finding your flavors

As wedding planners, many of our days are spent talking about food {and needless to say, we do a lot of eating around here too}.  Planning a menu should be one of the most fun and creative aspects of the planning process.  And the Menu Tasting is typically the only time for bride, groom & parents to weigh in on something as a group.

Here are a few helpful hints and ideas for creating the perfect menu …

REMEMBER, above all else, that your likes and dislikes are not necessarily the same as your guests.  If you are creating a menu for 150 guests, only a small percentage might actually eat sushi or raw oysters, for example, even though it’s your favorite food.

TRENDS play a large part in menu planning, so although bridal magazines & blogs might be featuring all things pasta for a Winter wedding, try to pick items that are different from other events you’ve been to that season.  Try a butternut squash ravioli, or risotto, rather than tortellini with red sauce.

REGIONAL & SEASONAL items plays a heavy role in Charleston cuisine because of the offerins from our local farmers & fishermen.  We always strive to guide our clients in choosing seasonally appropriate fare, as well as locally grown whenever possible.  Cheese from a nearby farm accompanied by candied pecans & honey are filling a cocktail hour for one of our Fall weddings – yum!

NOVELTY items are a must at any event. Lowcountry food is comfort food, and who doesn’t love most any vegetable cooked with, or wrapped in, bacon.  Savory, decadent dishes are fabulous – we just don’t go to weddings to eat salad after all. 

CHEF ATTENDED STATIONS versus a seated dinner can be a tricky decision for northern and southerner’s alike.  Most importantly, think about what you & your guests will truly enjoy within the venue you’ve chosen.  The layout and type of seating can make all the difference.

ALLERGIES or dietary restrictions will always be a concern for the Chef in the kitchen, so it’s helpful for him if you take a glance at your guest list for anyone who might need special accommodations.  Nuts, mushrooms and dairy are items to be especially conscious of.

BALANCE is essential in the end, so just be sure that you are accommodating the meat eaters and the vegetarians in the overall quest to wow your guests.  Break down the menu into groups –  such as meats, seafood & vegetable – as well as balancing your palette with salty, spicy & sweet.

Happy menu planning!

~ Carrie


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