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Front Page » June 22, 2006 » Bridal Focus » Review food options for weddings
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Review food options for weddings


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The culmination of most weddings is the reception. At this party, guests typically dance, mingle and eat. Depending upon the scale of the wedding reception, the food service can be a spectacle in itself, beginning with an elaborate cocktail hour and ending with a decadent display of desserts.

When planning a wedding, the brides preferences and budget will dictate the type of food service and beverages that are offered. However, part of deciding on what to select involves understanding the types of courses and foods involved.

To make things easier, here is a brief rundown of food service typical for wedding receptions so brides can make an informed decision.

Common services

•Open bar service. Most couples choose to have an open bar at their wedding reception. This typically runs the duration of the reception or terminates an hour prior to the end of the evening. A premium bar service will include top-shelf liquors, frozen drinks, and cream-based drinks, in addition to nonalcoholic soft drinks. Couples can also choose to scale down bar service to only include wine, beer and soda.

•Cocktail Hour. During the cocktail hour, guests are treated to a display that appeals to all of the senses. This is where the reception hall really gets to shine in its food presentation. The cocktail hour may have a variety of food service options. They are typically offered buffet-style, or guests can visit stations to self-serve or be served by staff. Cold deli platters, breads, butler-passed hors d'oeuvres (appetizers carried on trays by staff members) as well as hot chafing dishes filled with pastas or other delights may also be available.

The cocktail hour may take place in a room separate from the main reception area or in the room itself. It will usually last an hour.

The bride and groom, as well as the wedding party, may be absent from the cocktail hour - enjoying their own snacks in a private bridal room. This helps create an aura of mystery and will allow them to make a grand entrance at the end of the cocktail hour.

•Main Dinner Service. - With buffet-style, chafing dishes will be presented where guests choose from among menu items offered. A sit-down dinner service will allow guests to pick among two or three main courses offered - typically a fish, poultry or beef dish. Salad, soup or some small appetizer, like sliced fresh fruit, may also be served. A palate refresher - a lemon sorbet, or something similar - might also be served. This is used to break up the courses and cleanse the tongue of rich flavors so that the next food item will be presented in full flavor.

•Cake Service - After the cake-cutting tradition (if the couple opts to do so), a slice of wedding cake will be served to each of the guests. At this time, tea or coffee can also be served.

Extra touches

Some couples like to go above and beyond at their wedding reception. After all, this is a once-in-a-lifetime event for many. Here are some other services that may be offered to make the wedding extra special.

•Gourmet Coffee and Cordial Bar. Espresso, cappuccino and hot chocolate as well as cordials can be offered.

•Flamb�. A spectacle in presentation, this dessert is set ablaze and served warm to guests.

•Viennese Hour (Dessert Bar). A collection of gourmet cakes, pastries, cookies, ice cream, and other treats are offered for guests to indulge.

•Gourmet Salads/Top-Notch Cocktails. Some sites will offer the opportunity to serve more elaborate (and expensive) options at the cocktail hour. This could include seafood, like lobster, calamari and oysters, in addition to other gourmet culinary choices.

•Ice Sculpture. While not a food per se, some sites also give couples the option of having an ice sculpture adorn their cocktail service table to add flair and drama to the day.

When planning a wedding, be sure to discuss the meal preferences with the reception-site coordinator. If there are any special dietary wishes (i.e. vegetarian meals, kosher preparation, ethnic requirements), make sure the service available can accomodate them.

Remember to have all of the options in writing and the costs spelled out clearly. This is likely to be the most expensive portion of the wedding, so be aware of what is being spend and what is being supplied for that money.


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