When it comes to having a memorable wedding, one of the things guests won’t forget about is the food. And you definitely want your nearest and dearest talking about the menu at your event for all the right reasons. So take a look at these 11 missteps to make sure you choose wisely.
Pleasing only your palette.
You need to think about what is pleasing to everyone, not just you, says Jyl Deering, Chancey Charm Boston and Cape Cod Wedding Planner. “Just because you are vegan or gluten free, the other 100 people at your wedding might not be. Make sure you have options that will keep everyone fed, full and pleased.”
Forgetting about dietary needs.
Some guests aren’t just picky eaters; they might have actual conditions (like celiac disease) that come with strict dietary restrictions. “There are many delicious menu options that can please the palette of the guests with even the most restricted dietary needs,” says is Mystique Latese of Wedding Planner Bootcamp. “Brides should take full advantage of the culinary expertise of their caterer and challenge them to create alternative menu options that they themselves would find delicious as well as substantial. In doing so, guests with restrictions will still enjoy a more inclusive dining experience.”
Offering too much at cocktail hour.
While there are so many fun and creative cocktail hour options now, it’s important to remember that the food served during this time is not supposed to be the dinner, says Andrea Correale of Elegant Affairs. Don’t stuff them too much and then they don’t enjoy the food at the reception.
Serving kids the same food.
If you’re having children at the wedding reception, don’t forget to ask the caterer about planning a separate children’s menu, says Chef Christophe Kubiak of La Bonne Cuisine Catering and Events. “Remember that children can be finicky and have simple tastes, so they may not be too happy with your offerings, which may make the parents have to leave the festivities early.”
Just picking off the menu.
Many caterers offer “wedding packages” that are standard, easy to understand, and based on their vast experience of what brides have liked in the past. However, these also can be boring sometimes, says Chef Kubiak. “Ask your caterer if you can also see their regular menu. You may find more interesting options there, and sometimes at better prices!”
Skipping the tasting.
Just because you enjoyed one dish does not mean you will enjoy everything your caterer has to offer, says Dara Pamplin of Dare2BDifferent Exclusive Events. “Some caterers will try and tell you, ‘Don’t worry you will love it,’ but by all means taste what you are planning on ordering. It may be a charge to sample some things but it’s worth it in the long run.”
Thinking a buffet is cheaper.
Many brides gravitate towards a buffet style menu because it seems like that would be cheaper, but plated dinners actually turn out to be more economical because no extra food has to be made, says Ellen Balkcom of Laurel Avenue. “There is an exact total needed so you don't wind up paying for wasted leftovers.”
Not thinking about how your food and alcohol of choice will mix.
While alcohol doesn’t affect the way your food tastes, food does affect the way your alcohol tastes, explains Skylar Caitlin, Chancey Charm Houston Wedding Planner. “Considering how the two are working together can create a complete palate experience that will elevate your wedding meal. A good rule of thumb is to pair the drink with the food’s sauce or seasoning. For example, pairing a sweet, low alcohol content drink with a spicy appetizer will help to counteract the spicy burn. Or try pairing more bitter cocktails or a high tannin red wine as a palate cleanser for a rich, fatty steak course.”
Choosing out-of-season foods.
Your menu should coincide with your season, so think heartier fare in the winter and lighter bites for summer. It will also be easier to get fresher ingredients if you choose what is local to your area. Menu choices that reflect the season will provide the best taste and visual presence, says Dawn Stafford of Gathering Souls.
Ordering cake for every guest.
This is costly, says Correale. Instead, she suggests making a smaller version and have sheet cake to cut in the back.
Forgetting about before and after.
Don't forget about appetizers and late night bites, says Deering. Make sure there is enough food for all, especially if you are planning a long day. Have some light fare available post-ceremony, and a late night pass of chicken fingers and fries or something fun to make your guests are eating enough!