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Brides Ask Why: “Why Can’t I Taste Everything on the Menu?”

We’re starting February off with a new type of post called “Brides Ask Why”.  If I receive the same question from several wedding clients, it must be a question that many of my readers are asking also!  I hope to help you get your wedding planning questions answered by sharing these popular questions and the answers on “Brides Ask Why” posts every Monday.

Today’s question: “Why Can’t I Taste Everything on the Menu?”  As a former catering sales manager, and as an event planner, I’ve answered this often!

Let’s start by remembering that the purpose of your tasting is to finalize the menu that will be served at your wedding reception.  In order to make the final decision, you’ll need to narrow down your options.

It doesn’t make sense to taste all of the options your caterer offers, for a few reasons:

Becoming Overwhelmed: Have you ever been shopping for a new fragrance and smelled so many perfumes that you couldn’t even tell which was which?  The same thing can happen with a menu tasting!  The goal is to make a decision, and to do so you’ll need to narrow your focus.

Your Time: A typical restaurant lunch takes about an hour.  Think about how long it would take to sample a dozen hors d’oeuvres, salads, entrees and desserts!  Your tasting would take an entire day, and mid-way through you would realize you were full and overwhelmed.

Kitchen Logistics: Typically your caterer (or all-inclusive venue) must place a special order for your tasting, since the ingredients needed won’t be in the bulk quantities they regularly order.  If every tasting included every menu item, food costs would go through the roof!  Caterers are able to keep your menu costs reasonable by limiting your tasting choices, so in the end it benefits you!

Now that we’ve got the big question answered, how do you narrow down your options?

Usually, your catering manager will ask you to choose 3-4 options in each category.  If you’re planning a seated served dinner, you’ll choose a few options for hors d’oeuvres, salads, entrees and desserts.  For a buffet, you’ll select hors d’oeuvres, salads, proteins, starches and veggies.  If you’ve opted for food stations, most caterers will ask you to select a few complete “mini meal” stations for your tasting.

First, highlight the menu items that sound delicious.  Approach it the same way you do when you’re ordering in a restaurant.

Next, choose for your season.  Light, refreshing selections are excellent for Spring and Summer.  If you’re a Fall or Winter Bride, feel free to select some richer, heartier options!

Third, consider the overall atmosphere you’re working to create at your reception and how the food will impact that.  If you’re hosting a rustic affair in a cozy barn venue, Salad Niçoise is not going to be a fit.

Hopefully, these tips will make your menu selection process a breeze!

Do you have a wedding planning question that is keeping you awake at night?  Send it to me, and it could be the topic of a future “Brides Ask Why” post!

Happy Planning!




{Photo Credit: Kayla Johnson Photography, Featuring the work of Bold American Events}

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