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No wedding celebrations are complete without a grand feast and in Indian weddings this is an important part that needs to be carefully planned. As the wedding ceremony is organized by the bride’s family, the food is also chosen by them. While cooks would be hired for whipping up a delicious dish earlier, nowadays most people opt for catering services. The food is usually laid out in a buffet so that guests can take their pick. Otherwise, arrangements are made to serve the guests as they sit and eat.

The type of food served at an Indian wedding depends on the part of India that the bride and groom hail from. There are also interesting inter-regional variations in the cuisine. Due to western influences, the wedding menu nowadays is a mish-mash of traditional dishes and other favourite food items. In the South African Indian community, there has been a gradual change in the food served at weddings over the generations. From the single vegetable biryani dish followed by soji as a dessert, South African Indian weddings these days now have a wider range of dishes presented to guests.

Multi Course Wedding Meals in India

As guests enter the wedding venue they are treated to appetizers or snacks. This consists of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian finger food. Common snacks include pakoras and kebabs. Along with this, soups, soft drinks, juices and mocktails are also served at times. The main course is usually served once the wedding is over. This is where the regional variations are seen.

North India

In north Indian weddings, the main course usually consists of naan (a traditional Indian bread), dal makhani (a lentil preparation), chicken butter masala (chicken cooked in butter and spices), shahi paneer (paneer cooked in a creamy and spicy curry) and so on. North Indian food is rich and spicy, leaving the guests licking their fingers.

South India

By contrast, southern Indian food is lighter on the stomach and is served on banana leaves. The guests usually sit on the floor and food is served in a particular order. In many south Indian weddings, only vegetarian food is served. In some of these weddings, payasa (a milk-based sweet dish) is served at first. This is followed by pickle, kosambari (a salad), playa (vegetables cooked in coconut and mustard seeds) and so on. Other popular wedding dishes include rasam (a traditional south Indian soup), appalam (papads) and flavoured rice such as tamarind rice or lemon rice.

West India

In western India, food is also served on banana leaves in a traditional Maharashtrian wedding. In most cases, the food is vegetarian consisting on roti (an Indian flatbread), dal, curry, salad, pickle and chutney (a condiment).

Eastern India

In eastern India, particularly West Bengal, the wedding feast includes fish, if not chicken and/or mutton preparations. Pulao (rice cooked in ghee with vegetables), cholar dal (a sweet pulse preparation with coconut slices), chutney (a sweet or sweet-sour dish made of tomatoes/mangoes or papayas) and mishti doi (sweet curd) are other dishes served.

Feeding the Guest’s

Indian weddings are extravagant affairs and guests come from all over the country and the world to attend this event. Nothing pleases them more than a grand feast at the end of the celebrations. It is typical of these guests to remember, in later years, which wedding it was where they were able to eat to their heart’s content. In fact, many a wedding is remembered by the failure of its food to please the palate despite the impeccable decor, extravagant outfits and grandeur of the entire event. It is therefore one of the main concern of any wedding coordinator and the hosts, to ensure that the wedding meals are perfectly suited to the preferences of their guests.

Last updated on 16 August 2012

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