How to work with your caterer for an Indian wedding: tips, ideas, and mistakes to avoid
To get the best out of these caterers here are a few tips, ideas and a note on a few mistakes that one could avoid.
Indian wedding festivities generally last for 2 to 3 days. These are marked with a spectacular display of traditional and religious rituals, music, dance and a wide range of food and drinks for each occasion. Earlier, the catering manager was by and large managed by the ladies of the household with the help of workers and family cooks or ‘ Maharaj ‘ who were accustomed to the family choice of traditional food and flavors. Nowadays the food is outsourced to professional caterers who take the responsibility of serving each and every meal and come up with a vast variety of choice and exuberant, luxurious and beautiful display of food layout. To get the best out of these caterers here are a few tips, ideas and a note on a few mistakes that one could avoid.
The most important aspect is choosing the caterer with care. The wedding venues in south delhi and other areas have a list of caterers who have worked with them. While making your final selection have an update on their feedback, experience, an area of location and definitely the charges. Sit with the caterer and decide on the menu for each occasion keeping the guests in mind. Once the caterer and menu are downsized you need to have a walkthrough, a meeting between you and your wedding planner, the venue manager, and the caterer. This meeting should familiarize the caterer with the kitchen area, place for storage, display, disposal, loading and unloading area and all facilities offered by the venue for the caterers benefit should be outlined and noted. There should be no ambiguity in specifying the expectations of each service provider. The policies of the venue provider regarding use of premises and equipment by the caterer should be clearly understood by all.
You may like to have a variety of choices on the menu for different days. Ensure that the caterer is comfortable with the preparation of all the items. Listen to his advice on the choice of menu and keep the weather conditions and your guests as a priority while making your selection. Once the menu is selected, discuss how each item is going to be served. Food warmers, serving dishes, serving spoons or any other paraphernalia should be checked for its availability. Even if a buffet meal is being served, have sufficient seating arrangements made and insist on the caterer displaying the menu on the serving table with veg or non-veg clearly specified if you have both choices on the list. Some venues may not allow cooking on the site, particularly in foreign locations. In such cases, proper transportation of food and its storage till it is served is the responsibility of the caterer and he should discuss the details of it with you. Timings of each meal to be served should be mentioned clearly and insist on keeping a buffer time for any unforeseen situations. Chalk out the number of waiters you would require on the ground and if snacks are being shown around specify the requirement of displaying the name of the dish with veg /non-veg specified.
For all the dates of your events check if there are any road shows, rallies, political bands, religious programmes, dharnas etc which may cause unplanned delays in serving the food. The caterer and other service providers should be forewarned to work their way around it if required.
Food shortage due to an unexpected turnout of guests may also lead to embarrassment. This is most likely to occur in local marriages where invites go as “families” and there is less emphasis on RSVP. Experienced caterers can work their way through these situations but it’s best to keep them forewarned.
If your wedding falls on a day when a large number of guests are likely to be fasting like during Navratri then ask the caterer to arrange a special layout as ‘Navratri/Upwas special’.
Insist on all service providers carrying a checklist which they need to refer to at all times, particularly if your events are at a remote location like some marriage venues in Chattarpur. This would ensure that there are no last-minute emergencies due to memory lapses.
For foreign locations be very particular about checking the policies of the venue on outside catering. You may want to check the license of the caterer for serving the food beforehand.
No matter how meticulously you plan there are likely to be some flaps and emergencies to be handled at the last minute. It’s up to your manager to ensure that these are efficiently handled and all family and guests leave with an awesome experience.