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.