You’ve chosen the date, time, and location for your wedding and have asked some of your closest friends to be in your wedding party.
Now, you know it’s time to get busy planning the meal that will be served during the reception.
For ideas on how to make this process as easy, fun, and stress-free as possible — while still taking into account dietary needs and other issues — consider the following:
The bride and groom should begin the meal-planning process by creating a wish list that includes their favorite foods, as well as those they cannot stand or to which they get an allergic reaction. After all, it’s your special day, so decide on dishes and types of cuisines that you love, whether it’s tacos and burritos with rice and beans, barbecued burgers, or pasta with meat sauce.
After you start narrowing down what types of food you want to have at your reception, you should then consider the ideal service style. Do you want a buffet with multiple selections, a sit-down dinner, or food stations placed around the room with different foods at each one? In general, food stations and buffets are the most casual, while a plated meal is the most formal.
For couples who love pretty much all types of foods and/or are hoping to plan a budget-friendly buffet, you might want to focus on meals that include local and in-season ingredients. This will not only help save money, but it may also make planning the meal with the caterer easier, as you won’t have to worry about certain foods being unavailable.
You can also use the time of year or season as a guide for the cuisine you serve. For instance, if you’re planning a summertime wedding, light and refreshing options like crunchy salads, chicken, fish, and a selection of iced teas would be delicious. For an evening wedding in the winter, you may go with a buffet of thick creamy soups and warm bread, steak, and a cocoa bar.
For couples opting for a buffet or food stations with several food selections, it will likely be easier for guests with allergies and/or dietary needs to find things they will enjoy safely. If you would prefer a sit-down plated meal, it’s common to have at least three options: meat, fish, or vegetarian.
To give the caterer the correct numbers on how much of which dish to prepare, you’ll need to know ahead of time about these choices. The best way to get this information is with the help of your wedding invitations, where you provide a few meal options and ask guests to make their selections with their RSVP card. You can also include a note in the invitation for guests to contact you with any other dietary needs. This way, your vegan and vegetarian guests, as well as those who are gluten-intolerant or are allergic to dairy, can all enjoy themselves at your reception.
Receptions are typically upbeat and social affairs, where everyone can gather together to celebrate the newlyweds and enjoy some great food. By deciding on the ideal menu, you and your significant other should find that choosing the first meal you’ll share as husband and wife can be an enjoyable part of the wedding planning process.