Thursday, July 2, 2015

How To Create The Perfect Wedding Menu

I'm going to be very honest with you. You will not eat at your wedding. Even if you're the bride who says she is definitely going to eat at your wedding, you won't be. Trust me.

I swore up and down that I was going to eat at our wedding. Our tasting was amazing and for four months, I was dreaming of our Chicken Oscar. I couldn't wait to have it again. And the crab cakes, oh my gosh. Four months I waited for them.

Four months and a day. Because eating at your wedding is just impossible. So when you're creating a wedding menu, you're not making it for yourself. You're making it for your guests. So you want to choose foods that are universally appealing but also foods that make it appear that you spent a lot of money when you didn't.


How To Create The Perfect Wedding Menu

Most wedding venues will give you options. At our venue, we were able to choose three passed and three plated appetizers for the cocktail hour, for a total of six. Our reception venue was on the beach, so I knew I wanted to have seafood (even though my seafood of choice is tuna fish from the can). Plus, choosing crab cakes was the same price as picking as veggie spring roll. And no offense to the spring roll lovers, but crab cakes were a little more wedding worthy.

I kept the more expensive items in mind, plus the ones that would offer the most variety. If we picked bruschetta, we would actually get trio of bruschetta. So now it looked like we had eight options instead of six.

Illusion can be your friend.

The list of our actual options are below, and our choices are highlighted.

Plated Hors d’ Oeuvres:
International & Domestic Cheese & Cracker Display, Assorted Fresh Vegetables with Dip Assorted Fruit Display, Roasted Red Pepper Hummus with Toasted Pita Points, Spinach & Artichoke Dip with Toasted Flat Bread, Ham Biscuits with Dijon Mustard,  Pimento Cheese with Toasted Flat Bread 

Passed Hors d’ Oeuvres:
Three Roma Tomato Bruschetta, Petite Chicken or Vegetable Quesadillas, Miniature Crab Cakes,  Southern Pork Mini Sliders, Vegetable Spring Roll with Dipping Sauce Antipasto Skewers, Parmesan Artichoke Hearts, Chicken Satay with Thai Peanut Sauce, Sesame Seared Ahi Tuna, Cremini Mushrooms with Italian Sausage, Basil Pesto Bruschetta

My logic behind them:
Cheese and crackers give you lots of choices, plus it takes up a lot of room. Same with the veggies and dip. Plus, I'm always picking at the crudité at weddings because I want to fill up on healthy options. And we went with the spinach and artichoke dip because that's the most expensive feeling of what was left (and who doesn't love that?).

For the passed, we went with the bruschetta because we got the trio. The crab cakes because it's crab and the ahi tuna because that's generally expensive. We had a chicken option for dinner, so we didn't need chicken at the cocktail hour or people would get burned out on it. And I skipped anything just veggie because we had all meatless options in the plated options. We were close on picking the sliders but they seemed too messy for hors d' Oeuvres.

We also opted to add on a shrimp and grits action station. I actually wrote a whole post on that here.


For salad, we could pick a garden salad, Caesar salad, or iceberg wedge. Pete crossed the iceberg off right away because no one wants that. He said there's more in the garden salad than Caesar, and he was right. It just looked so pretty for our guests. Great choice.

When choosing your dinner options, your entree options will vary with price based on your meat choice. You can go with the prime rib or the filet mignon. What's the difference? For us, $10 a head. For a 100-person guest list, that's $1,000 (which could be an extra hour of open bar). And that's regardless of if your guests choose the beef or chicken option. That's such a waste of money. Plus, after your guests have been drinking for hours, they probably won't notice the difference anyway.

We went with the prime rib and a chicken option: Chicken Oscar (with lump crab meat, asparagus and Hollandaise sauce). That gave our fish-eaters a little extra seafood too, which was good because we didn't offer a third fish option. We had enough seafood during the cocktail hour that no one missed it at dinner.

If you are planning to have a fish option at dinner but not chicken, just incorporate chicken into the cocktail hour. If people get enough chicken then, they won't even want it as their entree so they won't miss it on the menu.

We made sure our menu was really well balanced and our venue made sure there was enough food for all our guests. It really was perfect.


I designed a menu with the salad, entree choices, and dessert options on it (because we had two types of cake). Plus, our menu said "Late Night" on it because we closed the night with our candy bar.

I created it on PicMonkey with a luggage tag up top that said "Thank you for sharing our first meal as husband and wife." We had luggage tags all over (like on our candy bar tags and our RSVP cards), so this tied in perfectly.

BRIDAL BABBLE: If you were at our wedding, which of these wedding menu items would you have enjoyed?


  1. Sesame Seared Ahi Tuna is the best! I order it every chance I get. So I would have really enjoyed that.

  2. The Three Roma Tomato Bruschetta and the Spinach & Artichoke Dip with Toasted Flat Bread sound perfect for a wedding menu! Yum!

  3. Just fyi, you might want to fix the typo that says the crab is crap. ;) Although my husband (who is reading over my shoulder) had a good chuckle at that!

    We actually did eat at our wedding reception. It's totally possible if you plan for it. We had a buffet and table assignments, so we just made sure the DJ called the bridal party to eat first. Oh, and we had a receiving line at the very beginning, so most people were able to talk to us before dinner. Oh, and our day-of-coordinator knew how excited I was for our passed apps, so he kept bringing them to me during any pause in the receiving line.

    Our biggest money-saving tip was choosing venues that let us pick our own caterers and bring our own alcohol. We had three wedding receptions, so that saved us a LOT.

    Stopping by from Pretty Pintastic Party.

    1. Oh my gosh, Brita. That typo just made me laugh so hard right now too ;] Thank you for pointing it out. I just fixed it.

      I think a buffet is a lot easier to eat at than a sit down dinner, now that you bring it up. If everyone is waiting for their table to be called, they won't have time to chat with the couple -- and hopefully they can eat.

  4. these are great tips! no plans on getting married, but I'll pass these along to friends!

  5. Hate you didn't get to eat at your own wedding. Everyone else I know did. Your wedding planner/coordinator should have made sure you did. Nice tips.

  6. I am catering a wedding next month and even though I have planned the menu, I am pinning this for another one! Thanks for sharing with Saucy Saturdays!