The time has come to create your wedding menu! Now, this is going to be one of the most memorable meals of your life, so you definitely want to get it right. The whole process can be pretty overwhelming, so we’ve made a list of tips and tricks that’ll help you put together a meal that’ll wow your guests and fuel them for all the revelry you have planned.
Here’s how to choose your wedding menu.
Figure out just how much you can spend
The first thing you have to consider when making your wedding menu is your budget. Yes, I know, talking about money is never fun, but you can rack up quite an impressive bill if you’re not paying attention. Start by telling your caterer exactly how much you’re willing to spend on wedding canapes, mains and desserts, then move on to making your selections. If you need help keeping track of all your wedding expenses, you can always use our handy dandy budget calculator.
Know how many people you’ll be serving
Next, you’ll want to hash out how many people you’ll be serving on your big day. This is pretty easy - all you have to do is look at your guest list! Trying to be penny wise? Spend less per plate. Want to splurge for an extravagant meal? Go for more gourmet dishes. If you’re still waiting for people to RSVP, make the assumption that they’re coming (the last thing you want is for someone to go hungry).
Select a serving style
When it comes to catering styles, you’ve got options. There’s the traditional plated dinner, buffets, food stations, sharing platters and cocktail bites to choose from. Plated meals tend to be the most expensive option while cocktail eats typically land on the other end of the price spectrum. Of course, you can usually make each style fit your budget, but you may have to ditch some of the fancier eats your caterer has dreamed up if you’re trying to scrimp and save.
Think about your theme
By this point, you’ve probably come up with a general theme that sums up your wedding (this could be anything from “rustic countryside affair” to “elegant ballroom soiree”). Well, you don’t want to throw that out the window when working on wedding menu ideas. In fact, we suggest using it to inspire the food you serve on your big day. For example, if you’re going the rustic route, why not ask your caterer to whip up a tasty roast dinner for all your loved ones?
Talk to your caterer
Your caterer is your BFF in this situation, so don’t freeze them out. You’ll want to let them know everything from your wedding funds to your colour scheme to the bite-sized sausage rolls you’ve been dreaming of for your reception buffet. They’ll be able to tell you what works with your budget and offer some tasty suggestions from wedding menus they’ve made in the past.
Focus on seasonal, locally sourced foods
Now, this’ll be tough if you want to stack your wedding menu with sushi, sashimi and maki, but it’s totally possible if you’re opting for dishes like roast potatoes and beef wellington. Seasonal, locally sourced ingredients will be the freshest and most budget-friendly, so you’ll be doing your guests palates and your bank account a favour.
Be mindful of dietary restrictions
You’ll want to make sure everyone can actually eat the meal you’re serving up, so ask your guests about any dietary restrictions before setting your wedding menu in stone. If you don’t want to ask your friends and family one by one (that’s pretty tedious, especially if you have a lengthy guest list), you can always leave space for them to indicate their allergies or restrictions on the response card of your wedding invitations or on your wedding website.
You want all of your guests to leave your wedding with a full stomach, so don’t forget to order a few extra plates. You don’t have to make sure everyone can go back for seconds, but having a stash of backup canapes could really come in handy. Plus, if you’ve hired a photographer, videographer or other supplier to stick around from dawn ‘til dusk, they may need a bite to eat, too.