I have been M.I.A. from the blog lately if you haven’t noticed. Maile has been doing a wonderful job posting some great blogs. This week I was asked by my cousin, who is getting married next year, about menu planning and what food to pair with their meal and I thought that that would be a great blog!
We get asked during our wedding meetings, “What would you pair with this?” or “What would you suggest?” Choosing a meal that everyone likes can be challenging and overwhelming. There are lots of things to consider and if you don’t have much experience with it, it can be intimidating.
When you’re planning your meal here, we provide you with a menu to choose from, however, you aren’t limited to that here. Most, if not all, caterers or venues that serve food will provide you with a menu to choose from. It’s important when choosing your menu to choose something within your budget. If you are capable of spending $16 a plate, you most likely aren’t going to be able to serve prime rib and if you are getting prime rib at that cost, I would seriously question the quality just a tip. Each venue/caterer is different so talk with your venue/caterer about what they offer and what their pricing is. A lot of people price out their meals based on market prices, but others do have standard pricing based on certain meat options.
Most times when you choose your meal, you choose 1 meat or you can choose 2 meats, a starch, veggie and salad if you want to serve salad. You can serve more than 1 starch or more than 1 veggie. I have been to weddings or events that do serve a couple of different options so their guests have more to choose from. That is up to you, just know that the price you pay may be a little more expensive if you decide to choose more than 1 option for your guests.
Let’s face it, we live in Nebraska where we are known as the beef state; beef is going to be the most popular option and depending on the market, probably the most expensive option. If you want beef you have a number of cuts to choose from including brisket, roast beef, steak of some sort, short ribs, etc. Pork is by far our second most popular option here at The Leadership Center. Most of our couple choose our pork tenderloin because we offer several different ways to prepare it. You can also choose from pork chop, ham, etc. Then there is chicken and fish which are great options, but they are the least popular choices.
Now on to pairing foods. If you choose to have a 2 meat buffet pick foods that are compatible flavors with each other such as brisket and a pork tenderloin or brisket and chicken. When it comes to sides you have so many to choose from. Don’t choose anything that is too radical in flavor and may over power your meat. Although that is not always the case. We had a bride a couple of years ago that chose brisket and Mexican/Spanish flavored chicken. We were unsure of the combination of the two, however, the pairing looked beautiful on a plate and it went well together; people loved it! Choose sides that you love, but be conscious of who your guests are. Don’t serve something incredibly spicy or hot if you are going to have elderly or kids attending. If you are serving two meats, make sure there are options for vegetarians if you know there will be some attending. Just make sure that there is something everyone would like because if you are spending money for each person to eat, make sure they will enjoy the meal just as much as you will!
One last thing I want to touch on is appearance of the food. It may seem silly, but the compilation of the food on the plate can also add to the appeal and taste of the food. We always try to make sure the food is beautiful looking on a plate and we talk about that in our wedding meetings. Having food that is multiple colors is appealing. If you choose a meal that is all the same color, it is not appealing when you are either served or going through the buffet line. Not everything has to be different, you can have brisket with mashed potatoes and then a pop of color in your veggies. Even though that is not a lot it still makes for a pretty plate.
When you are choosing you are in the meal selection process don’t be afraid to ask questions. The people you have chosen to prepare your meal are experts and most likely know the answers to all of your questions and if they don’t, they will figure it out for you! This a big part of the process, but it’s a fun part because you get to choose a delicious meal to look forward to on your very special day!!
Also if you want more tips about planning your reception you can find them in my blog from a while back, check it out here.
Happy planning everyone and hope you have a terrific weekend!