With so many options today, choosing the right menu for your wedding dinner has become more complicated. Caterers offer a variety of meal packages that you can change or add-to, but remember to keep track of the costs as you make changes to the basic menu package.
The wedding menu can be a simple self serve buffet to an elaborate five course meal. Traditionally a seated dinner is generally preceded by a cocktail hour with hors d’oeuvres, a first course, a main entree, and a dessert.
The cocktail hour is the best place to be adventurous about food selections. Be creative, make a statement, try sushi, dim sum and authentic ethnic food, like Thai or Indian. If your family and friends have conservative palates, you may want to limit the more exotic foods to simpler hors d’oeuvres.
You don’t want to spoil your guests appetites, but you want a server to constantly circulate with hors d’oeuvres and perhaps have two food stations with a small selection that guests can help themselves. Assume that each guest will eat about 5 – 6 hors d’oeuvres per hour and allow for 3 glasses of wine per person. You may decide to serve only wine during the dinner hour with no access to an open bar. The open bar can be reserved for the after-dinner party. Also, keep in mind people do expect to stand at a cocktail party, but your older guests may need to be seated.
The most common option for weddings is plated food served individually. The cost is typically higher then a buffet or family-style dinner. French style is a more refined version of plate service. Each course is arranged on a large serving dish and presented to each guest at the table. The guests serve themselves with tongs or forks, however at most weddings, the waiter serves the food on to your plate.
For the couple who can’t decide on one or two items, they should consider food stations. A station is a buffet table featuring a particular type of food. A station reception should have 4 or 5 tables. Each table should offer a different course or style of cooking.
The cost per dinner depends on what you will be serving; the price of the food and the price of serving the food which includes, rentals, staff, service charge and gratuities. Negotiate with your caterer and be prepared to listen to your caterers advice. If your menu preference is not within your budget, you can always ask your caterer to consider serving smaller portions or alternatively if your menu includes expensive food, choose a more economical style of service.
Keep in mind that wedding etiquette dictates only that you need to throw a gracious and thoughtful party, not that you offer caviar and expensive champagne.
The cutting of your wedding cake should be a memorable one. If a tiered cake isn’t your style there are many alternatives. Cupcakes are all the rage right now and make a wonderful unique display.
The most important goal of any wedding is to express yourself as a couple, so be creative!