How Much is Catering at an Indian Wedding?
Food is arguably the most important part of any South Asian wedding. While the bride will focus on her lehenga and the parents may be worried about the hotel and venue bills, the guests are ultimately the king (as we say in Hindi) and food is how the king rules.
So I thought I'd explain for our couples how much Indian food catering costs for weddings.
So how much is Indian food catering at an Indian Wedding? Buffet lunches are around $25 per head and elaborate dinners can go up to $75 or more. A 300 person dinner bill at a sangeet or Indian wedding reception would be around $15,000.
They're many factors that are involved, and you can see our Indian food catering guide for must have items and do's and don'ts.
Also Read: Our favorite Indian catering vendors in Southern California.
How to Hire Indian Wedding Catering Companies
They're many restaurants that specialize in Indian, Pakistani and South Asian food. However in a country with the largest population, food in one region may be drastically different than food in another.
Some Indians eat pork while others may run from a wedding if they saw it. Ditto for beef and in some cases even meat all together.
For folks in Southern California, you can see our preferred vendors at the link above.
However in most cases, simply calling a restaurant in your area and asking them if they do catering may not be ideal as they'll need specific experience at hotels and weddings in your chosen location.
Imagine your favorite mall foodcourt Indian food stall guy saying he does catering, then him showing up to the Hilton at Dallas Airport (where your wedding is) with no cutlery, no place to heat the food and constant squabbles with the hotel staff because he was never there before and now you have to deal with a $500 kitchen fee and the food is coming out late.
Factors that Affect Costs of Indian Food Catering
They're many differences (obviously) in a $25 per head event versus a $75 per head event. Usually in the $40 range you'll get 6-8 course buffet with 2 chicken or lamb options. If you add shrimps, fish, live stations or other premium meats you'll also see the costs rise.
In America, about 30% of Indian weddings are vegetarian, and from the remaining 70%, about 80% of those will only have chicken or lamb as items.
Pork and beef are usually avoided but also required in some communities (Muslim weddings, Coorgi from South Karnataka, Kerala folks, etc..)
Choosing an Indian Wedding Catering Company in Your Area
Instead, check for posts on Instagram that have used #IndianWedding in your area, see the wedding planners or decorators or whoever who have posted those photos and read the descriptions for who the catering company was.
Otherwise, you can always DM a wedding planner or decorator in your area using the same method and ask them for a preferred caterer who has experience. Although they will likely try to pitch their services as well, the industry runs on referrals and you never know who will reply.
Lastly, you can of course google "indian catering" near me but you need to make sure the website of the company has experience in weddings and ask them for a referral or two.
YOU DO NOT WANT A CATERING COMPANY THAT NO EXPERIENCE IN WEDDINGS!
Question to Ask Your Catering Company
1. Have you worked weddings before?
2. How many tastings can we get?
3. Will you use separate counters, trays or stoves for vegetarian and non-vegetarian? How do you separate the food?
4. How many times can we meet?
5. Do you have catering packages?
6. Can you do live stations?
7. Will you provide your own buffet equipment and/or what do you require from the hotel?
8. Can I see a sample contract from an earlier client or can you send me a sample invoice?
9. How late can I make changes to the menu?
10. How much extra food will you bring to plan for any contingencies?
11. How many staff do you come with?
12. What do you do with any leftover food?
13. Can you help with vendor meals as well?
The main point of this post was to give you insight into how much Indian food at weddings cost, but if you any questions feel free to let me know.
Stay hungry and stay happy! And for any bride and grooms who need world class DJ & Lighting for their big fat wedding in North America or anywhere in the world please do reach out!
Ajay Manaktala is an expert on Indian weddings with over 120,000 online fans and 2800 Indian weddings under his belt.