The big 3-course sit-down dinner has a new competitor for top wedding food trends, with guest being oh-so-savvy about their cuisine, wanting farm-to-table freshness, unique tastes and flavor combinations, cultural foods and a menu unlike anything they’ve ever had at a wedding reception. Wedding couples, too, want their guests to rave about their menu choices, AND wedding chefs say they’d rather flex their creative muscles in the wedding menu, not disappoint everyone with the same old chicken, fish and beef options.
So enter the degustation wedding menu trend, which can give your wedding guests smaller tasting portions of five or six different dishes, progressing from lighter bites like sushi grade tuna on an arugula salad to a butternut squash risotto to a light and creamy crab crepe to a few slices of butter-tender strip steak. Chef Bill Zucosky, executive chef at Westminster Hotel Weddings says that with an arrangement of smaller plates, guests get that great variety of tastes, “and you may be able to get an extra course in trade for those bigger dinner servings.” So guests get wowed each time a new ‘course’ is presented to them at their tables, and it only looks like you’re spending a fortune on your dinner when in fact you may be spending a bit less, or the same for what seems like twice or three times the food.
Guests do love having options, especially guests with restrictive dietary issues or picky eaters who at other weddings often find themselves only able to eat the salad and are left very dissatisfied with their meals. These successive small plates give them greater options, especially when the chef creates amazing dishes that guests don’t often make for themselves at home.
A good rule of thumb for a degustation dinner is to choose one classic, like that strip steak, and then get creative with the other small plate dishes. Keep to as many veggies as you can, since lighter, healthier fare is preferable to many guests who are tired of heavier foods served at other weddings. And talk with your chef about presentation ideas, like having a swirl of sriracha sauce on the plate, to keep the heat away from that crab crepe… yet still accessible and offering a pop of color on the plate. You get to flex your creative muscles with how your dishes are presented, so don’t be shy when meeting with your chef.
Smaller plates equals greater odds of pleasing your guests, and there’s an upscale elegance to the ‘sweep’ of the room by your servers who bring out new trays of delectable dishes one after the other. So it’s quite a show, and a form of wedding entertainment, as well.
Ms Gingham says: Absolutely agreed! Small plates with lots of different choices really give a celebratory feel to a wedding.
About Sharon: Sharon Naylor is the author of over 35 wedding books, including her newest: “The Bride’s Guide to Freebies” and “Bridesmaid on a Budget.” Her two books for the mothers of the bride and groom are bestsellers, and she has appeared on such top shows as Good Morning America, ABC News, Lifetime, Inside Edition and more – sharing tips and insider secrets to help you plan your dream wedding on a budget, personalized to your love story. Visit her site Sharon Naylor for more on her books, free worksheets and appearances. She lives in Morristown, NJ with her husband Joe and is at work on her next two wedding books.
Ms Gingham says: Any collection of favourites including bubble is a definite winner for me!
Kit Haselden Photography – Kit is well known for his ability to photograph people, product and events in a professional, dynamic and creative style. Kit’s unique skills and charismatic personality are key to getting the best results for your photography project.
Amy of Amy Chan Hair & Makeup Artistry brings her wealth of commercial and wedding experience in the beauty profession to your wedding day makeup. Not only does Amy do beautiful makeup and hair, she advises on beauty from within – eating the right foods, and the importance of looking after your body. Now that’s great knowledge to tap into prior to your wedding day! When you may be too busy to notice that you are neglecting yourself just a little, Amy’s wise words may be all you need to get you back on track.
You have a wealth of experience in the beauty industry. What keeps you enthusiastic about your profession?
I absolutely LOVE makeup and the confidence it gives to my clients. Knowing I have helped someone feel beautiful and be part of a big day in their lives is really special.
I love the atmosphere, the people who genuinely are there to support and congratulate the couple and how everywhere is filled with happiness. There are hectic moments, but all are done from the heart. I love how a wedding brings a whole family together~
What sort of preparation/research do you do before making up a bride?
I always, without fail ask my brides to gather inspiration photos of hair and makeup they love. This will give me an idea on the style they like, a hint of their personality and also what the creative limits are. I then design a style that will enhance my bride’s features, accommodate all their requirements and suggest anything I feel that will suit them.
Do you prefer to do the hair and makeup for the bride and her bridesmaids, or just concentrate on one – makeup or hair?
There’s no favorite actually! I love how doing hair gives me the freedom to explore my creative side, and how makeup will allow me to study different features, either to minimise or enhance a certain thing. Without the 2 combined I feel there is something missing.
Do you tend to work the makeup style in with the hairstyle, the dress or the general look of the bride?
Absolutely not! I personally think if the makeup is done properly and nicely on the bride, no matter what she wears she’ll still stand out from the crowd!
Are you able to advise a bride on a holistic approach to beauty, so that she looks and feels her very best?
I truly believe beauty is from within, hence I’m a big fan of eating the right food and have a fairly healthy lifestyle. If you look after your skin and body, it will look after you even better later down the track!
I used to have horrible skin, until I changed my diet and lifestyle completely, in a few months time my skin started glowing, and got compliments from strangers on the street for my skin. So I learnt from my own experiences and later on studied paramedical beauty to increase my knowledge.
Whatever you eat, will eventually show up on your skin, so every time I want to eat that packet of chips, I’ll think again and put it down. I try to be disciplined with my food intake, and am a big believer in Chinese herbal medicine, it’s been around for so long, it has to somehow work!
If a bride/bridesmaids have skin concerns how far out from the wedding should they approach you about this?
I suggest they get in touch ASAP, as the skin needs time to heal by itself and get used to the new changes.
I educate my clients on what they should do leading up to the big day, what is good for their particular skin and what they can do to improve it.
What sorts of things can we generally do to ensure our skin, hair and our bodies function at optimal level?
Sleep early! Best time for our body to repair itself is through sleep. You’ll find the skin’s complexion will be a lot brighter as the blood circulation is better, hence less dark eye circles!
With your skin, do a lot of hydrating masks! With the Australian sun, the water in our skin somehow just gets sucked out a lot faster than those in other countries, so we must replenish it as much as we can.
And for the hair, ensure it gets treatment regularly and try to not use a straightener/curling iron on it that often. After all you’re heating up your hair with a 230C surface.
Try get a supplement that contains essential fatty acids, as it helps with skin, hair and nails! Don’t go for the cheap ones as the grade of active ingredients are nowhere as good as the expensive ones. They charge more for a reason~
What are the five best foods to consume for optimal skin and hair health?
Berries – super antioxdant to help fight all those free radicals
Kiwi fruit – one of the fruit with the most amount of vitamin C for skin brightening, skin renewal and also help increase your collagen production
Fish – packed with fish oils and omega 3,6,9
Nuts – provides minerals, most source of vitamins and antioxidant, great for vegans!
Tofu – fantastic source of protein as well as all 8 essential amino acids! Also loads of iron and calcium, great even for babies.
What are your favourite skin care products?
I LOVE DMK, I’ve been using their products for years, and my skin has just never felt better. Every second day I put on a hydration mask while I work on emails or watch TV, the skin feels amazing afterwards!
Do you feel the availability of ‘natural’ skin care is a sensible approach for our health, given the number of chemicals in our everyday lives?
I personally think skincare to some extent needs some kind of chemical in there, to stabilise the actives they put in, and also keeps it from going off so quickly. Without it the actives will not be able to perform what it’s suppose to do, and our expensive creams will just go off too quickly!
Please describe a favourite makeup look for brides?
Dewy healthy glowing skin with soft smokey eyes. My approach is to make sure the bride look as natural as possible, and most importantly, like themselves, but a better version
What are the five makeup products we should have as a basic kit?
Good waterproof eyeliner
Cream Blush (so you can use it as a lip tint and eyeshadow as well!)
What (or who) inspires you?
My mother! Her never give up attitude through life has taught me a lot, especially now. You have to work hard to get what you want and be thankful for what you have achieved, this is one thing I tell myself everyday I wake up.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I absolutely love being a mum and spend as much time as I can with my little girl as I don’t get to see her much with the workload I have. Other times I love to cook and clean (yes I like to clean!) – gives me a feeling of satisfaction when the house is clean and food on the table~