Common Indian and South Asian Last Names: a Guide for Catering Sales Executives

Indian weddings vary by religion and regional tradition. This guide will help you decipher your clients so that you can impress them with your cultural and regional knowledge.
Note: There are thousands of Indian and South Asian names, so it’s impossible for us to cover all of them. But these are the ones you’ve probably already encountered or will in the future.
This is only beneficial to you, if you know what to do with the information. Here’s a cheat sheet designed specifically for Catering Executives at venues, that describes setup and other details.

{Common South Asian Last Names}

North Indian: They speak Hindi and practice Hinduism, except Jains indicated below.
Aggarwal (and all the variations of how it’s spelled)
Jain – Jainism
Mehta’s (Some are North Indian, but the majority in the USA are Gujarati. They may practice Hinduism or Jainism. The only way to know is to ask.)


Punjabi’s are also North Indian but they also have their own culture. They speak Hindi and Punjabi. Some Punjabis practice Hinduism, some Jainism, and some Sikhism. Punjabi Jains have Jain as their last name, so that’s a useful identifier. Below, we’ve detailed most commonly the religion practiced.

Singh (the mean wear turbans and follow the Sikh religion)
Ahluwalia – Sikhism
Tandon – Hindu
Deol – Sikhism or Hinduism
Lal – Hinduism
Malholtra – Hinduism
Some Jains are Punjabi – Jainism
Chopra – Hinduism
Kapoor – Hinduism
FYI: if you’ve ever seen the word “Kaur” you know automatically that is a Punjabi female who practices the Sikh religion.

Gujarati: They speak Gujarati and practice Hinduism or Jainism
Shah – Jainism or Hinduism
Patel – Hinduism
Doshi – Jainism or Hinduism
Gandhi – Hinduism
Mehta – Jainism or Hinduism
Parekh – Jainism or Hinduism
Modi – Jainism or Hinduism
Desai – Hinduism
Sheth – Jainism or Hinduism
South Indian: they’re all Hindus, except for the Muslim South Indians. Muslim South Indians have Muslim last names. There are several South Indian languages. Anytime you see a very long last name, it’s a safe bet to assume they’re South Indian.

Muslim: (Pakistani or Indian): They speak Urdu, Punjabi, and some South Indian languages. 

This article is part of ShaadiShop’s series


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


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“We’re so glad we joined ShaadiShop to market this hotel to the South Asian community in the Orange County area. Every wedding we close from their leads returns more than 3x our investment. Moreover, they pre-qualify leads and educate consumers creating a much better sales cycle for our catering team. Venues looking to reach this market, join ShaadiShop!”


Ryan Hurd
Catering Sales Manager
Wyndham Anaheim Garden Grove

“We just booked a full Indian wedding through ShaadiShop at the Hilton Waterfront Beach Resort. In addition to the business, we appreciate the exposure ShaadiShop creates about our venue, as the couple didn’t know about our resort until ShaadiShop told them about us. Additionally, we appreciate the pre-qualification work that ShaadiShop does to match couples and venues that are a good fit for each other. We had all the info needed to conduct the initial meeting. What a great service for venues to market to the South Asian community!”

Angie Florence
Catering Sales Manager
Hilton Waterfront Beach Resort

“Cannot say enough good things about the service from Samta and ShaadiShop who helped us research venues for our wedding this year. We wanted a non-hotel venue, and to get married within 6 months. ShaadiShop immediately found us venues, contacted them and educated us about all the things we needed to think about while selecting a venue. They put all the info together in a fabulous, super impressive, spreadsheet that helped us compare venues – seriously amazing and such a great help. Working with them made the whole stressful process MUCH easier and I can’t believe it was all free! ShaadiShop’s website is fantastic and such a great service for South Asians – so glad I found them!”

Anjli Shah, Bride

“Shaadishop helped me not only find venues but also understand how they work, the fees, and tips that I wouldn’t have otherwise known. Definitely a need service in the desi community. And best of all, it was free!!”

Hinna Shaikh, Bride

cover image: Randery Imagery

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