January 2014

Ela's Guide to Wedding Menu Planning

Author: Erin Wasem

Start with your budget
We know…ew, budget…but it is the cornerstone to every detail decision you make. It’s important to set something realistic and then use that number to set your priorities. Maybe your priority is music. Maybe it’s the dress. Maybe it’s the menu. For us, it’s always the food, and since you’re reading this, we’re guessing it’s your priority too. Wink.

What is your service style?
Sit-down (three course? four course?), action stations, buffets, cocktail parties? Each carries a different price tag (which is why we say, know your budget first!) and all have their pluses and minuses. A sit-down dinner may be a bit formal for some brides, but will offer you the best chance to eat at your own wedding. Action stations and buffets showcase a wide variety of menu items and allow for guest interactions, but could cause lines if you have a large group and may end up costing more, because caterers have to plan for twice the amount of food. Cocktail parties with heavy hors d’oeuvres will help save on food costs, but may not be ideal for brides (and grooms) seeking the spotlight.

Menu tips
While the best menu reflects the taste and style of the happy couple, keep in mind that it should also appeal to a wide range of people. Consider the needs of your guests. Does anyone have food allergies? Are there vegetarians and/or vegans in your group? Generally, it’s a good idea to stay away from anything that’s too spicy, and if you’re having an outdoor wedding, choose menu items that will hold up in warmer weather.

Taste test
You try on your dress/tux before the wedding. You hear samplings from the band and/or DJ. It is a must to taste test your menu too. It’s smart to try two or three options for each course. Pay attention to the sauces, sides, and garnishes and the presentation as well. Don’t be afraid to ask your caterer to adjust anything. The success of the dish is as much a reflection on them as it is on you.

At ELA’s Blu Water Grille, private function space is available for receptions of 8 to 88 people. Our chef and catering professionals are available to plan and guide you, utilizing numerous resources and years of industry experience when planning your special day. Give us a call at (843) 785-3030 or visit us online at elasgrille.com.

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