What to Expect from Your Wedding Menu Tasting

What to Expect from Your Wedding Menu Tasting | Photo by Danielle Nichol Photography | ReunionResort.com/WeddingBlog

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.

What to Expect from Your Wedding Menu Tasting | Photo by Meg Baisden Photography | ReunionResort.com/WeddingBlog

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.

What to Expect from Your Wedding Menu Tasting | Photo by Rhodes Studios | ReunionResort.com/WeddingBlog

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.

What to Expect from Your Wedding Menu Tasting | Photo by Rhodes Studios | ReunionResort.com/WeddingBlog

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.

What to Expect from Your Wedding Menu Tasting | Photo by Rhodes Studios | ReunionResort.com/WeddingBlog

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.

Enjoy!

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Creating a Signature Cocktail for Your Wedding

Creating a Signature Cocktail for Your Wedding | Photos by RinatHalon.com |ReunionResort.com/WeddingBlog

Thinking of creative, possibly mouthwatering, ways to wow your guests without breaking the bank?

If you’re considering a fun way to welcome guests and get the party off to a great start, look no further!

Everyone always looks forward to the wedding cake – although it seems that lately the most anticipated portion of the event has become the signature cocktail. It works as a great ice breaker for your guests and gives them the opportunity to try something they’ve probably never had before.

Make your cocktail memorable. There are endless ways to work your signature cocktail into the theme of your celebration. You’ve placed so much emphasis on all of the details – from your location, your venue, your flowers and your dress – don’t allow for the bar to be an afterthought – use the details of your event for inspiration. You could offer your very favorite drink or you can take it a step further by tying in your wedding theme. Bring your wedding color scheme to the next level by tying it into your ceremony and reception décor. Give your guests one more thoughtful clue that tells a story about the two of you – be it how you met, your favorite vacation together, a significant moment you shared or something you created together in your own kitchen that really rocked!

There is no shortage of drink options that are available to you, do some research and finds what works best for you. Make sure the drink tastes as good as it looks and consider your audience when creating your cocktail concoction, you won’t be able to please everyone but you’ll want to create something neutral enough for all to enjoy.

We wanted to share a few helpful hints to creating your signature cocktail!

  • Tailor your spirits to reflect your spirit. Your selection should reflect your party style.
  • Keep it to one or two cocktails at maximum.
  • Keep the signature drinks to cocktail hour which helps ensure the consistency of its taste.
  • Keep beer and wine flowing while serving signature cocktail for those who prefer it, but make sure they give it a try, your guests may be pleasantly surprised!
  • Come up with a creative, clever name and accessorize your drink – pair signage that explains the ingredients or meaning behind your selection, use creative stationary or a chalk board to display your signage, flag the drinks with quotes or sweet sayings.
  • Your signature cocktail could say a lot about you but may not have to. Highlighting the flavors and scents of the season is always an excellent alternative.

To give you some additional inspiration, we would like to share 2 of our favorite cocktails!
Thank you to Rinat Halon for the great cocktail photos.

Creating a Signature Cocktail for Your Wedding | Strawberry Lemonade | Photos by RinatHalon.com |ReunionResort.com/WeddingBlog

Creating a Signature Cocktail for Your Wedding | Blueberry Mojito | Photos by RinatHalon.com |ReunionResort.com/WeddingBlog

 

Kalyn & Bryan’s Wedding

Kalyn & Bryan's Wedding at Reunion Resort |#ReunionWOY Entrant | Photo by Victoria Angela Photography | www.ReunionResort.com/WeddingBlog | #ReunionResort #Wedding #Ceremony #Reception

Bryan and Kalyn have known each other since they were nine years old! They met in their fourth grade class. In fifth grade they sat back to back in class the whole year and became good friends. In middle school Bryan and Kalyn were completely smitten with each other and all of their peers would constantly say “you two are going to get married!” Little did they know…it would come true!

They split in high school after going to two different schools but stayed in touch every now and then. Their senior year, they started to become close again we got back together! They have been inseparable ever since.

Their wedding inspiration was all about under the sea! They have always loved “The Little Mermaid” and Bryan has always been fascinated by what lies under the sea. It was something they both loved and something fun for their guests to experience, it was a perfect fit! All of the decorations and favors were made by Kalyn and the ceremony arch was made by her father, which shadowed Kalyn’s new last name on the floor.

Kalyn & Bryan's Wedding at Reunion Resort |#ReunionWOY Entrant | Photo by Victoria Angela Photography | www.ReunionResort.com/WeddingBlog | #ReunionResort #Wedding #Ceremony #Reception

Kalyn & Bryan's Wedding at Reunion Resort |#ReunionWOY Entrant | Photo by Victoria Angela Photography | www.ReunionResort.com/WeddingBlog | #ReunionResort #Wedding #Ceremony #ReceptionKalyn & Bryan's Wedding at Reunion Resort |#ReunionWOY Entrant | Photo by Victoria Angela Photography | www.ReunionResort.com/WeddingBlog | #ReunionResort #Wedding #Ceremony #ReceptionKalyn & Bryan's Wedding at Reunion Resort |#ReunionWOY Entrant | Photo by Victoria Angela Photography | www.ReunionResort.com/WeddingBlog | #ReunionResort #Wedding #Ceremony #ReceptionKalyn & Bryan's Wedding at Reunion Resort |#ReunionWOY Entrant | Photo by Victoria Angela Photography | www.ReunionResort.com/WeddingBlog | #ReunionResort #Wedding #Ceremony #ReceptionKalyn & Bryan's Wedding at Reunion Resort |#ReunionWOY Entrant | Photo by Victoria Angela Photography | www.ReunionResort.com/WeddingBlog | #ReunionResort #Wedding #Ceremony #ReceptionKalyn & Bryan's Wedding at Reunion Resort |#ReunionWOY Entrant | Photo by Victoria Angela Photography | www.ReunionResort.com/WeddingBlog | #ReunionResort #Wedding #Ceremony #ReceptionKalyn & Bryan's Wedding at Reunion Resort |#ReunionWOY Entrant | Photo by Victoria Angela Photography | www.ReunionResort.com/WeddingBlog | #ReunionResort #Wedding #Ceremony #ReceptionKalyn & Bryan's Wedding at Reunion Resort |#ReunionWOY Entrant | Photo by Victoria Angela Photography | www.ReunionResort.com/WeddingBlog | #ReunionResort #Wedding #Ceremony #ReceptionKalyn & Bryan's Wedding at Reunion Resort |#ReunionWOY Entrant | Photo by Victoria Angela Photography | www.ReunionResort.com/WeddingBlog | #ReunionResort #Wedding #Ceremony #ReceptionKalyn & Bryan's Wedding at Reunion Resort |#ReunionWOY Entrant | Photo by Victoria Angela Photography | www.ReunionResort.com/WeddingBlog | #ReunionResort #Wedding #Ceremony #ReceptionKalyn & Bryan's Wedding at Reunion Resort |#ReunionWOY Entrant | Photo by Victoria Angela Photography | www.ReunionResort.com/WeddingBlog | #ReunionResort #Wedding #Ceremony #ReceptionKalyn & Bryan's Wedding at Reunion Resort |#ReunionWOY Entrant | Photo by Victoria Angela Photography | www.ReunionResort.com/WeddingBlog | #ReunionResort #Wedding #Ceremony #ReceptionKalyn & Bryan's Wedding at Reunion Resort |#ReunionWOY Entrant | Photo by Victoria Angela Photography | www.ReunionResort.com/WeddingBlog | #ReunionResort #Wedding #Ceremony #ReceptionKalyn & Bryan's Wedding at Reunion Resort |#ReunionWOY Entrant | Photo by Victoria Angela Photography | www.ReunionResort.com/WeddingBlog | #ReunionResort #Wedding #Ceremony #Reception

 

“I could not imagine life without him and we have been through so much together. I know I can get through anything with him by my side.” – Kalyn

Event Coordination: Lisa, Blush by Brandee Gaar
Ceremony: Grande Ballroom at Reunion Resort
Officiant: Don Kitaif
Reception: Eleven Restaurant at Reunion Resort
Photographer: Victoria Angela
Florist: Jonathon’s Flowers
Cake: Party Flavors
Band: Live Productions
Hair/Make-Up: Elizabeth Bennett

 

 

To Plate or Not to Plate: Brunch Wedding Receptions

To Plate or Not to Plate: a review of food and beverage experiences for your wedding reception. Before we jump into Brunch, have you seen the other two posts in the series? We started with Plated Receptions and explored Buffet Receptions.

To Plate or Not to Plate: Brunch Wedding Receptions | Photos by Rhodes Studios | www.ReunionResort.com/WeddingBlog | #ReunionResort #OrlandoWedding #Reception #Brunch

Photos by Rhodes Studios

Our final look at reception culinary festivities is a toast to Brunch! What we think makes brunch so much fun is the mix of breakfast and lunch fare. Can’t decide if you want French Toast or Antipasti Display? Go for both! It is a perfect combination of stations and buffet that is customizable to any style you can imagine. Similar to dinner buffets, guests are dismissed by table to make their own plates. Brunch can be a very interactive experience with Chefs preparing omelettes made to the guests’ preferences or inspired combinations of potatoes with mix-ins at the Mashed Potato Martini Bar.

To Plate or Not to Plate: Brunch Wedding Receptions | Photos by Rhodes Studios and Soltren Photography | www.ReunionResort.com/WeddingBlog | #ReunionResort #OrlandoWedding #Reception #Brunch

Photos by Rhodes Studios (top, bottom left and bottom right lower) and Soltren Photography (bottom right upper)

Brunch is perfect for the couple who is looking for a grand experience but is more price conscious. Enjoying a daytime ceremony and brunch reception provides you some savings because you are holding your wedding at a less requested time and breakfast/lunch fare are traditional less expensive. Like all of our reception dining experiences, we love to collaborate with the couple to develop a menu that is personal, creative and delectable.

To Plate or Not to Plate: Brunch Wedding Receptions | Photos by Rhodes Studios and Chic Shot Studio | www.ReunionResort.com/WeddingBlog | #ReunionResort #OrlandoWedding #Reception #Brunch

Photos by Chic Shot Studio (top left) and Rhodes Studios (top right and bottom)

What are your thoughts? Which reception style peaks your interest?

To Plate or Not to Plate: Buffet Wedding Receptions

To Plate or Not to Plate: an important questions for many couples.  We started with Plated Wedding Receptions.  We are now going to take a look at Buffet or Station Wedding Receptions.

To Plate or Not to Plate: Buffet Wedding Receptions | Photos by MegPhoto.com and Rhodes Studios | www.ReunionResort.com/WeddingBlog | #ReunionResort #OrlandoWedding #Reception

Photos by MegPhoto.com (top) and Rhodes Studios (bottom left & right)

For Brides looking to offer a variety of foods, buffet is the perfect option. Guests are released by table to make their plates with an assortment of delicious options. One advantage of buffets is less work for you prior to the wedding! You will not need to worry about collecting counts for steak or chicken, since guests can get whatever they’d like during your reception.  Do you have guests with allergies or special diet requests? These days, you can offer vegan, vegetarian, gluten free options along with all your favorites. A simple request in advance to your Catering Manager to notate these options is all it takes. Buffets and Stations can have a little higher price point because the Culinary Team prepares enough of all the items for your guests to have a sampling of each however, you are offering your guests more variety.

To Plate or Not to Plate: Buffet Wedding Receptions | Photos by Soltren Photography and MegPhoto.com | www.ReunionResort.com/WeddingBlog | #ReunionResort #OrlandoWedding #Reception

Photos by Soltren Photography (top left and bottom right) and MegPhoto.com (top right and bottom left)

Another positive for buffets is that it makes your reception a little more interactive. One of our previous weddings dismissed tables based on trivia about the bride and groom; a fun option instead of by table number. You can also enhance the food stations with an action chef.  Who doesn’t enjoy having their pasta made to their specifications right in front of them or selecting the perfect piece of carved steak.  Some may say that buffets and stations are less formal because you are serving yourself but others enjoy having the opportunity to make their own selections.

 

To Plate or Not to Plate: Plated Wedding Receptions

To Plate or Not to Plate- for some brides, that is the question.  The food and beverage experience has definitely been put in the forefront for a successful wedding reception. A large consideration on what type of food service you present depends on the atmosphere you are looking to create. In our blog, we’ll explore different options and look at the pros and cons of each.

To Plate or Not to Plate: Plated Wedding Receptions | Oven Roasted Statler Breast of Chicken, Mango Papaya Chutney, Rum Guava Reduction with Roasted Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes and Seasonal Vegetables | Photo by Revelo Studios | www.ReunionResort.com/WeddingBlog | #ReunionResort #OrlandoWedding #Wedding #Reception

Photo by Revelo Studios
Oven Roasted Statler Breast of Chicken, Mango Papaya Chutney, Rum Guava Reduction with Roasted Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes and Seasonal Vegetables

The traditional go to for most weddings is a plated dinner; and nothing’s wrong with sticking to tradition! This type of dinner provides for tableside service of portioned meals for your guests.  The atmosphere leans more towards a formal affair with soft background music and the hum of your guests talking at their assigned tables about how fabulous you looked in your dress and how cute little Susie was throwing rose petals.

To Plate or Not to Plate: Plated Wedding Receptions | Filet Mignon with Wild Mushroom Demi and Lemon Scented Sea Scallops, Celeriac Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes, Steamed Haricot Verts and Roasted Red Peppers | Photo by Rhodes Studios | www.ReunionResort.com/WeddingBlog | #ReunionResort #OrlandoWedding #Wedding #Reception

Photo by Rhodes Studios
Filet Mignon with Wild Mushroom Demi and Lemon Scented Sea Scallops, Celeriac Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes, Steamed Haricot Verts and Roasted Red Peppers

One advantage to this option is a lower price point per guest. Believe it or not this is the most affordable option since the meals are portioned and the culinary staff knows what everyone wants to eat prior to the wedding day. This option, as touched on before, also allows your guests to relax at their tables while food is served right to them. The one main disadvantage to consider is it requires a little more work on your part. If you are planning on offering your guests a choice of entrée (chicken or beef, for example) you’ll need to keep count and also provide a way for the wait staff to know who is eating what. This is typically handled with putting some sort of “marker” on the place cards. Some brides place different colored gems denoting who is eating chicken, beef, vegetarian, etc. Other brides take this opportunity to get creative and come up with theme inspired denotation.

To Plate or Not to Plate: Plated Wedding Receptions | Place Cards with Entree Selection Markers | Photos by Rhodes Studios, La Dolce Vita Studios and Julie Brewer Photographer | www.ReunionResort.com/WeddingBlog | #ReunionResort #OrlandoWedding #Wedding #Reception #PlaceCards

Photos by Rhodes Studios (top) , La Dolce Vita Studios (bottom right) and Julie Brewer Photographer (bottom left)