Planning Your Menu

Food & Drink 101

Choose a wedding menu that's true to your tastes as a couple, whether it's Southern barbecue or an Italian buffet.

Think of your dinner as a night of theater: the lights dim, your guests are seated. The curtain rises, your first course appears. The story unfolds; the wineglasses are refilled as laughter carries around the table. The audience is completely enchanted, and your guests can't wait to see what happens next.

As you plan each course, whether its smoked salmon with capers followed by a selection of grilled chicken or BBQ'd local fish with crispy roasted potatoes, always bear in mind that color, flavor, temperature, texture, and taste of each course should be well-balanced and part of a big picture. 

Sit down with your fiancée and ask each other these questions:

  1. What are your favorite restaurants? Describe why you like them. Is it the atmosphere, type of cuisine, quality of food, the way the food is served or the way the restaurant is decorated? If there is an element your favorite restaurants have in common, what is it? What is it about your favorite restaurants that you might wish to incorporate into a great wedding reception?
  2. What are your favorite foods? Are there types of foods--French, northern Italian, Indian, Japanese, Southwestern barbecue--that you love? What are your least favorite foods? Are there certain dishes from favorite restaurants that you love, such as a grilled vegetable salad, or the way a local bistro prepares duck breast? This information will help you better direct your caterer.
  3. What sort of food service do you prefer? Is a formal sit-down dinner your idea of an ideal party? Or do you prefer a buffet, where you can pick and choose? Do you enjoy dining casually or more formally?
  4. What are your favorite drinks? Do you prefer wine, beer, spirits, or soft drinks? Do you have a favorite cocktail? Does your fiancé love microbrews?
  5. Does the location of your reception suggest a theme for the food? A reception at a yacht club would suggest delicious local seafood, perhaps even a clambake. A home wedding might have an American country theme to the menu.

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