What You Should Really Really Know Before You Plan Your Wedding Menu!
BY The WMG Bride | 18 Jan, 2016 | 923 views | 5 min read
When it comes to planning your dream wedding reception, some details are easier to solidify than others. If you're not sure how to host the biggest, best dinner or lunch party of your life, start here. We're breaking down the important information you need to know before planning your menu with your wedding caterer. Gone are the days that ‘every-cuisine-on-the-planet’ counters dominate your reception venue. Make way for food trucks, sundae stations and DIY waffle counters! But before all that, here are a few things you should know in the process of picking the right menu.
1. Try the "Best food first" StrategyAlways keep the tasty, most awesome food at either ends. That means, your appetizers must be impeccable and your desserts. It's okay if your main course is basic or simple - but make sure the starters and desserts are the best things ever. Guests will always remember that. Plus, go creative with your food - package old foods into new ideas.
2. Ratio of Number of people to Number of buffet countersAssume one buffet counter for every 150 people. This means that if you have 300 guests, you need to ensure 2 buffet counters so that people can eat in peace without having to stand in line for ages. Keep this rule for every 150 so that your guests don't have a cramped experience
3. There are some comfort food basics every menu should haveWhile you may want to go out-of-the-way and do something super creative with your menu, do remember a large part of your guests will be older. They will still be most comfortable with the holy trio of Indian wedding food- a killer Dal Makhani , a great Gulab Jamun with Ice cream and Paneer Tikka. You may think its passe but it works every time.
4. Half the battle is won by catering to the weatherIf it's a freezing Delhi wedding, go all out on soups, kullads of chai , warm chocolate brownies and heavier meats and gravies. If your wedding is in sultry June, experiment with cold salads, chilled virgin Mojitos and fresh, light meats like fish!
5. Minimum GuaranteesGive a minimum Guarantee of about 70-80% of your guest list. Caterers tend to cook 10% over and above the given minimum guarantee so if you are inviting 500 people, an MG of 350 is enough. However if you have a close-knit wedding of 200 you might want to increase the MG as most people will turn up in an intimate wedding.
6. Look Out For Dietary Restrictions and AllergiesWhether you have Jain guests, people who eat non-veg or someone with a peanut allergy, talk with your caterer about these challenges well in advance. Make sure they label all the food items correctly to avoid any religious issues later! Also, if you have a lot of kids in your guest list, have your caterer create a kid-friendly menu for them to avoid wastage. They will also prefer less dishes in comparison to adults. To be on the safe side, avoid any common allergic food ideas.
7. One Hero StationHave one station which will be a fun and interactive station for your guests. Like they say: the one attractive idea that makes your wedding much talked about. And you know how much people talk about food when it's good. It can be a DIY cupcake station or even a food truck. Just pick that one item that is so avant-garde. We personally recco a breakfast bar or the furgur pop station. Yummers!
8. Include yourself a little in the food!It’s your wedding after all! Include your and your partner’s favourite dishes on the menu and ask the caterer to label them in that way. This way you are not only bringing an element of fun, but also eating what you like on your biggest day. But first, sit down and think - what kind of food do you guys like? What cuisine most speaks to you?
9. Take the venue into considerationHaving a barbecue or grill counter in an indoor venue isn’t really a great option. Also, if it’s windy and chilly – add a few warm & soothing soups to the menu. You can also swap your regular welcome drink to a Kashmiri kahawa tea on a wintery evening wedding!
10. Reducing the number of dishes? Increase the amount of each madeSeems like an obvious thing but sometimes people don't realise this. If the venue typically makes 10% food above your minimum guarantee, then ensure that incase your menu is limited, then they make more than 10% as each food will be split amongst a higher number of people
11. Tasting MenuMake sure each caterer you shortlist, you have a taste test of all the food items. You may assume that you know how a dish tastes, but that particular chef may choose to prepare it in a different way. It’s always better to be safe than to be sorry on the wedding day. And caterers will give you a sample tasting - it's part of your costs.
12. Choose LocalWe talked about this before, always choose local produce over exotic ingredients. Your costs will come down immensely. Mutton chops over shellfish in Goa? Nopes! Got that?
13. Quick Tips
- You must arrange for ample options to suit variety of taste buds.
- Always maintain a distance between vegetarian and non-vegetarian counters.
- Order food for at least 50 extra people; you never know who may decide to surprise you at the last minute.
- Ensure that the drinks and desserts are unlimited; people love to get second helpings in scorching summer.