Top 5 Tips for Planning & Enjoying Your Wedding Menu Tasting
As a life long foodie and lover of all things epicurious, I believe that food and dining is an emotional experience that creates a bond and communicates love. The very act of cooking, feeding, and sharing a meal with your loved ones is celebratory, and no meal will mean more than the one you serve during your wedding.
One of the most exciting and engaging things you will do during the wedding planning process is your wedding tasting. Aside from giving you a glimpse of things to come, the tasting gives you a chance to decompress and relax with you fiancé. And, there's typically wine...so there's that! But your wedding tasting isn't all just food and fun - to get the most out of it, you need to go in with a plan!
Here are my Top 5 Tips for Planning & Enjoying Your Wedding Tasting
1. Plan a Well Balanced Menu - For both the tasting and the actual wedding, you want to build a menu that is well balanced and thought out. My personal rule of thumb is 3 - 5 hors d'oeuvres that include vegetarian, seafood, chicken, and beef; broken into hot and cold offerings. Stations are a great addition, as are specialty cocktails. For dinner, the standard three courses are salad, entree, and wedding cake, but special touches such as appetizers, cheese courses, additional desserts, etc. are always appreciated and will WOW! your guests.
2. Include Your Planner, Not Your Parents - If you have hired a wedding planner, please include them in your tasting. Your planner will not only provide you with a non-biased opinion, but on the day of the wedding, they will be able to tell whether or not the food quality is on point. That said, do not bring an entourage of people. Too many cooks in the catering kitchen! And you want the menu to be a reflection of the two of you, not your parents or bridal party.
3. Take Photos & Notes; Have a Grading System - After having tasted a full menu, it may be hard to remember the nuances of each individual dish. While your caterer will typically provide you with a pad for the taking of notes, I recommend taking photos and adding digital notes as well. Rate items on a scale of 1-5, and make clear notes such as "please add salt" or "light sauce" so that the chef can ensure each item is on point.
4. About that Wine - A toast of champagne, a sip of a red, a touch of a white, perhaps a speciality cocktail or two...A full tasting experience is sure to include beverage service as a way of making sure that the drinks compliment the style and profile of the menu. Feel free to taste a little something with each course. Taste. Not drink. And certainly don't get drunk of buzzed. Not only will it affect your decision making, but it's a sloppy way to present yourself. And you're better than that!
5. Tip Your Server - Not only is this polite and respectful, but it will earn you quite a bit of good will from the service staff and your catering manager. Servers remember people who take care of them, and on the day of your wedding the extra love will be appreciated!
As a wedding planner, I look forward to the tasting with each of my clients because it is a time when we can relax and enjoy one another. Food is disarming, and it is during the tastings that I find my clients and I are able to tell tales, share stories, and just enjoy each other as people. It's also a chance for me to celebrate with them, since I am not able to do so on the actual day of the wedding. When I look back, some of the most fun I have had with my couples has taken place during the tasting, and I would not trade those memories for anything.
Did you do a tasting when planning your wedding? Are you about to taste your wedding menu? Or are you a caterer or chef that has behind the scenes tips for couples in the menu-planning stage?
Let me know about your experiences and leave your comments below?
Check out some behind the scenes photos from tastings I've done in the last year!