressed what amenities most venues include in their ceremony and reception packages. The reception package is often referred to as the outside catering package. These are generalizations as most venue outside catering packages are pretty comparable but some do vary so make sure to study your venue’s packages thoroughly.

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