What Makes the Best Wedding Menus?

Hors doeuvres menu

What separates the best wedding menus from the average and the forgettable? When there are so many choices, it can be difficult to decide. Although it would certainly make the planning process easier, there is no specific formula. The key element that will push your reception from predictable to memorable is to put your own spin on the event. But this requires the happy couple to discuss their likes and dislikes, and what they envision for their wedding.

Cocktail Hour Puts Everyone at Ease.

When the reception is set up as a cocktail party, it encourages guests to mingle more freely than a sit-down dinner can allow. It does require some forward planning as to the hour of the party and what to serve. To put things plainly, it is pleasant to have a drink and a few items off the hors doeuvres menu in the late afternoon or early evening. If served during dinner time, it may cause a few guests to be busy plotting where they will stop to grab a “real bite” to eat on the way home. You want your guests to admire the food and decorations, not thinking about how hungry they feel.

Once the hour is planned, it is time to think about what to serve. You are not limited to the standard fare. Caterers are becoming clever with their offerings. Some of the best wedding menus feature unexpected items, such as tiny triangles of grilled cheese perched carefully on a shot glass of chilled tomato-basil soup. This is an example of a couple who wanted to serve their guests childhood favorites; mini hotdogs and ice cream cones also made an appearance on the menu. But the food can be elevated to something finer: roasted baby lamp chops, just big enough for two or three bites, and miniature crab cakes are also items served with the aim to surprise and delight.

Served Plates Are Always Elegant.

The menu for a wedding reception used to be fairly predictable: something would be fried, probably a pork chop, and covered with a heavy cream sauce. The choices were usually a piece of beef or dry piece of chicken (hence the sauce). Now, perhaps due to the proliferation of food shows, there are more interesting choices. Guests may be served appetizers of bruschetta with fresh mozzarella, or Thai chicken skewers with a peanut sauce.

When the reception dinner is served, event menus are more formal. With this option, it is better to time the reception to coincide with dinnertime or brunch. A day-time wedding is growing in popularity among the wedding set; it is generally thought to be slightly less expensive and more casual than an evening wedding. It also allows for menus featuring mimosas, bloody marys, and specialty pancakes or omelets. For couples whose favorite meal of the day is breakfast, a day-wedding could be just the thing.

The Familiar Buffet Is Convenient For Everyone.

Who hasn’t been to a wedding reception with a buffet? They are perhaps the most popular way to serve food at a wedding. The fare does not need to be tired offerings though. The menu for weddings utilizing a buffet can take the route of the cocktail party: numerous small bites. The only thing that changes is how the items are served to the guests. This has the added benefit of making it easy for guests to find the food, instead of stealthily stalking the servers.

The Wonderful World of Stations.

The last option is a combination of buffet and cocktail party. Serving stations give guests the freedom to easily find the exact food offering they want to try, instead of waiting in line. And it helps avoid that long line that forms when everyone lines up to get a plate of food that happens at every buffet. The best wedding menus for stations feature items that offer an impressive visual view as well, such as meat carving or a chocolate fountain.

You will notice that while how the food is served plays a major role in determining the menu, it is really only limited by your imagination.The best wedding menus take into consideration what the couple loves. It will reflect their personalities, and because of that, it will be unforgettable.

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Francis Pitt

Francis Pitt

Francis Pitt has made a name for himself in farm-to-table organics, working at restaurants in Portland, Seattle and Burlington, Vermont. While he has a taste for the extreme, most of his restaurant’s top sellers are much more down-to-earth, regularly featuring mushrooms gathered from the slopes of the Cascades, and fresh wild-caught seafood from the Oregon coast. Inspired by trends in Portland, his latest restaurant offers the ultimate chef’s table: dinner begins in the morning at his island collective farm, and 4 lucky guests every week get to follow the food, literally, from the field to the plate! Francis is a firm believer that you are what you eat — do you really want to be a chemistry set?