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What's Up Weddings

Tips on Choosing a Wedding Menu {+ 9 sample menus }

Mar 15, 2012 08:57PM ● By Anonymous


Creating a seasonal menu is one of the fastest ways to make your wedding meal stand apart from others. How often have you seen this meal at an autumn wedding: A garden salad with house dressing, followed by steak medallion with green beans and roasted potatoes. It’s tasty, but boring.

Now, how often have you seen this meal at a wedding: Curried pumpkin soup followed by cranberry-glazed pork roast and a side of sweet potatoes. The flavors offered in this seasonal meal are fresh and inventive—at least when it comes to wedding receptions. These same principles can be applied to other seasons with fresh vegetables such as using fresh produce in the spring, serving chilled gazpacho in the summer, and warming up over hearty stews in the winter.

Perhaps the most important elements to consider are your own preferences. Because food is one of the biggest parts of the day—consider how much money you’re spending on the meal in relation to everything else you’re paying for—it’s one of the easiest ways to inject your own personality and background into the wedding. There are no rules when it comes to what type of food to serve at your wedding, as evidenced by the recent trend of grilled cheese triangles served with shooter glasses of tomato soup at elegant, upscale weddings.

Think back to what foods made you the most excited when you were growing up. Was it spaghetti and meatballs? Set up a pasta bar, complete with sauté chefs to make pasta dishes to order. Did you lust over Mexican food? Serve small quesadillas filled with gourmet cheeses during cocktail hour.

Don’t completely forget about your guests, though. After all, the reception is traditionally the way the couple thanks their guests for coming to their wedding. One of the main concerns for omnivore brides is figuring out a vegetarian dish to serve. Many caterers offer vegetarian pasta, but you’re not limited to that—Annapolis chefs offer options such as seasonal vegetable ratatouille, paella, eggplant roulades, and mushroom and lentil risotto.

Before you make any decisions, do your research. Talk to at least three caterers before selecting one. Each caterer should offer you a consultation during which time, you can tell him your ideas and he can draw up a menu with an estimated cost. If you like a caterer’s menu, but not the caterer himself, don’t be afraid to ask another caterer if she can create the same menu for you.

It’s your wedding, and with a little research and personalization, you can create a meal that your guests will wish for at every wedding reception they attend.

{ Our Favorite Wedding Menus }

We scoured the web for great wedding menus, and here's what turned up. Don't be afraid to take a menu you find elsewhere to your caterer and ask how they can make it work for you.

Spring plated menu
Passed hors d'ouerves: Watermelon & Chevre Bite with Balsamic Syrup, Basil Sprout, Sea Salt; B.L.T. Bites -- Smoked Bacon, Cherry Tomatoes, Romaine, Peppercorn Aioli
Entrees: Grill Roasted Fig Glazed Lamb Sirloin; pan-seared salmon with fresh mango salsa Side dishes: Grilled Asparagus with Lemon Vinaigrette; toasted almond rice; garlic sauteed spinach,

Summer plated menu
First Course: Summer Corn Risotto
Salad: Butter Lettuce Salad with Pickled Peach, Candied Pecans and Shaved Skyhill Chèvre with Peach

Soup: Chilled Heirloom Melon with Compressed Melon and Prosciutto Craklins
Entree: Roasted Loch Duart Salmon with Ancient Grain Tabbouleh and Tomato Vinaigrette

Fall plated menu
First course: Quail and Brie Cheese Truffle Tart with mushrooms and pumpkin carpaccio
Entree: Beef Tenderloin with Sweet Potato Terrine with Artichoke strudel and glazed zucchini
Dessert: Red Fruit Parfait with Warm white chocolate tart and strawberry sauce

Winter plated menu
Salad of Warm Foie Gras, Green Beans and Artichoke
Smoked Haddock and Mustard Chowder
Fillet of Beef Wellington with a Claret Jus and Garden Vegetables,
Pommes Dauphinoise
Warm Bramley Apple and Comice Pear Pie With Cinnamon Ice Cream

Late-Night Buffet
Carne Asada, Pork Carnitas, Chicken Tinga; Corn & Flour Tortillas; Roasted Tomatillo, Guacamole, Salsa Fresca, Crema Fresca, Cilantro, Radishes; Shredded Lettuce and Queso Fresco

Autumn Buffet
Passed hors d'ouerves: Pumpkin polenta with a curried scallop; portabello rusks; cranberry chicken On the buffet: Paella (Saffron rice mixed with sausage, shrimp, chicken, and scallops in a spicy sauce); brandied pepper-crusted tenderloin; spice-crusted seabass; butternut squash savoyard; winter vegetables; and a pear-pecan-blue cheese salad
Desserts: Cranberry Caramel Nut Tart; Gingerbread Pear Trifle

Stations menu
Mediterranean station: skewered grilled tuna with green olive relish; Crostini with a variety of toppings; potato and spinach gnocchi with a sundried tomato cream sauce.
Asian station: Steamed dumplings, spring rolls; Peking duck; spicy Szechuan noodles; summer rolls Tex-Mex station: Chili; cinnamon rice; baked potato bar; southwestern quesadillas; marinated flank steak

Vegetarian menu
Appetizer: Butternut Squash Risotto Stacks with White Truffle Aioli
Salad: Delicate Greens w/Mangos, Cilantro, Cashews, Red Onions, and Lime-Coconut Vinaigrette
Entrees: Butternut squash raviolis with chanterelle mushrooms, apples and a brown butter sage sauce; Chilean Shepherd Pie with a Corn Crust

Brunch Buffet menu
Hors d'ouerves: Scrambled Eggs set on Crostini Toast topped with Lox; Baby Leaf Spinach and Fetan Cheese wrapped in Phyllo Sheets; Watermelon Sculptures with Seasonal Fresh Fruit; Baby Spinach with Caramelized Apples, Blue Cheese and Raspberry Vinaigrette
On the buffet: Fruit Blintzes; Tortellini, Cheese filled Pasta Caps prepared with Pancetta Bacon and Vodka Cream Sauce; Corned Beef with Whole Grain Mustard