One way of making any special event in our life even more special is to celebrate it with all our friends and family. And all of us want to plan the perfect event. On today’s show I was joined by Raj Rana, owner of the restaurant ‘’Itihaas’’ in Birmingham. According to him, there has been a major change in the way events are organised in the UK over the past 10 years. When they started out , organising a wedding was more about saving money and at the same time having a lot of guests but now that has changed, people are comfortable with spending a little more but at the same time having fewer guests. That is probably because the bride and groom have become more involved in the entire wedding process. Raj said that maintaining the Indian flavour to the weddings here is very tough, especially in the case of inter-community marriages, where the bride and the groom are from different religious backgrounds.

Food is probably one of the most important part of organising any event. It is also probably one of the most discussed topics at any event. Unfortunately due to this there is a tendency to order in excess. While in India there are a lot of food banks that will happily take the left over edible food from the weddings, in the UK the health and safety rules are very strict. Raj said that for the past 9 years Itihaas donated 250 meals to the Salvation Army. Some of this food is usually that which is edible and left over at the different events that they cater to. If that at some point falls short of the 250 portions required, then the shortfall is met with and the food then is donated. He also said that at events they usually offer boxes and take away containers so that people can take away the excess food and either have it themselves or give them out to any food bank or charity as they deem fit. Raj said that most people today have become very conscious when it comes to food wastage. Another important thing in the UK is that people are usually asked to RSVP at any event so that helps to reduce the food wastage even before the event has started. But in countries like India or Pakistan there are very few events with RSVP and even if it is mentioned, most people don’t really bother to respond.

The best part about the food served in the UK at a wedding is that there is an amazing combination of the buffet concept that is very common in India and the fine dining experience as is the culture in the UK. In Indian weddings Raj said that they usually have a fine dining experience and have a buffet at the table with the food on the menu in that particular course and these buffet bowls are refilled as and when necessary. He also said that he makes sure their chef is present at all the meetings with the bride and the groom to help them decide the food that they want to have at their wedding and also to answer all their queries. He said that people usually have 2 or 3 tastings before deciding on the menu. The most difficult part of the food at the wedding is that the taste of the food that was served during the tasting session has to be exactly the same on the day of the wedding when the portions of food cooked are 10 times larger. Raj said that they have a book which is thicker than two telephone directories put together that contains all the recipes of the food served at the restaurant and any chef will be usually trained for six months and will have to follow the exact recipe before the food that he has made reaches anyone’s table.

The most important and special day of anyone’s life can be made even more special with the perfect planning. Raj said that with hiring an event planner, the bride and the groom on their special day do not need to deal with 10 different people and can be carefree. Speaking about the 200 things that can go wrong on the day he said that they are usually prepared for it. Like in the case of the British weather which is so highly unpredictable Raj said that when planning the event outdoors, they always have a Plan B to be able to do something indoor.