Food, glorious food! For my backyard vintage intimate gathering, the food is king of my love celebration. Of course, there’s much more to the reception than the food. But as usual, it’s ALL I can think about, and I’m going CRAZY trying to make some final decisions. The problem: EVERYTHING sounds amazing. Every theme, every dish… it all looks gorgeous, and … well… I just can’t decide! I asked a “chef friend” for some ideas. It was mostly a fantastic conversation about food. I still haven’t made a choice, but he made me feel SO much better about it!
Food stations, perhaps? I think it’s a glorious idea! This tapas-style reception is great if your guests have the myriad of eating habits that keep popping up, as well. The vegetarians, pescetarians, vegans, lactose free, gluten free, just-eat-something-and-smile guests will find something they can truly enjoy, and not endure the “singled out” feeling of the veggie plate that happens so frequently in banquet settings.
International street food and global cuisines are the hot topics for the themed stations. Brides and grooms are even using food trucks at their receptions! Stations are also a fantastic way to have some fun with the menu, and deliver some surprises to your guests. Savory cupcakes are a revelation, and will enamor your guests with presentation and tastiness. Think: mini meatloaf with whipped mashed potato icing, or lasagna cups. They offer exciting, different, and innovative foodstuffs with a homey flavor profile of familiarity creating the perfect duet of something old and something new.
The plated dinner, though traditional, always remains the ultimate statement of grace and elegance. Multiple courses and phenomenal service add touches of sophistication. Chef Carlos Snipes, a St. Louis native, and formerly of The Crowne Plaza in Clayton, is currently at the St. Regis in Houston at the Galleria. “Plating style really makes a difference,” says Chef Snipes. “You can take a basic menu and make it fantastic with a bold presentation. For example, at St. Regis, we place the protein in the center of the plate instead of the side. Everything is worked around the center, and it looks incredible. Everyone always raves about the plating at St. Regis.”
“People love buffets and hors d’oeuvres,” says Chef Snipes. Giving your guests choices is the key to making certain they’re sated and raving about your fabulous party. Work with your catering manager to maximize the floor layout, and setting up multiple buffet stations if you have a large number of guests can be crucial for a great event flow.
The dessert portion of the reception is gaining momentum, and quickly becoming the highlight of the evening. There are a myriad of things to do outside of the traditional wedding cake. I’m baking my own cupcakes and mini desserts. Everyone thinks I’m crazy! LOL! But seriously… it’s only family, so for the small crowd, my goals are attainable. I’m making Strawberry Lemonade cupcakes and Black & White cupcakes. Look out for the Flavorphilia wedding cupcake blog!!
“Candy bars. I’m all about the candy,” jokes Chef Snipes. Candy bars are fun and can offer an aesthetically pleasing variety to the standard dessert line up. Individual wedding cakes at each reception table for guests to self-serve are also something to consider. It’s another way to get guests mingling and peeking at each table’s cake. And if they’re all different flavors, it will be fun to share across the tables!
No reception is complete without giving the bar the once-over. An absolute-must: signature cocktails in your wedding colors. It’s the final opportunity to make a definitive statement at your wedding reception. And use the bar as a muse for food display ideas! Anything served in a shot glass is an instant hit. Go crazy! Have fun! It’s YOUR night! I’m absolutely taking my own advice on this one