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.

DECIDING THE MENU : AN INTERESTING PART OF EVENT PLANNING & WEDDING CATERING

Selection of an appropriate Menu plays a major role in the success of an event. Its proper execution being the other major element. As wedding planners having our own catering team in Chennai, Haritham is  known for its innovative creations.  We find most clients are excited about choosing the menu. Only 10% of clients leave it completely to our discretion either due to lack of time or due to living away from home and not knowing the trend or simply because of a lack of interest.

In the normal course of discussion with any wedding caterer the initial enthusiasm of the client tends to include all types of dishes into a packed menu. When you are considered as one among the best wedding planners – cum –  caterers in Chennai we have a lot of responsibility in convincing are urban clients about the need for a crisp and appealing menu.

 

Clients who perform weddings in their ancestral village or town lean more towards traditional dishes whereas clients based in Chennai tend to get a bit overboard in mixing cuisines.  It is then our duty to advice on what would be an ideal choice and the best appreciated too.

 

For a recent engagement that we did the client was very clear about he menu they wanted. It was an evening event and they were particular about having only tiffin items in the menu.

The following was the menu suggested by us and agreed upon by them:

Snacks 4-6 pm
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Cheese corn ball

Musk Mellon juice

Coffee

Tiffin Dinner 7 pm – 10 pm
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Rabdi  with Malpuvaa

Kasi halwa

Adapradaman

Veg Bonda

Vegetable idly, coconut chutney, sambar,

Andra pesarat

Ginger chutney and SPL sambar,

Aapam

Veg stew

Rumali roti

Panner tikka

Panner butter masala

Beeda

Vettrilai and pakku

Going by the age group of the people attending the function – mostly middle aged and senior citizens – we were wondering how the grilled paneer dish would be welcomed. But much to our astonishment every one loved the paneer tomato capsicum grilled item. The whole menu was a hit.

Curd rice being an inherent part of any south Indian dinner menu, was not chosen here. The client was very clear that they did not want it. And a few of the guests did mention that they had expected curd rice to be a part of the menu since it is a kind of  comfort food for most people.


Expect for Payasam the client did not want ice cream as dessert. As wedding caterers, we have often found that in summer no matter what age thy are every guest looks forward to a scoop of ice cream.

We had added two flavours of ice cream as a dessert stall as a surprise to the client and sure enough it was a sell-out. Our client was so happy at the end of the day.

 

Wedding catering is all about knowing the pulse – in this case the taste – of the guests in general and providing what they look forward to. As event caterers we are duty bound to go by the client’s request, but should also be responsible enough to give a wholesome menu that would satisfy most people invited and make it a memorable event.

Wedding Planner’s Role As A Facilitator

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A wedding planner’s job doesn’t necessarily have to be on the day/s of the event. A wedding planner has to coordinate all aspects of a wedding, which includes helping the bride with her wedding trousseau as well . Wedding planning  begins well in advance especially when the bride lands here the week before the wedding. Right from her trousseau shopping to jewelry designing and blouse designing it is an excited frenzy of activities.

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Indian weddings involve a lot of dress changes for a bride and any bride would want the best in terms of design and color combinations. It becomes difficult when the bride lands up at the last minute and has to take the help of the wedding planners to organise everything.

The wedding planner has to hire the services of fine professionals to get the designing / tailoring done to the full satisfaction of the client. Perfect coordination and great detailing is required to get right execution
We work with the BEST & amazingly talented professionals who make our job a cake walk.

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They communicate weeks  ahead of the wedding with the client and understand their preferences and see to it that all their criteria is met with. Constant updates through mail or whatsapp is done for follow up. The wedding planner should ensure that the final completion of the dresses  or blouses is carried out as soon as the bride lands for the wedding . There is no place for any mistakes and excellent coordination is required from the side of the wedding planner in suggesting options for last minute glitches.WhatsApp Image 2018-07-08 at 6.17.30 PM (6)

Invitations: An Important Aspect of Event Planning

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Any event calls for an invite as a means of communicating the details of the event. Although mostly associated with weddings the word Invitation is by far a very common term with regards to any event – big or small, corporate or religious, birthdays or anniversaries.

Event planning begins with the fixing of the venue and designing of invites. Nowadays more than the conventional or traditional types off beat content finds more takers.
Innovative designs and informal manner of content writing is favored by clients. Even small events like a Mehndi or Sangeet is planned with attractive and creative invites.

Same with anniversaries and birthdays. Depending on the occasion the event planner has a job on hand to design an appropriate  card . You can see some of the cards displayed here.
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Wedding Planning & Wedding Invitations – 3

Wedding planners and event managers have a social responsibility in giving their best in keeping the weddings and events they manage as clean and pollution free as possible. Avoiding wastage of food is also a moral responsibility of every event planner. It is not just about sticking to a budget and proper planning. Other aspects like going in for eco friendly products and options too fall into a wedding planner’s purview.
Complete cooperation from the client is also mandatory to implement waste management. For example the concept of saving paper is a much talked about idea. E – invites are a great idea. But not many want to do away with the printed format since e invites may not be practically accessible by all.
Looking at what best can be done in minimising the wastage of paper led to the manufacture of seed paper and printing of invites on these seed paper. Wedding planners need to take the initiative in popularising this concept.
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The invitations printed on seed paper can be dissolved in water and planted in a pot to blossom into a plant post the evetrees then such options have to be nt . The idea behind this concept is so beautiful that every client should be encouraged to use this format.
Otherwise lakhs of invitations get printed every year and go into the bin post the event. Although there are certain constraints with the seed paper in terms of color, design and grandeur aspect the wonderful concept underlying it makes it very attractive at the end. If we are to save paper and in turn save on cutting down on trees then such options has to be popularised by wedding planners amongst clients.

Innovation : Key word for Wedding Planners

One reason why we as wedding planners enjoy this profession is the creativity it offers in the scenario of Indian tradition and culture. Indian weddings are by themselves amazingly varied in terms of different traditions and rituals spread across different states, languages and communities. As such each wedding is unique. Top make it singularly memorable and beautiful is the challenging job of every wedding planner and event manager.
Innovation not the for the sake of it. As wedding planners we look to work within the budget given to us by the client. Although it is easy for us to operate with a no – holds barred budget, it is not necessarily so with every wedding. We need to respect the financial viability of the client and look to innovate within that.
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Wedding Catering
With our own wedding catering unit, we double up as marriage caterers too. Food is a great platform to innovate as far as Indian cuisine is concerned. The variety that we have in terms of dishes and spices is mind blowing. So as wedding planners look forward to a free hand from the client where the menu is concerned and we try to fix it bringing in long forgotten regional specialities in to the gourmet spread at every opportunity.
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Wedding Menu
We believe that a sensibly planned wedding menu is more effective than an elaborate spread that leads to wastage of food. It is ensured that quality is never compromised for the sake of innovation or to make it cost effective. To us the guest should leave with a wholesome dining experience, relishing every meal with no damage done to health. This policy has stood us in good stead identifying us as one of the best wedding planners and wedding caterers in Chennai.
Wedding Decor

In India we are blessed with a brilliant variety of textiles and flowers to choose from and incorporate into the decor ideas at a wedding. Using eco friendly materials and natural fibres is something that is close to our heart and we firmly believe in it as a policy. Instead of replicating any design suggested by the client we try to add value by incorporating design changes keeping in mind the occasion and the venue details. Open air venues do pose restrictions in the use of certain ideas but the real challenge for us as wedding planners lies in overcoming the same imaginatively.
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Budget constraints also force us to innovate sensibly cutting down on cost of wedding decor by re utilising the same arrangements in a different manner to suit the next event thus creating a new look by not wasting the  props used once.
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As a wedding planner it is also best to remember that anything in the name of innovation should never interfere or be a hindrance to the performance of our age old traditions. Safety should be kept in mind at all times in any structural innovations. And aesthetics maintained at all times.

Time Sheet: Important Task of a Wedding Planner

Wedding planning is not just about putting together a list of services and coordinating them on the day of the event. As wedding planners we have a lot of responsibility in terms of the money spent by the client and to maximise the utilisation of resources without wastage.

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As event planners every detail has to  be nailed in place. Indian weddings are very time consuming and elaborate filled with varied customs and rituals. Every small detail has to be looked into to get the perfect execution. Any untoward delay or last minute hitches has to be taken into account by the wedding planner. Forethought and listing out alternate  options is of  paramount importance.

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Time is an important factor in Indian weddings due to the long schedule of rituals. As an event manager we have the responsibility of getting the client ready for the events well ahead of time so that no delays come up. This is more so in case where the clients arrive only a few days ahead of the event from far off destinations.

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A well drafted Timeline sheet will effectively prepare them mentally on what to expect in terms of the length of the event. Therefore a minute by minute programming keeps everyone in readiness and any exigencies in timelines can be sorted out later without any misunderstanding . Smooth flow of events always lead up to a positive feeling all around and makes a wedding planners job easy .

 

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Timeline has to be coordinated by the wedding planner not only with the client but also with the photographers. They need to be ready on time for shoot and they can function well only given ample time to shoot.

Similarly good understanding between the catering team and the wedding planner is a must for all meals to begin and end on time. Right from the entry time to the exit time of all service providers everything needs to be checked by the event managers.