When it comes to catering a wedding, there are two basic types of caterers – the challenging and the challenged. The challenging caterer wants to wow you and your guests with a wide ranging menu full of culinary twists and turns.
Their imagination is working overtime; always on the look out for new and exotic menu items. On the other hand, the challenged caterer is generally content to hold the party line, and to deliver a satisfactory (if sometimes uninspired) menu. Neither extreme is ideal.
When it comes to hiring a catering service, it’s important to know just what you’re getting into. It’s also important to have a few ideas of your own, so you can help to shape the overall menu, and give your caterer some much needed direction.
To help you do just that, I’ve gathered together a few creative catering ideas for you to consider. So when you’re planning your wedding menu, you’ll be prepared to handle either type of caterer to make for a great wedding day!
Perfect of an early morning wedding, and afternoon reception, a stylish brunch menu will be welcomed by your guests and easy for your catering staff to prepare and serve. This is a particularly good choice if you find your caterer is a little uninspired. Think omelets and crepes (all made to order), coupled with light and refreshing mimosas. Throw in a non-alcoholic mimosa (orange juice, ginger ale, and a dash of grenadine) for the kids and teetotalers.
2. Strolling Chef Stations
Strolling chef stations are a creative way to make appetizers fun. Rather than having a group of waiters and waitresses doling out hors d’oeurvres from trays, send servers and chefs throughout the room preparing, and serving, made to order appetizers for your guests. This works best if there is a bit of flair in the preparation and presentation of the appetizer. Think oysters (freshly shucked), sushi, and sashimi.
3. Tasting Menus
We have become a nation of foodies, developing a taste for more adventurous dishes. Still, going full force foodie on your wedding menu is never a good idea. You don’t want to alienate anyone’s taste buds. But presenting a multi-course tasting menu can satisfy all tastes and preferences, and wow your guests in the bargain. Work with your caterer to design a menu that consists of a wide selection of bite sized delicacies for your guests to sample and enjoy. This is a great way to liven up a reception, and to get your guests to expand their palates.
4. Mini-Drink Appetizers
This is another way to make the traditional appetizer a bit more fun. Use mini-drinks with a selection of appetizers. For example, you might serve pasta with a mini margarita. Or, for something really decadent, caviar on crackers with a shot of iced vodka.
5. Cheese Sommeliers
Cheese is the new wine, and like good wine there is a nearly inexhaustible number of varieties. Instead of a boring cheese platter, hire a cheese sommelier to host a tasting station. The sommelier will guide your guests through the different cheese profiles, and help them learn how to pair different cheeses with specific wines. It’s a great way to get your wedding guests out of their seats and mingling.
6. Think Seasonal
When planning your wedding menu, think about the season. Seasonal dishes are a great way to put a definite stamp on your wedding menu, and to save a little money in the bargain, because most of the items on the menu will be in abundance and easier to obtain. If your planning a summer wedding, think seafood and cold fruit drinks. If it’s autumn, think roasted lamb and hot cider.
7. The Signature Dish
Finally, there’s nothing like the personal touch. Create a signature dish out of an old family favorite, and give it pride of place in your wedding menu. Work with your catering chef to develop it into something special, and name it after yourselves or beloved family member. It’s a great way to highlight tradition, and to introduce your guests to an old family favorite.
When it comes to catering your wedding, you need to take charge. Certainly, you will rely on your caterers experience and expertise, but you need to stay in control. Decide what you want from your wedding menu, and then work closely with your caterer to see that it is realized on the big day. If you know what you want, you’ll never find yourself at the mercy of the ‘challenging’ or the ‘challenged’ caterer.