Wastage of Food in Wedding Dinners

Posted on April 6, 2008
Filed Under >Syed Ahsan Ali, Society
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Syed Ahsan Ali

In our beloved country, how many times have we noticed small, poor kids scanning piles of garbage to get something to eat. These are usually the places where animals also compete for the same food source.

Now that above photo has got all your attention I want to mention a big source of food wasting in Pakistan. That is wedding dinners. These days I am involved in arranging for a wedding dinner in the family for a modest gathering on 250 to 300 guests. This opportunity has provided me the first hand knowledge of how to set a wedding dinner menu and how much extra food has to be cooked knowing in advance that a big portion of it will be wasted. It hurts.

As we all know that around this time of the year many marriages take place. Marriage lawns and gardens, bridal wear, salons, beauty parlors, and lavish dinners are must if you want to get married with holding your head high in the society. As they said there is no easy way out. You have to attire properly, shop generously, and serve graciously to show that you win that rat race which is on and which is getting more hectic as we are climbing ladders of success and progress.

I have been getting all sorts of input about what is the most popular item when it comes to pleasing your respected guests. The prevailing opinion is that you have to feed them well if you want to be remembered as good hosts in the years down the line. During this exercise of picking the best food available at the price we can afford I have painfully came across the trend of wasting food. The way food is eaten and wasted in our weddings is an eye opener because extra food has to be prepared to make sure every one is well fed inspite of their expected wastage.

If ice-cream is the only dessert in the menu then no one would take one scoop or stop at that. Same is the case with cold drinks. They say more is good. I asked one caterer what is the preferred cold drink or juice in the gatherings? He smiled and replied sahib whatever you like but kindly don’t go for all varieties because as you know people will like to taste everything and they would waste tremendously and you would feel irritated after seeing half-full bottles at the end of the ceremony.

If you ever get a chance to go and look into the kitchens of our marriage halls you will be pained to see piles and piles of dishes of wasted Biryani, dripping qormas and barely touched desserts going in to the dustbin. Adding to this is the disturbing trend of preparing 15, 20 or even 25 dishes for a wedding dinner. Consequently people love to taste everything and in that process leave most of the dishes wasted because either they don’t like it or something else catches their attention. I guess in our lives, we have all been witness to guests who like to get their plates full as if they will never get a chance to eat again.

For the serving family, it becomes all too horrible if you think about the rising prices of food items. Ghee, meat and vegetables are touching new record levels every new day and still we see this kind of mismanagement and wastage of food.

We need to understand that preventing wastage of any commodity whether it is food, water, petrol, gas or anything else can help us in delivering better world to our future generations. A begining can be made by not wasting food in wedding dinners.

22 responses to “Wastage of Food in Wedding Dinners”

  1. Zafar says:

    I think the initiative taken by Nawaz Sharif government in the past to ban on festivities like these was a very good one to keep the nation in its limits.

    That ban was welcomed by many especially those who are not able to afford such extravagent expense. The social pressure on families to spend extensively on weddings is enormous.

    The government should ban as they did in the past and maximum permission should be for one dish simply to avoid the riots and protests from wedding halls and other related people who earn their living from this industry.

    I have personally witnessed the inconsidrate attitude of people attending weddings. We simply just dont care about the waste and the way we waste. I will be all in favour of such a ban generally on weddings and it should be implemented across the board, which again is questionable as our ruling class is always above the law.

  2. Maria says:

    This post asks of personal accountability that no one cares about. Even if a guest realizes that their own leftover is going into dustbin, they prefer to not be bothered by the thought; probably thinking, “Oh well, the hosts probably shouldn’t have had so much food, now I can’t even finish all the food and I’ve have to throw it all out.”

  3. sidhas2000 says:


    I am impressed with your thoughtfulness.

  4. Capscium, an author is talking about food which people leaves in their plates, not unserved food. I have heard there are actually few NGOs working who collect these sort of left over food from marriage halls (I believe I have seen these NGOs ads too some where online) and distribute it to madrassas and central jail etc.

  5. Capsicum says:

    I just got married recently, and although we were married in the US, we had a traditional huge Pakistani wedding. There was tons of leftover food, but we didn’t allow the caterers to toss it out. Instead they packaged it for us, and we took it to a community center next morning and invited all the homeless in our town to come to a festival luncheon.

    Granted, I’m completely ABCD, but couldn’t the same thing happen in Pakistan? I’m confused about why the leftover food has to go in the dustbin.

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