EVENT MANAGEMENT & WEDDING CATERING : IMPORTANCE OF MENU SELECTION

The success of any Indian Wedding is largely gauged by the quality and variety of food served to a considerable extent. People tend to remember the quality of food – good or bad – long after the wedding is over and hence wedding caterers occupy a place of great importance in the whole wedding scenario. As wedding planners this is one aspect that is always stressed by the client in our discussions.

 

Although a major part of the responsibility lies in the hands of the wedding caterer and the excellent service he offers, the wedding menu to a substantial extent plays a key role. The client always looks to have a grand menu in order to impress all the guests invited to the wedding. Initial enthusiasm is usually restricted by budget constraints and the menu is tapered down.

A good wedding caterer has the responsibility to judiciously guide the client in opting for the right type of menu to make the wedding a grand success. It is often thought that the wedding caterer generally looks to increase the items in the menu to generate a fat bill. Well that is not so. Having our own wedding catering unit and by experience, we as event managers feel that  the caterer is the ideal judge in knowing what is liked and appreciated and what is unnecessary.

 

As event planners we realise  that the wedding caterer’s reputation Is at stake as well and at the wedding if  food is appreciated by guests then the caterer stands to gain a lot in terms of popularity and good will and vice versa. So there is a lot of responsibility on the shoulders of the wedding caterer .

The client should always be told to consider the fact that a huge spread is not necessarily that which is relished. A moderate range of items, tastefully cooked and served with love is appreciated more these days instead of just dumping dish after dish on to the guest’s leaf. In case of a buffet dinner it is fine to have more varieties because the guest can then pick and choose what they like.

The menu for every meal should be planned keeping in mind the time of the day, the age group of the expected guests, the season and the type of cuisine to be considered.

Providing heavy dishes early in the morning for breakfast will not go down well with the guests when they have several meals ahead of them. Heavy fried items will not augur well for the first meal of the day. The same goes for dinner since no guest likes to feel stuffed while going to bed.

 

Fried items are best left for lunch or evening snack time. If your guest list for a particular event in the wedding is going to be mostly of senior citizens then the menu should be more towards what is palatable to them and easily digestible too.  In case the weather is extremely cold then it is better to have hot preparations like hot soups to be added to the menu. Similarly having an assortment of cold desserts is ideally suitable for summer months.

Unless there is a necessity it would also do well not to mix too many cuisines into a single meal. It has become a fancy to serve a meal that’s  a mix of North, South, Chinese and any other cuisine that one can think of. Too many dishes only confuse the guest and they are unable to do justice to the food, leading to a lot of wastage.

It is well to remember that a tasteful meal served with a lot of love and good will than an ostentatious display of gourmet. As Wedding planners this is what we strive for at every event / wedding

HARITHAM : IMPORTANCE OF PRESENTATION IN WEDDING CATERING

Haritham catering  in the true sense of the word not only stands for quality food cooked in the right proportions but also encompasses the proper presentation of food and the way it is served. As wedding caterers when we speak about presentation it is not about the food styling or garnishing or the lavish spread of items.

In a wedding where hundreds of guests are to be served these elements – like food styling – cannot come into play beyond a limit. For the simple reason that as guests  begin to come in to eat the only thing foremost in the mind of the wedding caterers is the prompt refilling of items, so that there is no shortage and people don’t have to wait for their fill.

In wedding catering presentation carries along with it a lot of responsibility. Right from draping of the dining tables – if it is a sit down service – cleaning of the tables, use of proper table covers, constant cleaning of spilt food below the tables to the hand wash area being properly maintained, everything is the responsibility and speaks volumes of the wedding caterers calibre and skills.

Service personnel must be in clean attire, complete with gloves and caps. Most important rule to be observed is organised service with minimum verbal communication and clock wise coordination between the team. Shouting across the distance for dishes to be brought in is almost like insulting the guest.

Cleanliness is the essence of wedding catering. Whether it is the physical appearance of the people serving or the neatly stacked containers for serving full attention must be paid to keeping things neatly and in an organised fashion. Dishes ought to be kept covered at all times to avoid unnecessary spoilage.

 


Clearing the area of pests and flies beforehand is a must.

Service Personnel need to be taught the art of serving. Serving is not about reaching all items in the menu to the guest’s plate. It is serving with care the right quantity at the allotted space without spilling or any sign of disrespect to the guest.

It is also important for the service people to know all about the dishes that they dish out. When they are asked what a dish is made of they need to answer clearly about the ingredients.

This is more so important in cases where a guest may be allergic to an ingredient and hence incorrect information could be dangerous.

Catering is a highlight in every wedding because we in India give a lot of importance to the food served for each event in a wedding and as wedding planners we are fully aware of it. Given the multitude of dishes in our cuisine it is a herculean task to bring in the right balance to suit everyone’s taste.

One golden rule that we as wedding caterers follow is to serve the dishes only after the guests are seated. In India we firmly believe that every guest or Aditi is equivalent to God. They need to be looked after well so that they pass on their hearty blessings to the couple.


Guests are present at the event not just for the food. Hence serving them should never be looked upon  as  a chore but as a service to make them feel special and wanted. In any case serving after the guests are seated also helps in giving them what they want and avoid wastage of food.

In case of Buffet,  neat arrangements of counters with clear labelling of each dish is a must. Proper planning of counters is mandatory to avoid a sense of cramptness and lack of elbow space which leaves the guests with a dissatisfied feel , however tasty the food may be.

A Wedding caterer is the representative of the host and it is his duty to make the entire dining experience a wholesome and satisfying one for the guest.  Every small gesture matters and a genuine personal touch is that which differentiates and helps us retain a place in the top wedding caterers in Chennai.

SEER BAKSHANAM – AN IMPORTANT ELEMENT OF WEDDING CATERING  

In olden days weddings were homely affairs. When a wedding was fixed the entire clan of relatives would arrive a week ahead of the wedding date and partake in the arrangements and pitch in on all fronts.
Wedding catering or event management were unheard of then. The family goldsmith would make the jewels. The family purohit would take care of all the religious proceedings. All the families in the village or community would happily throw open their doors to host the visiting groom’s family and relatives.

No one would wait to be invited and would consider the wedding as one in their family and extend all kinds of assistance.
In the absence of a family cook all the elders would plan and execute the food menu planning well ahead and provide timely and tasty gourmet to the guests.
Since food was and is still an important part of the Indian wedding scenario great efforts and care were taken to impress the guests. Making of the Seer Bakshanam was an important task of wedding catering.

Seer Bakshanam refers to the different sweets and savories given to the groom’s side from the bride’s family. It consisted of several varieties of sweets and savories specific to each community or religion. A certain number in each variety – 21, 51 0r 101 or even more – was expected to be given. 

 

One of the most interesting fact about these items was that all of them were home — made a couple of days before the wedding. For example in a typical South Indian Brahman Family it was common to see huge vessels containing the following sweets and savories filled to the brim – Ladoo, Adirasam, Mysur Pak, Kai Muruku, Mullu Murukku, Then Kuzhal, Maa laadoo etc.

Ladies were greatly talented and knew the exact quantity and quality of ingredients to be used in the making of these awesome delicacies. There was no question of buying anything from outside.
As modernization began this system slowly disappeared. Food and seer bakshanams are all outsourced now and it is considered to be  a painful process to undertake this job. As one of the best wedding planners in Chennai we found that there was a lot at stake as far as delivering the best and tasty Seer Bakshanams,
We as wedding caterers and event planners adopt the age old practices in the making of these goodies with talented artistes – yes thats how we call our team of mamis making all the bakshanams.. Use of quality ingredients and in the right measure goes a long way in keeping the sweetmeats fresh with a longer shelf life.
As wedding caterers  we employ experienced hands and ensure the place of preparation is spic and span and absolutely labor friendly. No compromise is made on the ingredients. Being reputed for giving great service in terms of wedding catering, we personally supervise  everything from procurement to preparation  for we believe that if the output has to be of the highest standard then even minute details have to be taken care of.
For example the process of making the Kai Murukku is an art. Right from getting the perfect rice and grinding it to flour, adding the right amount of roasted urad dal powder,  butter, warm oil and black seasame seeds every process has to be done with care and concentration to get that melt in the mouth crispiness.
When the mix is ready our catering team sets yo work. A small portion of the dough is taken and rolled into twisted strands on flat metal plates in circles.
The number of lines to the circle is generally of odd numbers – 5 , 7, 9 , 11 and so on.
The metal plate is then slid into a huge pan of hot oil. One has to do this very carefully to ensure the murukku does not break or bend.
The temperature of the oil is of great importance.
Once the Murukku is fried a bit it pops out of the plate and the metal plate remains at the bottom of the pan. It is then deftly removed with the help of a long rod . The long rod is used to turn the murukku on either side for even frying.
The fully fried murukku is removed and drained off any excess oil. Preserving the final product and protecting them from ants and pests is an another daunting task  that needs to be given full attention. The secret of it is to have a spotless and clean kitchen.
The happiness that one derives when people recognize you through your service – and products – to come back and compliment you  on the lingering taste in their mouth is the most satisfying moment.
As wedding caterers we realize that certain traditions are unique to our culture. This process of making wedding bakshanams is one such.
Our women are extremely talented and their dexterous fingers can give a lot of top chefs in the world a great complex – for even they cannot take on this challenge and come up trumps.
 To us every cook in our team is an artist whose talent needs to be respected and nurtured. We look forward to carrying forward these unique traditions through Haritham wedding catering for many more years to come..

WEDDING CATERING – A DEMANDING ART

Wedding Catering is an art. Without doubt. Much like a housewife who masters the art of home management, encompassing within her several portfolios, wedding caterers too should possess certain important management skills to be successful.

 

Weddings require a great deal of planning, a keen sense of accounting, quick decision making ability and most important of all futuristic thinking. Innovation is the key in all professions. A wedding caterer should be open minded to experiment and move along with changing times.

Whether it is terms of dishes, planning of the menu or innovative designs in presentation of buffet counters or even in terms of uniforms of the service

 

Indian cuisine is varied and each client has a unique taste and requirement of their own. To strike a balance between their requirement and budget is by itself a huge task. A good rapport needs to be built between the client and the wedding caterer from the word ‘Go’. Complete trust and comfort levels have to be reached in order to pull off a successful event.

 

Complete transparency on the part of the wedding caterer and the client is very important. The Client needs to be clear in expressing his needs and budget constraints, if any. Keeping quiet on the budget front will give the wrong impression to the catering team. Otherwise it will place the client in a tight spot after the wedding when settlement has to be done.

 

Likewise, the wedding caterer also needs to honestly say what can be provided within the mentioned budget. There is no use in giving false promises and letting down the client citing financial factors.

 

The wedding caterer has to keep several factors in mind while agreeing to take up the event. If the proposed wedding is at the peak of summer then proper planning needs to be done in terms of preserving the edible items in humid or hot conditions.

 

Similarly if a wedding is planned during the festive season then proper planning on finances is a must since all commodities are likely to go up in price. So costing is of absolute importance.

A wedding caterer should also be smart enough to manage unexpected bandhs or natural calamities that are likely to throw things out of gear. Excuses cannot be given and are not acceptable in wedding catering. Deliverable cannot be compromised on in wedding catering.

Profit is the basis of any business. But wedding catering is all about guest satisfaction which cannot be bought off the shelf. Excellent service and great hospitality alone can earn good will as far as wedding catering is concerned.

 

 

Hence if you are looking for a long innings as a wedding caterer be sure to  get your priorities right and do not take your responsibility light for it is a very demanding profession. Every client chooses the wedding caterer based on a certain amount of trust and that faith should never be upset for it a life time event for the couple.

** Nala Bhaagam is the catering unit of Haritham Events.