How to choose your Wedding Menu
The meal is often the centrepiece of your wedding day, encouraging people to gather and mingle after the ceremony and providing a nice introduction to the wedding speeches and band. Getting your wedding menu right can make your big day a memorable event and it really doesn’t have to be a complicated process. Here are our top tips…
Wedding Menu Tip #1: Choosing the type of meal
When it comes to a wedding reception, feeding your guests is probably the most costly aspect and one that can really make or break the celebrations. A really tasty wedding meal can leave guests raving about your nuptials for years to come, while a poor dining experience can put a dampener on things.
There are a few different options when it comes to feeding people at an Irish wedding – two classic options and one newly emerging one. Here are the pros and cons for each to help you make your choice.
Sit-down dinner: A plated dinner is the most formal option, where guests are traditionally served three courses by wait staff and often have a choice for their starter and main course.
Buffet: Food stations are set up in one area of the room where guests can serve certain dishes themselves and a couple of wait staff can serve up more awkward food options. Nice in an indoor venue and an excellent option for an outdoor wedding or one being held in an unusual setting, like holiday cottages.
Cocktail reception: With many couples shunning the traditional, formal wedding, cocktail receptions have begun to enjoy some popularity. It’s great if you just want a casual but classy get-together for your wedding guests after the services with everyone enjoying drinks, finger food and chats.
Wedding Menu Tip #2: The right cook
Whether you decide to use the venue’s own kitchen or a caterer, make sure whoever is heading operations have a great reputation as a chef. Look up reviews and check references to see what kind of standard they hold themselves to.
Wedding Menu Tip #3: Consider the season
First of all, using seasonal produce should be a lot cheaper than using fruit and veg that are out of season. Nature tends to get things right, so seasonal produce will also often suit the weather you’ll be experiencing on your wedding day. Roasted root vegetables are much nicer during the winter than they would be on a hot July day.
Wedding Menu Tip #4: Consider other palettes
We know it’s your wedding, but do you really want to be the seafood-loving groom who made all over your guests eat nothing but fish courses? While you want the menu to represent your tastes, keep in mind that many of your guests may not share your preferences.
Wedding Menu Tip #5: Compromise
If you have your heart set on an adventurous menu, consider having two options per course, with one daring dish and another people pleaser. That way foodies will enjoy trying something special and others can play it safe.
Wedding Menu Tip #6: Don’t forget veg heads
Make sure there’s a vegetarian option for each course and don’t let the chef or caterer charge you extra for this. This should be complimentary and a service all caterers offer automatically.
Wedding Menu Tip #7: Provide dietary requirements
As well as ensuring there are vegetarian options, you should also ask guests to let you know if there are any food allergies or intolerances to take into account (although do try to weed out the picky erasers). Let the chef know about these in advance so they can get gluten-free, dairy-free, etc options in before the day. The worst thing you can do to a chef is ask him 30 minutes before dinner is served to cater for coeliac.
Wedding Menu Tip #8: Always do a taste test
Chefs and caterers shouldn’t have any issue with organising a tasting beforehand. It’s the best way to help a couple decide which food options to go with and feel confident in their choice.
Wedding Menu Tip #9: Vary the temperatures
Make your menu interesting by adding some variation not just to taste and textures, but also to temperatures. Consider following soup with a cold starter and then moving on to a hot main course. It makes your menu more interesting.
Wedding Menu Tip #10: Keep presentation simple
Dublin has suffered through an annoying hipster trend of serving food in ridiculous objects, which often make what should be a really nice meal very difficult to eat. Don’t make presentation too complicated or obnoxious – let your guests enjoy their food.