Family Style Indian Reception Dinner

This article is presented by blogger Miss Indian Bride. With years of wedding planning experience behind her, there is nothing she hasn't dealt with, and no wedding planning topic she doesn't have a strong opinion on!

The A-Z on Family Style Reception Dinners

Is it possible with Indian food? Of course!

For good reason, family style dinners are an emerging trend in South Asian weddings:

  1. Guests don’t have to wait for their table to be called for the buffet line.

  2. Guests don’t have to carry their plate full of staining curry around the ballroom while managing their saris, lenghas, kurtas, or other expensive clothing.

  3. Guests that have children don’t have to worry about making two or more trips to the buffet line.

However, unless your venue and catering staff is amazing, you’ll have to encourage and facilitate discussion between the two to ensure flawless execution on the big night.


Here’s what you need to know:

  • Don’t confuse pre-plated with family style:
    a. Pre-plated: A full course pre-plated and served directly to each guest.
    b. Family Style: All the curries and naans are  placed in the center of the table, and each guest helps herself.

  • Finalize your menu before going on to the 3rd item below.

  • Table/place setting measurements: The tricky part of family style is making sure that your centerpiece, place settings, and all your serving dishes fit on the table.  A typical table for ten is 66 inches. Have your venue staff measure the amount of space you’ll need for the place settings (dinner plate, red wine glass, white wine glass, water glass, silverware). I encourage eliminating the bread and butter plate for an Indian dinner. Make sure to coordinate with the catering staff to figure out the sizes and quantity of serving dishes required. After the final measurement, you’ll know how much room you’ll have for your centerpiece.

  • You can have a few pre-plated items. For example, servers can bring dinner plates with pre-plated biryani. This eliminates the need for an extra dish on the table.

  • Replenishing dishes: Your servers will replenish your dishes. Items like naan can be French served as ‘bread service’ after the initial offering.

  • When guests enter the ballroom, there should be no food on the table. All you want on the table at this point is your centerpiece, place settings, stationery and favors.

  • You can ask the serving staff to describe each dish as they place them on the table (veg, non-veg, onion/garlic, spicy, etc.).

  • Check with your vendors for additional costs of family style service.

Read more advice from Miss Indian Bride on

Are family style dinners possible with South Asian weddings? Yes! Find out what you need to know to skip the buffet and serve plated Indian food.


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