I am often asked, what is the ideal way to plan a menu for a wedding reception? There is really no wrong or right way, but merely a systematic approach to assuring your guests will enjoy your special day.
Planning your menu is something that can be intimidating. I always suggest starting with a realistic budget. This will act as a way of keeping you grounded in the planning process. There are a lot of questions to ask yourself. Buffet? Plated meal? Open Bar? Cash Bar? It is very easy to say yes to everything, but before you know it things can add up quickly. There is your food cost, bar cost, rental, staff, cake, etc. A great way to keep things inline is to enlist the help of a certified planner. A good planner is willing to let you know what is and isn't possible and ensures that your day goes off without a hitch.
Your reception is not only a celebration of your nuptials, but a way of thanking your guests for attending the ceremony. This is a very important point. While you want to definitely express yourself in the menu planning, you also want to be considerate to your guests' preferences as well. For example, if you and your fiancee are big fans of seafood, you may not want to have this exclusively featured for your guests. A generalized approach is key. Mass appeal is important for a reception. That does not mean bland. For example, if you have sushi station for your cocktail hour, balance it out with a few land based passed appetizers.
A very important concern today is the dietary needs of your guests. These can be lifestyle diet, such as vegan or paleo, or food allergies like dairy or gluten. Whether doing buffet or plated receptions, there are always ways to incorporate these into the food service. A pasta dish on the buffet can accommodate a wide arrange of diets and food allergies. We now offer a braised spinach and roasted pepper lasagna which is vegetarian and gluten free. Gluten is the most common allergy we see and something that is easy to accommodate.
My most important advice to all couples on their wedding day? Eat!! Literally and metaphorically. Savor the moment. The reception will seem like the fastest moment in your life. Things will move so quick that before you know it the night is over. So take a moment and look around and take it in. It's a once in a lifetime......indulge!!
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