I love food! I mean, who doesn’t? :) I also consider myself a foodie as I’m sure lots of you do also. And being a foodie, I’m sure food is pretty important for your wedding, right? I’d take a small intimate dinner of great food over a buffet with every type of food any day (and by the way, the gorgeous dinner photo above is from Jose Villa). Anyways, I thought it would be helpful for those of you currently planning your wedding to talk about food today! Fun, right? And Heather, who writes the fun foodie blog Bourbon and Bleu is here to share her 6 favorite foodie wedding tips with you all today! Thanks so much Heather!! So, I’ll let her take it away. :)
I am so excited to be writing for Green Wedding Shoes today! My husband and I just got married this past July in Laguna Beach, CA, and we found so much inspiration from wedding blogs – especially Green Wedding Shoes. We both adore food, cocktails, and entertaining. So when it came to planning our wedding, we knew we wanted it to feel like the ultimate dinner party. I’ve put together a list of my six best tips for designing your cocktail hour and dinner menu so you can have a memorable and delicious wedding.
DINNER SHOULD BE FUN, NOT STUFFY.
No one expects to eat foie gras and truffles at your wedding. I promise! And as generous and classy as it is, surf and turf often comes out cold and overcooked. Why not pick a meal that’s fun and gets the guests chatting about the food – in a good way?
One of the most unexpected entrees I’ve ever had was at my friend’s black tie wedding. The reception was as beautiful as it gets – chandeliers, cigar rollers, an oyster bar. But guess what we ate for dinner? A burger! It was gussied up with Kobe beef and homemade brioche buns, but nonetheless, it was a hamburger. And everyone adored it.
If you’re not down with burgers, but want to spruce up your menu, you should consider setting it up family style. You won’t have to worry about collecting your guests’ entrée preferences, since they’ll be able to sample all of the food options. The platters of food will take up a significant portion of your tables, which means less florals and candles (= less money). Plus, the passing of the plates establishes a comfortable vibe, and it’s a great conversation starter.
YOU CAN PROVIDE YOUR OWN RECIPES.
Catering menus can be pretty generic. I’ve received countless sample menus that included chicken with seasonal vegetables, beef tenderloin, and a mixed greens salad to start. These menus don’t exactly scream creativity. But did you know that 99.9% of caterers will let you provide them with recipes?
Do you adore your grandmother’s fried chicken with creamy mashed potatoes? Or absolutely swoon over the slow-cooked short ribs from your first date? Search for those recipes and email them on over to your caterer. If you can’t find a restaurant’s recipe online, call them up. Most people have a soft spot for weddings and are more than happy to help you out.
PRINT A DINNER MENU.
No matter what food you choose or what service you elect (buffet, family style, sit down), I always encourage the bride and groom to have a menu printed up for each guest (or a large menu the guests can all view during cocktail hour). People like to know what they’ll be eating. Even with a pre-fixe menu at a restaurant, diners are aware of what each course entails. If you spend a bit of time on the word choice and design of your menu card, your guests will be excitedly anticipating their dinner service, instead of fearing the unknown. And – from a practical stance – if guests have food allergies or intolerances, they can determine what items they’re able to eat.
PUT SOME THOUGHT INTO PLANNING YOUR COCKTAIL HOUR.
Often weddings tend to put the cocktail hour on the back burner. The appetizers are simple and predictable. How many of us have had more than enough tomato bruschetta and chicken skewers? I’m starting a new trend – put some thought into planning the cocktail hour!
The appetizers should be bite sized and come with a big pop of flavor. Bacon wrapped dates stuffed with goat cheese. Herb and white bean crostini. Mini grilled cheese with caramelized onions. These examples are unique, affordable, and will get your guests excited for dinner.
The drinks are equally important and deserve some consideration. I’m personally not a fan of the open bar. I think they’re expensive and can create a pretty rowdy wedding. But, I am all for the signature cocktails, and two is just the right number (the bride’s cocktail and the groom’s). Pick drinks that represent you. Are you a vodka loving girl? How about a Cosmopolitan. What about a whiskey man? Old Fashions would be a great option.
If you’re looking for a budget-friendly option for the bar, skip the signature cocktails and set up a “Make Your Own Bellini Bar.” A basic bar package comes with wine, beer, champagne, sodas, juices, and garnishes. Use the champagne, juices, and garnishes to your advantage. Have the caterers set out some peach, cranberry, and blood orange juices with some small bowls of citrus twists, berries, and mint leaves for garnish. The bellinis are festive and special without being overly costly.
SET UP A DESSERT TABLE.
By the time dessert rolls around, most people are up and out of their seats. They don’t typically make it back to their tables for a few bites of your wedding cake. This is why I’m loving the dessert table trend! Guests can grab a plate of various sweets that they can easily eat while standing and mingling with friends and family. Some of my favorite assortments right now are platters of cookies with espressos and cappuccinos, individual pies in mason jars, customized ice cream sandwiches, and a spread of French macarons.
The dessert table is a focal point for the room and will show up in endless amounts of pictures. Make sure to rent or purchase a variety of cake stands, platters, and oversized bowls to add some style and height to the table. Also, it’s always a good idea to print little tent cards describing all the dessert flavors and types.
I still encourage having a cake (maybe only 1-2 layers) simply for the sake of tradition. It’s fun to cut that first slice and feed it to your wife or husband. You can always send the cake home with your parents if they’re hosting a “morning after brunch.”
MAKE SURE YOU EAT!
Now that you’ve spent so much time planning your wedding menu, make sure to enjoy it! If you’re busy with pictures during the cocktail hour, have your coordinator or a friend ask the chef to make a small tray of appetizers for you and your bridal party. While it’s easy to get carried away with the first dances, speeches, and greeting your guests, make a point to sit down for at least 10 minutes with your new wife or husband and share dinner together. After all, it is your day, and, with a fantastic menu, you don’t want to miss a bite!
Thanks so much to Heather and be sure to check our her blog, Bourbon and Bleu.
If you have any food questions, be sure to ask in the comments and Heather or I will be happy to help! Also, if you are looking for a great caterer, be sure to check out my favorite caterers here in our hand picked Vendor Guide!