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Food | Manolo for the Brides - Part 3
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Getting to Know You: Tell Us About Your Reception Meal

I'll take one of those... and, ooh, one of those!

I don’t have to be invited to a wedding to be interested in the wedding reception menu. There are so many ways to feed your wedding guests, which means that a reception meal might be anything from champagne and cake (with a fruit salad) to, like one wedding I attended while in college, a full sit down dinner in addition to hours of buffet station and passed appetizers that were basically dinner. I’m talking multiple carving stations, pasta stations, bacon-wrapped everything… it was actually kind of surreal.

You may not be serving the kind of American outsized tasting menu consisting of full meals, one right after the other, but I am still curious! What are you serving at your wedding reception – or did you serve once upon a time – and why?

Okay, the Tie-Ins Have Officially Gone Too Far

Seriously. This exists.

Papa John’s UK division is actually selling Prince William and Kate Middleton wedding pizzas featuring a portrait of the happy couple in cheese, mushrooms, olives, pepperoni, and other assorted toppings, according to The Sun.

I don’t know about you, but that just isn’t the most appetizing thing I’ve ever seen… and not just because I detest mushrooms, either!

Inspiration: Fly Away With Me!

Omigosh omigosh omigosh, how amazing and inspirational is this travel inspired dessert buffet created bySweets Indeed and featured on the Amy Atlas Events blog? I think it has everything in the whole world that I like, from a casual, almost-but-not-quite rustic design to its incredible whimsy and prettiness. Oh, and sugarsugarsugar*, but that goes without saying.

On the Amy Atlas Events blog, Amy herself shares a few tips and tricks that will help the DIYers out there create an incredible dessert buffet. Speaking as someone who recently discovered that she likes designing the look and feel of events, I’d wager that something like a candy buffet or dessert buffet would be a relatively simple project. Much less stressful than, say, baking a wedding cake or sewing a wedding dress.

*my drug of choice

Good and Bad Ideas Plus a Caution from Four Weddings

If there’s one wedding reality show I find myself really enjoying of late, it’s Four Weddings on TLC. For those unfamiliar, four brides getting married in the same area around the same time attend one anothers’ weddings and score them on the gown, the venue, the food, and the overall experience. The bride whose wedding gets the highest aggregate score wins a fabulous honeymoon to a surprise location, and the other three, well, they get to be on TV and attend three weddings without having to come up with a gift and being utterly free to snark or gush about whatever they please for the nation at large.

The two episodes I watched last night were particularly interesting to me, in that they included some really brilliant and some really, really questionable ideas. Take a look after the cut to see what I’m talking about.

It’s Your Wedding: Eat What You Want

There are a lot of different ways to choose a reception menu. Some brides and grooms opt for food that’s beautiful versus their actual favorite foods which are perhaps less fancy. Other couples try to please all of the guests with buffets or popular dishes or food that’s inoffensively bland. Still other soon-to-be-newlyweds go about choosing a reception menu using their wedding budgets as a guide.

There’s no one right or wrong way to choose a wedding reception menu, of course, though I will warn all the brides- and grooms-to-be out there that no matter how conscientious and inclusive you try to be when picking wedding food, someone is going to complain.

And if someone is going to complain anyway, why not lean toward a menu you’ll enjoy? Maybe even a menu that includes all sorts of yummy things that, for whatever reason, you don’t eat all that often! I absolutely love this photo of a Boston bride and groom in lobster bibs from Shang Chen Photography. Before I stopped eating meat, I couldn’t get enough lobster, but I can totally understand why some people might not relish the idea of cracking into some sweet, sweet tail in their formal clothes.

So wedding lobster? Maybe not the most popular choice from a guest’s point of view, but you know what? If you think lobster is just the best thing ever and it fits into your budget, do it. I know there are plenty of people who’ll disagree with me – I’ve actually read comments on another site from people angry that they had to eat Rice Krispies squares instead of cake at the wedding of a bride with celiac disease – but is it really fair to ask brides and grooms to serve something other than what they really want at their wedding receptions? I’d say no.

Even if the wedding reception menu a couple chooses is so weird, so out there that we can’t identify a single thing on it, why get peeved? It’s one night out of our lives, and we can always stop for a sub on the way home. Or wear a lobster bib. Or try something new.

Some Pairings Are Just Perfect

Oh my little chickadees! Did I attend a great wedding yesterday or what?

This was a perfect pairing. I’ve come to the conclusion that there is an unbeatable combination when it comes to planning a fabulous wedding to be remembered for years to come: a chef and a musician.

Mr. Twistie and I met Bryan about five years ago when Mr. Twistie joined a band Bryan plays in. We both immediately liked him. He’s quiet and mellow with a wickedly sly sense of humor. In fact, he’s so quiet we didn’t start hearing about Julie for a long, long time even though they were already getting together back then.

Your Wedding Is Mostly About You; Your Reception Is Mostly About Others

donut wedding cake

The lovely Jeannette sent me a link to The 7 Biggest Fattest Wedding Complaints, and I was looking forward to seeing what they were. Now having read them, I’m still not sure what’s fat about them, other than the complain that deals specifically with too much fried food, and I’m kind of disappointed. I was hoping to get some insight into the minds of guests – what are their wedding pet peeves, really? But for the most part, the essay dealt with menu choices and the always contentious cash bar.

All Fried Food
While haute comfort food is whimsical, trendy, and hard-to-resist (Gourmet fried chicken! Sustainably-farmed sliders! Duck fat fries!), try to avoid a menu that’s excessively fatty. Include a few healthful appetizers into the rotation to give your diet-conscious guests a break — and potentially more energy on the dance floor.

No Veggie Option
According to an April 2008 poll, 3.2 percent of Americans claim to be vegetarians, and 10 percent claim to follow a “vegetarian-inclined” diet. So, for the sake of 3-10 percent of your guests, try to incorporate a meat-free entree option or a few hearty veggie-friendly sides and appetizers.

Never-Ending Waits for Food Service
Wedding reception purgatory: We’ve all been there. Standing in a hotel courtyard or milling in front of a church, overdressed, underfed, sneaking a glance at your watch while making pained small talk. While logistics of event planning vary, the bride and groom should take care to ensure that guests are not left waiting for an hour or more with nothing to do, eat, or drink. Low blood sugar is not conducive to celebrating.

I can’t say I disagree with the three pet peeves able, but overall it’s not a particular stirring list. Sure, waiting to eat or worse, watching others eat while you’re still ages away from being served sucks. And while I’d have a field day at an all-fried wedding reception buffet, I know a ton of people whose disgust would equal my excitement.


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