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Indian Wedding Food & Beverage Minimums

Indian wedding food & beverage minimums are an important concept or anyone who is looking for their wedding venue to understand. Most venues have instituted the concept of a minimum and in this article we are going to share everything you need to know about them including an example of how the math works out.

Food and beverage is abbreviated to F&B min., which you’ll see throughout the rest of this article. Venue food and beverage minimums for Indian weddings are different than other weddings because Indian weddings have outside catering. In this article we’ll walk you through everything that you need to know.

What is a food and beverage minimum?

It’s the minimum amount of revenue from food and beverage, that venues expect to receive for renting out their function space on a given night.

In the context of an Indian wedding, food and beverage minimums apply to the sangeet and reception – any events where a meal will be served. For many Indian weddings that also includes lunch after the ceremony. The food and beverage minimum varies by:

  • venue size
  • day of the week

Venue Size and Venue Food and Beverage Minimums at Indian Weddings

For instance let’s assume a resort has 4 function spaces that vary in capacity from 100-1000. The revenue the venue can make on a 1000 person event is totally different than the revenue on a 100 person event. Additionally, the staffing requirements for said events would be completely different as well.

Day of the Week and Venue Food and Beverage Minimums at Indian Weddings

Most venues have a higher food and beverage minimum on Saturdays than the rest of the week, since Saturdays are in high demand. How much less is the minimum on other days? It varies. In general, a few thousand dollars – not as much as 50%.

How do food and beverage minimums work?

Your event’s total charges for food and beverage expenditure must meet the venue’s minimum, otherwise you owe the difference.

You might be confused by the term itself, because the venue isn’t making any of your food. So how will you meet the minimum? The term food and beverage minimum is carried over from in-house catered events. Don’t let that confuse you. For outside catered weddings, even though the venue doesn’t provide the food, they do provide:

  • tables
  • chairs
  • linens
  • china, silverware, glassware
  • dance floor
  • staff, servers
  • cake cutting
  • buffet setup
  • more

Venues charge what they call, a per person outside catering fee for these items. And the sum is applied towards the food and beverage minimum. Let’s make an important distinction here. NOT everything you’ll purchase from the venue applies to the minimum. Things like parking, hotel room blocks, coat check, the hospitality room, WILL NOT contribute to the minimum. Those will be additional charges and fees.

The minimum must be met by things you can eat (aka outside catering fees) or drink. If you purchased your cake or desserts from the venue, those would apply to the minimum.

Do minimums vary by day of the week? 
Some (not all) venues do decrease their minimums for Friday and Sunday events. Don’t expect a huge amount off like 50%, just because you opted for a Friday or Sunday but the a few thousand dollars.

What if I have multiple events at the venue? 
Usually F&B minimums apply to each event in which a ballroom will be occupied. So if you had your sangeet on Friday night in Ballroom A and the reception on Saturday night in Ballroom B, you’d have two F&B mins to meet, one for each night.

But in order to accommodate guests as venues want the business, often venus will give you an F&B minimum for the whole weekend. BUT and this is a big but, every venue is different and each situation is different.

BYO Alcohol

Another thing, most venues do not allow any outside alcohol. I get asked a lot about BYOing at a hotel or resort. There are a handful of venues that allow you to bring donated wine (and only wine) and they charge a per bottle corkage fee. But no venues allow BYO hard alcohol. There are just too many license and liability issues. You’re also not allowed to bring in your own non-alcoholic beverages like soda and water.

Indian Wedding Food and Beverage Minimum Example

Assume F&B = $35,000
Assume 350 guests
Assume venue fee = $50

350 guests*$50/person = $17,500
Thus far, half of the F&B min. is fulfilled.
We still have $17,500 to fulfill.

Assume you set up a consumption bar for your reception and the estimate is $10,000.

Now, $27,500 is fulfilled leaving $7500 left. At this point you would need to add more food and beverage items made by the venue i.e. d’oeuvres, desserts, speciality drinks. Or the other way to meet the minimum would be to invite more guests.

Does the cake contribute to the minimum?
Most couples for Indian weddings don’t order their cake nor desserts through the venue, but if you wanted to, you can. Every venue varies on whether they will allow the cake to contribute towards the minimum. Some will and some won’t. This can also be a negotiating point. The more services you obtain from your venue the more flexible they can be.

Venue Service Charge and Tax

As you shop for venues you’ll see two plus signs (++) after the base fee. Those refer to service charge and tax. If a venue’s service charge is 20% and tax is 8%. The total per person fee comes out to $50*1.20*1.08 = $64.80/per person. BUT only $50 of that applies to the food and beverage minimum. Service charge and tax do not apply to the minimum.

The minimum itself is taxable. In our example, the minimum was $35,000; service charge was 20% and tax 8%. So the TOTAL F&B Fee including service charge and tax is $45,360.

How Do You Meet the Minimum?

Dry weddings are where it can get tricky to meet the minimum because you need that bar to help meet the minimum. But don’t despair. If a venue’s per person fees are within your ballpark range, it’s worth talking to them. Venues are willing to negotiate and want to find solutions that are mutually beneficial.

Take Aways

Indian wedding food and beverage minimums are ubiquitous at venues. Having a good understanding of the concept will go a long way in helping you plan your wedding and allocate your budget.

In this article we discussed:

  • What a food and beverage minimum is
  • Factors that influence the minimum
  • How minimums work
  • Example using made up numbers
  • Understanding service charge and tax
  • How to meet the minimum
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