Oliveaire - South Asian Events

Oliveaire provides the hospitality industry a channel to explore the ethnic event market influenced with culture and tradition. Clients are able to depend upon our knowledge and understanding of the unique needs of the customs, meal preferences, and accommodations generated by these events. Our team, with its ethnic background, has been our cornerstone in provding our clientele the best service in the wedding and special event market.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Menu Planning

Nothing is more important than serving your guests delicious Indian food at an Indian wedding, and plenty of it. Wedding feast is a grand and extravagant affair. There are three things that guests take away from the event: floralscape, service and food. No South Asian wedding is complete without serving delicious samosa, paneer tikka, chicken makhani and yummy gulab jamun.

The toughest part of planning the celebration feast is choosing which types of Indian cuisine to serve, offering regional variety on the menu for the multiple days of your “Big Fat Indian Wedding”. With increasing numbers of bi-cultural weddings, couples looking to find modern fusion Indian food, and their parents looking for the traditional it is no surprise that couples find themselves at multiple tastings and adding a few pounds to their waistlines. In the end you will find the meal you have selected will be enjoyed by young and old, modern and traditionalist.

Here are our tips when selecting your wedding reception meal:

These days the length of the cocktail reception can range from 11/2 to 2hrs. If you are facing a long reception it is a good idea to offer variety of selections to your guest. Hosting a chaat station such as Kachori Chaat or Mangoe Dal Chaat can keep your guests engaged. Butler passing of 2 vegetarian and 1 or 2 non-vegetarian items is also a good idea. Set up a buffet station or Tawa station to showcase items such as grilled paneer with peppers and onions, or Kaati Kabob rolled in tawa paratha.

The Main Course:
Most families will struggle when deciding the style of service they would like to select for dinner. Buffet can be a safe option, with limitless choices of entrée selection, whereas sit down service brings the formal celebration to the dining experience but does limit the selection.

If selecting buffet, offering 3 vegetarian selections, 2 non-vegetarian, 2 rice, mixed bread and 3 desserts is a stand option. If you are looking for a modern touch to the sit down service, create a multiple course selection. Offer soup as a first course and follow it with a hearty salad duet including an Indian appetizer, family style bowls of entrée can follow the main course and the grand finale to such a grand meal is to present a trio of mini Indian desserts.

Check with your venue if they will allow the caterer to prepare fresh tandoor naan or tandoor meats on site.

Just Desserts:
This is where you can let your creativity take over. Indians are not known for their desserts but there are combinations of desserts that can be finger licking good. How about chef frying fresh jalebis and serving it with rabadi? Or how does hot tawa of pineapple, badam and gajjar halwa sound with a scoop of lychee or orange ice-cream? Call it a Hot A La Mode. Do you want to set the place on fire? Then you must try gulab jamun Flambé, if you have never had it you are truly missing out.

No matter what your selection, selecting the caterer that can deliver innovative and quality product is a must. Food is one place that no sacrifice must be made. Guests are always happy with the basic but if you are going to WOW them, make sure to select some items that keep the true ethnic flair.

Bon Appétit

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Budgeting for a Baraat

Baraat has become one of the essential wedding rituals for South Asian Weddings. It’s very festive with great music, and most of all a horse and/or elephant are involved. As with every aspect of a wedding, there is a cost to holding this event. It is important to include the Baraat in your overall wedding budget.

To further enhance your knowledge with this cultural ritual, Baraat is a
bridegroom’s wedding procession in North India and Pakistan. In North Indian communities, it is customary for the bridegroom to travel to the wedding venue on a horse or horse carriage, accompanied by his family members.

The Baraat can become a large procession, with its own dhol player (drummer) with a mobile music cart for the songs. Most Baraat’s do not, or shall I say should not, exceed a one hour period.The groom and his horse are dressed nicely for the wedding occasion, and do not usually take part in the dancing and singing; that is left to the family & friends (often called the baraaties) accompanying the procession. In some families, the groom may or may not carry a sword. Everybody dances to the tunes of the song and music played by the dhol player accompanying them. The family and friends in the procession are rejoicing because an eligible bachelor in their family will finally start his new life, along with his life partner. Amongst all the celebration, the Baraat eventually reaches the marriage spot, where the family members of the bride, await them.

Photo provided by R.E.M. Photography

Now you must be thinking, “Renting a horse and dhol player, wow, this can get expensive.” Yes, holding a Baraat is not inexpensive, but if you budget the wedding right you can fit this into your wedding activities. The horse rental cost is approximate $375 and if you wish to rent a horse carriage then the price can be as high as $575. This includes the white horse in festive wear. Dhol players usually charge $300 for the hour long service. You will want to verify with the hotel, or venue of your ceremony, that you can have space for the Baraat, and let them know it will be a noisy affair. You will also want to look into any possible restrictions on having a horse or elephant at the property.

As mentioned earlier, Baraat is a very fun and festive moment for the Groom’s Family. Whether you are from North India, South India, or Pakistan, I have seen many families hosting a Baraat for their son, to enhance the wedding activities a notch.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Who sits where?

It’s one of the most daunting tasks when approaching your wedding celebrations, putting together the seating charts. After you have figured out which guests will be seated at which table you need to figure out how you will communicate that information to your guests on the big day. There are Place Cards, Escort Cards, Scrolls and more. You may be wondering what all the lingo means, here are some pointers:

Place Card:
A place card indicates exactly where a guest should be seated, including which table, and which seat at the table. This card is placed at the guest’s seat. You may use a Place Card in conjunction with an…

Escort Card:
An escort card tells a guest which table he or she is to be seated at. Most often you will find one card per couple on a table during the cocktail hour.

Instead of giving each guest a “card” you may choose to keep all of the guest seating information in one place. This is often beautifully done on a scroll. Besides giving guests a place to check back if they loose their escort card a scroll can be a beautiful keepsake for the bridal couple. It may be more difficult to make last minute changes to seating if you chose to use a scroll, so keep that in mind when allocating your time to assign seating.

Thinking about scraping all of them? DON’T! I promise you, you will have some tables half empty, and 18 of your colleagues trying to squeeze into one so they can sit together. If you are not up for assigning each seat, take some time and at least assign each guest to a table.

Do yourself a favor and do your seating chart in Microsoft Excel. Provide your coordinator (or a trusty friend) with two copies of the list, one sorted in alphabetical order by last name and another sorted by table number. This will allow your coordinator to help guests find their table number if they can’t find their name on a card or the scroll. It will also allow the coordinator to know where open seats are quickly if the guest’s RSVP did not reach you in time to assign their table.

When it comes time to assign tables think about where the speakers are going to be set-up, which tables will be closest to service doors (and thus server chatter and some kitchen noise) and which family members and other VIPs you want seated closest to you and your bridal party. Enlist the help of both families if you are having trouble placing people, especially those you might not know as well.

Take a deep breathe, when you get to this step you are in the home stretch!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Buff and Beautiful

Every bride has a vision of what they will look like on their wedding day. In most of our daydreams we are a little thinner, have hair worthy of a shampoo commercial and clear, glowing, skin. If only we could daydream that into life.

After doing some research on how to get the most bang for our buck in wedding prep, here are some helpful tips:

Hydrate! Water intake is important for our body to function well, and it keeps our skin looking young and supple. You’ll also stay young by…

Getting your zzzs. I know, it’s easier said than done, but try to schedule some rest for yourself. You’re make-up artist won’t have to worry about bags under your eyes, and you’ll have energy to…

Exercise your stress out, go for a jog or take a kick-boxing class to work out your wedding related anxiety. Be sure to…

Balance your workout. There is too much of a good thing, so don’t just jump on a treadmill and call it a day. You will see your best results if you incorporate weight/resistance training. You don’t have to bulk up, but aren’t we all hoping for toned arms ala Jennifer Aniston?! Also try to make time for yoga to de-stress and keep those muscles looking long and lean. Speaking of balance…

Balance your diet. Eating a balanced diet can help keep your hormones and emotions in check, which is important leading up to such a big event. Beware of caffeine and sugar, they are not your friend in this time. But it is important for you to…

Find a friend! Working out and eating healthy is much easier if you have someone else in your corner. I bet your mom, sister or one of your friends is also hoping to shape up for your wedding. Set time each week to exercise together, and check-in regularly on your progress

The days and weeks leading up to your wedding are sure to be full of fun, but also stress and anxiety. Take time for yourself and you will look AND feel better for your big day.