How to Plan a Wedding Menu: 7 Essential Tips

It’s finally here: the big day. You two will finally tie the knot and head over to your reception to celebrate. While decor, ambiance, and music are sure to play important roles, the key to any successful event is the food you choose to serve.

Why worry about how to plan a wedding menu? The perfect wedding meal won’t be just some food on a plate, whether you’re having a city hall marriage in San Francisco or a beach wedding in Boca Raton. The menu represents the fuel for your guests to dance through the night, the tastes that will accentuate your enjoyment of the event, and the aromas that will spark memories of the love and laughter for decades after the music fades.

You may not remember the items on the platter in the years to come, but you’ll never forget the experience it creates. So, make your wedding as special and memorable as possible by following these seven essential tips for planning a phenomenal wedding menu.

#1 Decide on a Budget That Fits Your Expectations

The cost factor is always the first place to start when thinking about the wedding menu. What are you willing to spend on food? A clear limit on this number will help narrow down your options in terms of the food itself and who you hire to cater your wedding.

Have you decided on the budget limit? Now, think about the number of guests. And calculate a per-person dinner expense that fits your expectations.

Is your budget a little small? Don’t worry; there are plenty of ways to reduce costs while still offering delicious food and drink in an extravagant way. For example, appetizers or a buffet can be relatively inexpensive while still giving your guests plenty of choices.

#2 Pick Your Serving Style To Inform The Wedding Vibe

Why select a particular serving style for your wedding? It could inform the wedding atmosphere, making it more formal or more relaxed.

Some of the menu style choices include the following:

  • Buffet style
  • Plated meals
  • Serving stations
  • Heavy appetizers
  • Family style wedding

Your budget might influence this decision. For example, traditional plated meals tend to be more expensive than buffet setups. Another factor is the layout of your reception area. If you want guests to be on their feet for the majority of the wedding, and your venue accommodates it, wait staff serving appetizers may be fitting.

Do you prefer that guests socialize around a table during dinner and hit the dance floor afterward? A family-style meal may be a better choice.

#3 Consider the Season and Current Food Trends

It’s crucial to consider the “when” of your wedding. The season informs how to plan a wedding menu that leverages the weather and what your guests might feel like eating. Summer or spring wedding menus thrive on refreshing, light salads, whereas winter or fall weddings invite warm soups and denser meals.

Creating an in-season menu may also help you stay within your budget as you close the gap from the food origin to your wedding tables. You can also ask your caterer about any current food trends that may receive a pleasant reaction. They’ll likely have popular menu items in stock, so you won’t always need to pay extra.

#4 Celebrate Two Lives in One and Make It Your Own

It’s your wedding! And your menu should reflect the style and taste that makes both of you feel excited about the day.

Is there a food item that has special meaning to you and your partner? Are your hometowns famous for a specific ensemble or style of cooking? Incorporating these ideas lends personality to the menu that will always set it apart from other weddings.

#5 Don’t Forget to Accommodate Dietary Requirements

It can be a challenge to accommodate every guest, but it is the kind thing to do. At the very least, offer a few options that cover common dietary restrictions, food allergies, and even preferences.

Have you chosen plated meals? Consider offering a meat, fish, and vegetarian option. You can also incorporate vegan, dairy-free, and gluten-free sides to ensure there’s something to eat for everyone attending your celebration.

Are there a few different dietary requirements popping up? Serving a buffet-style menu could simplify things.

#6 Say You’re Thankful with Complimentary Beverages and Other Small Gestures

A wedding menu isn’t just about food; it is also hospitable to pair the food with a few complimentary beverages. Why not offer white and red wines? One should pair well with your main dish.

Pairing food and beverages becomes simpler with a cash or open bar. That way, the guests can pick their favorite drink to go with their meal, and everybody can have a good time.

#7 Perfect the Presentation for a Breathtaking Decor Twist

Finally, when thinking about how to plan a wedding menu, consider that presentation is key. On your big day, you want everything to look amazing for the perfect ambiance, and that includes food.

Ask your caterer how they intend to plate and present each dish. You can also incorporate your wedding theme or color scheme into the menu to tie everything together. For example, if you’re doing a buffet, you can organize each food item into a shape or design that has meaning or matches your decor.

Start Planning Your Dream Wedding Today!

A wedding is a uniquely special experience that many people dream about and map out in their heads for years. When it’s finally time to nail down each little detail, it helps to have an expert on hand to iron out the challenges for a stress-free experience. The above ideas and inspiration should take you a step closer to your perfect wedding, from envisioning a gorgeous customized wedding cake to choosing the best vendors for your wedding.

Feel free to explore our blog for more tips on how to plan a wedding menu and craft a dream wedding for the two of you that’s truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Contact our wedding experts to learn more!