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Venue Food and Beverage Minimums at Indian Weddings: Everything You Need to Know

As specialists in venues for Indian weddings, one of the most important concepts we talk about with couples is venue food and beverage minimums. In this article we’ll walk you through everything you need to know.

First, food & beverage minimum is often abbreviated to F&B min, which you’ll see throughout the rest of this article.

What is a food and beverage minimum (F&B min)?
It’s the minimum amount of revenue venues expect to receive for renting out their function space.

But a lot of venues have multiple spaces, does the minimum vary? 
Yes, each venue i.e. each ballroom has its own F&B min. The amounts vary based on ballroom size and features.

Do minimums vary by day of the week? 
Some (not all) venues do decrease their minimums for Friday and Sunday events as well as the per person charges. Don’t expect 50% off because you opt for Friday or Sunday. You’re looking at more at maybe a couple thousand off the minimum and up to $5 off the per person fees.

What if I have multiple events at the venue? 
Usually F&B mins apply to each event in which a ballroom will be occupied. So if you had your sangeet on Friday night and the reception on Saturday night, you’d have two F&B mins to meet, one on each night. But in order to accommodate guests as venues want the business, often venus will give you an F&B for the whole weekend. BUT and this is a big but, every venue is different and each situation is different. So the best way to find out what the venue will offer you is to contact me and my team and I can help you.

How does this work?
Your event’s total charges for food and beverage expenditure must meet that minimum, otherwise you owe the difference.
Notice I specified food and beverage expenditure. Well the venue isn’t providing the food as you’re getting it from your outside caterer. For Indian and all South Asian weddings what we really mean is the outside catering services fee. So the per person outside catering fee applies to minimum, your consumption will contribute to the minimum, any apps or special cocktails i.e. his/her cocktails you order will contribute to the minimum.

But things like parking, hotel room blocks, coat check, the hospitality room, WILL NOT contribute to the minimum. The minimum must be met by things you can eat (outside catering fees) or drink.

{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.


Let’s look at an example of how the math works
Let’s say the venue’s food and beverage minimum is $35,000
And let’s say you’re having 350 people at your wedding reception.
And the venue charges $50++/person for the outside catering fee. (I’ll explain ++, later in the article).

350 people*$50/person = $17,500
Thus far, half of the F&B min ($35,000) is accounted for, that is $35,000 F&B min – $17,500 outside catering fee = $17,500 left.

We still have $17,500 to account for.

Now let’s say you set up a consumption bar for your reception and the total comes out to $10,000.

Now, $27,500, out of the $35,000 minimum is accounted for, with $7, 500 left.  At this point you could include an in house or outside catered lunch + order beverages to serve at the ceremony, order a few hors d’oeuvres from the the venue for cocktail hour, and/or specialty drinks to reach the minimum of $35,000. You need an additional $7500 worth of items that you can eat or drink to meet the minimum.

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.

{That ++ I Promised to Explain}

Those two plus signs refer to service charge and tax. So let’s say the venue’s service charges are 20% and tax is 8%. We already assumed a per person outside catering fee of $50++/person.

The total per person fee you’re actually including service charge and tax is $50*1.20*1.08 = $64.80/per person, but only $50 of that applies to the food and beverage minimum.

And service charge and tax apply to the minimum as well. In our example, the minimum was $35,000; service charge was 20% and tax 8%. So the TOTAL F&B min including service charge and tax is $45,360.

{How Do You Meet the Minimum?}

Most South Asian weddings have no issue meeting the food and beverage minimum. Dry weddings are where it can get a bit tricky because their bar fees will be relatively low compared to weddings that serve alcohol. Venues don’t want to make life hard for you and are willing to work with you. If a venue’s per person fees are within your ballpark range, it’s worth talking to them. You can find the per person fees for venues on the pricing tab on ShaadiShop.

{Take Aways}

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.

I hope this article has been helpful to you. If it has, let me know in the comments and you might like to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest – whatever your preferred media is, as we frequently publish articles to help making wedding planning just a little bit easier.

Congratulations and cheers!

Samta Varia
Founder & CEO
ShaadiShop: Indian Wedding Venues

 South Asian-friendly Wedding Venues

ShaadiShop is a free service to help couples, planning an Indian or any South Asian wedding, find their wedding venue. We walk you through the whole process from discovery to booking. And, venues extend better pricing and amenities to our clients. Visit our main website or contact me to start your venue search today!


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