Do you want your friends and family to remember and talk about your wedding day for years and years? I know the answer to that question is yes which is why there are a few things you need to know about the most important part of the most important day of your life. By most important I mean the food and drinks, of course!
Wedding reception food doesn’t always just have to be about the cocktail hour and dinner. Be creative! Think about how to work the food and drinks into more parts of your wedding day. If you keep your guests eating and drinking, you will have happy guests and happy guests like to share their experiences. Haven’t you heard the saying, “the key to the heart is through the stomach”? Well, it’s true and that’s how you will get your guests to remember your wedding day for years to come.
I broke your wedding ceremony and reception down into 8 parts that I like to call “the ingredients”. Let’s talk about the ingredients that make perfect wedding day food and beverage experience. Enjoy!
THE FIRST INGREDIENT: Ceremony Sips and Nibbles
Let me be brutally honest, there are a very small amount of people who are excited about watching your actual ceremony. Surprised? Are you really surprised? I’m sure your parents, grandparents, sisters and maybe a best friend or two on the bride’s side are going to enjoy this part of the day, but, unfortunately, that’s probably about it. If an average wedding has around 150 people attending, less than 5% of guests that are actually excited about the ceremony portion of the day. Don’t be sad, this blog is about solutions! If I wanted to make you sad I would write a blog about what happens 5 years after the wedding. I’m just kidding. That’s not why we’re here. But really, why should the majority of your guests be excited or interested? Wedding ceremonies are traditionally boring and uncomfortable. There is never any food, never any drinks and there’s not a whole lot happening in the way of excitement. It’s just the thing you have to do before the real fun starts. It’s kind of like sitting on an airplane on your way to Vegas. Sure you’re excited about getting there, but that doesn’t make flying on an uncomfortable airplane something that you look forward too. So what do you do? You start drinking the minute you get on the plane to get the party started. You see what I’m getting at here. Your wedding day is a celebration; it’s a party. So let’s get the party started right away! Don’t be afraid to break tradition and let your guests have some fun. I know what you’re thinking, your fiancé’s best friend from college drinks too much and gets out of control. Relax, even your drunkest friend won’t be intoxicated and unruly before the ceremony even finishes, and if you strongly feel someone will need to be completely intoxicated before 6:30 pm, you might want to consider some new friends. So what am I telling you to do with your guests here? Hit them with a half glass of champagne or a shot of a specialty cocktail on the way to sit down. Maybe even pass a little teaser bite around to get them excited. Getting dressed up and going out is fun and your guests will be excited, be sure to keep their excitement alive!
THE MAKE OR BREAK INGREDIENT: Picture Time
Everyone underestimates how long the pictures will take. Let me tell you something right now, whatever amount of time you have in your head… it will take a few minutes longer than that. You have two things to think about here. Think about your bridal party who is taking pictures with you and your guests who are doing something else while they are waiting for you. The last thing you want is your guests starving while they wait even longer for you to take your pictures. Here’s another scenario for you: Let’s say you are meeting a group of old high school or college friends for dinner at a nice restaurant. Everyone is excited to see each other and the anticipation of a fun and exciting evening is in the air. The mood is overwhelmingly positive and the stage is set for an amazing experience. The night will include food, drinks, good friends and a celebratory occasion to get together. Sound familiar? What could go wrong? Now let’s say you sit and you immediately order drinks and some appetizers for the table to share. What if it takes 30 minutes for your drinks to come and an hour for you to get your appetizers? It’s a given that everyone is a little unhappy and it likely has affected the mood and the focus of the conversation. Suddenly the rest of the experience is not so good. The ambiance is suddenly not as enjoyable, the drinks are nitpicked with intense scrutiny and tons of other minute details of the food and service are brought to the forefront and dominate the conversation. Had those drinks and appetizers arrived quickly, the same experience would have been completely different. The swing would be from average to extraordinary and nothing about the actual experience after the drinks and appetizers would be different. The experience was lost at the start and there was almost nothing they could do to recover. Don’t make this mistake. Get your guests some food and drinks and make them happy. Make sure while you are taking pictures that you have food and drinks planned for both your wedding party and your guests.
THE EXPECTED INGREDIENT: The Cocktail Hour
Cocktail hour is a portion of the event that is usually automatic and everyone knows is coming. Therefore, because it is a staple in almost all wedding events, there are so many options here. We are going to dedicate pages and pages of options for the cocktail hour. Your options range from simple and classic to off the wall crazy and fun. In my opinion, this is really the part of the night that you can take some chances with. So, take them! Make it memorable. Make it fun.
THE MAIN INGREDIENT: The Reception
This is the focus and the main part of the evening. Like I said before, the food and beverages are the most important part of the most important day of your life. I mean that! Your options here are endless; buffet, stations, plated, family style, semi-plated, and so many more. I could go on but I’m sure you don’t have the time to be here all day and after all, this is only an intro! Don’t worry, I will be breaking these options down into detail in future blogs to come.
THE IMPORTANT INGREDIENT: Beverage and Bar
You have a lot of ways to get creative here and just like the reception, there are several options. This is another ingredient I am going to dedicate more posts to in order to really go over all of the possibilities. The best advice to give right now would be, you have to have some fun with the beverages. Do his and her specialty drinks, craft beers, mini cocktails, and even some fun non-alcoholic drinks. Check out our blog on the different types of wedding reception bars to learn more.
5 Wedding Reception Bar Options
THE SWEET INGREDIENT: Dessert
Of course, you’re having cake. Wedding cake is a given and another piece of the day that is expected. It is also typically expected to be, well, not that great. Don’t take it to heart, even great wedding cake is still pretty boring. Don’t worry, there are lots of cool cakes and great bakeries out there, do a cake and have fun with it. What’s really important here is, what are you going to do besides the cake? These options can range from traditional to super cool and fun. It depends on what part of the country you are in and what kinds of things you like. The sky is the limit here. If it’s good, then the guest will love it, remember it and talk about it. You could accessorize your cake with mini cupcakes, chocolate truffle lollipops, marshmallow treats, cake balls or something along those lines. You could also go a different route and drop mini cookie jars on each of the tables or do apple or pecan pies on each of the tables. Don’t worry, I’ll be talking a lot more about dessert options too.
Check Out 5 Cute Dessert Ideas Here
THE UNEXPECTED INGREDIENT: The Treat
The food is gone, the toast is made and the dancing is underway. The party is in full swing and all of the nonsense is out of the way. Now is a perfect time to hit them with the little extra fun stuff when they least expect it. You have a couple of options here depending on what you did up to this point with food and dessert. You can go sweet or savory. Pass around some fun stuff or maybe a couple of little things. Mini sliders, breakfast tacos, and fried chicken lollipops are just a few options. It’s inexpensive and a great touch, not to mention a very pleasant surprise for your guests.
THE FINAL INGREDIENT: The Takeaway
The night is over and you made your exit as husband and wife, congratulations! Your guests start to head to their cars and cabs to get home. Now is when you put the icing on the cake, hand them the grand finale. Perhaps you hand them warm donuts, a package of warm mini cookies or a slider and fry bag with a mini apple pie. Wow, how good does that sound? After a long night of drinking, dancing and celebrating who doesn’t want a late night snack to indulge in on the drive home. Finish strong!
Now you have the outline for the perfect wedding day food and beverage experience. Once again, this is the most important part of the most important day of your life and if you didn’t believe me when I said before, I’m sure you do now! Remember to check back for examples and some ideas for each of the ingredients to your perfect wedding day. Happy wedding planning!