5 Tips for Planning Your Wedding Menu

Before you say “I do,” there are a few things you and your future spouse have to decide on. And one of the biggest is what your guests will be eating. But don’t stress, we asked Cathy’s Catering owner, Cathay Gunn, to share some tips from 3 decades in the wedding catering business.

Be yourself  

It’s called your big day for a reason. Your wedding should reflect you, Gunn says. That’s why when she sits down for her initial consultation with a couple, she wants to get to know them. 

“A lot of people think it has to be rigid – beef or chicken or fish,” she says. “But everyone has their own feel with their wedding. I had one couple tell me they loved ice cream, it was their passion. So we had an ice cream bar. If you love tacos, let’s add a taco station.” 

Did someone say taco station?  

Speaking of stations, they’re not just a trendy way to serve food in a ballroom. They can actually help with the flow of your event, says Gunn, giving people some freedom in how they want to spend the night. 

Instead of having to sit down for dinner, guests can swing by the mashed potato bar before hitting the dance floor and then hit the BBQ station after working up an appetite. “It really gets people up and moving,” says Gunn. 

Another option to get the night started is family style dinners, where each table gets plates of food and guests serve themselves (and sometimes each other). It’s a great way to meet your neighbors and strike up conversations. 

Creativity is fun 

The world of wedding food has changed a lot since the days of “did you order chicken or beef?” And that makes it so much more fun, says Gunn. She loves when couples opt for some of the latest trends, like elaborate grazing tables (an extra-large charcuterie board that decorates an entire table) or food trucks during cocktail hour. She even has a wedding coming up who where a vendor will walk around shucking fresh oysters during the reception. We may or may not try to crash.  

Don’t stress about food restrictions 

These days, dietary restrictions – like gluten-free, vegan, etc. – are common, and shouldn’t be a reason for you to worry, says Gunn. “I actually did a wedding where the entire menu was vegan because the couple was,” she says. “We just altered our recipes and it all worked.” 

While it’s not a big deal, it is important to be considerate of your guests. And that’s why Gunn is always ready to provide a substitute option if needed. 

Hire someone who knows what they’re doing

You don’t know what you don’t know. And that’s especially true when it comes to wedding day food. It’s also why it’s so important to find the right caterer, says Gunn. You not only want to make sure you match up personality-wise, but it also doesn’t hurt to use someone with plenty of wedding experience. 

“You can hire anyone to cater, but you might end up with paper plates and plastic tablecloths,” she says, a reason all of her catering packages include linens and bartenders and some even have a DJ. “I also meet with each couple about a month before the wedding and go through line by line to make sure we have everything, and we’re on the same page.” 

April 2024
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