Wedding season is upon us! It completely blows my mind that tomorrow marks our 11-month anniversary of being married. It feels like just last month Tor and I tied the knot after spending the year before planning our wedding. One of our favorite parts of wedding planning was our menu tasting, and I’m sharing my tips on how to create the perfect wedding reception menu that caters to even the pickiest of eaters.
Food is very important to me as well as my family (my mom features her latest dishes on her Instagram and my father runs a wine bar/restaurant in Northern California), so I took our menu tasting very seriously. Luckily, our caterer Omni Catering also takes food very seriously. After a lot of back and forth discussing the kind of theme we wanted for our wedding weekend (they catered our rehearsal dinner, too), the theme we ended up selecting for our food was Californian, which meant a lot of fresh vegetables, herbs, and fish. We also toyed with the idea of an Italian theme, but we decided to get a bit creative with Californian especially after our incredible tasting.
Selecting menu items that catered to everyone felt like a fun puzzle. Despite only having 50 guests, our guest list still featured those who were gluten-free, some who were dairy-free, and some who would be happiest with a simple pasta…. and then there’s me. I’m allergic to all nuts, spinach, cilantro, pineapple, sweet potatoes. I’m deathly allergic to scallops. I’m also lactose intolerant and the only meat I eat is chicken and beef. So yes, I am your wedding menu’s worst nightmare.
With that said, my best tips for creating a menu that caters to everyone are:
Always make sure there’s more than one vegetable option, if possible. Vegetables pleases those who are vegetarian and those who are not. For our rehearsal dinner, we had both a cauliflower puree and grilled asparagus with the main entree. It’ll also simply a healthy option especially if guests have been munching on breads during the cocktail hour (or are like me and unapologetically love an all-carb diet).
Have A Simple Dish Option
You may have a few guests who are picky eaters and don’t want to feel limited or left out, so if it’s possible to add a second or third option to your wedding menu, I recommend a simple pasta dish. We added a pesto pasta to our wedding menu just in case.
Being gluten-free is incredibly common and popular these days, so if there’s going to be a bread basket it doesn’t hurt to make sure there can be a gluten-free bread basket option.
Have Multiple Courses
Having more than one or two courses is a great way to make sure all different kinds of food get to be enjoyed. For the most part, most of your guests will be able to eat everything without limitations. But even for those who have restrictions would benefit from a multiple course meal, as they’re more likely to get to enjoy more selections.
Put Twists On Usual Dishes
It’s custom for wedding menus to feature a protein of some sort, whether it be meat or fish. We chose locally caught rockfish and chicken for our rehearsal dinner, and tri-tip steak and chicken for our reception as well as a roasted vegetable stack for our vegetarian friends. But instead of just simple chicken, our rehearsal dinner was a stuffed chicken while our reception chicken was a lemon and herb marinated dish. Instead of potatoes with our tri-tip, we chose an herb and parmesan polenta. We wanted our guests to feel satisfied and remark on the delicious food as if they just had their own culinary experience.
And now, here’s a true peek at what was served at our wedding almost one year ago! Below are the exact menus from our rehearsal dinner and wedding reception last year, thanks to Omni Catering, Linen & Leaf calligraphy, and Cake & Punch planning.
Stay tuned for my big wedding blog post coming in the next few weeks, just in time for our first anniversary!
Photos by Torrance Coombs.