We reveal the top things to consider when picking your perfect wedding menu…
Planning the menu for your special day is just as important as every other aspect of this exciting occasion — and like the dress and the cake it needs to have a ‘wow’ factor and be utterly delicious too. But how do you plan your wedding menu, what do you need to think about, where do you start, and how can you avoid making mistakes?
Never fear, professional chef and specialist wedding caterer Arabella Reeve is here to guide you through the dos and don’ts of wedding menu planning, ensuring the food on your big day is everything you wanted and much more.
The choice is yours
The first thing to remember is that it’s your wedding day — if you want duck, have duck, if you want a rodeo-style bbq, then go for it! Of course, you have to cater for your guests as well, and you want them to enjoy their meal, but you know that they want you to be happy and will embrace whatever you choose. So, don’t think too much about what your guests want to eat, create something memorable that means something special to you.
Having said that, it’s always a good idea to offer guests a vegetarian option if you are serving meat, especially if it’s something that could potentially divide people — like lamb or duck.
Don’t forget to ask for your guests’ dietary requirements — you may have forgotten Aunty Jean can’t eat onions, but we, the caterer, need to know! And these days any caterer worth their salt can create the most delicious vegan, gluten free and vegetarian food. We have created show-stopping food for vegan weddings.
Update your caterer with any dietary changes too. Don’t forget to let them know that Uncle Nigel is now a vegan.
Keep it simple
Giving your guests a menu choice can make your life much more complicated — the aim is to keep things as simple as you can without compromising on quality. Having to get feedback on individual food orders from your guests and then relay them to the caterer adds another strand to your workload. But if you have the time it can mean your guests are more likely to enjoy their meal.
What’s your style?
Think about what your wedding food ‘vibe’ is. Do you want a relaxed affair — perhaps a hot fork buffet, or bbq, or are you thinking about a more formal and traditional three-course sit-down meal? Why not think about street food, it’s very ‘in’ at the moment because it’s such a laid-back way to eat, with big flavours and lots of different and exciting dishes. Very hands-on and fun!
If you are opting for a more relaxed approach don’t forget to have some seating for your elderly guests, they may not be as good as you at eating a burrito standing up while talking! And many people want to sit down during what can be a long day.
Have a think about the time of year you are getting married and food seasonality. Maybe you love asparagus, but you are getting married in December. This won’t be the best time of year to fully appreciate the beautiful crispness and distinctive flavours in asparagus. Or if you are getting married in August it’s not a great idea to serve soup. If the weather is as beautiful as this year your guests will be too hot to enjoy it.
It’s all in the detail
Have you got a colour theme for your wedding? Can you incorporate this into your day? We catered for a gorgeous wedding this year that had pink and blue flowers everywhere — and we included these colours in the starter, dessert and the overall catering offering! Stunning and very sophisticated. Or how about an actual theme, such as Star Wars? You could have a whole menu of dishes named after Star Was characters!
Think about your table centrepieces too — if you are having sharing boards or salads on the table, and you also have to accommodate gorgeous flowers and wine, will there be enough room for centres too?
Choosing the perfect caterer
Is your caterer able to cook your favourite foods? Do you want Salmon En Croute but it’s not on their menu? The right caterer will go the extra mile to create a perfect menu for you and nothing should be impossible. If they are not accommodating, or they are trying to push you into something they want, perhaps you need to shop around.
What about the children?
Don’t forget about the children — will they want a smaller blue cheese soufflé, or beef wellington? Or would they prefer roast chicken or maybe chicken goujons! Remember, kids’ palates are simpler and less sophisticated than yours, and happy kids are less noisy on your prefect day!
Lastly — and this was No. 1 too — it’s your day, your vision and the most exciting thing you will ever do, so the food you share with your loved ones needs to work for you and be fabulous. You want to be talking about it for years to come! Have a wonderful wedding and the very best of luck to you.
For more inspiration and to contact Arabella, head to www.arabellareeve.co.uk.
Main image credit: Michelle Ley Photography