How to Choose the Perfect Fall Menu for Your Wedding
Choosing your wedding menu may not be what you consider the most important (or most exciting) part of your wedding planning (or maybe it is!). But the food often sets the tone for your guests’ overall experience. Guests will rave about a delicious menu for years to come, and it’ll leave them feeling happy, satisfied, and fueled up for the dance floor! And if there’s no dance floor in 2020, this is the new focal point of the evening. Your menu is also a great opportunity to wow your guests with personal touches or special elements that reflect your wedding theme or setting. And what better way to do that than with a menu that speaks to the season? If you’re planning an autumnal wedding, a fall menu can help create the kind of warm, cozy feeling you’re probably aiming for. But where do you start in choosing the perfect fall menu? And how do you make sure it also caters to dietary restrictions and COVID-19 guidelines?
Here are the most important things you need to consider when planning the perfect fall menu with your wedding caterer.
Be upfront with your budget. The first step to designing the ultimate wedding menu is consulting your budget. Before you meet with your caterer or chef, be sure you know your budgetary limits and have a good idea of how many guests you can expect. When you’re upfront with this information, the caterer will be able to work with you and come up with creative options that suit your style – and your pocket.
Work out dietary restrictions well in advance. Planning ahead is key when it comes to catering for your guests’ allergies and dietary requirements. Most caterers are able to adapt menu items or provide separate dishes for these guests. If this isn’t information you already know, add dietary requirements to your RSVP cards when sending out your wedding invitations or make sure your team has alternatives at the ready on the wedding day.
Embrace seasonal flavors and ingredients. Even if you aren’t having a fall-themed wedding, choosing seasonal ingredients for your wedding menu is always a good idea. Seasonal fruit and vegetables taste better and, if the produce is locally sourced, it’s environmentally friendly too. Examples of seasonal fall menu options include warming butternut squash risotto or pumpkin ravioli, roasted root vegetable sides, cranberry crostini, or squash salads with nuts and seeds.
Decide on your serving style. The serving style you choose for your wedding will make a big difference in the overall guest experience. For example, if you’re having a formal wedding, then a plated meal will create the right dining ambiance. For a more casual vibe, you may want to opt for family-style dining or even out-of-the-box options like a food truck or picnic. Note, family-style should be saved for post-pandemic receptions. When choosing your serving style, it’s worth taking COVID-19 safety measures into account (even if you’re planning for 2021 or beyond). Buffets are still possible, with increased hygiene measures, but you may also want to consider fresh twists like bento boxes or pre-plated desserts and appetizers. Instead of a charcuterie spread for a fall wedding, why not try individual cheese boards with local cheeses?
Choose crowd-pleasing favorites. When it comes to wedding menu choices, you’ll want to include foods that you and your fiancé love. But it’s equally important to please your guests. Think about dishes that most people will enjoy. Fall is the perfect season for this, as a good fall menu will include lots of comfort foods that warm the heart and bring back childhood memories. For example, pulled pork sliders, spice cakes, cinnamon rolls, or cider donuts paired with a delicious cider cocktail.
Make it personal. Personal touches are what make a wedding truly unique, so why not apply that principle to your wedding menu? Look for inspiration from your family recipes, heritage, places you love to eat together, your first date, etc. For a fall menu, include elevated versions of some of your childhood treats and seasonal faves, such as mini grilled cheese triangles with tomato bisque shooters, pumpkin empanadas, or grandma’s apple pie. Or, if you’re a PSL fanatic, why not serve pumpkin spice macarons with coffee?
Don’t forget the drinks. Another way to make your wedding menu stand out is through the drinks you choose. And there are so many wonderful options at this time of year! For example, you could serve a seasonal signature mocktail or cocktail, like hot cider or mulled wine. Or how about an apple pie Moscow Mule or a cranberry margarita? Guests will also love drinks with seasonal herbs or garnishes like cinnamon sticks, sprigs of rosemary, or Asian pears.
You’ll find more fall menu ideas here.
Image by Amy and Stuart Photography