There are so many things to consider when planning your wedding, from choosing your dream wedding dress to compiling the guest list and selecting a venue. The most expensive outlay will most likely be the catering, particularly if you have lots of guests to provide a traditional sit-down dinner for. However the range of catering options available offers far more choice than just this traditional form of meal, and you may prefer the appeal of a buffet, a wedding brunch or barbecue, or even serving cocktail hors d’oeuvres throughout an evening reception.
If you prefer to go the traditional route and offer a sit-down plated banquet dinner, you will still need to consider a variety of options: Do you elect a venue with an in-house caterer or a list of preferred caterers, or do you choose an independent caterer? You will want a caterer who will create a menu to suit your taste and offer free tasting samples.
A specialized wedding caterer will do more than create a menu; they will provide a professional service advising on the table settings and provide efficient servers and bartenders. Outside caterers will be able to provide tables and chairs, crockery, cutlery and linens. A plated, sit-down banquet reception will be the most expensive form of wedding catering but many prefer the elegance it brings to the occasion.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, people choosing wedding brunches want a simple way of cutting ceremony expenses. Plus, a ‘brunch’ won’t raise the expectations of pomp and circumstance, allowing the bride to choose any number of modest wedding dresses for her ceremony. A brunch is usually offered after morning or noon-time weddings. This is particularly true when the bride and groom are heading off to their honeymoon destination on the same day.
You can discuss the various menu options with the chosen caterer, opting for a classic American breakfast or food choices such as fresh fruit platters, cinnamon rolls, pancakes or waffles, naturally served with mimosas or bloody Marys. A wedding brunch is one of the most affordable catered options for the contemporary couple.
A buffet is probably the second most popular option and can be less costly than a formal dinner. Buffet food can be plated by servers or you may choose a self service option. Again you will want to fully discuss all the menu options with the chosen caterer and taste their samples in a food testing. Buffets can lead to the most popular foods running out quickly, unless you order a surplus of all your choices to ensure all your guests are satisfied.
Food stations are increasing in popularity as a catered wedding option. Many couples choose to offer food stations during the cocktail-hour, before a sit-down dinner or buffet. Others are opting for evening receptions with just food stations available. They are a great way of incorporating different styles of food into your wedding and offering a variety of choice to your guests. You could set up a sushi station in one part of the venue and a filled buttermilk biscuits in another. Options range from shrimp and grits, pasta, fruit, fresh vegetables, sliders, cheese or anything else that appeals. Food stations can also be set up for outdoor weddings and if you opt for cold food choices this helps to keep the cost down as the food can be prepared in advance and will not require the service of on-site chefs.
Alternatively you could choose themed food stations offering a taste of the exotic. You could have Spanish tapas, Greek meze, or Italian antipasto.
Another option is to have a cocktail-hour reception with servers offering canapés, in lieu of a sit-down dinner or buffet. You can discuss your favorite canapé bites with the caterer but the options are endless with ideas such as savory tartlets, spring rolls, beef and mozzarella meatballs, prawn crostinis, and beetroot blinis.
A great option for an outdoor summer wedding is a catered barbecue. This informal choice will be a big hit with guests that love barbecue. Professionally catered barbecue meats will not be dripping with sauce as the flavors are infused during the slow cooking process, an important consideration for the bride who does not want to drip sauce onto her pristine white wedding dress. Catered wedding barbecues are increasing in popularity as they not only represent a fun and carefree option, but they are also more affordable than a traditional sit-down meal. Running out of food is an unlikely event if a whole hog is roasted and served with sides.
The catering choice you make for your wedding should reflect your personal style and be one that matches your overall vision of your special day and can be accommodated by your budget. Whichever style you decide on you will find a host of professional wedding caterers in Virginia to can turn your vision into reality.