Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wedding Wednesday: Figuring out the Food

When we first got engaged I put food pretty low on our priority list. I thought if we had a rockin’ location, no-one would care about the food. As we started to look at venues I became overwhelmed; while the venue location is very important, the majority of our money was going to the food.  And honestly, if we messed this up, all anyone would say is “it was pretty but the food was terrible!” I suddenly realized how important this piece of the puzzle was.

Many locations offered a standard menu, which did not bother me since at first I didn’t care. As we started to analyze our budget, it became clear that our menu had to reflect our personalities and potentially our theme. Plus I would be lying if I said we don’t love food (just look at those faces).


Then I began my e-mail chain with Matthew at The Elkridge Furnace Inn. He started by explaining that they are first and foremost an a la carte restaurant and catering company and that they could literally put together any menu we could possibly imagine. I don’t know about you, but it sounded fantastic to me. I immediately shot back an e-mail stating that we wanted our reception to reflect how we met and good ol’ southern cooking and that we wanted it to be Tree Nut free since one of my bridesmaids is allergic.


I was flabbergasted when we met and he presented us with a menu that had everything on my original list.  When I say everything, I mean the works! The list ranged from a grits station to Chesapeake Rockfish… from collard greens to Old Bay dusted crab-cakes! My mom, Jay and I took the menu and decided to digest it for a couple of days (pun intended!). I think I threw my mom off as I did not tell her about the correspondence I had with Matthew about the menu, but I think she was pleasantly surprised.

There were a few people who I specifically wanted to review the menu: my parents and my vegetarian friends. I love my mom, but she isn’t the most decisive person sometimes (especially when she feels pressured). Thankfully, dad came through and was able to tell me exactly what he DID and DID NOT like about the menu. I love concrete feedback, so this was very helpful.  You can thank him for the Chesapeake station, which will (of course) feature Maryland Crab.


The next group I wanted feedback from was my vegetarian friends. One complaint I hear from people all the time is that they attend weddings but never find something they can actually eat. Finding a meatless option at a catered event can be even more daunting. Therefore I e-mailed the menu to my vegetarian friends and simply asked if they could find something to eat on the menu.  There was the added bonus that one of the girls was from the South (a vegetarian from the South, I couldn’t believe it either!) The consensus was that they would be able to eat something at every point in the meal, and that not everyone enjoys collard greens as much as I do (so sad, but so true).

Lastly, we knew we were having a few children at our wedding, so our Home-Style Station fit the bill (aka Chicken Finger Wednesday for anyone that went to USC.  If you didn’t go to USC, then you don’t know what you’re missing).


At the end of the day, everyone is happy, the vegetarians can participate in the meal and only one of the passed Hors D’oeuvres has tree nuts in it (bet you can’t guess which one!). 

What factors went into planning your menu for your wedding?