Celebratory consumption is a beautiful thing. Planning the menu for your wedding reception might seem daunting (buffet or sit-down service? Passed hors d’oeuvres or appetizer table—or both? Serve food you like, such as sushi, or go for traditional fare, but figuring out your food offerings is easier once you find a caterer you trust (or a wedding planner to guide you).
Selecting the right caterer can make or break your reception, so don’t leave this one to chance. After all, the food generally takes up a large portion of your wedding budget for food, drink and venue. Narrow down your caterer choice to three, basing your decision on reputation, reviews and personal recommendations. You’ll have a preliminary meeting before a full tasting of the caterer’s offerings to go over your culinary visions for your reception. Go armed with ideas to discuss.
Here are some suggestions for making your reception something remembered for decades:
- Bring in your cultural background with traditional dishes from your country or region of origin, such as Hot Brown sandwiches from Kentucky, deviled eggs for Southerners or Italian wedding soup.
- Have your stationer create menus to correspond with your invitations and other wedding stationery, rather than letting the caterer print it on plain paper.
- Remember that people are not riding on the same just-married high that you are and they might need an extra boost to keep them going at your reception in the form of a coffee station or a candy station—or both! Go old school with vintage candies (your attendants can be in charge of shopping for these) with you and your sweetheart’s childhood favorites.
- Have a family recipe passed down for generations or a beloved dish at a particular restaurant? Ask the chef to re-create it.
- While you might be a sushi-loving contemporary eater, octogenarian Aunt Pearl may not be. Be kind to your guests by rotating a passed tray of spicy tuna rolls with skewered chicken satay.
- If you have any vegetarian friends or relatives, let your caterer know ahead of time that you’ll need specific dishes prepared for them so they’re not left to fend for themselves by loading up on asparagus and potatoes au gratin.
- Allowing children at your wedding? Consider giving them a separate kid’s table loaded with coloring books, crayons and puzzles. And don’t forget their food, too! Lobster and Wagyu beef might not be their style, but mac ‘n’ cheese and chicken fingers will be.
Find a gay-friendly caterer in your area in Equally Wed magazine’s Preferred Vendors + Venues, a veritable, vetted marketplace of equality-minded wedding vendors across the United States.