Wedding Menu Tasting: Wedding Venue Advice

The term ‘wedding breakfast’ comes from the concept that it is your first meal as newlyweds. Traditionally, couples used to fast before their wedding and then break their fast after their vows.

Therefore, this momentous meal certainly needs careful consideration, whether you would call yourself an avid foodie or not!

It’s important to have a discussion with your partner as to what kind of foods you envision on your big day.

Would you like a formal sit-down meal or something more casual? Would you like evening food or canapés? Do you have any guests with dietary requirements? Any guests who are children? What cuisines would you prefer?

Although fewer options will be easier for both you and the chefs, leaving guests with a choice of two or three mouthwatering main dishes ensures more needs are catered for.

Of course, make sure there are alternative options for vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and nut-allergic guests. Furthermore, you may even decide to omit an allergen from the kitchen if a close friend or family member could have a severe reaction. Above all, you need to consider what you like the most and have that as a priority as it is yourwedding menu.

In order to get a taste of what your venue will give you, you should go to a menu tasting or book one yourself. Most venues and catering companies will offer these.

Ideally, go with your partner. Bring along a close friend if they have specific allergy or dietary requirements, or if their tastes differ greatly from your own. This helps ensure everyone is happy on your special day.

Pre-Booking Sampling

We’ve heard of quite a few couples – who have several venues in mind for their wedding day – going to try a meal at each venue’s restaurant. In this case you should probably approach anonymously as this will help you experience the true catering standard that the venue can produce.

Of course, this method only applies to wedding venues that have a full-time restaurant onsite. Restaurants located within hotels are perfect examples of this.

Wedding Menu Tasting

It is important to sample a few venues for variety but don’t overcrowd your taste buds and make it difficult for yourself by sampling too many.

Post-Booking Menu Tasting

If you have already secured your favourite wedding venue, then at some point you will want to start thinking about the food options that you will be providing for your guests. Don’t leave this until last minute, or it may be too late to make any changes.

Usually, the in-house catering team will suggest a few sample menus for you to choose from. Unless you have some specific ideas in mind, it’s best to choose one of the menus provided and then tweak it to your precise requirements. Pre-set taster menus will often highlight the specialities of the chef.

Wedding Menu Tasting

More comprehensive venues will invite you to come in and enjoy a wedding menu tasting free of charge because the costs for this should be covered in the wedding package. Free up an evening and let the venue staff know when you want to come in.

Alice from Homegrown Hospitality offers group tasting days. She explains, “we specialise in sharing. We give brides and grooms a meal with other couples who are getting married. That way everybody shares and they meet and socialise with other couples as well as everyone in the team. It’s actually really important to know the suppliers who will be sharing your wedding day with you and build a relationship with them.”

What Should I Be Looking For?

At the tasting itself, the venue staff should be there to assist you and explain exactly what you will be eating. Bring a piece of paper and take notes of what you think of the food. It might also be an idea to take photos as this will help to jog your memory when you are discussing the menu later.

Don’t be afraid to be ruthless, as it needs to be absolutely perfect on the big day. But always remain polite to the chef and staff, as they could be ones catering on the day itself!

Don’t try too many plates, as it will be harder to choose between dishes and you could fill yourself up too much. Furthermore ensure you try a variety rather than meals that are too similar.

Come prepared but also come with an open mind. If you have your heart set on a dish or cuisine style that is not possible to create or not how you would hope, make sure you have a good idea of other dishes you would like to try or be willing to take suggestions from the staff.

Talk to your chef about the ingredients; are they local and ethical? If you get a detailed response, then you can trust they know what they are talking about.

Cheryl from the outside catering company, King’s Catering,offers a completely bespoke service. “Every bride and groom has different tastes so it’s important that we know what ingredients they definitely do and don’t want in the dishes.”

Are you getting married at a unique location? If so, ask if you can incorporate this into the menu, for example with a fish course at a beach side wedding. This could also play to the strengths of your chef.

Everything Else

With so much focus on the food, it may be easy to forget what gets served alongside it. Ask your chef or server what drinks would pair best with the dishes you are trying. They probably have a specific wine they recommend with each sampled food.

Perhaps they could consider designing you a unique cocktail which would serve as a memento of the wedding day. Remember that not everyone will be drinking alcohol, so have something a little different to offer sober wedding guests.

Food can also be used as part of the entertainment. How the food is presented on the plate can make a big impact. Alternatively, introduce some theatre with an open kitchen (if possible) or serve canapes in a bouquet. Talk through any ideas with your chef.

What Next?

Take your notes (the staff member who was supervising your sample dinner should have taken notes too) along to the next meeting with your wedding planner or the in-house wedding organiser so you can discuss the menu to your heart’s content.

Plus, assess your priorities about your wedding menu in relation to your overall day. It is unlikely that your dream venue will be able to fully accommodate to your desired wishes without paying a higher price tag, especially if they are complex!

Talk to your caterer if you have any concerns or to see if a dish can be tweaked. Moreover, ensure you double check quantities for things like canapés as you don’t want to be short on the big day.

wedding menu tasting

Remember that the seasons change, and you may be tasting ingredients that are not yet in season, but will be come your wedding day. Those sweet strawberries in your dessert could taste even better at your summer wedding.

It may be the case that you prefer one venue’s overall look and feel to another but you prefer the other venue’s food options. Therefore, you need to make the decision that is right for you.

We hope that our guide to wedding menu tasting has answered any questions you might have had and encouraged you to book in at your dream venue to get sampling! 

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