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Front Page » August 2, 2012 » Focus » Bridal Focus
Published 1,159 days ago

Bridal Focus

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By Richard Shaw
Sun Advocate Publisher


What you serve at your wedding is memorable

Many wedding experts say that a what a bride and groom remember at their wedding is very different from what the people attending the wedding and reception remember.

That makes sense. But it has also been said that what those attending remember falls into two categories. How much fun they had, and what they had to eat.

And the two are seldom exclusive from each other. Fun, food and drink all add to the ambiance and the experience a wedding provides.

That poses a big problem for the newlyweds, and particularly for those that are footing the bill. How much to budget, how much to spend and finally, what can we get for our money.

There are any number of things a couple can do to minimize their costs for food and drink. Of course keeping the wedding and reception small is one way. This is, after all a bride's and groom's wedding. But if families are contributing big time to the financial end, this may be harder to do. Family members can extend a long way and let's not forget about work associates, neighbors, club or organization affiliates, etc.

Therefore, instead of worrying about choosing Jordan almonds over chocolate truffles, or whether the cake should have an extra tier, couples may want to pay more attention to selecting their reception menus.

Although certain foods are wedding staples, it could pay for couples to think with their stomachs instead of their heads when selecting wedding day fare. Having a selection of foods that taste as good as they look is a wise idea over having certain foods simply because they are trendy.

Whether you are cooking yourself, having a family member serve as chef or relying on the menu of the reception hall, think about foods that will please guests and select those items, regardless of them being fancy.

First you want foods to be filling but not so much so that guests have to waddle to the dance floor. If you're planning on several courses, keep portion sizes small to offer a taste of the different items offered.

Secondly classic foods can work well as wedding fare. Roasts, barbecued meats and favorite pasta dishes can make guests feel like they're dining at someone's home and not at a wedding.

Always choose items people have heard of. Instead of tornadoes of beef, select a hearty prime rib. Just because a dish sounds fancy doesn't make it taste better. If a guest doesn't know what he or she is eating, it can be uncomfortable. Now is not the time to experiment with exotic foods, either. Otherwise, some picky eaters may be left hungry.

Think about the foods you love and see if they can be incorporated at the wedding. Although a breakfast bar at an evening event may seem funny, waffles and omelets may appeal to a greater number of guests than a gourmet fish creation. It can also cost a lot less as well. If you have hundreds of guests, this could be a big factor in making the budget.

Don't make vegetarians an afterthought. Too often, vegetarians must eat whatever the kitchen can pull together, which is usually a compilation of the vegetable garnishes from the meat dishes. Make an effort to have a true vegetarian dish that is intricate and delicious.

Mashed potatoes are a crowd pleaser. Serve little portions of mashed potatoes in cocktail glasses and enable guests to top as they see fit with bacon bits, cheese or chives.

Remember too that no idea is silly, and serving any type of food in a hors d'oeuvre style can make it acceptable at a formal affair, whether that food is pizza or caviar-topped crackers.

If you are going to use a caterer (rather than a do-it-yourself kind of party) just because it isn't on the menu they provide you to pick from doesn't mean it cannot be prepared. Talk to the catering manager and let him or her know your preferences. Provided you're willing to pay a little more, there's a good chance you can have items that aren't on the standard catering menu.

It's not always about dinner

Many couples find that serving dinner doesn't fit their wedding or their pocket books, yet they want to give their guests a good experience.

One concerns the drinks served. These same ideas also apply to those who serve a full meal.

Always think outside the box for your cocktail hour "bars." A bread bar, a dipping station, milk and cookies service, or vegetable bar are options that go against the standard cheese and pasta stations. Even a non-alcholic bar with these additions and others can be adequate for refreshments and food.

If you have a bar with alcohol the bill can go up very quickly. One way to control the cost is to provide only beer and wine, and keep liquor (which can be very expensive) out of the mix. This still gives anyone who wants to drink alcohol two good choices without breaking the bank.

Also you can put some time limits on how long the bar, at least for serving alcohol, will be open. Before dinner only, after dinner only, or during certain parts of the wedding. This can also keep you from having people who over indulge and can cause problems at a wedding as well.

Let them eat cake

At some weddings all that is served is cake. At some that cake is the wedding cake; at others it is a sheet cake and the wedding cake is either kept for special family members or for the bride and groom themselves.

Some couples actually have a small cake for a wedding cake and then spend the money on the attendees' refreshments.

It doesn't matter whether the wedding has a full sit down dinnner or only serves a much more limited fare, the cake is an important part of the wedding experience.

The question always looms: What flavor should it be? Should it be what the bride and groom like, or should it be a kind of cake that almost everyone likes to eat.

There are dozens of lists on the internet about the favorite kinds of flavors of wedding cakes. Looking through those lists proves that in different parts of the country, different flavors are preferred.

Just remember that a budget for a cake can quickly get out of shape when a couple wants and exotic flavor or when the size gets bigger and bigger.

If one compiles the lists of what wedding experts say are the most popular flavors the top three are Chocolate devils food cake with vanilla buttercream icing, that same cake but including raspberries and a yellow butter cake with chocolate buttercream icing.

It that is surprising to you (as it is to many people who think white type cakes are more the norm) it should be. Since there are literally hundreds of flavors to choose from any one area may have bakers that concentrate on one or two flavors of cake that they may do the best.

Of course things like carrot cake, banana cake, red velvet cake and others are also popular.

As for sheet cakes, more than often the sheet cakes served are of either white or yellow makeup, usually with some kind of buttercream frosting.

The wedding cake itself also needs shape. Of course there are always the traditional round layers supported by columns, but today there are a lot of variations for wedding cake design. Besides round cakes can come in square, rectangular, hexagonal, triangular or even mixed shapes on the same layout.

Design, layout and flavor all cost different amounts. Frosting and decorating can be expensive. Wedding cakes themselves can cost from $100 to thousands, depending on the theme that is used, and the difficulty of making it.

Please you, please the guests

Although it's your wedding, ultimately the goal is to please the guests. By choosing foods they will love and rave about, you're guaranteed positive remarks on your wedding and on the memories it holds for people.

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