Wedding Caterer Ideas

What Is A Good Wedding Menu?

The success of your wedding relies on the details, and one of those details is the reception's food and beverages. What foods are in season and typical for the time of year you get married will certainly influence your wedding menu. You can guarantee that the food you serve your visitors is fresh and delicious if you keep the season in mind. Selecting a menu based on the time of year also provides an opportunity to experiment with unusual flavours and drinks. Whether you're planning a winter wedding or a summer nuptial, you may easily include seasonal flavours into your reception meal.

The theme of your wedding reception will undoubtedly influence the dishes you serve. If you want to wow your guests at a sit-down dinner, a buffet, or even just a cocktail party, think about serving seasonal fare. Wedding menu cards are just one example of a unique detail that may elevate your reception. Learn more about seasonal wedding menu planning here.

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Dinner with Plates

Most couples choose for the tried-and-true plated dinner at their reception. Once everyone has been seated, the formal supper can begin. Two courses (appetiser and entrée) and, if dessert is provided at the table, a third course (dessert) make up the standard meal. The appetiser is standard, but the main course can be served a few various ways.

  • The identical meal is provided to everyone, but a vegetarian or vegan option is kept hidden.
  • Menus generally offer guests a choice of meat or fish as well as a vegetarian entrée that is not vocally advertised.
  • At the time they RSVP, guests choose one of several entree options.

Self-Serve Stations

You might think of stations as mini-buffets for your guests. Most food stations feature designated tables or sections for serving a single dish or category of cuisine. Staffing these stations is necessary because they are typically more involved and interactive than a self-serve buffet.

As a couple, you can really let your imaginations run wild and express themselves in this. In case you are an oyster connoisseur, you may set up a shucking station. Bring in a pizza oven and have the chef make pizzas to order if you can't get enough of the stuff. Cheese fanatic? Prepare a magnificent spread of cheeses.

Family-Style Dinner

During a family-style lunch, everyone sits down at the same table and shares large servings of food from platters and bowls as if they were at a home dinner. If you'd like to keep guests seated at tables but don't want to serve them plates, this is a great compromise. In the first course, there may be two choices, and the main course may consist of just one protein and two sides, or it may consist of several proteins and many more sides.

Buffet-Style Dinner

There are many different kinds of food available at a buffet, which is displayed on long tables. If you want to provide a wide choice of cuisines to your guests or know that some of them are finicky eaters, this is the best option. Guests' time is valuable, so it's crucial that they be able to move swiftly and easily through the food lines.

Check out our post on The Importance of having a Food Tasting before your Wedding Day to get more idea of your wedding menu.

Cocktail-Style Dinner

Break with custom and have a cocktail party for your wedding reception. It solves a number of problems that normally arise for couples when arranging a wedding, such as how to seat a large number of guests who don't appear to fit at any one table. When hosting a cocktail party, there is no need to worry about setting up chairs or decorating the tables. Instead, have tiny bites (either tray-passed or spread out on a grazing table in preparation) available so that you and your guests can eat whenever the mood strikes you.

The most important thing is to provide a wide range of choices for your guests, including vegan/vegetarian, dairy-free, and gluten-free options, so that everyone can enjoy themselves.

Spring

Promote the season's signature pastel hues, airy flavours, and vivid floral arrangements by having your wedding in the spring. Asparagus, melons, apricots, lavender, and mint are just some of the many fruits, vegetables, and herbs that are at their peak right now. In honour of the warmer weather, pick dishes that go well with the fresh, colourful produce and flowers of the season, as well as the bright, warm sunlight.

Summer

June, August, and September are peak wedding season months. The joy of a summer wedding is a major reason why. Whether you're having an outdoor ceremony on the beach, a backyard BBQ, or a cool interior reception, plan your meal accordingly.

Peaches, watermelon, basil, and cucumber are just a few of the summertime flavours that would be well represented on your menu. Provide your guests with cold sweets and refreshments to help them cool off from the hot weather. Please use place cards to identify each item so that everyone can find it easily.

Fall

Seasonally stable temperatures and the season's vibrant hues make autumn a popular choice for weddings. Plan a menu consisting of warm and comforting dishes for your fall wedding reception. Apples, pumpkins, root vegetables, and cinnamon are just a few of the fall flavours that will give your wedding a taste of the season. Napkins should be coordinated with the rest of the outfit for a polished look. Catering your own wedding? Let us put you in touch with the Top Melbourne Wedding Caterers.

Winter

A winter wedding is the perfect excuse to get out the gravy and offer heavier fare than you would at a spring or summer celebration; rescue your guests from the chill with a hearty hot meal and some warm drinks.

Pick dishes that remind you of being at home, along with some sweet treats and drinks to celebrate the occasion. Think about incorporating winter-appropriate flavours like cranberry, mushroom, and dark chocolate into your meal this season. Create a lasting memory of your festive get-together and the great food you enjoyed by sending a photo card to friends and family after the holidays.

Don't Put Things Off

Start looking for caterers at the same time you start checking out possible locations (about 12 months before your wedding date). Many venues have their own food crew and may require you to hire them, so making that choice will likely influence your other catering options. Although this may not be the situation, they still might have a select group of merchants they only deal with (their "prefered list"). Inquire about a taste with the in-house chef or potential caterers from the recommended list before booking the location to see if you can bring in an outside caterer for an additional fee if approved. Also, check menu possibilities with the cook, especially if you have certain items in mind - some menus can be difficult to implement, depending on kitchen space or equipment. Make sure the caterer you want to use is on the venue's approved list, or account for any additional costs that may arise if they are not. You should keep in mind that there is logic behind why certain vendors are prefered by event spaces.

Serve Them Elegantly.

You may try considering the meal as a whole. Will the food be the main event? Choose a multi-course, sit-down supper instead. Is the focus mostly on the music? Guests won't appreciate being slowed down by a heavy meal, so go for served appetisers and finger snacks instead. The reception's design and cuisine should be planned around the time (and length) of the reception's major events (speeches, highlight dances, cake cutting). Do you have a large number of visitors who would like to make longer speeches? Have a seat.

Introduce New Food Concepts

Choosing each and every dish that will be served is one of the most thrilling elements of menu planning. Make an impact with a menu that features creative takes on traditional dishes, such as fruit "sushi" rolls made with sticky rice or savoury cupcakes topped with melted cheese "frosting." You can also experiment with presentation by serving no-fork-needed appetisers on edible spoons or crispy tiny cones loaded with shrimp ceviche.

Indulge Your Guests

Instead of making them pick between sea bass and steak, why not serve both? Give them both, then throw in some chicken. Serve the main meal with two or three little portions of various entrees on a single platter. Try ordering "à la carte" like the French do. Translation: During dinner, have waiters give options from huge carts that get pushed from one table to the next. Diners can customise their meals to their liking by asking inquiries about the menu and selecting their own proteins and condiments. On top of that, having wait staff come to your table is a great way to feel like a VIP.

Change Your Seating

Do you really have to stick with the standard fare of Chiavari chairs and circular tables? Do not make such assumptions. Create a memorable atmosphere and complement your meal with creative seating arrangements designed in collaboration with your caterer and event organiser. (Consider the stark contrast between eating barbeque at a five-star restaurant and at your go-to outside rib spot.) For a more rustic outdoor wedding, consider renting chairs and tables or low sofas to go with passed hors d'oeuvres, or pairing picnic tables with food stations. Family-style dining encourages visitors to help themselves to food, so consider using a combination of large and short tables to create an informal and cosy atmosphere.

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Tie In A Theme

Even if you enjoy both foie gras and cheese grits separately, you might be disappointed by the combination. Choosing a theme before deciding on a menu is a great way to make sure all of the meals complement one another and set the mood for the entire event. We're not suggesting that you decorate with sombreros and maracas, but having a unifying theme will help the dishes flow better. Choose dishes from your native culture to honour it, such as Mexican, Italian, or Japanese cuisine. You may even make it more special by serving dishes you remember from your parents' wedding or those you shared with your partner through pivotal times in your relationship. Discuss potential themes with caterers during interviews to find an expert in the cuisine you're looking for.

Remember to Include Entertainment

As with the food itself, the manner in which it is served can sometimes make or break a meal. Don't expect your guests to make it through dinner on the strength of the table chemistry you've created, no matter how skilled you are at doing so. Hire a sushi chef to make handmade rolls or a French pastry chef to make crepes at the table for a dinner that doubles as entertainment. Put out a doughnut and cupcake bar for the guests to enjoy after dinner. If you want to make sure people show up to your party, stock it with tequila and wine and hire a sommelier to give people tasting advice.

Customise Your Bar

An essential part of any delicious meal? A special drink that has become famous. We really enjoy the concept of naming signature cocktails after members of the bridal party or after significant locations to the happy couple (like your first-date spot). Put together a cocktail menu for guests to peruse at the bar or at their tables, detailing the ingredients and history of the beverages included (for instance, a cosmo becomes "The Uptown Girl" in honour of your fashionable maid of honour, who loves them). Moreover, the presentation is crucial. For a throwback touch, serve rum punch in oversized crystal punch bowls, or offer unique cocktails in hues that complement the wedding's palette.

To have surprising, novel fare at your wedding, you need not organise a non-traditional ceremony. Remember that there are countless other options for appetisers at your wedding reception besides the traditional shrimp cocktail and pigs-in-a-blanket. Whether it's the appetisers, the main course, or the dessert, there's a lot more to consider than meets the eye when planning a menu.

We have compiled some of our favourite innovative meals from actual weddings to serve as inspiration for your own wedding reception spread. Several dishes, such as miniature lobster rolls, grilled cheese nibbles, and churros, demonstrated the power of downsizing. One bride served fries in paper cones, and another served popcorn in packets, both of which were easily transportable throughout the cocktail hour. When it came to sweets, alternatives to the traditional wedding cake included ready-to-roast s'mores, ice cream sandwiches, and waffle cakes.

In the end, it's not a bad idea to rely on old reliables. They're signatures for a reason, and there are so many ways to make anticipated cuisine unusual, including serving those basics in innovative ways. Add lollipop sticks to watermelon wedges like one of these stylish brides did to make the party snack look and feel more elegant. Here's a word of caution before we send you off to investigate the following menu items for your wedding: Serve the dishes that you adore as a couple—no matter how stand out from competitors guarantee that your meal, like with the rest of your wedding day, pays attention to who you two are.

Conclusion

Your wedding's theme will determine many details, including the menu. Seasonal menu planning also affords you the chance to explore new flavour profiles and beverages. Because food stations are often more complex and engaged than a self-serve buffet, staffing them is essential. Serve lunch to your guests in a family-style setting when you don't want to bother them with individual plates. If you need to accommodate a large number of guests for dinner, a cocktail party is the way to go.

Choose foods that complement the bright colours of springtime flowers and produce to celebrate the arrival of warmer weather. Your fall wedding reception menu should comprise of items that will make your guests feel cosy and at ease. During the colder months, guests will appreciate a big hot meal and some warm beverages, so feel free to break out the gravy and serve more substantial dishes. It is important to consider the length (and start time) of the reception's main events while planning the decor and menu. Make an impression with a menu that incorporates unique spins on classic meals, such fruit "sushi" rolls made with sticky rice and savoury cupcakes topped with melted cheese "frosting."

You can make sure that all of the dishes go well together by picking a theme before you decide on a menu. Use a mix of long and short tables to create an intimate and welcoming setting, and invite guests to assist themselves to food served family-style. You don't have to plan an unconventional ceremony to serve guests food that will surprise and delight them. There were paper cones of fries and little packets of popcorn served by one of the brides. Ready-to-roast s'mores, ice cream sandwiches, and waffle cakes were some of the alternatives to the standard wedding cake.

Content Summmary

  1. The reception's food and drink will play a key role in determining how successful your wedding will be.
  2. Your wedding menu will likely be influenced by what kinds of foods are customary and in season during the time of year that you decide to tie the knot.
  3. Keeping the season in mind will ensure that the food you give your guests is both fresh and delicious.
  4. Seasonal menu planning also affords you the chance to explore new flavour profiles and beverages.
  5. Your wedding's theme will determine many details, including the menu.
  6. To wow your guests at a formal dinner, a casual buffet, or a casual cocktail party, consider preparing dishes that are in season.
  7. Buffet-style Meal with Dishes A plated meal is a tried and true option for most receptions, and is hence the prefered option for most couples.
  8. Stations That Allow Customers to Serve Themselves You can compare stations to mini-buffets for your guests.
  9. Because these stations are often more involved and engaged than a self-serve buffet, staffing them is essential.
  10. A family-style lunch is having everyone sit down together at a single table and graze on huge portions of food served in platters and bowls, just as one might at a casual dinner.
  11. Dinner in a Buffet Format A buffet features a wide selection of foods laid out on long tables.
  12. Cocktail Party Supper Choose to deviate from the norm and host a cocktail party as your wedding reception.
  13. In contrast to a sit-down dinner, there is no need to worry about setting up chairs or arranging tables for a cocktail party.
  14. Spring By hosting your wedding in the spring, you may showcase the season's trademark pastel colours, light flavours, and vibrant floral displays.
  15. In this hot weather, your guests will appreciate chilled treats and drinks.
  16. Your fall wedding reception menu should comprise of items that will make your guests feel cosy and at ease.
  17. The flavours of apples, pumpkins, root vegetables, and cinnamon are just a few ways to bring the autumn season into your wedding.
  18. Winter Save your guests from the cold with a hearty hot dinner and some warm drinks for your winter wedding, the perfect excuse to get out the gravy and serve heavier dishes than you would at a spring or summer ceremony.
  19. Avoid Putting Things Off Check out potential venues while you're looking for caterers (about 12 months before your wedding date).
  20. Prior to booking the venue, discuss a tasting with the in-house chef or potential caterers from the suggested list to determine if an outside caterer can be brought in for an additional price.
  21. Planning the reception's decor and menu around the duration of the reception's main events is a good idea (speeches, highlight dances, cake cutting).
  22. You can serve the main course by piling two or three small servings of different dishes onto a single tray.
  23. Do what the French do and order "à la carte."
  24. Customers can tailor their meals to their tastes by inquiring about menu items, choose their own proteins, and adding their own seasonings and sauces.
  25. Furthermore, a wonderful method to feel like a VIP is to have the wait staff come to your table.
  26. You should not draw such conclusions.
  27. Collaborating with your caterer and event planner to come up with a unique seating arrangement will help set the mood for your meal and make a lasting impression on your guests.
  28. Guests can help themselves to more food when served in a family-style setting, so it's a good idea to have a mix of long and short tables for guests to sit around.
  29. Selecting a theme before settling on a menu is a terrific way to ensure that all of the dishes serve to enhance one another and the overall atmosphere of the gathering.
  30. If you want to celebrate your heritage, provide food from your own country.
  31. Don't Forget the Fun Factor The way a dish is presented at the table can be just as important as the food itself.
  32. Incorporate supper and entertainment into one by hiring a sushi chef to make hand-rolled sushi or a French pastry chef to make crepes right in front of your guests.
  33. After dinner, set up a doughnut and cupcake station for your guests to snack on.
  34. Make a list of the drinks that will be served, together with their ingredients and background, and place it in a cocktail menu that visitors can review at the bar or at their tables (for instance, a cosmo becomes "The Uptown Girl" in honour of your fashionable maid of honour, who loves them).
  35. You don't have to throw a non-traditional wedding to serve guests delicious, unexpected food.
  36. Do not limit yourself to the tried-and-true shrimp cocktail and pigs-in-a-blanket for your wedding reception appetisers; there are innumerable additional possibilities.
  37. There is more to think about than meets the eye when creating a menu, whether it be for the starters, the main course, or the desserts.
  38. To help you come up with ideas for your own wedding reception menu, we've selected some of our most creative dishes from genuine weddings.
  39. Several items, including little lobster rolls, grilled cheese bites, and churros, showcased the effectiveness of reduction in size.
  40. Other dessert options outside the standard wedding cake were ready-to-roast s'mores, ice cream sandwiches, and waffle cakes.
  41. Sticking with tried-and-true methods often yields the best results.
  42. There's a good reason they're called signatures; serving these staples in novel ways is only one of many ways to make expected fare feel fresh and new.
  43. Before we send you off to research the following products for your wedding menu, we just want to make sure you know a few things. Make sure your lunch, like the rest of your wedding day, reflects who you are as a couple by serving cuisine that you both love.

FAQs About Wedding Menu

Plated Sit-Down Dinner. The most traditional reception style, a plated meal is what the majority of couples choose. This is when all the guests are seated and served a formal dinner. Typically, it consists of two courses (an appetizer and an entrée), plus dessert if it's served tableside.
Feel free to get creative and have fun with your wording, but your menu template should include the following:
  • Description of Courses (or List of Dishes Served) 
  • Main Ingredients in Each Dish. 
  • A Welcome and Thank You (Optional) 
  • Your Names and Wedding Date (Optional)
Tips on selecting your wedding reception menu
  1. Choose the serving style. 
  2. Seasonal options. 
  3. Incorporate your favourites. 
  4. Consider food allergies and dietary needs. 
  5. Aesthetically pleasing presentation.

The cocktail hour is an opportunity to further personalize the decor, drinks, food, and other elements of your wedding celebration. During the cocktail hour, you can showcase your family history, your personality as a couple, or your culture or ethnicity.

If you have a wedding that isn't as traditional as others, you might wonder if you can get away with serving canapes and finger food instead of a sit-down meal.

Of course, when it comes to proper etiquette, offering simple cocktail food is quite acceptable; nevertheless, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure your guests are as comfortable as possible.

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