When planning a wedding, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all of the details you could consider. Lighting, flowers, guest lists and more, there are so many things to keep on top of that it’s easy to find yourself fretting over the fine details when there are other things to be looked at.
Something that many couples don’t consider early enough is their wedding menu. The food served on your big day can have a huge impact on the overall atmosphere of the occasion, turning a good wedding into a great one. It’s not just the food’s quality that matters either – key details like table layout, cuisine and type of food can all play a major role too.
Use this guide as a resource when you start looking at your wedding menu. With any luck, it’ll make all the difference in creating the perfect day.
Prep the Crowd
The first point to highlight is that the wedding menu goes beyond just a sit-down meal after the ceremony. An easy to forget detail is the importance of canapés and finger foods once people arrive at the reception venue.
Often, wedding guests will skip or miss out on lunch to attend your wedding ceremony, making them hungry for something to keep them going until the afternoon or evening meal. Canapés ready and waiting at the reception venue are the best way to address this problem as it gives guests something to eat whilst socialising without spoiling their appetite.
Additionally, these snack foods are important for reducing any potential drunkenness before the afternoon meal begins. Many begin drinking straight after the ceremony and on an empty stomach, quickly leading to a few drunk guests. Use finger foods to get around this and you’re sure to have a better-behaved set of guests.
Cuisine and Tastes
Obviously, a great wedding menu includes great food that most people will enjoy.
The cuisine that you opt for is entirely personal preference – it’s your big day so you should eat something you enjoy – but it’s still key to consider what guests will enjoy, too. Are family and friends likely to enjoy the food too? If not, maybe you should choose something a little more conventional.
Additionally, when it comes to cuisine, think about foods that are currently in season. Your catering service may be able to help with this but by creating a seasonal menu, it’s much easier to ensure fresher, nicer ingredients and in turn, better food. Don’t hesitate to ask your caterers as many questions as you need to feel comfortable in your decision.
Think of the Children
Weddings are incredible family events that bring together everyone, from the elderly members of the family to the little ones. This is one of the best parts of the wedding celebration but it can pose some problems from a food perspective.
Children are notoriously fussy eaters and can really put a spanner in the works when you’re putting together your menu. The solution is to speak to your caterers about including one or two simple, child-friendly dishes that almost all little ones will enjoy. You’ll be surprised by how many weddings neglect to consider this and you’re guaranteed to get parents thanking you for the thought.
Options and Dietary Requirements
Dietary requirements are a difficult line to tread when it comes to wedding menus. Obviously, you want to have an option for everyone, but there are some very specific dietary issues that simply can’t be addressed in conventional menus.
Firstly, it’s important to come to terms with the fact that you can’t solve every dietary restriction. There is a chance that a guest will not have a suitable meal on the menu. The way around this is to query dietary requirements before the event, asking everyone invited to get in touch if they have any concerns or can’t find a suitable item amongst the food options. You can then speak to your caterers about creating a bespoke dish for these specific individuals. Most catering services will be used to this, as it is a necessity at almost all weddings.
Additionally, even without the risk of dietary restrictions, offering a variety of options is generally good practice. A vegetarian choice is essential and a variety of dishes within your cuisine will help ensure everyone is happy with their food choice.
Another commonly forgotten consideration is how messy your food will be.
When it comes to weddings, everyone dresses up and puts in an effort – especially the bride and groom. Messy foods, particularly those that stain, are incredibly stressful to eat if you are dressed up nicely. Plus, there is guaranteed to be one or two accidents, resulting in people marking their clothes, feeling uncomfortable and ultimately not enjoying the wedding – nobody wants that.
Avoid oily foods with lots of liquid and if you do choose a liquid-based food, stick to thick, viscous sauces or soups which will stay in the plate more easily.
Serving Style and Table Layout
Finally, take into consideration how you would like to layout your dining area and serve your food.
The most common options are banquet style seating with food delivered to you, or for more informal wedding settings, buffet serving where you go and grab the food yourself. These are far from the only options though – feel free to be inventive and expressive. Ultimately, the way that you deliver your food and the seating available will have a big impact on the overall atmosphere of the wedding, so think about whether you would prefer a luxurious and glamorous feel or a more homely and friendly one.
It’s important to note though, the prices of these different food options vary from venue to venue with buffets being cheaper somewhere and more expensive elsewhere. Always query with your venue and your caterers to get a full idea of price before settling on an option.
Use these top tips to ensure that your wedding’s food arrangements are as impressive, inclusive and memorable as possible. Good luck on your big day!