When it comes to the wedding planning experience, wedding menu tasting has to be the most underrated element. After all, you get to enjoy a delicious meal – what’s not to love? Of course, menu tasting isn’t just about indulging yourself, it’s actually a very important step in nailing down your catering. And as we’ve seen time and again, a great meal is central to a great experience for your guests. Whether you’re serving a traditional meal or something a little different, you want to make sure that you know what you’re getting beforehand.
But how does a wedding menu tasting actually work? It really depends on your caterer or venue. Some offer complimentary tastings pre-booking, to give you a sense of their style of cooking. (Though that’s less common.) In many cases, however, the tasting takes place after you have secured your wedding catering and chosen your favorites from a larger menu. This is a sort of trial run, to give you an opportunity to make any tweaks necessary and narrow down the exact choices. Whatever the circumstances, there are a few things you can do to make your wedding menu tasting run smoothly. Here are my top tips!
Be prepared. As with all wedding planning tasks, the amount of preparation and research you do ahead of time will really pay dividends. Some of the things you should know include your budget (and how flexible it is), as well as any dietary restrictions you need your caterer to be aware of. It’s also worth looking at what’s in season, and discussing possible menu ideas with your partner. That way you’ll have a better idea of what to expect, as well as what you’re actually looking for.
Be selective about who you bring along. This definitely isn’t one of those occasions when you should bring your whole entourage! Keep the group as small as possible. Ideally, that should mean you, your partner, and your parents (if they’re footing the bill). If you’re working with a wedding planner, be sure to include them too. And give the caterer the proper head count ahead of time. They may bill you for additional guests.
Arrive hungry! (But not too hungry.) Your caterer will probably serve you mini portions of your menu, but they can really add up. Make sure you haven’t been for a meal beforehand so you can enjoy it. At the same time, if you’re starving, that may influence your opinion, so try to strike a happy medium. And remember, you don’t need to finish everything on your plate – it’s a tasting, after all!
Know what to look for. When it comes to the quality of your food, there are a few things you should take note of. This may sound obvious, but it’s easy to get caught up in the moment! (Another reason why having your planner there is a good idea.) Some of the things to pay attention to are food freshness, presentation, serving style and service. Take notes and photos so that you can refer to them later. And select what you love!
Don’t be afraid to ask! Remember, this is for YOUR wedding day, so don’t be afraid to ask for a few tweaks if you want them. You want your menu to be just right. A good caterer is usually only too happy to work with you to perfect it. Also, don’t be shy about asking questions, such as where the food is sourced from, and how it will be served.
Most importantly, have fun! Wedding menu tastings are one of the perks of planning, so bon appétit!