Indian Wedding Food Menu by Event | Ultimate Guide (Final Buffet Choices)
Updated: Apr 16, 2020
Ajay Manaktala is an Indian Wedding expert who is also quite the foodie. Having attended or worked over 1000 North Indian and South Indian weddings, he knows all about wedding catering, food selection, sample menus and Gujarati/Jain/Punjabi/NRI/Western tastes.
He's also a most viewed writer on Quora about Big Fat South Asian anything. In this post he'll give you FINAL BUFFET MENU SELECTIONS you can use for your Sangeet, Reception, etc...
Finalizing your Big Fat Wedding Menu choices?
It's confusing right!?!
In this post I'm going to tell you the Indian or Pakistani food items you need at every wedding buffet, especially for events in the USA although it applies anywhere!
Whether you're having a vegetarian or super non-veg wedding, or just overwhelmed for choices from your hotel and catering teams, my goal with this post is to educate you about a buffet for about 300 people.
You can then reduce or increase your items accordingly.
JUST TELL ME WHAT I NEED FOR 200 PEOPLE!
Many caterers send you their entire menu, say "Yes madam we can do it all" and then expect you to pick the 29 items you need out of 300.
AINT NOBODY GOT TIME FO DAT!
Show me a menu of how many dals or rice or breads or meats are required and let me adjust!
WE GOT YOU FAM!
Hotels make a killing on over ordering to be safe during wedding season (they'll scare you good on running out of food) and also, food wastage in our celebrations is a massive problem.
So lets get educated to finalize some menus!
WHY FOOD IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN INDIAN WEDDING
I need to tell you something, and don't take it personally. You and your hubbie are important obviously also...but....
Food is arguably the most important thing at most South Asian and Indian weddings.
Ask any wedding planner, and despite the fireworks and helicopter for your baraat, people will love/hate/remember your wedding based on the food.
Yes they are there for you and they love you, but food is love also right?
And you love your guests don't you?
Indians Love their Home Tastes and your function has to be a celebration of that culture.
My own mother has let me know this many times.
Despite taking her out for a $100 Italian/Sushi/Thai/Mexican dinner, she'll always go home and have yellow dal/rice.
It's frustrating but it's part of the Indian experience.
As such, when you plan your wedding, remember that while it's cool you have all that fusion food ( gelato, sushi, waffles, rolls, etc.), crazy drinks and fancy desserts...some people still need the traditional Indian staples.
But have that waffle and gelato and coconut water bar also, yum!
Considering the very low extra marginal cost at any buffet, try to make sure you include the following items.
Indian Wedding Must Have Food or Catering Items
When selecting your main items, remember...overlap is the enemy.
You wouldn't have a Thai Chicken Red Curry AND a Thai Shrimp Red Curry, because they'll feel too similar with white rice.
Instead, have 1-2 different curry items, two or three different veggie stir fry items, one dal or two, etc.. Whichever dal you didn't use in the Mehendi, use that in the Sangeet, and then something else on the reception, etc.. It's ok to have repeats on the 3rd day, nobody will notice as some dishes are just staple.
Main Courses (Veg then Non Veg)
1. Yellow Dal (Lentils)
It's cheap, it goes with rice and roti and any guest above 35 will be looking for it. It's also not as heavy so they guests can keep drinking/dancing and a safe option always for vegetarians.
YES, YOU NEED IT.
2. Black Dal (More Lentil)
Punjabis love it, it's great during cold weather, it feels a bit more substantial than yellow dal and it packs a punch.
Again, great for vegetarians and people from the homeland. Your white friends will probably shy away from it unless you explain it's kind of like refried beans but not.