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Food for Thought

June 20th, 2011 by Jeannine

Photo Courtesy Generation Photography

A satisfied guest is a happy guest, and the best way to do that is to serve the right food! When we planned our wedding, we refused to skimp on the food. We could’ve chosen a venue with cheaper meals but we wanted a guarantee that the food would be amazing. What you serve will leave a lasting impression, they may not remember your colours or what kind of flowers you had, but they will remember that delicious prime rib and the oh-so-rich chocolate cake. How you decide to serve food is up to you, but each has its advantages and disadvantages.

Cocktail Receptions

Cocktail receptions are the most affordable, but you run the risk of not having enough food for everyone. Various appetizers are passed around by  the wait staff and it’s easy for guests to be missed. We didn’t even get  to taste any  appies at  our own wedding! If it can happen to the bride and groom, it can happen to your guests. If you choose this option, order as much food as you can afford, otherwise, your guests may  end up hungry at your event, a big faux-pas. Timing for a cocktail reception is important too. I find that it’s more appropriate mid-afternoon or after dinner time, but let your guests know that this is your intention so they can grab a bite to eat before the reception. Choose your menu wisely, and take into consideration your guests’ dietary needs, as well as your own.

Set Menus

Having a set menu can add an air of luxury to your event. Beautifully plated courses will be served to your guests with minimal waiting, and of course, there’s no need for them to stand and line-up for their food. The meals are pre-planned so the venue will only make what’s needed, meaning less food will be wasted. Some guests may not find it favourable because they will be limited to eat the one entree they chose, and its portion size might not be big enough for them. Despite this, a basic meal of this kind can be cheaper than a buffet.


A buffet is a lavish spread of goodies like breads, cheeses and salads to start and entrees of various meats, pasta, rice, and veggies.  To top it all off, who doesn’t love an all-you-can-eat dessert buffet?  People who don’t like sweets, I guess, but then there’s always a fruit platter for their picky palates.  This is a popular choice for weddings because guests have lots to choose from and can try many (or all) kinds of food, as many times as they want… or until the food runs out. Some see this method as tacky since guests will have to “work” to get their food by standing in line, which can also take a while depending on how many guests you have. There is also a greater chance of wasted food since so much is made and not all are consumed.

My Thoughts

Personally, we chose a buffet. We aren’t huge fans of small portioned meals, nor do we want to be limited on what we can eat. We believed that having a good selection of food would make our guests really happy, and it did, they still can’t stop talking about how great the food was at our wedding.

When it’s time to choose which route to go, figure out what best suits your wedding.  Plated meals tend to work best for those that have a big guest list or a more formal wedding. Cocktail receptions and buffets are better for a more casual atmosphere with a small to medium-sized guest list. Ultimately, choose the option you and your fiance want, after all, you can’t please everyone. If you want to consider what your guests would want, maybe add extra options on the menu they can choose from, or set up a poll on your wedding website to figure out which food stations to have.  Don’t forget to have at least one vegetarian option too, salad and bread aren’t suitable entrees for your herbivorean guests.

Brides, listen up!

I have one more piece of advice for you. If you have a corset-back dress, have one of your bridesmaids loosen up the lower back laces a bit to give your stomach some room, but keep it tight around your chest. Make sure it’s enough to hold your dress up but also allow your stomach to expand a bit while you eat. Trust me, you’ll be a happier bride when you can actually eat the fruits of your labour.

Feature Photo Courtesy Generation Photography

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  • June 20th, 2011 at 4:19 pm
    kim says:

    Great Article!! There are so many true things here-as you said people don’t always remember the colours, flowers etc but they always remember unique food touches-really tasty items or fun midnight snacks like french fries or krispy kremes…

  • August 29th, 2011 at 7:11 pm
    Susan says:

    We did about 500 weddings and I tell you that Buffet is the best way to save on cost of food, reduce waste, and make sure your guests get just what they like.

    Serving cocktails is ok before and after the main meal. Not a lot of people like bite size meals in weddings because the truth is most people look forward to a nice meal at weddings.

    Set menus (or French serving) is such old fashioned now days and there is so much wasted food.


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