What Not to Serve at Your Wedding

IMG_2454Deciding what you’d like the catering team to serve at your wedding reception is a big step—but of course, it’s just as important to think about what not to serve.

It’s your day and it’s your menu, and you should absolutely pick whatever foods you like and think will make a special occasion—but as you do so, make sure you think about your guests and what will make them happy, too!

We’ll show you what we mean. A few things we really recommend not serving at your wedding:

  1. All one thing. It’s important to have some variety at your wedding; you may really love meat and want to ensure there are some quality beef or pork options, and that’s great. Don’t serve just meat, though; salad bars or vegetarian selections will add variety and make sure everyone can eat something.
  2. All “foodie” items. Creative culinary confections can make a wedding truly festive, but remind yourself that not everyone is a foodie. Plus, there may be kids at your wedding, and caviar may not be their cup of tea. Make sure you think about the needs of those who aren’t as adventurous, and ensure at least two good options for children and non-foodies.
  3. Foods that require a lot of tableside service. You want your food to be memorable, but not necessarily to steal the spotlight from you, your first dance, the speeches being made, and so on. Dishes that are assembled tableside can be cool, but they may be a little too extravagant for a wedding.
  4. Raw foods. Raw foods are always a little risky, and you don’t want people getting sick at your wedding. Play it safe on this one.
  5. Seven-course dinners. Again, don’t make the reception all about the food. A massive, lengthy meal is going to require people to be seated and eating rather than milling around, dancing, and socializing.
  6. All “minis.” There’s a big movement toward “mini” burgers, mini sandwiches, mini quiches, and so on. That’s not a bad thing, but all minis will leave guests feeling hungry or dissatisfied.

 

Pick a menu that will make you happy—but also think about how that menu will impact the mood of your guests and the flow of your reception.

Serving Alcohol at Your Wedding (Without Breaking the Bank)

Charlotte-Wedding-Photographers_0122In an ideal world, you might want to have an open bar at your wedding, serving everyone top-shelf alcohol all through the reception and ensuring everyone has a great, spirited time. In the real world, though, open bars can get awfully pricy awfully quick, especially if your reception is on the large side.

So where’s the line? How do you balance your desire to show everyone a good time with your desire to stick to a budget?

Nixing the Cash Bar Approach

Some couples entertain the idea of having a cash bar. Let us advise against this. Simply put, it’s a little tacky. When you’re inviting people to be guests at your big day, you shouldn’t expect them to shell out any money in the process. They’ll have to pay for their travel, possible accommodations, and a wedding gift. Don’t make them pay for their drinks, too.

Instead, consider these options for cutting booze expenses:

  • Cut off bar service during the dinner hour, or an hour before the reception is over—limiting the times people can get drinks.
  • Stick to a few basic wine and beer selections instead of springing for premium liquors.
  • Use sparkling cider for your toasts, instead of champagne.
  • If you can arrange it with your caterer, buy all the alcohol yourself, stockpiling on stuff that’s on sale, instead of paying the fees your caterer might charge.

Kegs and Other Concerns

Some couples inquire about kegs, which can prove much more cost-effective than buying individual bottles of beer. Kegs can save money alright, and for outdoor and informal receptions—say, barbecues—they work well. For anything more formal than that, though, they’re something of a faux pas.

If you and your soon-to-be-spouse are non-drinkers, of course, you might wonder about just skipping booze altogether. If you know you have close friends and family who like to drink, it’s really best to offer them something, even if it’s a limited wine and beer selection—but of course, nobody said you have to serve alcohol, and if it’s something you really feel strongly about then by all means, pass.

At the end of the day, it’s your day. Have fun however you want to—but be mindful of your budget, in the process!

Should You Have a Sit-down Meal at Your Wedding Reception?

69381_124479814273679_121080851280242_126997_1641265_nYour wedding guests are going to expect something in the way of food. There’s just no getting around it. What and how you serve them, though, is entirely up to you—not just the menu itself but the very nature of the meal. In particular, brides and grooms have to make a choice about having a sit-down meal served for their guests, or simply having a buffet of finger foods and the like.

But which option is best? You probably know our answer already: It just depends on your personal preference. What one couple likes, the next couple might not—and that’s fine!

There are, however, some pros and cons to consider if a sit-down meal is on your agenda.

First, consider some of the benefits of serving a sit-down meal:

  • For one thing, everyone at a given table will receive food at the same time, which can make the meal more conducive to conversation and real fellowship.
  • Because meals will be pre-selected in advance, your caterer will know exactly how much food to purchase, which can actually lower your catering costs somewhat.
  • A sit-down meal also allows you to space out events—dances, toasts, and the like—between courses, which ensures that the whole evening has an energy and a momentum to it.

Then again… some cons:

  • While you’ll likely save on food costs, you’ll pay a bit more for servers, as there will be a need not only for waiters but also for people to plate food in the kitchen. So it’s really sort of a toss-up.
  • For your guests, a buffet is going to offer more liberty. With sit-down meals, your guests will be served things that some of them might not like as much, which means they may not eat everything on their plate.

But again, this is really a matter of taste and style. Buffets are informal. Sit-down meals are a little more elegant. What you want for your wedding is totally your call; just make sure you think it through from all angles, and call our catering team if you have any further questions!