Featured Photo by Bradley Moss
Grab your forks and knives — it’s time to talk catering! With these seven tricks of the trade in mind, you and your caterer can create a meal to remember.
1. DECIDE HOW TO SERVE THE FOOD
Before deciding on the menu items, it’s important to consider how you want the food to be served. Food service sets the tone for the rest of the reception, so take time to mull over the following options before you pick.
Also called plated meals, full-service meals are for couples who want the meal to be the highlight of the event. For this method, individual courses are delivered to guests by servers, providing an elegant dining experience with professional service and minimal handling. While this is a glamorous option, do note that it takes more time out of the reception than a buffet alternative.
A buffet is ideal for couples who can’t wait to get dancing and mingling. A buffet- style dinner allows guests enough time to enjoy their food and hear a few toasts, but ultimately gets the party started sooner. Once everyone finishes eating dinner at their own pace, they can trickle onto the dance floor or go back for seconds.
A combination of plated and buffet serving styles is for couples who want the best of both worlds. Have the main course served directly to each guest, but skip waitstaff with self-serve desserts. This way, you get the elegant feel of a full-service dinner, but also the convenience of a buffet.
2. SELECT SIGNIFICANT DISHES
Collaborate with your caterer to design a menu that holds personal significance. Think about the best meals you and your soon-to-be spouse cook together. Or consider what foods evoke happy memories, like where you went to dinner before the proposal or your go-to take-out option. With these reflections in mind, compile a list of dishes that not only taste delicious but also have sentimental value. Communicate everything with your caterer and let them work their magic.
Note: Consider the preferences of your guests. You and your partner aren’t the only ones enjoying a meal at the reception! While you two may enjoy adventurous dishes, ensure there are options that cater to less adventurous palates, too.
3. SHARE THE MEANING
to share those stories with your guests! Work with your stationer to add personalized notes on the menu cards. For example, you could mention that ravioli was the first dinner cooked together or that lobster bisque reminds you of memorable summer trips to Maine. Sharing these special moments from your relationship will help your guests feel more connected to the wedding.
4. CELEBRATE YOUR CULTURE AND BACKGROUND
One of the most beautiful facets of marriage is its ability to unite people who come from different places and upbringings. Embrace the diversity of your backgrounds by incorporating culinary elements from different cultures into your menu. Whether you’re dishing out Italian Jordan almonds, Puerto Rican alcapurrias or Jewish Challah, serving foods that represent both your heritages can beautifully symbolize your union.
5. CONSIDER THE SEASON
when selecting your menu. Just like flowers, certain foods are best enjoyed in specific seasons. Serving strawberries in January, for example, may be costly and compromise their quality. Aligning your menu with the season ensures that the ingredients are at their freshest and most flavorful. This choice will benefit your budget, caterer and guests, providing a cohesive and delicious dining experience.
6. ACCOMMODATE ALLERGIES AND FOOD RESTRICTIONS
To ensure all your guests feel safe and welcomed, communicate any dietary restrictions or allergies to your caterer. Consider including a card in your invitation suite where guests can indicate their entree choices and note any specific dietary needs. For guests with severe allergies, you can offer direct communication with the caterer to address concerns and safety. Most caterers are more than willing to accommodate dietary restrictions and provide safe and delicious meals. This attention to detail will make a significant difference to guests with specific requirements, allowing them to fully enjoy the feast.
7. ENJOY YOUR MEAL
Most couples get so swept up in the excitement of their reception that they barely have time to eat. Remember to pause and enjoy the food you dedicated so much effort into selecting. Also, remember that food is fuel. How are you going to tear up the dance floor on an empty stomach? Take care of yourself and make the most of your dinner to avoid burning out prematurely.
Planning a menu for a large group of people can be a daunting task. After all, when was the last time that you had to plan a luxury meal for over 100 people? The best piece of advice is to trust your caterers. Feeding crowds is their expertise, so once you communicate your vision, it’s OK to let your caterer take the reins. Relinquishing control can feel scary, but when the result is a room full of cherished guests enjoying an amazing meal, it will be well worth it.
Ready to book your caterer? Get started on your search here!