There are many details that a wedding guest will remember weeks after the reception, but there is something they will never ever forget: how good (or bad) the meal was. That’s why it makes sense to put enough time and plenty of planning into the food, drinks and the right caterer for your reception.
But before you start planning your wedding catering, you need to decide on your wedding theme and venue. After you have decided on those two, talk to your fiancé about your wedding reception. No matter what style you choose, both of you have to make sure that you understand all the catering options available before making your final decision.
Booking a caterer for your wedding should be straight forward and exciting at the same time. At the start, expect an informal and no pressure talk from the caterers that you‘ll be meeting with. They will get an idea of who you are, what you like and dislike. It can be over the phone or a face to face meeting. A proposal will be created with the menus and the cost for your initial consultation if it applies.
Choosing The Reception Style
Wedding receptions are usually offered in different styles. Whether you’re thinking of an elegant or traditional wedding or a small and intimate gathering with your family and friends, there will be a style that will surely fit your taste. Below are some examples:
A Sit-down Dinner
This is the most traditional style and has groups of around 10 guests seated at a table assigned to them and with each guest being served three courses or more. If you want an elegant and traditional wedding this is the one for you. For this, you have to consider your venue and budget, since a plated dinner needs more staff to prepare, plate and serve the dish. The good thing is that this style will give guests more time to mingle and it also allows guests to dress up fancy! This style of reception is more suited for an all adults-only guest list.
Food choices typically served in this style include:
- A Mixed Seafood appetizer: shrimp, calamari, scungilli, octopus, and mussels with lemon and extra-virgin olive oil
- Fresh figs draped with prosciutto di Parma
- Tuscan garden salad: romaine lettuce, Bibb lettuce, radicchio, tomatoes, and radishes with balsamic vinaigrette
- Rack of lamb: Coated in an aromatic blend of fresh herbs and spices
- Salmon: broiled and seasoned with bread crumbs, garlic, lemon, and butter
- Served with: Bouquet of fresh seasonal vegetables and golden fried potato croquette
- Cake Push Pops
- Waffle Sundaes
- Mini Pies on a Stick
- Pudding Parfaits
A Standing-Style Party
Similar to a buffet-style serving, but there are no seats available. If you have 500 guests or more, this is for you. Some advantages of this include a livelier feel because guests can go around looking for different dishes and can mingle with friends while eating. Cocktails, beers and other types of alcoholic drinks will make this style even livelier. A BBQ style fare is best for this style. You can serve:
- Barbecue beef brisket
- Pork spareribs
- Smoked sausages
- Barbecue chicken
- Barbecue beans
- Potato salad
- Tossed green salad
- Toasted garlic bread
- Corn on the cob
If you want the most relaxed atmosphere for your wedding, go for the casual dining experience. It’s a non-formal wedding reception where your guests can enjoy and mingle casually without following any specific arrangements. This is suited for an intimate wedding with the closest friends and families. It can be held in a garden, park or backyard. 50 guests will suit this setup, but make sure that there’s still enough space for everyone. There’s also a large chance that everyone knows each other, thus it will be more fun and relaxing at the same time. You can go for:
- Onion, Feta, and sun-dried tomato tartlet
- Dumplings served with dipping sauces
- Grilled coriander, giant prawns with a chili-lime sauce
- Rosemary-roasted baby lamb chops with apricot-mint salsa
- Bite-size chicken fajitas with avocado salsa
- Mini lobster rolls on toasted brioche
- Sauteed soft shell crabs with a spicy rémoulade
- Chicken satays with a tangy peanut sauce
- Miso-glazed cod with Asian pesto
- Dim sum: crystal shrimp, sweet rice, spinach, and shiitake mushroom
If you want to provide a better variety of food and drinks, then a buffet style is for you. This is suitable for large parties with 100 and above guests. Plus the guest will not feel forced to eat something they don’t like because they will be able to make their own decisions. The service cost is lower and you only need a few wait staff. You can play with these selections below:
- Stuffed endive with Roquefort cheese, topped with chopped walnuts
- Wild mushroom tartlets
- Miniature crab cakes
- Artichoke mousse puffs
- Roasted new potatoes with dill cream and golden caviar
- Melon wrapped in prosciutto
- Miniature reuben sandwiches
- Spinach dip with toasted pita triangle
- Spanakopita (spinach and Feta in phyllo pastry)
- Smoked salmon canapes topped with capers and fresh dill
- Seafood dip with sliced French bread
- Antipasti display (buffalo mozzarella, grilled eggplant, marinated mushrooms, artichokes, vine-ripened tomatoes, kalamata olives, and bread sticks)
- Smoked salmon display (sliced salmon served with chopped onion, lemon slices, capers, cucumber-dill sauce, and assorted dark breads)
- Carving station (Asian flank steak and Cajun-rubbed turkey breast served with cranberry-mango chutney and assorted rolls)
- Pasta station (ravioli with roasted red-pepper sauce; bow tie pasta with Gorgonzola cream sauce)
Deciding On The Wedding Menu
Now that you have already decided on what type of reception for your wedding, it’s time to decide on your wedding menu. Below are some simple steps to help you decide what food and drinks to serve.
Know The Season
Take note of the season because certain types of food taste better when in season. Thick soup and stews are not a good fit for summer weddings. Fruits will taste sweeter when in season thus some desserts will be 10x better if the fruits are in season.
Check For Recommendations
You can check for recommendations from your friends or family members. Also find professional chefs online, send them an email or chat and ask for their recommendations. Still, don’t take advice blindly without considering your situation and tastes.
Choose Your Favorite Dish
Are you into Indian food, Thai, Italian, Japanese, Filipino or Mexican food? Basically there are no rules in serving the type of food for your wedding, but you also have to consider the less adventurous eaters.
Special Diet Menu
You can have a dedicated stall for people with specific diets that can include gluten-free options, vegetarian meals and child-friendly meals.
The menus presented above are just examples of food varieties that can be served for each style. Again, nothing is final until you’ve decided what kind of reception you want to have, what food you want to serve and what is in season. Your chosen caterer will be able to help decide all of this.
To see a sample wedding package from the experts at Laissez-faire Catering click here:
Happy catering hunting and congratulations!