CHOOSING YOUR WEDDING MENU
CHOOSING YOUR WEDDING MENU
One of the most important tasks when planning a wedding will definitely be choosing the wedding menu. We are on a mission today to help our couples with the most important tips to ensure that the menu they choose will be a real crowd-pleaser!
Start with your budget
Between your wishes and how much you want to spend on the reception lies your perfect wedding menu. This is why it is important to be realistic and upfront when negotiating with the catering team about choosing your wedding menu. If you stay realistic and put a pin on how much you want to splurge on this very important part of your special day, you will be able to stretch your offer. Keep in mind that this will not be cheap, so be sure to get the best for your money. After all, food and beverage offer is what takes about 40-50% of most weddings budgets. Don’t let this discourage you in any way, because at the end of the day we believe your choice is the best choice so really, you cannot go wrong.
Deciding on the caterer
It is one of the first and most important steps in planning your wedding reception, and there are two options we consider – internal and external. But how do you decide? This depends on your wishes, the location of the reception and of course the offer. If you’re choosing to celebrate your wedding at a hotel or a restaurant, our suggestion is to stick with the venue’s kitchen and restaurant staff as they will know best what to offer in their own venue. Keep in mind that most hotels and restaurants will not allow outside catering. Should you decide on having your wedding reception at a location that does not specialize in food and beverage catering, you would need to go with an external catering company. In any case, these are professionals who will do everything in their power to assist with choosing your wedding menu.
Pick foods you like
When choosing your wedding menu, it is crucial to take two major factors into consideration – what is it you would like to see on the table and what your guests’ expectations will be. Although a lot of couples focus on what their guests will like and dislike, we believe it is important to think about what you prefer. This is your special day and you need to enjoy it on all fronts. Catering to everyone’s needs is next to impossible and this is why you need to find that sweet spot between your own and your guests’ preferences. However, if you find this to be too stressful, you can always consult the catering team and they will surely be able to suggest some crowd-pleasing options. In any case, be sure to define the number of courses and portion size as this will determine the menu price.
Pro-tip: Your selected venue will most probably have a “wedding menu Bible” with many options to choose from, although some venues choose to do only bespoke wedding menus for a more personalized experience.
Local is the new cool
One of many things Croatia is famous for is the distinguished gastronomy that involves authentic dishes, award winning olive oil and unparalleled wines. Depending on the region, the cuisines may vary from one another but are not less special in any way. Croatia has some incredible traditional dishes that will leave you and your guests speechless. Start with the food items that make most sense for the time of year (seasonal) and try to combine your wishes with local fresh produce that the catering team will recommend. This has been a proven recipe for success time and time again. Your guests will love your idea of implementing domestic foods with the surroundings, they will try something new and have stories to tell.
Next part of planning your wedding reception is crucial – considering service style, deciding on the number of courses and serving portions. This is something you will be able to define with the service team when visiting the venue. Go to the venue with your wedding planner, the more involved you are together, the better. This way, there will be very little space for unnecessary mistakes. When there, go through the menu and ask to see the chef as well as the restaurant manager. You can clear all doubts and get answers to all your questions on one spot.
When it comes to service style, there are numerous ones you can decide on. From gorgeous buffet-style options with plenty of delicious hot and cold dishes to a more formal sit-down white glove silver service meal. When deciding on the style, you will need to consider the budget which will ultimately help you navigate through the possibilities.
Book the menu tasting
You have narrowed down your choices to a couple of menus. It’s time for one of the best bits of planning your reception – organizing a menu tasting with your better half at the chosen location. This is where it gets interesting. You are finally at that point where it’s time to sit back and relax. Don’t bring your friends or the entire family to the tasting, it’s just the two of you. Ask for a paper for the both of you and scribble down notes about the food you have tried. Be realistic, honest and ask questions. Most important of all, enjoy the moment and have a good time. After the tasting, leave the notes to the manager and contact your wedding planner.
Dietary requirements and special orders
You might have guests that are vegetarian, vegan or there will be someone who has food intolerances/allergies. And don’t forget the kids, they will have a “Children’s Menu”, separate to the existing one. At this point, it is very important that you trust your chef and the team that looks after the reception. Be sure to advise them through your wedding planner about all necessary requirements and let the professionals look after it. The chef in charge will suggest the best options that will work for both yourself and the venue.
Remember – planning special requirements and separate menus ahead of time will cater to all your guests’ needs and ultimately put you at ease.
Drinks for everyone
For a good party, you need to have some fine drinks. Choose from a variety of local wines to accompany your delicious lunch or dinner. Most venues also have bars where you can negotiate options for the guests who don’t prefer to drink wine. Don’t forget the water. High end venues in Croatia will not serve tap water on receptions. We recommend you go with both still and sparkling as choices.
What about other drinks, should you rule out all uncertainties and how should you plan for it? There will be options put in front of you like “Open Bar”. It sounds scary at first, however, don’t dismiss it quickly as it can act as a welcome drink for any time between 30 minutes to 2 hours or even the entire reception. We strongly recommend for you to consider it when planning your drinks.
Pro-tip: Put a limit on the bar such as “no top shelf items” or just agree on an amount at which point the bar will close your tab. Trust us – You don’t want any unpleasant surprises with your check the next day.
Let them eat cake
We like to consider the cake as a separate course. Sometimes you can skip the dessert completely and go with the cake alone right after the main course. But what cake do you choose, how is the cake served on the day, and when do they bring it out?
The choosing part is entirely up to the individual, simply pick your favorite from the many flavors on offer. When it comes to actually serving the cake, a popular trend is to have a “fake cake”, where only the top tier of the cake is real and which the newlyweds cut. After the cutting ceremony, the fake cake is brought back and the guests are served the so called “sheet cake” which is plated and decorated by staff in the back of house. We recommend you leave this part to the expert that is your experienced wedding planner.
Another great trend we are seeing lately is the sweet table/sweet corner – a selection of pretty desserts you have agreed on with the venue prior to the event. The arrangement serves instead of the usual dessert, and is usually such an attractive display that steals all the attention. But don’t worry, it will not steal the spotlight from the newlyweds!
Additional drinks and snacks
You have to think about these – is there a gap between the ceremony and reception? Are there going to be speeches? How casual or formal is your wedding reception?
An easy but very classy way to fill these gaps are planned drinks and snacks. Your reception will look fancier and your guests will feel absolutely spoiled. First of all, the worthiest mention is a welcome drink and we strongly recommend these to everyone. This drink can be anything you like, from champagne and wine, to local aperitifs and cocktails.
What goes better with a welcome drink than some finger food! Canapés are a fantastic addition which can bring a nice little French touch as well as added value to the whole experience. You can also consider some finger food or bites after midnight as a late snack – always a good idea!
Of course, all of this leads us back to budget planning and that is exactly why you will need to consider these from the get go.
We hope that these tips and tricks will help you with planning your own wedding reception and choosing your wedding menu. Try to be realistic, stick to your ideas, and don’t forget to have fun during the process!
For more tips about planning your wedding click here!