Following on from my last post about planning my wedding, I wanted to suggest how to tackle the wedding menu. It’s such an important part of the day and whether you’re catering for 140 or 1400, the same discussions and decisions apply.
Creating a wedding menu is a fun time for the bride and groom. It usually encapsulates their favorite dishes whilst taking into account the season and style of the event. Again, my mother was so helpful, having thrown so many parties and attended so many weddings and dinners. She steered us in the right direction and with her help and under the guidance of our wedding planner and chef, we were able to create a beautiful menu that celebrated us and worked for all our guests.
Wedding menus were simpler to navigate when I got married. Now there are more dietary requirements to consider along with the various diets people now follow for health and ethical reasons.
Here are a few ideas to help you plan your ideal menu:
The feel of the wedding
The bridal couple start by thinking about the style of the wedding breakfast – whether it is going to be 2 or 3 courses, a 7-course tasting menu or even a buffet. The location of the wedding will often guide the style of food served so if you are marrying in the Mediterranean by the sea or in Bali by the beach, the menu may well reflect local traditions or your own heritage. I went to a wedding last summer where the groom was Italian and the couple added a ‘primi’ pasta dish to the menu. It was delicious and a lovely nod to his lineage.
Picking your caterer
Working with a company who really understand the intricacies of feeding a large number of people is key. Timing on the day is critical and you want to be working with a caterer who has done this many times before and can anticipate the potential pitfalls and most importantly plan on how to avoid them. Our party planner was hugely experienced and we felt we could really relax in her hands. The last thing any bride or groom wants to feel on their wedding day is stressed about what is happening behind the scenes.
The meal that follows the wedding ceremony is known as the wedding breakfast. To some this seems formal or old fashioned but the name comes from the past when traditionally the weddingceremony was held after mass. All the weddingparty would fast before mass and so this was the first meal for the bride and groom.
Working with different dietary requirements
Invitations now always come with an additional note on dietary requirements. It is courteous to reply with yours promptly to allow the planning to start at an early stage. Caterers are used to taking differing dietary approaches into consideration and there will always be a vegetarian option and increasingly a vegan one too.
Meat of Fish?
Often there are now both on the menu to cater for differing dietary requirements so it is no longer a case of either or. Fish can be more of a summer menu when lighter options come into their own whilst in winter, there is more scope for variety in meats and the preparation of vegetables.
With the advent of social media, the presentation of food has become almost as important as the food itself. Chefs excel at this although obviously style over substance is not the aim here. Again it is courteous to abide by the social media guidelines set down by the couple however tempting it is to post the tantalizing starter!
Cake and Desserts
When you plan your dessert, you will have to decide whether you will be cutting and serving the cake or just cutting the cake and then serving a different dessert.
Traditions with cakes have changed too over the years. It used to be traditional to have at least a 3 tiered cake with the bottom layer being made of fruit cake which was saved to celebrate the first child’s christening. Nowadays the filling in each tier can be different and pretty much anything goes.
Midnight snacks are fun for late-night partiers. A soup or something light is always a good choice to give them an extra pick me up and keep them dancing until dawn – if that’s what you want!