If you don’t want to take the typical one-meat-and-two-sides approach to dinner, then don’t. Wedding food has transitioned from the classic plated meal to a reception filled with innovative food stations and a variety of cuisines. When considering a trendier food option, think about your taste preferences, your guests’ taste preferences — if your guests are mostly vegetarian, you should probably skip the meat-carving station — and your budget. You should also take into account the time of the reception and how hungry the guests will be.
Downsize to Minis
Guests love picking up a gourmet cheeseburger slider that they can eat in one bite. Bite-size samplers have become one of the hottest trends in wedding food, from shots of soups to large spoons of macaroni and cheese or whatever your preference may be. You can also serve a sit-down meal with downsized servings, which are bigger than an appetizer but smaller than the usual course serving — it will allow your guests to have more room for more courses.
Dress up traditional comfort foods. Mashed potatoes look downright elegant at a martini potato bar. Guests create their own potato concoctions in a martini glass and get both a side dish and a conversation piece out of it.
Giving your guests the option of visiting food stations creates a relaxed and conversational atmosphere. Guests will enjoy the variety and being able to converse with people not seated at their table. Personalize your wedding by creating a food station that says something about you and your spouse. If one of you loves grits, then feature a grits station with different toppings — anything from cheese to spicy shrimp.
Fondue isn’t new to weddings but it still feels novel. Provide bread and vegetables for dipping and if you can, offer more than one fondue. Less adventurous guests will enjoy a basic cheese offering, such as the traditional Gruyere, while other guests might prefer trying something unusual, such as a goat cheese fondue.
Marriage is often a fusion of two cultures. Embrace it and create a wedding menu to reflect it. Creating a theme such as East meets West (Asian-Mex food, anyone?) can inspire creative and delicious dishes that will impress your guests. Be sure to talk to your caterer to see what they can create and make sure they can carry out your wishes.
Many foods can be elegantly transformed into an innovative entree for wedding guests. Instead of serving the traditional filet of fresh fish, have the chef serve it as stuffed roulade medallions.
A sushi/raw bar will please the most health-conscious guests, but these can be expensive. This option is not recommended for couples who are on a tight budget.
This can run up the price tag of your wedding if you want all-organic, cage-free, wild-caught items. But there are ways to be eco-friendly and stick within a budget. Look to local, seasonal foods as inspiration for your menu, which require less gas to transport, lessening your wedding’s carbon footprint. Some farms practice green approaches to growing food, yet haven’t completed the process of becoming organic-certified. They tend to have lower prices than certified organic farms; your caterer may be familiar with these suppliers.
This science-meets-food approach to meals is fun for guests but can be expensive — for example, having a caterer who is trained in molecular gastronomy create ice cream tableside with liquid nitrogen will have your guests talking for months, but liquid nitrogen is pricey and the preparation is labor-intensive. Yet, you can have little touches of this flashy technique that won’t be as outrageously expensive. Many foods can be turned into faux caviars for the flavor of that food but the texture of caviar. Foams are also a popular technique that have recently become more mainstream.
Nix the Cake
While cutting the wedding cake may be a tradition, don’t let it box you in if you’re more of a creme brulee kind of girl. You can serve whatever type of dessert you like at your wedding, whether that’s individual cobblers, milkshakes at a milkshake station, or an array of cookies and candies at a sweets table.