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Key Things to Consider When Planning Your Wedding Menu

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6 Key Things to Consider When Planning Your Wedding Menu

Every wedding reception is unique and we work closely with brides, grooms and their families to create a memorable event that meets their goals and their budgets.  For most people, planning their wedding it is the first time they have worked with a caterer on a big event. So, understandably, they have a lot to learn… a lot of decisions to make, a lot of unanswered questions. We have worked with dozens of couples and we work very hard to steer brides and grooms in the right direction!

Here are 6 things for you to consider when planning the menu for your wedding:

1. Who are your guests and what kind of food do they like?
We start by asking – what do you like to eat? What are some of your favorite restaurants? The answers I get can be anywhere from “I love your prepared salads!” to “I hate olives!” It’s your wedding, so you want to have food you like and that is meaningful to you and your fiance. Did you go out for flatbread on your first date? Maybe we should have that as a passed appetizer or dinner selections. However, one important thing to remember is that you are also hosts, so you want to provide food that your guests like and that make them feel cared for. Are many of your friends vegan or gluten free? ALL are important for us to know!

2.  What is your ideal timeline for the reception?
From experience, I can tell you that timelines always get pushed back during a reception. And the tighter the timeline for everything that you want to fit in (photos, cocktail hour, dinner courses, toasts, etc.), the harder it is to stay on the timeline. We carefully discuss with you the timeline, the desired flow, and make sure that we hit what is most important to you. Are you trying to get outside for a strict 6:45pm sunset toast in which we need to figure out a way to usher guests out from dinner? We’ve got you covered!

We are always flexible, however the most important thing to keep in mind is the menu as it relates to your timeline. For example, striving for a Prime Rib plated dinner to go out at 6pm is great, but the fact of the matter is that deadline NEEDS to be hit to uphold the quality of food! Where as, pushing back a cake cutting is less important.

3. Understand the five main service styles and decide what fits your reception the best.
You may choose to have a plated meal in which servers bring the meal to the tables; a buffet meal in which guests stand in line and serve themselves; a family style meal in which bowls of food are on each table; a heavy appetizer cocktail party; or a meal of stations, in which guests rove around themed food tables. All of these service styles have their pros and cons. It really comes down to what is best for you, your guests, the timeline and the space you have chosen.

The common question is “What is the most expensive”? And for that, there is not one true answer. While plated requires more labor and rentals onsite, we are able to pin down the amount of food. Whereas at a buffet, the amount and type of food taken from the buffet time is hard to determine so you need to order more.

4. Align your priorities with your budget.
There are many decisions to make when planning your budget. And since most people have a budget for their wedding, understanding your priorities is key. If plate and glassware rentals aren’t high on your list of priorities, let us show you some of the great compostable bamboo plates we can get. If the cut of meat isn’t important but you want to make sure it is local and delicious, we can show you some great options. Do you want to keep the food simple and cost effective so that your guests can drink at an open bar all night, we can do that! Let us know your thoughts and your feelings so that we can help you have the wedding you have dreamed of.

5. Pay attention to the season.
You may love heirloom tomatoes, but if your wedding is in May, asparagus is a more seasonal option. By using local, seasonal products, the menu can really reflect the time and place of your wedding. Additionally, you can feel great knowing that you are going to be providing your guests the most delicious, local and fresh seasonal products available!

6. Consider the setting and venue.
Is your reception formal or more rustic? Will it be in a museum or in a renovated barn? The style of the reception and location should be reflected in the menu. Also, the kitchen equipment that is available (either onsite or rented) will determine what we can cook onsite.

These are just some of the many considerations to think about when planning your wedding! Let our event staff guide you through this planning process!

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