Adventures In Wedding Planning – What To Serve At Your Wedding
Still hanging in there? Great!
So now that you’ve got the Big Three taken care of, you should figure out what you’re going to serve at the wedding. This includes food and beverages during the cocktail hour and dinner.
Soda, water, coffee and tea are usually served during dinner and is included in the price of your dinners. Of course, do not assume and make sure you double check with your caterer.
I’m going to tackle dinner, hosted bar and h’or doeuvres, in that order.
Dinner – Plated
Most standard fare consists of bread, an appetizer, your protein, a starch and two veggies. This is for plated dinners.
The bulk of the cost per plate is your choice of protein. The cheapest proteins are chicken and salmon. The most expensive is beef.
We could not afford beef so we could only offer chicken and salmon. Here’s the thing. Your guests won’t care AS LONG AS THE FOOD IS GOOD!! If your food sucks, it doesn’t matter if you’re serving beef….because it’s beef that isn’t tasty.
We served chicken and salmon and our guests LOVED it. Clyde’s mom is a Korean caterer and she knows her food. She loved it. So did my mom. I consider that a success right there because Asian moms get pretty crazy when it comes to food.
The point I’m making is that if all you can afford is chicken and salmon, that’s totally fine! I did not have a single person come up to me and tell me “I can’t believe you didn’t offer beef. The nerve!” Not everyone eats beef. It’s nice to be able to offer it if your budget allows for it. If not, don’t sweat it.
Having said that, make sure the food is good.
This is what our chicken dinner looked like. It tasted absolutely DIVINE, our friends are still telling me about it whenever the topic of our wedding comes up and the cut of chicken was very generous. No one felt hungry after.
Because we opted to serve chicken or salmon, we freed up our budget to upgrade on other things. I’ll get into that in a bit.
Dinner – Buffet
There is a difference in plated dinner versus buffet dinners. For some venues, plated dinners are more cost effective because the caterer knows exactly how much food is going on to each plate. That means they can control the cost.
If you’re having a buffet dinner, some venues will charge you more for that because they cannot control the portions each guest is putting on their plate and how many times they go back for more.
This was true for my venue, the awesome Miramonte Resort and Spa.
The venue you picked might be different so call them and ask them.
Do not worry if you don’t have enough money to cover a fully hosted bar. That costs CRAAAAZY cash. We didn’t have the money to host a fully stocked cocktail hour but we didn’t like the idea of NOT having anything for our guests. We decided to host beer and wine but with a twist.
Here’s the thing about a hosted bar. Not everyone drinks but you’re PAYING for everyone IN CASE they do drink. That didn’t make sense to me. What DID make sense to me was to have a set amount prepaid for the bar and whatever people drink in terms of beer and wine was deducted one drink at a time against our prepaid amount.
We had $500 included in our minimum food-and-drink agreement and we paid an additional $500 cash. That more than took care of our cocktail hour for all of our guests.
Our guests got to enjoy a drink (or 5) if they wanted a drink (or 5) and we didn’t break the bank. Winner winner CHICKEN DINNER!!
H’or Deouvres, Appetizers, Vendor Meals and Kids Meals
Kids meals and Vendor meals do not cost the same as a plated adult dinner. Vendor meals are usually chef’s choice. I think our vendors were served chicken which was great because they got to enjoy the same awesome dinner our guests were eating.
Kids meals will differ from place to place. Our choices were chicken fingers…and…I think spagetti. I forgot. We went with the chicken fingers and they were HUGE!!! They were really good too. Yes, I took a bite out of my flower girl’s dinner but only because she let me. ^_^
Because we went with a less expensive protein, we were able to cover our 10 vendor meals, 6 kids meals, have one passed h’or deouvre during cocktail hour (it was seared ahi with caviar on toast. DEEE-licious), we got to serve a huge crab cake for the appetizer BEFORE the salad course and we were able to host $1000 beer and wine for only an additional $500.
A photo of some of the ones we tasted. We went with the one on the left.
It’s up to you how you want to set your menu. Just know that this is where you will be spending the bulk of your budget. Every bride wants to offer the most awesome meal they can to their guests. I totally get it because that’s what I wanted to do too.
My budget didn’t allow for that and that’s okay! You do what you can with what you have and sometimes that means you have something even better than you could’ve hoped for. We were able to have a passed h’or doeuvre during cocktail hour in addition to serving a jumbo crab cake with our dinner. It totally worked out. You just have to get creative!
If you don’t have money for food during cocktail hour, don’t sweat it. I’ve been weddings where there wasn’t food served until dinner. I didn’t even notice it until it came time to plan our wedding.
Up next – Wedding Dress!!!