Many would argue the showstopper event at any wedding is the meal. Although people should really be focused on the ceremony, most people look forward to the drinks, food and then dancing the night away.
Since there’s no getting around the lofty expectations of your guests, it’s important to consider your wedding menu carefully. Here we list nine common wedding menu mistakes to avoid, so you can satisfy even the most discerning or picky palate.
1. Not considering the budget
Although your budget doesn’t impact your guests, it does impact your wedding. Understanding how much money you have to spend on food and drink is the first way to avoid mistakes.
Since the meal is a major influence on how well your wedding goes, you want to make sure you allot enough of your budget to the meal. It can be easy to get caught up in trends or trying to make your wedding unique, but you have to be careful about how much money you throw at these nice ‘to haves’.
Before you get carried away with your wedding plans, nail down a realistic budget with caterers so you don’t have to sacrifice the quality of your meal. You then can work with your caterer or wedding venue to create the perfect meal suited to your budget.
2. Overlooking extra charges
Some venues and caterers aren’t up front with costs and have “extra” charges that they add on to your bill. When getting quotes, ask right from the start that the caterer includes ALL costs from how much per plate, to how much they charge for servers or cutting and serving your cake.
3. Considering the number of guests
You have to consider the number of guests when it comes to cost and venue but you also have to consider the number of guests when it comes to the type of meal service you plan. By this we mean, will it be a sit down meal, five course meal, buffet, staggered courses served buffet style, etc? This is extremely important because while you can serve a five or more course meal for a small guest list, the cost becomes unmanageable for larger weddings.
If you plan a buffet, this might work for smaller groups but can pose major waiting and congestion issues for larger guest lists. Although buffets are an excellent option, you need to be sure your wedding venue can set things up to keep people moving. Plus, having multiple courses served buffet style throughout the night is fun, but will it cause chaos, confusion and grumpiness for your guests?
4. Going overboard
When planning your menu with your venue or caterer, it’s easy to go overboard and start adding more and more food to the menu. However, focusing on a few very high quality choices helps you keep prices down, while also ensuring the food served is superb. Even for buffets where you can serve multiple selections, keeping things to a minimum makes it easier on guests and your pocketbook. Too many choices also leads to waste.
5. Not considering special diet needs
Today more than ever, more guests will have special diet needs. Food allergies must be a priority, and you might also want to consider offering a vegan/gluten free option for guests. You can’t meet the needs of everyone with so many fad diets out there, but you can at least provide options for people with dietary needs. The rest of your guests can simply push the potatoes or rice aside and eat the protein.
6. Not enough food
Weddings are expensive and it can be tempting to scrimp on the menu to cut costs. However, not only is this embarrassing, but it’s also a bit rude. You can’t invite a slew of people to your wedding and then fail to see that everyone is fed!
Make sure your venue helps with the meal planning and heed their advice. Remember if you stick with keeping things simple, you can save money in this area and ensure everyone is given a good meal, so they don’t go home with grumbling tummies. Also, well-fed guests are less likely to get embarrassingly and expensively drunk!
7. Not checking references
Bad service and food will ruin your wedding day. Nothing is worse than hiring a caterer that can’t deliver on their promises. Even if you arrange for a tasting and watch the caterer cook the food right in front of you, they can choose to cut corners the day of your wedding. It’s easy to check references and read reviews online, so take the time not just to taste the food, but also do your research to avoid hiring a dud caterer.
You don’t want to end up giving everyone food poisoning! But it goes beyond just the food. You also want to read reviews on the service. You want glowing reviews about food quality, food temperature, prompt delivery of food to tables, quick clearing of plates, glasses filled with wine and water, accommodating staff, etc. An overall outstanding performance will leave everyone impressed and happy.
8. Choosing a venue without caterers
Although you might fall in love with that trendy loft in an old factory in Liberty Village, if it doesn’t offer catering, you’re opening yourself up for a whole lot of stress. Finding a venue with caterers is the easiest way to ensure you have excellent service and quality food. It will also make your wedding day far less stressful as you won’t be worrying if the caterers have arrived, the glasses and dishware are ready and set up on the tables, the tablecloths are in place etc. A venue and catering combo handles everything so you can just enjoy the day.
9. Going too trendy or spicy
Although you and your partner might be crazy for jerk chicken, spicy Indian or 100% vegan, you have to think of your guests as well. You certainly want a unique menu that speaks to who you are, but sometimes you need to look at the big picture and be sure you are more inclusive in your menu choices. For items like extra spicy foods you have to be careful as some people won’t be used to the heat. If it is a cultural choice and your guests expect the heat, bring it on. But if it’s risky having a menu that’s too unusual or trendy, you might find a lot of guests end up going hungry.
To learn more about planning your wedding menu, call Chateau Le Jardin at 1-888-529-8573 or contact us here. As one of the top event catering services in Vaughan, we can help you plan your wedding so you can avoid these common mistakes and focus on your special day.