Details That Distinguish a Good vs. Great Indian Wedding

This article shares several details that distinguish a good vs. great Indian wedding. We will cover everything rom catering to changing rooms to logistics. The first area we are going to address is catering.

Catering Details That Distinguish a Good vs. Great Indian Wedding

Functional China: My friend went to a wedding recently and the liquidy curries were spilling off of the plates and onto people’s clothes {and the venue’s carpet}. It was one of those things that you wouldn’t know until you were in the buffet line. But since we are sharing it here, it’s something you can pay attention to.

Is the china provided by the venue, suitable for your menu? Photo: Gary Coelho Photography

At most Indian weddings, the venue supplies the china, flatware and glassware. Ask to take a look at it during your venue tour. Take a picture of it, so you can think about the functionality with respect to your dinner menu.

Clarify Venue/Caterer’s Responsibilities

Clarify Venue/Caterer’s Responsibilities: Working with your venue, clarify who is providing what equipment. Some venues provide the chafing dishes and sternos – others don’t. Some venues provide serving utensils – others don’t etc. Most resorts and hotels have a standard set of items included in their outside catering package, but for golf clubs and banquet halls in particular, make it a point to review these details. The last thing you want is the week before your wedding to find out that the venue was going to charge an additional $700 for flatware.

Dish Descriptor Cards

Dish Description Cards: Another detail that distinguishes between good vs. great Indian weddings, is dish description cards. Even for South Asians, sometimes it’s not clear what a dish in the buffet is and whether it’s vegetarian, vegan, gluten free. Ask your caterer to make dish descriptor cards – they’re functional and add panache.

And if the caterer won’t do it, then we suggest that you make them. Some venues even require dish descriptor cards that not only state the name of the dish but also the caterer. It’s a brand and liability issue to ensure guests know who prepared the catering.

Meditteranean food was served an a sangeet for an Indian wedding.
Photo: VEK Photo

Breakfast Vouchers for Guests

Breakfast vouchers: One more detail that distinguishes a good vs. great Indian wedding is if you’re distributing breakfast vouchers to guests, let your guests know how many people each voucher is intended for and how much each voucher is valid for and if it’s restricted to certain items. At one wedding, a guest was caught off guard when he took items from the breakfast buffet that were not included in the voucher. This attention to detail will really set you apart from others.

Hospitality Room at Indian Weddings

Hospitality room: Arrange for family and friends or the venue to service the hospitality room and replenish food, keep the room fresh, clean up. Venues are getting stricter about the hospitality room because, unfortunately many Indian weddings have abused this. The venues are definitely going to charge for beverages and if you have any kind of hot food, expect to pay per person fees as well.

Real Story of Abusing the Hospitality Room at an Indian Wedding

One venue wrote to us saying they had a large Indian wedding and they didn’t want to pay fees for a hospitality rom and breakfast so they worked with the caterer to set up breakfast in one of the family members’ suites and directed guests there for breakfast.

The venue was furious as it went against their agreement, not to mention the legal and liability issues. This occurrence really impacted how they view Indian weddings and frankly Indian clientele. This happened at a high end resort venue.

Another Story from the Hospitality Room at an Indian Wedding

The couple arranged a hospitality room but didn’t want to pay fees for it. They thought it’d be so simple – with cold sandwiches and finger foods, served in disposable containers and dishes. But what about replenishing food when it ran out on the buffet? What about replenishing beverages? What about picking up trash and removing full trash cans? They ended up asking the bride and groom’s friends to manage the hospitality room.

Get Someone To Set Aside Food For the Couple AND Put it in Their Room

Takeout for the couple: Pre-arrange with your caterer and a cousin or friend to pack food for the couple and deliver it to their hotel room or store it for them to enjoy later. Most couples don’t get to eat on their wedding day and when they get to their room, they’re starving! I’ve never seen or heard of anyone doing this and it’s a detail that the couple will SO appreciate.

Decor Details Details That Distinguish a Good vs. Great Indian Wedding

Hospitality Room

Most sweetheart stages have the couple sitting on a sofa or a couch. A friend of mine, went to a wedding recently where the couple sat at a table which had a huge floral arrangement right in front, that covered the bride and groom. We could barely see them up there.

Sturdy Mandap/Archway

The decor disaster I hear about most often is issues with the mandap falling – due to wind, poor assembly etc. Talk to several decorators and ask them specific questions about the mandap material and strength. You’re smart, you know that you get what you pay for. I mention that because the mandap issues I hear about most often are when a couple decided to hire the most inexpensive company, when the price was almost too good to be true.

Logistics Details That Distinguish a Good vs. Great Indian Wedding

Arrange Changing Rooms For Guests That Aren’t
Going Home In-Between Events

If you’re having a late afternoon wedding ceremony then some people might fly in that morning, but they may not be able to check into their hotel room until as late as 3pm, so they won’t have a place to get ready. Still other guests might want to change for the reception but live too far to go home in between the wedding and reception. It’s incredibly thoughtful if you pre-arrange an area for them to go, change and freshen up before the reception.

Indian bride wearing a lehenga getting help to get ready from one of her bridesmaids.
If you can, setup a changing room where guests can change in-between the wedding and reception. Photo: Wedding Documentary Photo + Video

Create and Distribute Wedding Weekend Schedules

Give your wedding party schedules for hair & makeup appointments, location/timing of photoshoots. Similarly, inform family members beforehand to stick around after the ceremony for photos. Clarify who’s going to be responsible for rallying guests for photos. At one wedding, where the guests dispersed after the ceremony, the bride asked the photographer to find and rally family members for photos, and the photographer refused citing that that’s the coordinator’s job. And lastly give schedules to your vendors or have your day-of coordinator take care of this.

Make Packing Lists and Double Check Them

There are so many little items and moving parts for Indian weddings from the samagri (ingredients) for the ceremony to all the jewelry and clothes. Make lists of ALL of the items from your contact lenses to your lehenga and double and even triple check that everything has been packed in your bags. So this means packing ahead of time to give yourself enough time to double check your bags.

Real Story Where the Ceremony Materials Were Left Behind

We heard about one wedding where the Mother of the Bride forgot all of the samagri for the wedding ceremony at home…which was two hours away. Luckily there was an Indian grocery store nearby. And luckily they realized the misstep an hour before the ceremony started and they sent someone to the store to buy everything – including whatever thalis the grocery store had.

Indian wedding ceremony samagri. Photo: Wedding Documentary Photo + Video

Create Awesome Welcome Bags

Have the hotel distribute welcome bags to guests as they check in. Read more about what to put inside and other ideas. One couple included little Advil two-packs in their bag to help people through their hangovers the next day.


Hire a Day-of Wedding Planner

Most couples hire a day-of wedding planner to manage the logistics, vendor questions, the schedule and any issues on the wedding day. It’s a worthwhile investment as things happen and it’s worth the peace-of-mind knowing that someone is taking responsibility to run things smoothly.

Summary and Take Aways

There are so many parts to planning an Indian wedding. It’s like a living-breathing puzzle. In this article we discussed some of the details that distinguish a good vs. great Indian wedding.

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