Today's Bride

Real Bride Blogger, Denise – Catering & Menu Decision


One of the best parts of wedding planning are the free meal and cake tastings, am I right? This month, take advantage of Real Bride Blogger, Denise’s, advice and tips when it comes to choosing your caterer and menu.

Less than 4 months to go! To say Mike and I are excited would be the understatement of the year!

We’ve had our vendors booked for months and have been itching for the planning to pick up. It seems our wishes may have been granted: The last few weeks have consisted of meetings with our Officiant to discuss the ceremony, a travel agent to discuss the honeymoon (a delayed one, but we’re thinking Portugal!) … and, to top it off, a group tasting at our venue. We don’t make it back for too many meetings (again, Chicago folks here), but for us, it’s very important to be present and an active part in providing the best food experience for our guests.

wedding catering | As seen on
Ashley Dahl Photography

More than just the entrée

I would be afraid to track the amount of hours Mike and I have spent talking about the food at our wedding, especially when it comes to entrees. “That doesn’t seem ‘summer-y’ enough.” “My family is full of picky eaters.” “Uncle Joe likes his steak medium-rare, while my mom likes hers well done.” I don’t have an Uncle Joe, but you get the point.

You have many people to please when it comes to your menu, and that can be a lot of weight to shoulder. Try to breathe, take your time and do you best to make a thoughtful decision. That’s all you can do at the end of the day. For us, we realized while we love beef and seafood (um, shrimp is only my favorite!), they might not be the best options for our crowd. Sounds strange, I know, but that’s where we are … so we’re working with our coordinator to see if we can secure chicken, pork and vegetarian options instead.

We’re also taking comfort in the fact that the food experience is so much more than just the entrée. More decisions – and why is that comforting? Because we realize that we can make a “fine” choice when it comes to the plated meal, but really knock it out of the park when it comes to the food experience as a whole. We have some amazing passed options and stations in mind to set the stage at cocktail hour. Late night snack to round off the night? Of course!

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The sweetest tooth

Anyone who knows me knows I have a serious sweet tooth. I love to bake. I’ve never met a macaron I haven’t liked. So, of course, our sweets spread with be the stuff of dreams!

I believe large wedding cakes can be downright beautiful, but they’ve never felt like my jam. Instead, we’ve opted for a cake buffet with three (!!!) different cakes, varying in size and design.  Oh, and in four different flavors because how could we possibly choose?

In addition, we’ll have cookies, macarons and other desserts on display. We have another sweets-themed surprise in store for our guests, but that’s for us to know and everyone else to find out. 😉

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It’s in the details

Food is only one part of “food experience.” As you prepare for your catering meetings, you should also be considering timing, serving style, place settings, napkin folds, and beverages – to name a few.

Mike and I are pretty pumped that we get the chance to add some personalization with our beverages. For our craft beer choices, we plan to have options from both Cleveland and Chicago breweries to highlight our journey. We’re also hoping to include our cats (they’re the cutest!) by having signature cocktails named after them. For us, we weren’t big fans of table greetings and preferred to do a receiving line to welcome our guests into the reception space. That adds more time between the cocktail hour and reception for meal prep and cuts down any linger time after our guests are done eating. We opted to do a plated meal over buffet to make our guests feel taken care of and to match the formality of the venue.

Napkin folds might be whatever to you, but if you’re going to put a great deal of attention into anything on your day, put it into the timing. Does the flow of the event from the moment the first guest arrives to the end of the night make sense? Are there unnecessary hiccups you could smooth out by simply discussing with your caterer and/or DJ? Are you doing a long reception? Think about how your guests will feel in those moments – AKA spring for that late-night snack if you think your loved ones might be hangrily calling for pizza from the parking lot. (I saw that in an episode of Four Weddings once, and it will haunt me as long as I live!) Courtesy goes a long way – especially when it comes to your wedding catering.

Take care of your guests, stay true to your vision and knock those to-dos outtttt. You’ve so got this!

Until next time,


1 Comment

Jade says:

Wedding food is definitely more than the entree and desserts! Loved reading this, it made a lot of sense!

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