A Guide to Selecting the Perfect Menu for Your Wedding Reception

There are so many choices when it comes to selecting the right menu for your wedding reception and the style of service and type of menu you offer to your guests can really make or break the experience they have at your wedding. I mean, I am sure you can recall friends weddings where you have waited in line for what seems like eternity or can’t find a place to sit and you have a piece of delicious prime rib on your plate that would take an acrobatic feat to eat while trying to elegantly hold your glass of champagne without spilling it on your new cocktail dress. Among other reason there are things to consider before selecting the right menu for your wedding reception.

Theme and Style of your Wedding

It’s important to decide what type of feel you want your wedding to have before you make decisions on your menu. If you are having a black tie wedding at a formal venue then you probably don’t want to choose an hors d’ oeuvre reception type menu, or the opposite if you are having a midafternoon garden wedding then a multi course platted dinner might be too formal. Deciding how casual or formal you want your wedding at the beginning will help you determine the direction you want to go in for your food service.

Food Service Type

There are 3 main types of menu types: Buffet, Hors d’ oeuvres Reception and Table Served Dinner. There is not wrong choice as all 3 options are great but you have to make sure that when selecting the right menu style will fit with the feel that you want with your wedding. A good rule of thumb for each of the following styles is:

1.) Buffet – a buffet is a great option if you want to offer your guests a full meal and offer them a choice at the same time. The key to a buffet is to ensure that most of the items you are offering your guests can be easily placed on 1 large dinner plate. If you add in several items to your buffet that they have “prepare” at the buffet line that is when the lines start to get long and annoying for your guests. Keeping the buffet simple to a salad option and 3 to 4 entrées (ie chicken, beef, fish or pasta) will ensure a seamless dinner service and keep your guests moving through the buffet. Also, and this is important, provide seating for 100% of your guests. If you need a fork and knife to eat your meal you need to provide everyone with a seat.

2.) Hors d’ oeuvre Reception – this menu option is going to be the most casual style of food service. This type of food service generally will have hors d’ oeuvres stations in all corners of the room and will only offer about 50% seating for your guests. It encourages mingling and works well with groups that will be a more heaving drinking crowd that will be more interested in dancing and drinking versus sitting down and eating a full meal. If you desire all of your guests to be seated to have a formal dinner service then this is not the option for you. The food options on the Hors d’oeuvre reception should also be easy to eat on the go, bit size and able to be eaten without using a knife.

3.) Table Served or Seated Dinner – This option will be your most formal option. It works great and is recommended for weddings that are black tie. Table Served dinner can be a great option if you want a simple and elegant dinner service and can even be more formal by adding on several courses as well. Most venues will offer a duet option where you have 2 proteins on your plate which is recommended if you do not desire to do assigned seating or you can offer your guests a choice ahead of time and have them select in their RSVP a specific entrée.