Indian Bengali bride holding betel leads in front of her face at her Indian, Hindu wedding.

Indian Wedding Types Cheat Sheet for Venue Catering Executives

When people think of Indian weddings they typically think of the baraat (groom’s procession):

Photo: Paul F. Gero Photography

Beautiful women dressed in beautiful saris:

Indian bride with her bridesmaids wearing beautiful multicolored saris.
Photo: Lin & Jirsa

Yummy Indian food:


and hundreds of guests gathered:

Photo: Yogi Patel – Global Photography

And all of these things are true but there are a few different types of South Asian Weddings and I created a quick reference guide for Catering Managers to decipher amongst them.

Use this guide when you’re working with couples to help you identify the type of wedding and anticipate their needs!

Download the cheat sheet:

Indian wedding type cheat sheet for catering managers

{Buddhist Weddings}

FYI: Most Buddhist weddings are small, private and short. Usually you’ll see a Buddhist marrying a Hindu or from another religion and the Buddhist ceremony will either take place before the Hindu ceremony, privately at the venue. Buddhist ceremonies involve small lighted candles so if your couple is incorporating a Buddhist ceremony make sure to figure out the logistics.

{Christian Weddings}

Indian Christian weddings are similar to Western Christian weddings with the same setup.

{Two Ceremonies}

Sometimes the groom follows one religion and the bride another and they will opt for two ceremonies such as a Hindi ceremony + Sikh ceremony or Christian ceremony + Hindu ceremony or some combo of the two. Since these ceremonies are so different from one another, most couples don’t meld them together and opt for two back-to-back ceremonies.

Couples that do two ceremonies on the same day will usually start in the morning to allow enough time for everything. There will be a break in-between the two ceremonies where guests will be served refreshments – kind of an early cocktail hour.

Below we detail what to expect if there are two ceremonies in terms of the order in which they’ll take place.

{Order of Ceremonies (Usually)}

  • Sikh + Hindu or vice versa and performed back-to-back as there’s no costume change
  • Hindu + Christian (simply for logistics; it takes longer to get ready for a Hindu ceremony. The bride and groom will change for the Christian ceremony + the wedding party may as well.)
  • Buddhist + Hindu (because the Buddhist ceremony is short, the families might perform it shortly  before the Hindu celebration; as there probably is no costume change).
  • Muslim + Hindu – performed back-to-back as there’s no costume change. The Muslim wedding is shorter and doesn’t include sindoor and mangalsutra. If the Hindu wedding was first, the bride would have to remove the sindoor and mangalsutra which is a bad omen.

{Wedding Types & Their Impact on Venues}

There are many important implications for venues based on the type of Indian wedding:

  • Dry weddings may have a difficult time meeting the F&B minimum
  • Since most Sikh weddings take place in the Sikh place of worship, called a Gurdwara, venues will usually only get the reception – dinner/dance business.
  • The Sikh weddings that a venue does host will need to work with the couple to accommodate guests sitting on the floor, as is customary.
  • Hindu/Jain weddings are longer and therefore, the venue may/may not be able to sell the space to other parties.
  • Indoor Hindu/Jain weddings have the ceremony flame which may require a fire watch and approval from the local Fire Marshal.
Guys wearing rumaal during Sikh Punjabi, Anand Karaj, Indian wedding in Phuket, Thailand.
Sikh weddings with guest sitting on a sub-flooring on the ground.
Hindu wedding ceremony at a Jewish + Hindu wedding; NST Pictures

{Take Aways}

Not all Indian weddings are the same. The more Catering Sales Managers know about each the better you can sell and service your clients. This quick guide is a tool to help you understand the differences and similarities amongst the wedding types and their implications for venues.

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

Samta Varia Founder & CEO ShaadiShop: Indian Wedding Venues


Contact us for more info.

{ShaadiShop Testimonials}

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Cover image: Wedding Documentary Photo + Cinema