Planning what to serve for your wedding reception meal may feel like one of the most stressful items on your to-do
list, simply because there are so many important details to cover. Formal or
causal setting, the size of your budget, and finalizing the guest list are
typically the key wedding
planning considerations when it comes to your wedding
reception meal. But, there are a few other details that require your attention
Appropriate Time to Serve Your Reception Meal
The budget is set; the guest list has been confirmed. The
next item on your list is to determine the time of day to have your wedding
reception. Time of day is a critical factor in serving your meal, since you’ll
want to choose dishes that are tasty, as well as appropriate for your wedding
Early morning wedding reception meals offer a variety of
breakfast and brunch dishes. Traditional morning cuisine can include items such
as pastries, assorted fruits and cheeses, and even made-to-order treats like
omelets and waffles. Morning receptions can be adjusted to complement a formal
or casual dining setting.
Just as a morning reception meal can serve a wide variety of
dishes, afternoon reception meals provide that same flexibility with meal
options. Wedding guests can enjoy formal, seated meals with a number of
courses, or casual lunch dishes with smaller plates and hors d’oeuvres.
Traditionally, evening wedding receptions are reserved for
more formal settings—replete with place cards, multiple courses and alcoholic
beverages. Depending on your serving style, dinner receptions can also be the
most expensive, as couples normally pay per guest and any standard fees
associated with bar service.
After you’ve selected the time of day, the next step is to
meet with your caterer to discuss a serving style and menu for the wedding
reception meal. Remember, your serving style should reflect the atmosphere of
your wedding reception site and fit within the theme of your wedding.
Your guests will enjoy the creative presentation, ease of
self-service and the assortment of delicious dishes that buffets and food
stations provide. They are also a great way to add elements from your
personality into the meal. For instance, if you’re a couple that loves sweets,
have ice cream bars for guests to make sundaes with their favorite toppings.
Even as buffets and food stations are a fun, less formal option to the wedding reception
meal, caterers will require a head count from your guest list to gauge an
accurate amount of food to prepare. Unfortunately, they will sometimes
overestimate—leaving you a tab reflecting items left unconsumed.
For a more formal wedding reception, table service with a
full wait staff is the way to go. Traditional table service includes a cocktail
reception with passed hor d'oeuvres followed by a first course, a main course,
dessert and wedding cake. While table service is quite elegant, guests are
usually only given the option of poultry or beef as an entree (with
pre-selected side dishes). This option is great for a uniform execution, but
cold be problematic for finicky eaters.
to Traditional Wedding Reception Meals
Not all couples have the luxury of an unlimited wedding
budget. To get the reception of your dreams with a more realistic price tag,
try these festive and economical alternatives:
Wedding Reception Wine and spirits are a staple at
wedding receptions. They can also be one of the most expensive items in your
catering service. That's why some couples are opting for cocktail wedding
receptions in lieu of formal, seated reception meals. The setting is great for
interacting with guests, and works for both afternoon and evening wedding receptions.
Reception: Another economical choice for couples
is the tea reception. Guests can nibble on lighter fare such as finger foods
and sweets, but still have room for the traditional wedding cake cutting finale.
Wedding tea receptions can also be customized for a formal or casual setting.
Your wedding reception meal should be
the ultimate experience for you and your guests. To make a lasting impression,
always serve the ones you love with foods you enjoy, in a setting that reflects
your individual style.