Just as Western weddings are incomplete without a cake; the same way our weddings are never celebrated without mithai. Mithai plays a very important role in our culture. Be it a wedding, birthday, festival, or any other happy occasion for that matter…it’s incomplete without the sweet little delicacies often laden with ghee, milk, and sugar. With so many to choose from it can be very confusing as to what type of mithais and desserts to serve at your wedding and reception. Not familiar with mithai? Don’t worry. Check out our “Ultimate Mithai Guide” under the Food section.
…plays a huge role in what mithai you will serve! If you don’t like ras malai, why would you possibly want to have it as a dessert on your special day? So come up with a list of mithais you enjoy. This should not only include your choice but your fiance’s choice as well. Your final selection will depend on not only your choice but your family’s and guests choice as well. You wouldn’t want to serve something you know most of your guests won’t enjoy. This is usually, however, not a problem because a variety of mithais are served. This allows for many choices that will suit different palettes.
…are a must!! No wedding is complete without ladoos. They are passed out after the wedding. You can even give them away as favors. Come up with something creative. Place a single ladoo in a small silver handled basket. Add a ribbon for a special touch. Your guests will love it. If not, pile them high on a tray and have someone pass them out. Tri-color boondi ladoos, made out of besan, are popular at weddings. They are mostly yellow with small specks of green and red. They are also full of nuts and golden raisins. These are the most popular type. Make them even more special by garnishing them with chandi vark, silver leaves. Just remember, don’t be stingy with your ladoos! I once attended a wedding where the ladoos were so small you could fit several into your mouth at once! Now that’s unacceptable. Shaadi ke Ladoo, as they are known, are traditionally very big in size but medium sized ladoos would be perfect as well.
THE WEDDING DAY
In addition to ladoos, a variety of other sweets can be served on the wedding day itself. Having 3-4 choices is reasonable but don’t go overboard. If you wish, however, you can arrange a nice variety of mithais on a trays or hand out mithai as favors in small boxes. Perhaps each box can rightfully contain a couple of pieces of mithai for your guests to enjoy on their own time. There are many choices but some popular and nice options include: burfi, khoprapak, monthal, mesu/mysore pak, cham cham, jilebi, kaju katli. Refreshing sweets such as a falooda drink or homemade kulfi would go well on a hot summer day! Burfis are a great choice because they come in many varieties: badam, pista, nariyal, besan, and even mango. Peda/Pera, patisa, and pista rolls are other good choices. Pista rolls look very delicate and fancy. They are sure to stand out at your wedding. Last but not least let’s not forget jilebis. They are colorful and vibrant and classics that everyone loves.
Sweets served at your reception will differ from the ones served on your wedding. Wedding day sweets should be dry and conveniently cut into small pieces that one can just pick up and eat but for your reception the choices are even richer and can be much more elaborate. Of course, the desserts will be served after dinner and people will be sitting down at tables so there is no need for small pieces of mithai. Instead, the sweets can be served on dessert plates or in bowls. Some great choices would be: kheer, phirni, gulab jamun, ras malai, ras golla, gajar halwa, and the most royal of all…shahi tukra. For a change you can try: basundi, kaala jamun, rajbhog, or a classic sheer khurma. If you choose something unpopular, be sure to have another choice as well. It is best to have at least two desserts so that you can satisfy all your guests.
…and your background will play a large role in the sweets you will find suitable to serve. For example, if you’re Bengali then sandesh, ras malai, ras golla, and cham cham may be right for you. Besan chakki is a Rajasthani choice. South Indians have their own variation of pedas and other sweets as well. A Gujarati reception may include sheera and other sweets consist of: gagan ghantiya, ghari, ghevar, khoprapak, and saanta. Another Gujarati dessert is Shrikhand. Some sweets are classic and widely accepted: gulab jamun, jilebi, and burfis. Including one of these would be safe but repetitive if you only use popular sweets, so try to mix it up to make it unique.
REMEMBER, CHOOSING YOUR WEDDING MITHAI SHOULD BE THE LEAST OVERWHELMING PART OF YOUR PLANNING. DON’T LET IT GET TO YOU! JUST CHOOSE A FEW SWEETS YOU LIKE AND LET YOUR CATERER KNOW. YOU HAVE PLENTY MORE TO WORRY ABOUT. THEN JUST RELAX AND ENJOY!
[photo credits: evergreensweethouse.com, marketindia.com, webindia123.com, anandsweetsmauritius.com, mysweetsguide.com, 1800mygift.com]
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