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It’s important to match both your budget and tastes with the needs of your guests. If you invited vegetarians to your wedding, you must have vegetarian options available. It’s also important to consider food allergies.
It’s impossible to please everyone, especially when you have a large number of guests attending the reception, but you should make a polite effort to provide options that please the majority.
The Standard Wedding Menu
When discussing a wedding menu, champagne toasts, appetizers, salads, intermezzos, entrees, and coffee/tea are courses the caterer offers. Every caterer, whether you’re using the hotel or a private firm, offers a limited menu for tighter budgets and expansive menus featuring multiple courses.
A champagne toast comes prior to the appetizers or salad. Every guest receives a glass of champagne or sparkling wine to toast the newlyweds as they arrive at their table. It’s a nice way to get guests ready to settle at their table before the meal.
Appetizers and salads arrive before the main meal. Some standard menus allow you to choose both an appetizer and a salad, but some limit you to one or the other.
An intermezzo is a light course that’s served between a first course and then the main entree. It cleanses the palette between appetizers or a salad and then the heartier entree.
The entree is the main meal. It includes a starch, typically a potato dish or rice pilaf, the protein (chicken, seafood, or beef), and a vegetable. For vegetarian guests a pasta dish or quiche is a common option. Some caterers add rolls with butter to the entree too.
When the plates are cleared following the main entree, the wedding cake is served with tea or coffee. For a fancier wedding menu, a chef-prepared dessert precedes the wedding cake.
Popular Dishes Found on Wedding Menus
When you visit the caterer, they’ll discuss your per plate price restriction. If they cannot create a menu given your budget, they will be upfront. You sample the foods and select the items you want served at your wedding reception. Every caterer or restaurant has his or her own take on classic dishes, but the following list covers standard options.
Starting with appetizers, the items you’ll find on most catering menus are a variety of bisques or soups, crab cakes, cheese plates, and fresh melon with prosciutto. When it comes to salads, it’s usually limited to a Caesar salad, mesclun salad, and green salad.
The intermezzo does not have to be sorbet, though it often is. Be sure to ask because some caterers and hotels also offer watermelon drizzled with balsamic vinegar or cucumber-melon shooters as intermezzos.
Entrees bring the longer list of choices. You usually have beef, chicken, and seafood dishes on the menu. For beef options, expect to find filet mignon and roast beef. Poultry dishes generally cover stuffed boneless chicken breast. For seafood, options usually include a pan seared salmon and stuffed sole. Vegetarian options are growing in popularity. Most caterers have pasta dishes like cheese-stuffed ravioli or spinach quiche available.
Finally, the dessert is a classic course that can include just your wedding cake along with tea and coffee, or a special dessert that complements your cake. Common items served for dessert include tarts and pastries, Baked Alaska, and a chocolate fountain with a variety of fruits.
Consider a Wedding Buffet
If you are uncertain of your guests’ preferences, consider a traditional wedding buffet. Buffets usually include a cheese and fruit section, pasta dish, meat dish, poultry dish salad, vegetable, starch, and rolls with butter. Guests go to the buffet and choose what they want to eat. It’s an affordable, easy way to ensure that everyone is happy with their meal.