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 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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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.

Wedding Planning & Wedding Invitations – 2

Wedding planners and event managers are professionals who’s tag line has to be creativity. As far as wedding invites are concerned there is no dearth for ideas that can be either created or duplicated at the client’s behest. But one has to be critically aware of the practical aspects of handling invites created specially.
Given below  is a wedding invite that is to be viewed by a photo viewer

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Designs should be user friendly keeping in mind the use in Indian Conditions. Specially designed invites for weddings are far more easier to handle abroad where the invitees list is limited and  personal invites being the norm mostly.

This is an invite for a wedding to take place amidst trees in the woods

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Indian Weddings are known for the huge guest list with invites being sent far and wide and abroad too at times. Hence bulky or extraordinarily shaped invites will make it difficult to expend with them.

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Wedding invites have been made of different materials – fabric, silk, wood, metal, plastic, fibre. It is amazing that how much imagination can go into creating wedding invites.

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Wedding planners can work towards putting their stamp of originality right from the wedding invites . Invitations can be designed according to the theme that the couple want to go with.

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With the advancement of technology the actual printed invites are more of a stamp of the couple’s or the family’s ideas rather than a means of just communicating the details of the events.

 

Wedding Planning & Wedding Invitations – 1

 

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As wedding planners the first job on hand after booking the wedding venue is to  source for the right type of invitations going by the client’s requirements. In olden days when weddings took place within the village or between people living in different villages invites were merely by word of mouth or of the personal  kind.

As people settled far and wide the habit of inviting through letters became the norm. This developed further into formal invitation cards that has developed into a full fledged industry with amazing innovations and creativity coming into the wedding invites.
While the traditional ‘Manjal Pathrikkai’ still has its place sealed in the traditional hindu weddings in Tamilnadu, the invitation card has gone through amazing innovations – 3 D cards, Musical Cards, Gold and silver plated cards, E – invites, CD invites and so on. The wedding invitation is at times indicative of the opulence and grandeur of what is to follow in the wedding itself.
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The element of color and design has surpassed everyone’s imagination and there are multi card invites where each event has a card with separate details to it. Wordings in the invites too has seen a sea change over the years. While some prefer the traditional content  of parents’ inviting the guests, some couples prefer have cards printed on their behalf with a lot of humor and poetry mixed into the content.
As wedding planners and event managers we are often requested by the clients to come up with innovative ideas but within a budget. We do keep the profession of the couple in mind while creating the wedding invites.
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As Wedding planners we do need to have an eye for detail since some weddings are based on themes and right from the wedding invitation to the decor to the thank you cards we coordinate everything to bring in a touch of unique creativity.
As event managers a very important aspect that we need to pay attention to is how the invitations are going to be sent. Size, weight and shape of the invitations have a bearing on the postage or couriering of the same. So the wedding invite has to be practical to handle and easy to reach the guests.
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Creating something unique for the sake of it is fine. But to make it practically viable and financially affordable is also the responsibility of every wedding planner and event manager.

EVENT MANAGEMENT SERVICES FOR NRI s

Non resident Indians who wish to organise weddings or events back home find event management services a real boon that solves a lot of their practical issues. The success of any event depends on good planning. With the presence of internet every service or product is available online to be inspected and purchased. However when it comes to organizing an event several factors come into play.
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Certain services and products need personal inter action and attention to choose the best. Being away from the scene of action hampers many activities for people living abroad. It is here that the role of Event Managers takes great importance. It is for this  season that many NRI s prefer to contract the services of event managers and wedding planners . It not only saves them time and money but gives them the satisfaction of getting exactly what they have in mind with minimal effort.
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The only difficult thing here is perhaps in finding a good or top event management company in Chennai with a good reputation and organisational skills. At Haritham we can proudly say that we are amongst the most sought after event management companies for the simple reason of our honesty, perfection at work and straight forward dealings with our client.
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While major elements like decor, catering and invitations can be coordinated with online images, Skype Calls and other communication facilities there are several small elements that need a lot of care and personal attention that need to be carried out on behalf of the client. For example it makes a lot of sense for us to courier the invites to the guests from here locally.
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But at Haritham Events we go a step further and call up the guests to check if they received the invite and leave a personal message on behalf of the client ensuring that they definitely attend the function. Small gestures like these are those that make a huge impact. To us it is not just about being an event manager or wedding planner of that particular  client. We look at every wedding or event as our own and work with a lot of passion towards making it a success.
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Its not that Indians living abroad do not have relatives or friends back in India to help them out. Our clients either feel uncomfortable in disturbing them or have relatives who are too aged to help out. Hence they prefer to give the full responsibility to a professional who will be a single source of contact to question on the progress and run around on their behalf.
In their busy schedule people generally may not have the time to explain about the latest trends or may not be actually aware of whats in . Hence appointing a professional event manager or wedding planner greatly helps in knowing the present scenario.
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 As wedding planners we are well versed with all sampradhayas and hence the client does not need to worry about any of the things required for the conduct of the wedding rituals. Otherwise imagine the amount of time and energy spent on sourcing even the tiniest of things and getting it ready for the event.
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When people visit India for an event it is generally on a very short holiday and hence they look to optimum use of time and energy, to spend with their loved ones. When the huge responsibility of conducting an event is taken off their shoulders they are far more relaxed and enjoy the event a hundred times more due to our presence.