A huge chunk of your wedding budget goes to food, which is why wedding food planning should never be overlooked. If you feed your guests (and suppliers) well, you can be sure it’ll be a fun night for all!
If you’ve ever been to a wedding or any event, then you know that one of the most awaited parts of the program is when the food is finally served. You might even know one or two individuals who go straight to the reception (please don’t be that person!). It’s unnecessary for us to say it but we will anyway: food is incredibly important. We don’t just eat to live. Sometimes, we live to eat too. That’s why wedding food planning should never be left ’til the last minute!
More than picture-perfect displays, quality food is important because it’s one way to show thanks to all your guests for making the effort to be with you on your big day. Also, it’s just in our culture to take care of our guests—and feeding them well is the best way to do it! Wedding food planning allows you to do this on any budget. We asked Alu Aluzan-Aran, a Food Biz Conference producer and a foodie-at-heart, to share with us her tips for planning the food selection for your wedding.
Wedding Food Planning 101
1. Choose a reputable caterer
Ask your friends for referrals and look up reviews (Check out The Top Knotters Marketplace for some). Also try to recall weddings or events you’ve attended wherein you personally enjoyed most of the selection.
2. Decide on a theme
Try to work around a theme or cuisine like Filipino, Italian, or Spanish to help you choose dishes that complement each other. Sometimes wedding food planning can be overwhelming because there are so many choices available. Setting a limit can guide your decision-making. But in the end, it’s still up to you!
3. Think quality, not quantity
If the food tastes good, is clean and presented well, then it doesn’t matter if you only have a limited selection. For appetizers, you can have a soup and a salad, or soup with bread and cheese. For the main entrees, it’s good to provide at least one fish, chicken, and pork option each to suit the dietary needs of your guests. You can offer rice and/or pasta for your carbs selection as well. Just try to avoid food that are all brown and that can spoil easily. You may have a combination of a roast, grilled, fried, or entrees with sauce.
For dessert, you can offer a few slices of cake or pastries that can be decorated to match the theme. Or you can also choose to have seasonal desserts. A DIY Halo-halo station in the summer is always fun to have. Turn it into a S’mores station during the -ber months for a novel experience.
4. A little extra
While wedding food planning, consider if you can stretch the budget a bit more for the extras. Instead of the usual iced tea, you may opt to serve a fruit drink with a cute stirrer, or craft beer. Some brewers can even customize beer bottle labels for you. How’s that for Instagrammable? Just be mindful with the amount of sugar you’re serving your guests!
You can also serve some nibblers for when guests are just arriving at the venue. This can be a combination of chips, nuts, and candies. I personally enjoy even simple candies that come with quotes selected by the couple. Such a small detail can help keep the guests entertained while waiting for the program to start.
During the Reception
You may be done with wedding food planning, but the work doesn’t end there! Below Alu also shares some invaluable tips on what to do during the reception to ensure that the menu is executed as planned. Take note!
1. Temperature is key
Remind the catering staff to keep the hot food hot, and the cold food and/or drinks cold. Changes in temperature can cause the food quality to deteriorate and worst for it to spoil.
2. The all-important Food Dispatcher
Assign one friend or family member to be the food dispatcher. He/she will check if the food is presented well and are in clean containers, if they are in their right temperatures, and if all servers are dressed and groomed properly. It’s not a heavy nor glamorous task, but it is still incredibly important!
Wedding food planning, or planning the menu for any big event, is a crucial part of the process. It not only uses up a huge part of the budget, wedding food planning also affects every single person in the guest list. So make it count! We’re grateful for the invaluable advice Alu gave us in terms of planning the menu and making sure things go well on the big day. Happy feasting, everyone!