When it comes to planning for wedding meals or menu, there are several things to consider to make sure everything turns out perfectly. No matter what your theme is, or regardless of your budget, these practical tips for menu planning should help you come up with a lineup of scrumptious and satisfying dishes for this occasion.
1. Know your guest list and budget.
Two important factors that affect your menu should be taken into consideration right from the start – the number of guests who are coming and your budget. Once you have come up with a final guest list, and you are settled with the date and time of the wedding, deciding on the meals to serve should be easier. For instance, if you are having a winter wedding, your dishes should be appropriate for the chilly weather. The same holds true when you are having the event in the evening, at tea time or early in the morning.
2. Look for caterers months before your big day.
To spare yourself from stress, the search for the best caterer should be done months ahead. In fact, you will need to sample different dishes from various caterers you are looking to hire, and this process can take a while. Booking the caterer of your choice may even have to be at least 6 months before the wedding since you do not want them getting tied up with other clients on the day of the event. Be sure you discuss with the venue provider if they are okay with having your own caterer or if they require that you use their own. Some places charge an extra fee if you invite another chef, so be prepared for this additional cost on your part.
3. Think about your guests’ allergies and dietary concerns.
Do you strictly vegan guests? Or perhaps, some of them are allergic to soy, nuts, gluten, and so on? Be aware of these restrictions that will affect your menu for the event since you do not want anyone getting sick because of the food you serve. Discuss these special concerns with your chef months in advance, so proper action may be done by lining up a list of dishes that will satisfy your guests.
4. Go for seasonal, local and well-made dishes.
Aside from being cheaper, local and seasonal foods are better tasting and bursting with flavor. If tomatoes are in season, along with organic greens, then by all means have pasta with fresh tomato sauce, summer salads, and dishes featuring in-season veggies. Just make it a point to serve a variety of dishes from the appetizers to main course and up to your desserts. This way, your guests will not be limited to just a few options. Also, think about the kids who are attending the event. Serve kid-friendly dishes and drinks that will please their taste buds.
5. Choose the baker for your wedding cake.
Your cake is one of the highlights of the reception, so you may want to hire an expert who can turn your dream cake into reality! If you have no idea when it comes to the design or style of the cake, don’t worry – you should be able to find a talented baker who could provide you with pictures of inspirational designs to choose from. Just be sure that the ingredients used are of the finest quality and free from artificial colors or flavoring.
6. Stick to your budget without compromising the taste and quality of the food.
While you may have plenty of amazing ideas for the menu, always remember to consider your budget as your guide. If you are under some constraints on your budget, you may ask a friend or family member to be your caterer if the cost of hiring one is beyond what you can afford at this point. It is also a practical idea to buy your ingredients at the farmer’s market where you can get fresh produce in great quality without a steep price tag. Just never compromise quality of portion sizes for the price since you do not want your guests complaining silently because the food is bland or poorly cooked.
As you plan for the menu, think of the creative presentation of the dishes served. Your dishes will not only give your guests a meaningful gastronomic experience, but also picture-perfect meals that look amazing on your scrapbook!