Creating an Indian Wedding Menu

Indian weddings are full of multiple events. The most celebrated events with meals are the Mendhi party, Sangeet, Garba, and Wedding day. Within the wedding day, often times the host family will provide breakfast/brunch, lunch, cocktails appetizers, and the dinner menu. Depending on the entire wedding plan, couples and their families will host even more meals and events, prior and/or post wedding day in addition to the main ones I just listed.

Now, how does one decide on the menu so there is no overlap and guests are eating the same thing for every event? Start by selecting the region you want to serve foods from for the wedding dinner. If you’re South Indian, provide items that are traditional to the South Indian wedding cuisine. Often times, there are specific items that should be served for cultural reasons or that are traditional foods to encourage health, wealth and good fortune. Add in the next major meal food selections. If you are hosting a Sangeet and this is the next major meal, you might want to serve North Indian food. If you happen to host a Mendhi party at home, you could do a fusion brunch for the menu. You can always do a North Indian meal for one of the other events too. Be bold and consider serving a completely different cuisine for other events. Korean, Mediterranean, Mexican, or fusion selections give you lots of options. A vegetable fried rice stuffed samosa would be a yummy fusion appetizer.

Ethnic

For other menus such as breakfast/brunch, lunch, and cocktail hour, fill in the items that are good finger foods, popular items that everyone will know, and consider providing Indian sweets and snacks as other filler items.  Don’t be afraid to select non-Indian items such as fruit platters, veggie platters, or other popular items.  Bruschetta, mini sliders, tomato soup shooter and grilled cheese, kebabs of any kind, and shrimp cocktail are always go-to options.

Appetizers

If you are providing breakfast for overnight guests staying at a hotel, don’t feel you have to provide all Indian food.  Often times the hotel will have a great selection of breakfast items that everyone will eat, not to mention you probably have a food and beverage minimum you have to account for.  If you are worried about serving a few Indian breakfast items: add sambar, upma, idli, dosa’s, or various chutneys just to name a few.

Remember to work with an experienced caterer who is reputable and offers a lot of variety for food selections.

One last takeaway: if you choose to serve Indian desserts and your caterer doesn’t provide them, have your caterer order the Indian desserts and sweets from an outside dessert supplier for you.  Cheers to yummy Indian menus!

Pinterest – new boards

Catching up on our pins.  Check out some of our revised boards and a couple new ones.

Love and Follow our Pinterest Asian Inspirations.
Love and Follow our Pinterest Indian Inspirations.
Love and Follow our Pinterest Ethnic & Cultural Weddings.
Get cozy and Follow our Pinterest Winter Weddings & Events.
Dress your wedding and event by Following our Pinterest Linens & Fabrics.

Why Grooms should co-plan their wedding

Attention Grooms!!!  The reality news flash about planning your wedding – there wouldn’t be a wedding without you!  It’s becoming more regular for grooms to hop on board and help their bride with the planning, but there are still a bunch of you who don’t have anything to do with any plans.  Let me share some of the reasons why you grooms should take part in the planning YOUR wedding.

  1. Your relationship with your bride can grow. After you popped the big question, set her at ease by taking on responsibilities throughout the planning process.  This can create an even better bond between both of you since there are so many tough decisions to make while planning a wedding.
  2. By taking part in the planning and relieving some (or a lot) of the stress off your bride, you can avoid her becoming a bridezilla. After all, no one wants to deal with a bridezilla!
  3. Weather you care about the details or not, show your support to your bride by attending all the vendor meetings with her. You might find you have more of an option about the menu, colors, flowers, etc.  Again, it’s YOUR day too and you should enjoy every minute, the aesthetics, the food, the drinks, and everything else.  Let’s face it – do you really want to be that groom/husband where your bride/wife has to listen to you complain about what you didn’t’ like at your wedding for anniversaries to come?
  4. A wedding is a marriage beyond the bride and groom. It’s the joining of two families and everything they have to offer.  We all know the favorite cousin who you want to be an usher in your wedding and the dreaded Aunt that wants to “plan the wedding” for you.  With both you and your bride doing the planning, you can tell that Aunt that everything is under control and planning the wedding is part of your intimate relationship building.  It benefits you when parents or family members ask you about the details and you actually have the answers vs. you not knowing anything and they constantly ask you 5 times a day what is being served for dinner.
  5. If you help plan, you can’t complain about the budget.  We all have tendencies to go overboard with things we want and a wedding is one of the easiest places to let our senses get out of control over our practical decision making.  Attending vendor meetings and reviewing the proposals for services and products together will help you stay on track with the budget.  More often than not, you the groom is more practical about budget and finances than your bride.
  6. If you truly don’t want to get involved in any of the planning and/or want to ensure you’re not sleeping on the couch before the wedding – consider gifting a wedding planner to your bride. With all different levels of planning packages and services, there’s one to fit your needs and budget.  Just be sure to hire someone who has experience and pairs well with you and your bride’s personalities.  It’s a long road of planning and you’ll be discussing and planning very personal and intimate things.  You have to have the trust and cohesiveness between you and your planner.
  7. At the end of the day – the most rewarding thing you gain is the memory of a lifetime. Don’t you want to say you were a part of creating that memory for you and your bride?

Grooms – don’t take a back seat to your wedding!  If you need some help in where to start, contact us for a free consultation to get your married life started with happiness and ease.

Tanya & Jay: Wedding on the bank of the Mississippi

Love planning and working on weddings for friends.  Jay was my gymnastic coach back in high school and thanks to social media, we’ve stayed in touch over the years.  He came to me with needs to plan his wedding to Tanya and of course I was on board to help.

Wanting an intimate celebration, the ceremony was held at the bride’s childhood home in St. Paul.  Set right off the Mississippi river, it was a perfect location.  The tent was placed in the front yard and we placed just enough sidewalls to mask some of the noise from cards driving by.  Guests enjoyed an afternoon tea with delectables before the ceremony.  The Father of the Bride and Tanya arrived in style on a tandem bike for the processional.  The ceremony was a beautiful commitment full of personal touches: a friend played the harp, Nikka the flower girl was Tanya’s parents dog, Jackson the ring bearer was Tanya and Jay’s dog, and the Officiant was a family friend.  After the “I DO,” Tanya and Jay escaped on the tandem bike, recessing their way down the river boulevard.

Guests were ushered to the back yard among the MOB’s picturesque gardens and landscaping.  They wandered among the gardens with a glass of champagne and heard toasts from the family.  The reception was held at the Highland Grill, one of the couple’s favorite dinning places.  We rented out the entire restaurant which was the perfect size for their intimate celebration.  Families sat in booths and tables and dined on a custom menu as Tanya and Jay wanted to maintain the family style experience.  The couple even provided a special dinner for the ring bearer who patiently sat outside the front door.  The evening ended just after dusk so the couple could ride their tandem bike home with Jackson.  A truly wonderful celebration with an old friend and cheers to me for gaining a new friend in Tanya!

Wedding Planner: Sunrise Styling, Anna Senrick
Ceremony Venue: Private residence; St. Paul, MN
Reception Venue: Highland Grill
Photographer: Cadence & Eli Photography
Catering & Desserts: Deco Catering
Linens & Rentals: Apres
Florist: Mother of the Bride’s Garden Club
Stationery: Sunrise Styling
Catering & Service: Hire A Host

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St. Paul wedding, Private home wedding, Sunrise Styling Wedding Planner, Minnesota outdoor wedding

Wedding Fair: Minnesota’s alternative to a wedding fair

After many years of attending wedding fairs as a vendor, I realized that there is a better way to highlight my skills as a Wedding Planner and educate couples on why to hire one.  Along with my long-time senior assistant, we’ve created the Rare Wedding Affair.  It’s a truly unique alternative to the traditional wedding fair.  My team will usher attendees through an entire wedding environment.  Attendees will progress their way through the ceremony, cocktail area, and dinner reception which is custom designed and styled by my team.

This luxury Affair is for the couple who is looking for a personal fair adventure while meeting the Twin Cities top vendors.  With your TICKET purchase, you will receive a vendor book of the best of the best, cocktails, dinner, a dessert tasting, and chance to win amazing prizes.  The best part of the Rare Wedding Affair is the chance to win a FREE FULL SERVICE WEDDING PLANNING PACKAGE from us at Sunrise Styling (valued at $5000).

TICKETS are limited to maintain the intimacy and one-on-one experience for the attendees.  Tickets and registration ends on May 13th for the June 5, 2016 Affair.

If you’re not around for the first one, stay up to date on the UPCOMING AFFAIRS page for our fall Affairs.  Additionally, we will be hosting our other styles of Affairs in the fall so be sure to check them out.  We have an Affair to suit everyone’s style and needs.  Be sure to like us on the RWA Facebook page and follow us on RWA Pinterest.

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Bride & Bridal party dresses

Anyone can go out and find a white or ivory wedding dress. I want you to take a step outside tradition and check out some of these options. No matter what type of wedding you have, you can find a dress to suit your personal style while still wearing a luxurious dress. Don’t be afraid of color!! I’m waiting for the bride who is daring enough to show up in a swanky sequin dress, colorful gown, and better yet, dress the bridesmaids in white.

Loving the look of the black dress with beading on the bodice and paring it with a tailored sequin dress for the bridal party. Or the purple, orange, and gold print dress for you brides and the ombre aubergine chiffon dress for the bridal party. Two of my other favorites are the pewter sequin beaded long sleeve dress and multi-metallic white dress, both partnered with a white tea length dress for the bridesmaids. Think how stunning you’ll look if you have a fair skin tone and wear a striking colorful wedding dress?! One of the other benefits of working with a bridal dress that isn’t white, you can have a white bouquet and it will really stand out in photos.

One thing to keep in mind when purchasing a non-typical wedding dress, evening gowns can be a lot cheaper. A “wedding gown can range anywhere from $99-$20,000+. You can easily find a luxurious evening gown for reasonable prices in the $99-300+ range. Let’s face it – everyone wants to save money on their wedding somewhere. Depending on where you shop for an evening gown, it’s probably more likely that you will be able to try on your actual size vs. working your way into or clamping up the excess fabric on the “one-size” only dress found in many of the bridal shops.

Check out some of my favorite wedding dresses and bridal attire on my Pinterest page, bridal attire. You’ll see some fun and creative alternatives to the white wedding dress. Happy hunting and shopping!

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Lisa & Corey: Korean meets Caterer

After many years of working with Create Catering in Minneapolis, Chef Corey Meier has become a great friend outside of just working on weddings and events together.  After finding out and meeting his Korean fiancé, it become a no brainer that I would help plan his wedding.  With a love for books, the wedding was hosted at the JJ Hill Library.  Lisa didn’t have a clear vision on the style and décor, other than just wanting navy and green for her colors.  Trusting my creativity, I was given free range to design their wedding.

An intimate group of guests attended the ceremony which was styled with lanterns lining the aisle and framed by the columns in the library.  The reception linens were the French blue lattice, blue stripe, satin kiwi, and burlap runners.  Natural succulents, exotic green blooms, and white flowers were spread down the 65-person regal table in eco-friendly containers.  The Create Catering team provided a custom menu which was served family style to the guests.  They also provided the desserts of mini cupcakes, macaroons, and tartlets.  One of my favorite dessert displays – manzanita branches and succulents sat on top of an iron stand, wrapped in burlap, moss, and hanging succulents.  Wood boxes and books dressed the rest of the table to provide texture and dimension.

Additional guests were invited after dinner to dance and enjoy late night snacks among the up-lit dance floor.  The perfect end to a couple who put their trust in my design creativity and planning management.  It’s always wonderful to work with other event professionals on their special day!!!

Wedding Planner: Sunrise Styling, Anna Senrick
Venue: JJ Hill Library
Photographer: Kelly Brown Weddings
Catering & Desserts: Create Caterers
Beverages: Mintahoe
Linens rentals: Linen Effects
Florist: Sadie’s Couture Floral & Event Styling
DJ: St. Cloud DJ
Lighting: AV For You
Stationery: Sunrise Styling
Hotel: St. Paul Hotel

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Feature in Wedding Planner Magazine

I was recently asked to share advice on planning ethnic weddings.  As a feature in the International Department of Wedding Planner Magazine, of course I said yes!  As Asians, our team is comprised of Asians and we have firsthand expertise in wedding planning for the Asian community.  This article is specifically caters to the Hmong ethnicity.  Read more to find out the traditions of planning a Hmong wedding and how they have evolved to incorporate current wedding applications and plans.

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Minnesota’s Indian Wedding Planner

The art of an Indian wedding is complex in details, length, number of events, and traditions.  After years in the wedding industry and multiple Indian weddings planned – I’ve found the value of my experience is more important to Indian couples looking to hire a planner vs. the fee.  I’ve also found that it’s not so much the couple getting married, as it is the parents and extended family who put more value on a planner’s experience with Indian weddings vs the fee.

It’s hard to get that first opportunity and break into planning any type of cultural event, so we are honored that our team at Sunrise Styling has been able to plan and produce many Indian weddings.  We’ve had American-Indian fusion weddings, a wedding with double everything – both American and Indian events, Hindu weddings, and weddings involving north and/or south cultures and traditions.  Of course we continue to learn with every wedding and we welcome opportunities to plan and explore more Indian and Asian cultures and traditions.

Some of the best reasons to hire an experienced Indian wedding planner:

  • They know how to schedule the multiple events during a wedding weekend to ensure flow and everything happens according to the time line.
  • They will provide staff accordingly for the wedding weekend. With many events happening at the same time and in multiple rooms or areas of a venue – having a staff who knows all the events and elements of the weekend ensures the couple (and family) will have a flawless wedding.
  • They know the details and intricacies of events like the pre-ceremonies, Pooja, Mehndi, Baraat, Kannyadaanam, Saptapadi, and Maṅgaḷasūtra Dhāraṇa just to name a few.
  • Well educated in managing and working with large budgets. The average Cost of Wedding in the USA is $26,444 where the average cost of an Indian wedding is the USA is $65,000.  I think this is low and agree with the Washington Post prediction of average Indian wedding cost reaching $250,000
  • They will love Indian food and assist you with all the selections for your catering. From actual food items, menu pairing suggestions, reputable caterers, and coordination with venues…nothing is left to question with the catering process.
  • With colors and décor being a huge part of the events – an experienced Indian planner will help guide you through the design process, color palate selection, and specialty Indian decor rentals for things like the ceremony, fire pit, Mandap, floral garlands, and more.
  • Music is another major element for the wedding. Most Indians of the younger generations will be fine with the top 40’s, pop/rock, R&B, Hip hop, and oldies during the reception dance.  There are areas where traditional or live musicians need to be present: A dohl player during the baraat and/or ceremony, music for the Sangeet, bride’s processional, or Bollywood at the Pooja or Mehndi event.  They should also have DJ’s who can cater to these requests and needs in addition to the typical wedding dance music.
  • Many of the vendors providing wedding services need not know anything about Indian culture.  However, there remains a few that an experienced and well networked planner can help you find vs a non-Indian experienced planner.  Items like Indian sweets and desserts, henna artists, baraat horse or elephant, Indian officiant, and of course a venue that provides Indian catering or allows one to come in from offsite.
  • They will support you and the family, listen to your needs and wishes, ask and learn about new Indian elements you incorporate to the wedding (we don’t know it all), and be your liaison/adviser/counselor and friend. We planners wear many hats!

Here are some of our favorite photos from our Indian weddings.  We hope you love what we’ve done and CONTACT US a note if you or someone you know is planning an Indian wedding.

Sunrise Styling, Indian wedding, Minnesota, Minneapolis Indian wedding planner, Mandap, Henna, Indian decor

Scott & Don: 91 degrees in a Tuxedo

Holy hot!!!  My grooms came to northern MN to host their lakeside wedding at a relative’s home.  Setting up in the 90+ deg heat was a chore and I believe that I lost 5 lbs. that day.  Scott and Don did their photos and couple shoot prior to the ceremony.  Not sure how they did it, but they managed to stay in full tux attire beyond their first dance (about 6 hours).  The ceremony took place at another friend of the couple’s resort. An intimate groups of guests shared the joy and ceremony overlooking the lake.  Retreating back to the Aunt’s home – the couple and guests enjoyed cold cocktails, appetizers, dinner, and cake from Buttercream.

Them living in Michigan and not having a chance to visit MN before the wedding, I thank Scott and Don for their trust in letting me plan their wedding and all the décor.  With hints of northern and outdoorsy inspiration – bright summer colors, vibrant floral from Sadie’s ND, and a branch style cake with hugging bears topper was the perfect design for the lakeside home/venue.

I just have to say a special thanks to a couple vendors.  Sadie Gardner of Sadie’s ND for providing the amazing floral décor.  Was wonderful to work with you again!  And to my assistant Mai Lor and photographer Callie V…. both who were pregnant during this wedding and waddled their way through the steamy hot wedding day. You are troopers!!!

Wedding Planner: Sunrise Styling, Anna Senrick
Venue: Private residence, Dent, MN
Photographer: Callie V Photography
Catering: Central Market
Desserts: Buttercream
Linens & Décor rentals: Linen Effects
Florist: Sadie’s Couture Floral & Event Styling ND
DJ: St. Cloud DJ
Stationery: Sunrise Styling

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