Food at weddings is generally not memorable or extremely exciting. Most couples spend the bulk of their wedding budget on the catering, yet it leaves much to be desired. With a variety of guests and food preferences and allergies, planning a wedding meal can be difficult and stressful. There is a way to create a drama free menu that delights and satisfies your guests.
The absolute first thing you must do is determine your budget and guest list. This will determine how much you can spend per person, which is how most wedding caterers and venues break it down. You need not know your exact head count, but a rough estimate will give you an idea of your range.
Once you have decided the amount per person you need to make some crucial decisions about your wedding meal. Will you serve dinner, appetizers, or both? Will you have a open bar, cash bar, or no bar? These are the first steps in putting together the perfect menu and they will also contribute to your food budget. Once these basic decisions are made you can start to put together the perfect wedding meal.
To start keep in mind this is your day, you want your guests to have fun, but do not serve anything you would not eat yourself. If you are going with appetizers only, you will need to have a variety of cold and hot appetizers, and you should plan on 3 per person per appetizer. Wedding consultants may tell you less than that, but you do not want to run out of food. If you are serving dinner and appetizers it will be 1-2 per appetizer. You also want to have options for meat and non meat eaters.
Finally, if you are serving dinner, you need to decide on a plated meal or buffet. Both are equally acceptable at a wedding, but if doing buffet there are some things to consider. Try to avoid anything fried, because sitting under the chafing dishes will cause steam and everything will be wet and mealy. Also try to keep a variety, if you served beef wellington appetizers maybe avoid beef wellington as the main dish. Above all keep the food simple. You are serving a large number of people at once and anything that tastes good from bite one to the end will probably hold up for your guests.