Wedding season is upon us, and that might mean your summer weekends are dotted with plans to celebrate loved ones' nuptials, near and far. Delicious food, dancing, merriment—who doesn't love a good wedding? And as a guest, you reap the benefits of months-long planning behind the scenes: The happy couple likely thought long and hard about every last detail, from the flower arrangements draped just-so to the sauce accompanying that lip-smacking canapé you're trying hard not to gobble up the whole tray of (true story).
From the planning perspective, there is seemingly no end to the number of details that go into organizing a wedding menu, no matter the party size. It can be overwhelming, sure, but it can also be fun and downright gratifying when you see your guests taking down the shrimp cocktail with gusto.
We had a chance to pick the brain of professional event planner Susan Hong, the special events manager at The New York Public Library, to see what barebones advice she'd recommend to couples just starting to navigate their wedding menus. She shares three helpful (and practical) tips with us:
Collect your guests’ dietary restrictions when they RSVP: It’s ultimately your day, but you want to ensure that all of your guests are well-fed. While you don’t have to alter your entire menu to accommodate one person, it is gracious to make sure that there are some options they can eat. There’s always a handful of gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, or pescatarian guests who forget to alert you to their allergies or preferences, so it’s thoughtful to include some hors d’oeuvres or a silent entrée option that checks off all of these boxes (i.e. a gluten-free and vegan dish).
When selecting hors d’oeuvres, think about how simple (or complicated!) it will be to eat them while standing: As delicious as a mini sloppy joe slider may sound, imagine one of your guests trying to bite into that as chili spills down their tuxedo or beautiful silk dress. Keep in mind that the guest’s other hand will be holding a drink. One-bite (maximum, two-bite) hors d’oeuvres are the way to go.
If your budget and venue allow, consider serving some bubbly or a specialty cocktail as guests arrive for the ceremony: Often at the Library we see quite a bit of downtime between guest arrivals and when the ceremony commences. Your guests will appreciate a nice refreshing beverage to pass the time.
Do you have any wedding menu guidance? Share your tips with us below!