WEDDING CATERING: THEN and NOW
Wedding catering was a pretty simple affair a few decades ago. Every family had an Aasthana caterer who was like a family member. Whenever a wedding or any other life event came up the cook mama was merely informed and given the basic details and head count. Except when there were special requirements or demands from the groom's side regarding wedding catering, the family caterer knew what was to be served and no one questioned his authority or knowledge on the subject.
Compare it with the marriage catering scenario now. It has become an industry involving several hundreds of crores in business.
Every aspect of wedding catering has now become specialised. Each type of cuisine has specialised Masters or Chefs. The Wedding menu is no longer simple. It combines dishes from all over India and even the world at times.
Vettrilai Paaku which is the traditional meal finisher has now taken on the avatar of the North Indian Paan with a specialised Paan Wala contracted to make the same. There are several types of Paan too with the latest being the Fire Beeda
Buffet system was unheard of in yesteryears. Traditional sit down Elai Sapaadu was the norm, going with the hospitality values imbibed in our system. But now in weddings, elaborate arrangements are made just for the wedding buffet counters with specialised cutlery and crockery in place.
Wedding caterers have expanded their field of services. Marriage catering services now include providing thamboolam bags, arranging for hospitality staff and taking care of all ritual aids and vaidheega samaan (things required by the purohit ) Wedding caterers double up as event managers now. They are like one stop solution for clients seeking to hand over responsibility to a single source.
Many times indirect branding comes into place, giving them specific places in a hierarchy. Marriage catering as an industry gives employment for a host of people - catering staff, service staff, cleaning staff, logistics etc. Vendors have become specialized like those supplying ice cream, sweets, cuisine related spices, milk products, paper products, eco-friendly products and so on.
Wedding catering is a very specialised and revenue generating industry sustaining a large number of people under its wing.