After deciding on the overall aesthetic to choose for your wedding, you then have to go through all the different food options for your reception!
Planning a wedding can be difficult, but made much easier by the vendors you choose to work alongside. Your wedding menu is a fun and important element to thoughtfully consider.
You want your guests to associate the memory of your wedding with incredible food. Outdoor weddings can come with several unique challenges, requiring you to go the extra mile to ensure everything is in order.
Sounds difficult? Only if you’re not armed with the correct information.
Here’s everything you need to know about luxury outdoor wedding menus.
5 Major Preparations For Outdoor Meal Planning
Before we delve into the finer details, we need to cover some more general concerns. So often, when we start planning by establishing the proper framework, we forget less and do more in a shorter period.
So what are the four pillars of outdoor menu planning?
Know Everything About Your Venue
It is best to go to the venue several times well before the event so you can plan with your catering team and assess what resources are available to you. Choosing the venue before you settle on a menu is perfectly alright since menus are more flexible. Make sure to speak with the venue’s agent about the site plan if you cannot see the spot before the event.
Pay close attention to details such as the terrain, the entrance position, and even the availability or location of electricity connection. All these things will dictate what meals you will put on your menu, how people will sit and how safe it will be to bring various cooking equipment.
Observe the Weather and Have a Back-Up Plan
Outdoor weddings are planned on days where people hope for there to be no rain or any other form of unpleasant weather. However, the weather is unpredictable, so you must always have a backup plan.
Find an outdoor venue with an adjacent, indoor venue, or have a tent on reserve so you can quickly shift to if you are unsure of the weather forecast.
If you’re determined to have the wedding on a rainy day, invest in backup electricity and tents. Covering your preparation area is essential to keep the outdoor catering materials safe from the elements. If you don’t create a backup plan, you can be in a stressful situation on the day of the event.
Plan Your Space For Maximum Comfort and Flexibility
Is there enough room for servers to walk around with the food? If you plan a buffet, will the arrangement force guests to walk uncomfortably long distances to get food? Will guests be bothered by the heat and smoke from the barbeque as they struggle to listen to speeches?
Many people do not realize how vital the seating arrangement is when choosing what and how people will eat. When you visit or speak to the site manager, try to figure these issues out.
Ask how many guests the venue can accommodate if they have barbeque equipment you can use and if it is easy to walk about on the terrain. You also do not want your guests or servers tripping with their plates full of food.
Therefore, we will discuss one more topic before getting down to the best foods to serve at a luxury outdoor wedding: outdoor wedding reception meal styles.
Wedding Reception Meal Styles
How should we plan the meals then?
Seating arrangements matter when figuring out what to include in the menu. This is because they determine how people sit for easy movement, where they sit, what facilities they may need, and the comfort of your guests. Based on the points discussed above, these are the meal styles we recommend:
Plated sit-down dinner
All guests are seated and given a formal dinner during a plated sit-down dinner.
Family style dinner
Rather than presenting food on individual plates, a big platter intended for sharing is used.
Visitors serve themselves from a selection of dishes on a table or sideboard.
It’s similar to a mini-buffet, except for service staff at each meal station.
A cocktail reception does not include a formal dinner; instead, a selection of hors d’oeuvres and several cocktails.
Best Foods to Serve at a Luxury Outdoor Wedding
Now that we know the restrictions we may have at our chosen venue and the different ways we can choose to serve our guests, we can now get down to specific foods.
Although food choices unique to you are important, you must ensure they will do well in outdoor settings. For peace of mind, they also need to have a broad appeal and fit the luxurious and sophisticated aura you are looking to create. These are our picks of the best foods for luxurious outdoor weddings.
Build Your Own Brunch Bowl
Consider offering açai bowls as a creative twist on traditional breakfast fare if you will be having a brunch wedding. These are smoothie bowls with a selection of toppings. Create an engaging experience by setting up a station with various toppings, including fresh fruit, seeds, almonds, and granola.
You can take this in whatever direction you’d like; however, açai bowls are one option. For instance, you may set up a DIY breakfast bowl station with grits, sausages, and other typical breakfast items.
Chicken, Beef, and Fish
You may be tempted to get the most exotic foods for your wedding, but traditional options are often the best for a stress free event.
These foods have universal appeal. Most people will enjoy them and adapt to different cultures. Most caterers know how to handle them expertly, and they maintain heat when served in large quantities and work well with sauces.
Have a variety of these meals because it is not easy to know what a guest will want. Always remember to have a vegetable-based main dish or vegan options for any guest who does not eat meat.
Everyone at your wedding will be delighted with the cheese station. Give your visitors a delectable selection of cheeses and various foods to go with them.
Crackers, fresh bread, fruit, vegetables, and nuts are a few suggestions. Next, create a buffet so that each person may assemble their dish.
Charcuterie in a Cup
There is no denying that charcuterie tables are trendy. However, if there is a line at the display, it may be challenging for people to serve themselves.
Here’s a unique menu suggestion for a wedding: charcuterie in a cup. Give your loved ones a pre-made selection of cheeses, meats, crackers, and fruits to munch.
Mexican Inspired Vegetables
You don’t have to eat bland vegetables. Instead, get inventive with your presentation as one method to liven up a dinner suitable for vegetarians. Tostadas, vegetarian chips, and filled vegetables are examples of Mexican food that feel innovative, elevated, fun, and taste fantastic.
You can add seasonal vegetables to the menu if you want even more vegetables. You can grill, mildly cook, season, or turn them into a salad because they are fresh.
Giving vegetables a prominent place on your menu will help add a unique twist and simplify your selections for non-meat eaters. There’s nothing as memorable as a refreshing menu at a wedding.
Creative, Personalized Cocktails
You can never go wrong with a cocktail. They are fun yet classy, and everybody loves them.
Cocktails are versatile and easy to modify to suit any theme. You do not have to restrict yourself to wine and champagne. Get your favorite cocktails and serve them with a unique twist, or stick to the classic mojitos, negronis, and daiquiris.
Fresh Juice and Water
Consider fresh juices and water to accommodate the non-drinkers and underage guests at your wedding. Water is perhaps more important than any drink you add to your menu, especially on a hot day.
Juices from the local retail store may not give off the high-end vibe you are looking for. That is why fresh fruit juice is the best option; if it can be blended on-site, the better.
When it comes to dessert, be as creative as possible. Of course, everyone expects a cake, so delight your guests by adding extra variety to your menu. Popular dessert mash-up ideas are cronuts, red velvet cheesecake, apple crisp pizza, cookie dough pop, and ice cream cakes.
If you have any vegan guests joining the party, consider milk-free or milk substitute treats and eggless cakes. These are often as tasty as their traditional counterparts, and in cases such as black forest cakes, almond milk makes it ten times better.
Common Questions About Outdoor Wedding Menus
Although we have covered many topics, here are a few bonus questions couples often have about their wedding menus.
What is the Most Popular Meal at a Wedding?
Many people often like having either beef, chicken, or fish. Although several metrics can break down these opinions, it is always safer to have either all of them or at least one at your wedding.
How Many Menus Do You Need for a Wedding?
It is often best to have one menu per person for convenience. However, if you want to minimize on paper, you can opt for one menu per table. There is no hard rule you must follow.
What Foods Should I Keep Off My Outdoor Wedding Menu?
These apply to all events: avoid foods that are messy to eat.
You should avoid burgers, spaghetti, saucy ribs, and stuffed croissants. Any foods with laxative properties should also be avoided, together with those that require specialists to cook them.
Have a Unique Wedding, While Keeping It Classy and Practical
We all want our wedding to be the best experience of our lives. After all, they represent the sealing of a covenant of love with the most precious person we cherish and adore. But sorting through our ideas and the endless options from planners can get overwhelming fast.
The solution here is to remember that millions of people have had wonderful outdoor weddings. What would stop you from doing the same? We can learn a lot from studying others and getting inspiration from them.
This post compiles the best of these ideas for your convenience. So forget the troubles of forgetting some crucial logistics or being in the dark about what food works best. Your dream wedding is within reach at Curated Events.