Indian Wedding Lunch Alternatives

One of the most commonly debated aspects couples have while planning their Indian wedding is whether or not to serve lunch after the wedding ceremony. Indian wedding lunch alternatives are ways to serve food after the wedding ceremony without incurring hefty fees and costs.

It’s a really nice thing to do. Plus it’s fun as offers more time to socialize and enjoy the day. But it does add significant costs.

If the average Indian wedding has 350 guests and the venue’s place setting fee is around $55 per person, plus the food and beverages…well you can see it adds more than $20,000 to your wedding costs.

For couples that opt out of the lunch, one option is to place a pouch of snacks on each chair. Nuts are the most popular. We don’t recommend chocolates (this is the only time we won’t recommend chocolate…for anything) because they can melt and it’s just a mess.

I’ve personally had this at several weddings and always appreciated it and found that it does hold me over until cocktail hour.

Chiavari chairs setup for an Indian, Hindu, wedding ceremony outsoors
Photo: Wedding Documentary Photo + Cinema

{Venues Don’t Charge For Snack Pouches}

Additionally, venues don’t charge any fees for this as long as you’re taking responsibility for assembly and setup.

{Where To Buy Decorative Mesh Snack Pouches & Tags}

You can find them on Uline and Amazon or if you’re doing a shopping trip to India, Pakistan or anywhere in South Asia you can buy them there. They’re pretty light and packable.

To make the pouches even more decorative you can add a tag with your hashtag printed on it. For the tags look at Zazzle, Evermine, Vistaprint, Minted, Etsy, and Weddingshop.

Indian wedding ceremony programs that doubled as fans placed on each chair
Photo: Greycard Photography

As far as assembly of the pouches go, you can turn it into a fun party. If your relatives from India or other countries are arriving a few days early this is a great thing to sit in your living room and do with them. Turn on some Bollywood, Bhangra or whatever music you prefer, have some snacks to pass around and it will feel like a “shaadi ka ghar” (home abuzz with a celebratory mood).

Make sure someone (whether it’s a family member, friend or your wedding coordinator) has been designated with the following roles:

  • keeping the pouches fresh and safe once they’re ready
  • getting the pouches to the venue
  • placing them on each chair for the wedding ceremony

{Ice Cream at Indian Weddings}

For any Indian wedding but especially summer weddings another fun treat is ice cream or kulfi. You’d want to get the single serve in the little bowls as they’re easy to distriubute.

The downside with ice cream is that there are more logistics than the pouch of nuts. You have to keep ice cream cold, need to distribute the ice cream and spoons. And in general ice cream is messier than a pouch of nuts.

{How To Distribute Ice Cream During A Wedding}

I wouldn’t recommend distributing the ice cream or setting it up during the wedding ceremony.  If anything have it available before or after. Otherwise it’s disruptive. I went to a wedding once where they had family members stand in the aisles and pass the little tubs of ice cream down to guests, one-by-one like a game of hot potato…during the wedding ceremony.

Similarly I don’t suggest setting it up after the ceremony has started as guests will get up, walk to the back of the venue, eat etc. It’s just disruptive.

In this regard the nut pouches are better because they bypass all of these issues. Plus if you serve ice cream, the venue’s probably going to add some charges for that.

Photo: Braja Mandala Wedding Photography

{Take Aways}

Serving lunch at Indian weddings is always nice but if it doesn’t fit into your budget, the auspicious wedding time. Indian wedding lunch alternatives are an option and this article shared a few ideas.

Nut pouches are a great idea. They’re not really perishable, self contained, inexpensive and don’t make a mess. To add some flare get custom made tags with your hashtag, a Thank you note or something funny printed on it.

Ice cream is another fun option but requires more logistics with refrigeration, distributing spoons, costs more, and has the potential to be messy. If you decide to serve ice cream or anything else, that’s NOT already pre-placed on each seat, we don’t recommend making it available/distributing it during the ceremony, as it’s disruptive.

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