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  • Writer's pictureMira Balachandran

Do Not Confuse Party Caterers with Wedding Caterers

The business of wedding catering is fast expanding and proving to be lucrative, as a result of which many players who are already part of the food industry are foraying into this.

At the outset it appears that anyone with a little experience in the food industry can manage and deliver the wedding catering requirements. Reality is far from it. Wedding catering is a genre apart. The cuisines served are region specific and tradition specific. So, a caterer has to be thorough with the sampradayam of each community in order to curate and serve the right kind of menu.

Every community has a speciality that has to be served during the wedding like for Keralites you have the Elai Adai, Chakka Pradhaman, Puttu Kadala curry, Olan, Kaalan , Eriseri, Avial etc. For Telugus Pappu, Pulusu, Vepudu, Dappalam, Kanda Bachchili Kura, Gutti Vankaya Kura, Boppatlu etc have to be part of the wedding menu.

For Kannadigas popular dishes include Pineapple Gojju,Bisi bela huli anna, Kosambari, Saaru, Puliyogare, Sabbaki Payasa to name a few

In Tamilnadu in the Chettinad region you have the Paniyaram, Brinji & Kaara Kuzhambu, Mappilai Sodhi in the Tirunelveli belt and other popular dishes include Pongal, Vadai, Parupusili, Palpayasam, Mysorepak, Jangiri, Paruppuurundai Kuzhambu, Sambar, Akara adisal, Thayir Vadai – these are a must in weddings of the respective regions.

Curating a menu for a party and curating a menu for the wedding are two completely different activities. A party menu is dictated by factors of what is popular and preferred. It is more like eating in a hotel. There are no restrictions on the ingredients used like onion, garlic, radish, spinach, bitter gourd and other vegetables. Party menu is by popular demand or the hosts preferences and likes.

Wedding menu is based more on tradition and hence calls for authentic dishes that have been passed down the generations as being part of the wedding celebrations. There is a certain format to be followed with certain essentials being a MUST - like a sweet, payasam and vadai as part of the menu.

A wedding caterer also has to be thorough in the manner in which the dishes have to be served on the vazhai elai. Where as in party catering mere presentation is enough. Order is not of great importance since party catering is mostly done Buffet style were the guests serve themselves.

The job of a Wedding caterer is not limited merely to the kitchen. He / She should have knowledge on the wedding traditions and rituals to meet the requirement of the client, by providing the necessary food items for pooja and rituals.

Kumara bhojanam during weddings and Upanayanam, Pongal Padayal during weddings, Appam Kozhukattai katradhu during seemandham, Jeeragadhi Bellam for weddings – these are some of the rituals followed at various life events where specific dishes have to be prepared by the wedding Caterer to be handed over at the appropriate time. A Party Caterer merely caters to only one meal a day. In the case of Indian weddings, the wedding caterer has to be on his toes anywhere between one or two days, continuously churning out meal after meal. Effective managing of resources – human and articles – has to be deftly handled so that the turnaround time is perfect and service can begin on time. To be a party caterer one does not require in depth knowledge or reverence of the Vedic tradition. But a wedding caterer absorbs all of the traditions and plans his service with humility recognising the respect that needs to be given to our Sanskriti.

When you choose a wedding caterer do not get carried away by fabulous presentations and outward rhetoric. Please check if the caterer is vell versed not only in authentic, traditional cooking but allied sampradhayas

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