So many personal touches go into your wedding day, from the guest list and clothing attire to décor and cocktails. Your wedding food journey is no different. So many decisions go into feeding your guests. Let’s look at some of the bigger questions to ask yourself before embarking on your quest for the perfect reception.
Do you want traditional wedding fare with a cocktail hour with hors d’oeuvres? Dinner and cake? Or are you looking for something a little more boho or ethnic? Do you want to focus on local cuisine or cuisine from your travels? Always consider your budget. Once you nail down your vision, you can imagine your food progression from there.
Let’s explore the most traditional options that are available for you; but if you can dream it, we can make it happen!
COCKTAIL HOUR: PASSED APPETIZERS
Your wedding food journey starts right after the ceremony during cocktail hour. This is the time to really wow your guests and there are so many options. Traditionally, the time frame is about an hour, giving your guests time enjoy a cocktail or two. Signature drinks are a fun way to express who you are or where you’ve been. Maybe you love good bourbon, so Old Fashions are available. Or maybe tequila is your thing, so we create a Spicy Pineapple Margarita and pair it with mini shrimp ceviche tacos. Guests tend to be more adventurous with appetizers, so this is the time to be bold with your selections.
COCKTAIL HOUR: STATIONARY APPETIZERS
Stationary appetizers work well within this time frame too. Think easy pick-up items. Charcuterie and cheese tables are a popular trend right now. Guests love the experience and viewing the spread – and you make all your dietary restricted guests happy at one table. Vegetarian, gluten free, dairy free, etc. There is something for everyone!
After cocktail hour is dinner. Do you want plated or buffet? This is where your venue space, kitchen configuration, budget, and overall feel of your reception come into play when making a decision. What will be the setting for your wedding food journey?
BUFFET DINNER SERVICE
Buffets are the easiest and more budget friendly of the two dinner options. Our buffets always include candles, beautiful linens, cool platters, and display pieces. A buffet does not need to be boring!
Conventional dinners start with a salad, bread, vegetable, starch, and protein. Again, it doesn’t have to be boring, but you should uphold these traditions to assure your guests are satisfied. There should be ample staff to easily and quickly replenish food. We prefer a food captain to serve the meat and accompanying sauce; it keeps the line going smoothly and they can answer guest questions and keep a watchful eye on the buffet for replenishing and clean up.
PLATED DINNER SERVICE
Generally, this is the more expensive option. Plated dinners require far more service staff and kitchen crew to execute your coursed meal in a timely manner. Some things to consider: Do you want your salad pre-plated or served to guests after a welcome speech? Do you want wine service? Pairing wine with your entrée is elegant and adds a special touch. Plated dinners at weddings generally have guests seated, the wedding party grand entrance, followed by a welcome toast by the host. Salad, bread and butter, entrée, and cake are to follow. If you give your guests choices between beef, chicken, fish, or vegetarian, you will have some work to do on the front end. You will need to ask your guests what their entrée selection is at the time invitations are sent out. You will need to send this list along with a seating chart and place cards that designate what each guest chose for the evening. Your caterer will work off this sheet to prepare the proper amount of food, arrange staffing, and serve your guests promptly.
CAKE & DESSERTS
Everyone’s favorite stop on your wedding food journey… Dessert! While cake is the standard, many of our couples choose a different route. Is pie your thing? Do you prefer cupcakes? Many of our clients have family traditions, and we love to incorporate that into the cake service. Have you ever been to a big wedding where the family bakes dozens and dozens of Italian wedding cookies? Such a labor of love!
Should you choose cake, your caterer will cut each slice and either serve your guests or place it on a designated table for guests to choose from. Table designation works well when you have multiple flavors.
LATE NIGHT SNACKS
This grows in popularity every year. You don’t need to plan for every guest on this one. Generally, 50-75 percent of your guests will leave after the cake is served, so you can plan your late night treat for a smaller count. Have fun with this! Do you love pizza? How about mini pizzas served in little boxes? Did you go to Chicago and taste their wonderful Chicago Dogs? Biscuits and Gravy? Cookies and milk? Nachos? Anything goes. The guests absolutely go crazy for this last little surprise. It’s the perfect way to add a final stop on your wedding food journey.
Today’s wedding is more about showing who you are as a couple and showing love to all your friends and family that support you. Don’t be afraid to be adventurous and have fun with your food choices. The options are endless. You don’t have to have a traditional buffet or plated dinner. Stations are so much fun and offer a casual, more relaxed vibe to your reception. We love passed appetizers, followed by 2-3 food stations. Noshing stations with charcuterie, dips, crudites, cocktail sandwiches, savory tarts, etc. are a great start. Street tacos with all the accoutrements and a chef preparing them to order is always a hit. Seafood stations, pasta, stations are equally popular. And of course, BBQ! This is Kansas City after all.
So let your personalities shine and have fun creating your wedding food journey.