I’ve been to several weddings over my lifetime. They have varied with budget and locations to eras and style. I have been to large weddings, over the top, intimate and styled. The one constant in all of these have been food. Yes, everyone wants to eat, and apparently, wants to eat well.
I went to a couple over the top weddings on Long Island. It must be something about the area. They love to eat! The first was a sit down with several courses. I can’t tell you what they were due to my escalating age and deteriorating memory and the fact the wine glass was NEVER empty. Luckily the people sitting next to me were a lot of fun because we were never able to get away from the table. The second had a reception that was geared to feed an army. Or, rather, several armies. They had pasta stations, carving stations, meatballs, cheeses and even more. I thought it was amazing until someone mentioned we still had a full sit down dinner to partake in. The sit down was substantially subpar to the “snack” beforehand, and seriously, how much food can one eat in a four hour period? (I really should have eaten more of the pasta.) I didn’t even mention the Viennese Hour following this… gluttony at it’s finest.
I’ve been to weddings with buffets but I can’t seem to warm up to food that has been sitting there and picked over by a multitude of strangers. A personal OCD situation but nonetheless, still unappetizing. People eat more than they need to or probably want to (hence the increased cost), but who wants to see full pans of food just sitting there? It’s like they’re calling out to you, “Come eat me! Don’t let me go to waste!” And of course, you must obey.
So many weddings and so many times I’ve been unable to talk to people because we’re stuck at a table eating. It’s not as fun as dancing and mingling, but we do expect a good meal. (yes, we’re there for the bride and groom too!)
Aren’t we there because it’s a celebration, a time to catch up with people you haven’t seen for a while or meet for the first time? You don’t want to sit all night, and especially don’t want to if the ones you’re sharing the table with have no personality!
As a caterer and owner of The Twisted-Fork, I wish more brides and grooms would choose to have finger food receptions or food stations. It’s so much more fun!
My specialty is making big food small, so I guess I may be a little biased, but hear me out. When you have a reception of finger foods or stations, you have a variety of foods to choose from which is great for foodies and is also more accommodating to guests with dietary restrictions.
You can mingle, talk and dance and people can eat when they want instead of being sent to the troughs at relegated times. More often than not anymore, this type of reception can be quite creative. Sliders, pasta or donut stations, mini potatoes stuffed like that big one you have at the steak house, and lasagne that can be eaten in one bite but with the same big flavor punch. For a caterer and foodie like myself, this is considered nirvana.
Other than throwing out the thought of a traditional wedding meal, this plan can really work for anyone and everyone. It can still work with your budget and style. Your stomach will still be satisfied and your guests will still be happy. You can have tables and chairs for everyone but if your space is limited take away a little of the seating and this is a great way to have everyone attend comfortably.
So please, do me a favor. Get that rubber chicken idea out of your head and start thinking of Mini Chicken Parmesan Meatballs or a Mashed Potato Bar with a variety of toppings. Put your own stamp on it and let your taste buds walk on the wild side. You’ll be happy you did and you’ll make me one happy caterer.