As part of our Wedding Catering 101 series, let's discuss menu ideas and current trends. The prevailing trends these days are (a) to save money and (b) eat healthy, while also being eco-friendly. Naturally, you 'll need to combine these with any personal preferrences, cultural requirements etc.
With rising wedding costs, couples are looking for a way to have a beautiful wedding and still come in under budget. Catering costs are often enormous - sometimes well over $50 per guest. You can keep prices down by working with your caterer to find the most economical menu.
Normally a buffet will cost you less than a sit down dinner. Choose chicken over steak dishes, and skip the seafood entirely. If you are serving wedding cake, you don't need to offer other desserts. Some brides think they need to serve several appetizers or hors d'oeuvres. Reality is that if you present soup or salad to your guests, along with bread, you don't need to serve additional appetizers.
Heavy entrees, fried foods and rich desserts are out. Instead couples are opting for lighter fare. For example, instead of heavy pasta with cheese or meat sauce, select angel hair pasta with vegetables in light olive oil and garlic. As an alternative to fried appetizers, fresh fruit or raw vegetables are top options. Vegetarian dishes and sushi are also definitely in.
At the dessert table, skip the cheesecake and crème brûlée. Instead offer melon, fruit tortes and mousse. Don't forget sugar-free options for guests that are diabetic or avoiding sugar.
With the emphasis on being eco-friendly, you should try to incorporate locally grown organic foods, wine and coffee when planning your reception menu. Also look for seafood options that are not endangered or depleted.
Avoid plastic and paper at your wedding reception. Use cloth napkins, glass water bottles and be sure to ask your caterer if they recycle.
Another wedding trend is to serve international or ethnic foods. As I previously mentioned, sushi is becoming more and more popular. Additionally, taco stations (along with margaritas to drink) are very trendy. And Chinese food, particularly lo mein, is a fantastic choice your guests will love.
Anything interactive is gaining popularity. A make-your-own ice cream sundae bar for dessert or a chocolate dipping fountain are terrific ideas. Omelet and crepe stations are also very trendy - even for dinner. Everything from a baked potato bar to a pasta station where the guests are involved with the food is hip
Things that are out in terms of wedding food, including anything "typical." Prime rib, shrimp cocktail, grilled chicken are boring choices that shouldn't be used unless they are presented in a unique manner.