Top Pakistani & Indian Wedding Caterers in Texas - Dallas, Houston, Austin
Beverages and food, including appetizers, entrees, and desserts served, is central to entertaining the guests of your Desi wedding. Quality and quantity are going to be key here - you want to serve your guests a delicious meal, and make sure there’s enough for everyone! Whether you plan on a North Indian or South Indian wedding feast or a Tex Mex themed Sangeet night, your catering provider will be an integral part of all of your wedding events. Check out the best Desi wedding caterers in Dallas, Houston, and Austin on The Desi Bride.
What are initial quick tips for South Asian wedding catering?
Before you book for a caterer, ask your wedding venue manager if they have in-house caterers or any list of vendors.
Whether you have to search yourself or not, make sure you book your wedding caterer as early as possible to avoid last-minute hassles
Understand the type of food you are going for - Pakistani wedding food, Halal wedding food, Indian vegetarian food, Gujurati wedding catering, Chaat station, Wedding food trucks etc - and find experienced caterers that will provide it
What questions should I ask a catering company or restaurant?
Are you available on the date (of the wedding)? Is there any other wedding/event you are catering on that day? It is important for you to know if your South Asian or non-South Asian caterer has any other obligations on your wedding date. If your caterer has other bookings then you can ask about their plan for balancing multiple events and who will be your point of contact.
Have you catered at our wedding venue in the past? Your caterer should be able to fulfill your vision of food, from display to service, at the designated venue. If they have catered at your venue before then they will be familiar with special needs, like logistics, space required, and time needed for set-up and break down.
How long have you been in business? An experienced caterer should be able to manage your specific needs given their expertise and previous experience in handling wedding menus.
How many weddings do you cater every month/year? Make sure your caterer is not overbooked and can provide you with personalized attention. On average, three to four weddings per month are manageable for an experienced caterer. Restaurants may be able to take on a greater number of weddings, given larger staff and kitchen capacity.
How many guests can you manage? Is there any cap on the number of guests? Inform your caterer in advance about the final headcount so that they will be able to make the necessary arrangements on time. Although during COVID the number of guests is limited, you may have personalized or gifting options in mind such as sending a box of sweets to guests or a traditional fruit basket along with a wedding invite or a more intricate, seated menu.
How far in advance do we give you the final headcount? In the first meeting with your caterer, you can give a guesstimate of the total number of guests you have in mind. After the caterer is confirmed, you will want to solidify guest count by event. Solidified headcount by event is important whether you are working with the same caterer for all the pre-wedding ceremonies (mehendi, sagaai, sangeet, ganesh pujan) plus the wedding or just the wedding.
Do you have a catering license? A reliable caterer should have a proper catering license and liquor license for meeting the local health department standards as well as liability insurance to minimize the damage you pay in case of property damage or loss. Note that many venues require that the caterer have a license to be on site.
What questions should I ask about payment and charges?
Before you get to the payment conversation, we recommend understanding your budget, drafting the type of food and budget per event, and communicating the rough budget to your caterer as they might be able to recommend a menu to fit the budget.
What is the deposit amount for finalizing our wedding date? When will the remaining amount be due? Some caterers ask for a fixed sum or advance deposit to hold the wedding date. While negotiating, preferably at the first meeting, define these terms.
Do you have sales tax or service fees? When your caterer quotes an amount, always ask if sales or service tax is included or an extra charge.
Do you offer payment plans? Do you take cash, check, credit card? Some caterers have a fixed per guest charge or alternately, a lump sum for ceremonies such as prasad and lunch at ganesh puja or breakfast and lunch with fruit and sweets basket for pag-phera (a ceremony where the bride returns to her parents’ house after the bidaai). It’s important to understand how the cost is broken down, payment timeline, and what methods of payment the caterer accepts.
What is your cancellation/refund policy? Even after holding the date, either you or the caterer may postpone or cancel the wedding due to unforeseen circumstances. Be prepared for such conditions by asking about the cancellation policy or the refund amount in such cases.
Catering for Desi Weddings and Cost
How much should wedding catering for a Desi wedding cost?
So how much is Indian food catering at Desi Wedding in Texas? Buffet lunches are around $15-25 per head and elaborate dinners can go up to $50-75 or more. A 300 person dinner bill at a sangeet or Indian wedding reception in Texas would be around $15,000+ ($50 per guest).
What charges should I look out for besides the per person or per plate charge?
Catering charges are usually quoted at a per person charge. Often, this charge is not an umbrella quote that covers everything. The extra costs that drive up the total amount may include the following:
Service charge or gratuity
Separate charges for beverages/drinks
Extra charges for hors d’oeuvres
Additional cost for set-up and servers
Additional cost for plates, utensils, and other catering essentials like hot plates
What questions can I ask to understand the total cost of wedding food?
Do you charge a lump sum or per person for wedding events (especially for custom menu)?
Do you charge extra for setting up and taking down?
Will you supply servers, and if so, is there an extra charge?
For liquor, do you charge per person or by consumption?
What is your gratuity percentage/service charge?
If the wedding events run longer than anticipated, what are your overtime charges?
Is there an extra charge for hot plates or other catering essentials?
Will you supply plates, utensils, and napkins? If so, what will be the charge?
Food and Beverage
Did you know that it traditionally it was common to have a maharaj or head chef in the house specifically for weddings? The maharaj was designated with the task of cooking special wedding food and sweets for all the ceremonies for all the family members and guests!
Traditionally, the wedding card/invite is accompanied with a mithai box or box of sweets. In a typical Punjabi wedding, for instance, the box of sweets comprises mathri (flattened and fried dough) and shakkar pare (sweet strips) whereas choorma laddoos and kaju katli (cashew sweet) are considered auspicious in a Marwari wedding. Often, the maharaj would make this prasad for the invitation boxes as well.
While caterers may not have a majaraj or maharani, it’s important the discuss the entire menu and vision with them.
Discuss the duration of catering on the first meeting – number of days, approximate guest count, and which ceremonies.
If you want sweets to be distributed at the vidaai, a special lunch for ganesh pujan or prasad for hawan, make sure your caterer knows these details and the approximate headcount for each.
Make sure to sample the menu. Set a date for tasting.
Explain the kind of menu you want – traditional, modern or fusion. You may want a traditional vegetarian menu for pujan, chaat or food truck for the sangeet, and a fusion Indochinese menu for the reception with specific appetizers and cocktails.
Be realistic given your budget, guest list and menu. Don’t expect a seven-course meal for $20 per person. Your caterer should be able to take your budget and help you understand what can be included.
Understand when the caterer will arrive to setup and what, if any, equipment or setup help they might need. If you have a wedding caterer in Houston or a wedding caterer in Dallas and your wedding is in the suburbs, the wedding caterer may want to arrive early to avoid traffic and set up hot plates to make sure the food stays fresh and warm.
What are the different ways to serve wedding food – buffet, individual plates, family-style?
Here are the different meal styles or dining options you can choose from:
Plated: A formal affair, in plated style the guests remain seated and are served by the staff. With this option, you may choose to give your guests an option between 2-3 entrées or served a fixed three-course menu with an appetizer, entrée, and dessert (accommodating for dietary restrictions as needed). It’s helpful to have your guests select an entrée through their RSVPs or ahead of the event, so the caterer can prepare an adequate quantity of each entrée. Plated meals are most common for the reception and are also usually the most expensive of the three types of meals given the servers and individual plating required.
Family style: For a chic yet casual experience, in this style waiters bring food to the table and guests serve their own plate. The dishes are refilled by the waiters in case guests order extra food. Family style can be a great option when you have a limited menu and want to make sure your guests enjoy their meal without getting up. You may make part of the meal family-style, like the chips and salsa or papad.
Buffet: In this informal dining style, food is served on platters placed on banquet tables and guests help themselves to the food. Buffet style is the most common style of serving for at Desi weddings. Not that with the pandemic, often, servers are still serving the food to guests instead of self-serving.
When do we need to finalize the menu?
The finalized menu choices should be conveyed to the caterer well in advance so that they have sufficient time to source and prepare the items. We recommend taking your parents, bridesmaids, or groomsmen for a tasting, so you can create a menu your guests will enjoy.
How much food should I order for a typical Desi wedding?
Consult your caterer for the quantity of food as the amount depends on guest count and type of event: formal, seated dinner, or buffet style wedding. We recommend including your on-site vendors, like photographer, wedding planner, and DJ, in the total headcount, ordering enough food for 85% - 90% of your headcount. Also, make sure you split out children from adults.
What questions should we ask the caterers about the menu and food?
Where do you make the food? Will you require any additional arrangements or manage onsite? It is important to check with the venue manager first whether food can be made on-site or not. If yes, then talk to the caterer about any special arrangements required in the kitchen such as a separate corner for barbecues or tandoor. If the food has to be brought to the venue then the transportation and packaging must be discussed. Regardless of where the food is cooked, it’s also important to know where it will be stored and how it will be kept warm until it is served.
Can you accommodate special requests and restrictions? What are the charges? Ask your South Asian wedding caterer if they can take care of special requests such as:
Food allergies like peanut-free or gluten-free food
Dietary restrictions or lactose intolerance
Jain menu or a vegetarian wedding meal
Separate counters or trays for vegetarian and non-vegetarian food
Special arrangement or counters for vegan meals
Halal meat products
Can you arrange for a Desi or fusion theme-based menu? Some caterers have a standard menu with pre-set appetizers and entrees whereas others are willing to create a customized menu. You can ask your caterer for the following themes/type of cuisine such as:
Indian Food: Gujarati, Punjabi, Rajasthani, South Indian
Fusion Food: Thai satay sticks served in shots glasses, tokri chaat with edible flowers, khurchan (malaai) kebabs, spaghetti nests, stacked mini pancakes, etc
Indochinese Food: From soups to Hakka noodles, spring rolls, and gobi manchurian
Italian a live pasta or pizza station
Tex Mex or Indian-Mexican fusion food: Taco station or loaded nachos chaat
Live stations or live counter stations such as ice cream, dosa, tandoori and barbecue counters, herbal hookah, flavored paan station and Indian chaat-pakodi counter
What options do you have for customized or trending desserts? Desi weddings are a treat for foodies. Some popular and trending dessert options that you can discuss with your caterer are:
Mehndi themed mini-cakes, cupcakes, cake pops, cookies, and macarons with paisleys
Bite-sized snack options such as brownie bites with caramel, chocolate mousse cups, and cheesecake
Chocolate strawberries or a fondue machine
Do you provide wedding vendor meals? Vendor meals are paid by you for the professionals who work your wedding like the photographer, videographer, wedding planner, hair and makeup artist along with their staff or assistants. They are not included in the guest count but make sure you give the final count of vendor meals as additional headcount.
Which food items and how many are included in your package(s)? What is the cost of add-ons? If your caterer mentions a standard package for ceremonies such as the sangeet or reception, then ask for a detailed menu. For example, does the package include items such as appetizers, salad, coffee, wine and choice of dessert or is it only the main course? Is butter chicken or malai kofta an available entrée, or do you need to pay more for it? If you add a second or third entrée, what is the cost?
Can we schedule a tasting? Is there an extra charge for a wedding tasting? A must-have in your list is sampling the food. Whether you’re going for a fixed or custom menu, it’s important to taste it first and adjust for spice or oil levels. We recommend taking a couple of close family members or friends with you, so you can pick a menu that all of your guests will enjoy.
What does the caterer do with leftovers? Can we donate leftover food? For those who favor zero-wastage, it is better to ask the caterer upfront whether they are affiliated with any organizations that can take leftover hot food. If not, there are several organizations around DFW, Houston, and Austin that will accept food. Bonus here is that you can ask for a tax receipt for the donations.
How can I accommodate the dietary preferences or restrictions of my guests?
A simple way to tackle this is to offer a variety of meal or buffet options that fall into common Desi dietary preferences, such as vegetarian, Jain, or vegan. If you’re concerned about any potential allergies, you can consider the following:
Pre-emptively reach out to your guest list and request those with restrictions to clearly outline what those are
Request the caterer to provide a high-level ingredient list for each dish in writing, (this is usually found on the wedding day menu card, or near each food item at the buffet)
What does an ideal menu at an Indian wedding reception or sangeet look like?
For the sangeet, wedding ceremony, or wedding reception, you can choose across many Indian cuisines, like Gujarati, Punjabi, Keralan, Rajasthani or a non-Indian cuisine like Mexican, Italian, Asian, or Mediterranean. We’ve included a list of popular items below:
Undhiyu: Curry made from winter vegetables such as okra, potatoes, and coconut
Aam shrikhand: Greek yogurt with mango, saffron, and nuts
Dhokla / Khandvi: Steamed and spongy dish made from gram flour
Patra: Steamed leaves with gram flour and spices
Handvo: Tea-cake made with squash, lentils, and rice
Daal-baati-choorma: Popular dish made of lentils and ghee-roasted flour
Mohan thaal: sweet dish with besan (gram flour) and dry fruits
Laal maas: Meat cooked in spices and hot gravy of tomatoes
Mohan maas: Meat stuffed with dry fruits and cooked in milk and cream
Shahi gattey: Bite-sized gram flour gravy served with mangodi (lentils balls)
South Indian cuisine:
Chicken Chettinad: Chicken flavored with spices and coconut gravy
Masala dosa: Lentils and rice flour crepe with potato masala, served with sambhar
Meem murringakka: Sardines cooked in tamarind and coconut curry
Paal payasam: Sweet dish made of rice and dry fruits
Hyderabadi Biryani: Rice with tender meat or vegetables topped with saffron
Mexican or Tex Mex cuisine:
Chicken or cheese quesadillas
Tacos: You can opt for a live taco station with your choice of meats, veggies, guacamole, and salsa
Sopa Pillas, Churros, or Tres Leches cake for dessert
Pizza: A pizza food truck is always a fun idea
Middle Eastern or Mediterranean cuisine:
Spanakopita (spinach pie)
Hummus and Baba Ganoush (eggplant and tahini dish commonly served as an appetizer)
Falafel: Chickpea and lentil-based wrap
Paella (Spanish rice with chicken, shrimp, or lobster)
Ratatouille (stewed vegetables)
Baklava (sweet layered pastry topped with nuts)
Asian Fusion cuisine:
Indo-Chinese: Chowmein, spring rolls, chilli chicken, Hakka noodles, gobi manchurian
Thai: Som Tum (Spicy Green Papaya Salad), Gaeng Daeng (Red Curry), Pad Thai
Pan Asian: Vietnamese dumplings stuffed with minced veggies and mushrooms, BBQ chicken (barbecue live stations or just the dish), Diced chicken in black bean sauce
There are also plenty of live station options including:
Mithai station with traditional or fusion mithais such as gulab jamun cheesecake or laddoos
What are the trending wedding food ideas for South Asian weddings?
Brunch: Post wedding ceremony brunch with items such as vada pav, chaat station, chole bhature, and pav bhaji
Green and locally grown food: Plant-based or organic food with gourmet salads, sushi kiosks, low carb pasta, edible petals and healthy juices and smoothies
Food trucks or vintage vans: Diverse menu on wheels such as kebabs, wraps, pakoras, chaat, dosas, and more
DIY stations: Make your own ice cream sundaes, tacos, or burgers
Dessert islands: Modern dessert bars with options like macarons, chocolate fondue, cheese towers, doughnut boards, bubble tea, fusion desserts such as peach phirni, motichoor cheesecake, gulab jamun, and Dr. Pepper ice cream
Welcome drinks: Seasonal drinks such as jal jeera, aam panna, mango lassi, coconut water, Dhungar Chaas (lightly spiced buttermilk smoked with live coal), Sol Kadhi (an appetizer made of coconut and kokum)
Some offbeat hors d’ouvres / self-serve snack options include:
What questions should I ask my bartender or catering company?
Do you provide adult beverages as well? If your caterer provides alcoholic beverages and bartenders, then they may be able to customize cocktails for the wedding and reception or smaller events like the mehndi.
Do you have a liquor license in the state of Texas? As opposed to a special events permit, ask if the caterer has liquor license per the state laws as alcohol laws vary from state to state. For instance, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code determines licensing in the Lone Star State just as the New York State Liquor Authority handles licensing in New York. The license may be a full liquor license or just for beer and wine.
Can we bring alcohol or do require us to purchase through you? If so, what brands of alcohol do you serve? Note that providing your own alcohol and buying in bulk from somewhere like Costco may be more budget friendly. If you are providing your own wine, whiskey, tequila or champagne then make sure you ask if the caterer or the venue whether they charge a corkage fee
Do you require any extra arrangements for the bar and bartenders? If the caterer requires extra arrangement for the counter, server, or set up, then make sure you coordinate with the venue and decorator to avoid any last-minute glitches.
Do you charge for alcoholic beverages by consumption or per person? Your caterer might have different package options by person or total consumption. At times, a champagne toast or wine during dinner is included in meal packages, so verify what you will be paying for.
How much alcohol do I need for my wedding? The alcohol amount will really depend on the number of guests, duration of events, events where you serve alcohol. ShaadiShop put together tips on how to estimate the number of drinks, and from there you can work backward on total alcohol required.
Assume 50-75% of Uncle will have 2-3 hard drinks each
Assume 25-50% of all Aunties will have 1 glass of wine + 1 soda + 1 water each
Assume 25-50% of all Aunties will have 1 hard drink + 1 soda + 1 water each
Assume all of your friends will 4 hard drinks + 2 waters each
For kids take the number of kids*2 sodas + 1 water each
For champagne, you should be able to serve 8-10 people per bottle
Service and Staff
How many servers/waiters will be available at the wedding event(s)? How will they be dressed? Ask about the number of waiters for all the functions and main ceremony so that your guests can enjoy a memorable experience. Make sure their uniforms are neat and in accordance with your theme.
What is your server to guest ratio? This will help you decide if the caterer requires more manpower to handle your guests or whether the current staff will be enough to manage your guests well. The ideal ratio is 1 server to every 10 guests or 1 server to every 3 tables.
Do you provide table settings, linen, and silverware? If so, what style options do you have? Ask if the caterer handles rental equipment such as tables and chairs and that too, according to your theme and vision. You can also enquire about upgrades such as lounge chairs or chair covers but make sure you ask for the charges. If the caterer doesn’t provide table settings and accessories, then make sure to coordinate with your venue or decorator.
Do you offer full service including delivery, bar, table settings, and clean up? Make sure you know the details from hiring to delivery. The setup and clean-up services are as important as serving.
Who will oversee the event? Can we meet the supervisor and their replacement? Ask the caterer if they will provide you a banquet manager or coordinator for running the entire event including meal service. Understand what time they will be arriving and available until at the event(s).
What other services do you provide apart from catering? Some caterers have partnerships with other vendors and provide wedding-related services. Whether you’re hiring a caterer independently or via a wedding planner make sure you ask your caterer about additional services such as décor, event design, lighting or props.
Who are the top South Asian wedding caterers in Texas?
Click the below links to find your wedding caterer.