Six Tasty Tips for a Foodie Wedding

foodie-wedding

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.

wedding-food-01

top photo by woah nelly! and bottom photos from Heirloom LA – two amazing caterers in LA

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.

wedding-food-02

all food by Heirloom LA with the exception of bottom right from Dani Fisher via Design Sponge

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.

wedding menu ideas

Amon Design StudioYellow Owl Workshop, Sugar and Fluff photo by Jose Villa, chalkboard menu photo by Gabriel Ryan Photographers

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.

wedding cocktail hour ideas

photos: More Design Please, Sweet Potato Chronicles, Mel BarlowKate Headley

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.

dessert tables

top dessert table from this wedding, bottom from this feature on Green Wedding Shoes

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.”

couple eating at wedding

photos by Benj HaischJesse LeakeThree Nails

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!

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Comments

  1. GREAT post. seriously. good tips and a gorgeous post about one very important and practical part of the wedding.

  2. Great post! Really like the Bellini bar – I’m planning a summer wedding and fruits will be showing up all over. I am completely obsessed with the idea of having a twisted picnic theme food menu. I am going for burgers with upscale toppings. I also want to do a great recipe I have for veggie burgers. I haven’t settled on the other main dishes, but do you have some other ideas for sides that fit in this theme? Mac-n-cheese is a definite, but what else might you suggest?

    Thanks!

    holly

  3. Great post about that often overlooked area of food … yum!

  4. What a helpful post!! I had just been wrestling with our menu (since we are making everything ourselves) and you have helped me decide to go with my gut… fancy burgers. :) Thank you for the great ideas!

  5. As a food blogger and rampant food enthusiast, this post is totally up my alley.

    Weddings are about fun and joy. Why not let the food reflect that? Lovely suggestions!

  6. I love this post! I absolutely agree with every single thing you said! My fiance and I are soooo not into boring wedding food!

    I am printing this article and taking it my meeting with my caterer next month, so they can see my inspiration!

  7. These are such amazing suggestions, so rarely is food covered on wedding blogs. I’ve never really thought about providing your own recipes for the caterer, excellent idea.

  8. I so want to have my teeth on the food.

  9. @Holly: I love the twisted picnic theme! Mac and cheese sounds absolutely fabulous – you could see if the caterers would cook it in muffin pans, so that everyone could get their own individual mac and cheese portion. How about a light and bright coleslaw with vinaigrette? You could spice it up with some shaved peppers (Serrano, jalapeno, etc.). Or a citrus orzo salad (with fresh herbs and a citrus dressing) as a fancier pasta salad option. I think you truly can’t have picnic food without potato salad – you could have a warm fingerling potato salad with pancetta, cornichons, and a light grainy mustard dressing. Enjoy and best wishes!

  10. This blog post makes me so so happy! I love working with my couples to put together a creative wedding menu. I tell them that the selections from a caterer’s menu is only the beginning and that we can customize their wedding menu with almost anything!

  11. Love helping couples bring out their inner foodie, this is great advice. Linking back to this thanks! {rivernorthlove.blogspot.com}

  12. Great tips! I wish that more couples would have a family style dinner at their weddings. Much less waste and much more fun than a buffet!

  13. My fav is to offer a ton of hors d’ oeuveres and just keep them coming. Guests really seem to like the variety and they get to socialize with all the guests instead of just their table mates. But, be sure to serve enough food during regular meal times.

  14. What a great post packed full of fabulous ideas! And those little burgers are just the cutest!!

  15. Such a fantastic article, thank you so much!

  16. I love this post! I love the bellini bar idea too.

  17. Really such a nice post…..love this

  18. Greetings! You have share such a wonderful post, and the ideas are really helpful.

  19. thanks for sharing the tips… i loved the dinner menu idea.. it is not commonly done..

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