You’ve selected the perfect venue, you’ve found the perfect dress and your vendors are booked. Now it’s time to taste the food and finalize your wedding menu! Whether you are offering a Plated, Buffet or Action Station Menu you want to ensure the food you serve is a good representation of you and your fiancé and work well with your wedding theme.
The Catering portion of the wedding budget is generally one of the biggest expenses and as Catering Managers; we want our couples to be prepared for their tasting and to leave more than satisfied knowing we will create the perfect meal to enhance their guests’ experience.
Here is What to Expect from Your Menu Tasting
When does the menu tasting take place?
Depending on your menu selection and if you are planning to offer a choice of entrée in your invitations, the tasting should take place anywhere between 2-4 months before the wedding event.
How many people should attend the tasting?
Your Caterer and Wedding Planner should attend along with 2-4 guests including you and your fiancé.
How long does a menu tasting take?
Generally about two hours. You will be mixing business and pleasure while you taste the menu options and talk about the wedding day details.
How do you choose what to taste?
For a Plated Menu you will generally choose one starter for all of your guests and two entrées for them to choose from. The Chef will pair your entrees with complimenting sides to enhance each dish. Favorites of ours are the Oven Roasted Fennel and Fresh Herb Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes! You will have to list the selected entrees on the response card with your invitations and your guests will check which meal they would prefer. In order to ensure that each guest is served the correct choice the place card will have to be different for each meal choice.
Do you love everything you’ve tasted or want to avoid having to differentiate your place cards with guest’s entrée selection? A duo entrée like the Duo of Petit Filet with a pair of Jumbo Shrimp dressed in Brandy Dijon Sauce is a great option! Or substitute the Shrimp for Chicken or a Fish Filet if you may be worried about dietary restrictions.
For Buffet Menus – you will taste the starters, the entrée choices and the sides. Buffets give guests the option of trying multiple dishes and are easily customized to your flavor preferences. We are absolutely in love with the Braised Short Ribs!
Action Station and Display Menus are becoming more popular – you will taste all of the components of each menu station. Stations allow for a more interactive dining experience. As we all know, food brings us together and what better way to bring two families together than being around delicious cuisine to share and talk about?
Will the menu presentation look the same on the wedding day?
For Plated Menus there will be a show plate for each dish so that you can see what the plate will look like on the event day, but you will be trying tasting portions. For a Buffet and Action Station Menu, the presentation will be on a smaller scale than it will be on the event date, however, the actual menu items will look the same.
How do we take care of dietary restrictions?
Dietary restrictions and allergies of those attending the menu tasting should be discussed prior to the tasting date. The Catering Manager will communicate them to the Chef to ensure the menu does not include the restricted items and cross contamination is avoided. Wedding guests with dietary restrictions and allergies will let you know ahead of time, please communicate these details to your Catering Manager at minimum two weeks prior to the event date so that we best prepare their meal.
What you need to know and what we need from you!
Make sure you take this opportunity to speak up about how you feel about each dish. The Chef will come out following the meal to discuss your dining experience; this is a great time to talk through your menu! Our Culinary Team wants to ensure your wedding menu is created especially for your occasion. If you and your guests like your food spicy, ask the Chef to work in some of your favorite flavors. If you like extra sauce on certain dishes, don’t be shy! We host the menu tasting to make sure your wedding meal perfectly matches your expectations.
Take advantage of the time you have with your Catering Manager and Wedding Planner in one room! It may be the only time we will have together before the big day. Come prepared with questions you still have as we will be discussing the specifics of your wedding celebration.
It has always been a delight for us to learn how Chefs interpret different dishes and to see how different couples respond to the culinary masterpieces created by our in house Banquet Culinary Team. Working with couples to help customize their wedding day meal to over exceed expectations on the big day is what we pride ourselves in.
Although tasting all the menu options is certainly one of our favorite parts of the planning process, the menu tasting is also our most beloved time because it gives us an opportunity to get to know our wedding couples and to build more personal relationships.