Planning a wedding during the holidays makes many aspects of the special day much easier. The holidays are typically when people travel and take time off from work, and when many families get together – all of which make it simple to bring everyone in one place to celebrate you and your love.
But, some aspects of holiday wedding planning can be a little tricky, like holiday catering. As much as you may want to enjoy your favorite meal during your wedding or plan a fun couple’s cocktail, it is worth thinking about how your wedding menu ties into the season.
Here are seven tips to keep in mind when planning the menu for your big day.
1. Choose Crowd-Pleasers First
For cocktail hour, you can’t go wrong with crowd-pleasers. This includes everything from classic Thanksgiving dishes like turkey and mac and cheese to Hannukah latkes and jelly donuts. Just make sure your crowd-pleasers of choice are bite-size, or at least able to be eaten with one hand.
You may have to get a little creative with your caterer to figure it all out. Instead of slices of turkey, have turkey meatballs served. Turn mac and cheese into fried mac and cheese balls and plan for two-bite latkes rather than the standard-sized portion. To fit a Christmas theme, you can’t go wrong with baked ham or sweet gingerbread treats.
2. Consider the Alternatives
While you’re planning your holiday-themed menu, keep the food allergens or preferences of your guests in mind. You may want to have a few mushroom meatballs available during cocktail hour or plan a vegan-themed Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, or Christmas plate as an option for the main course.
Alternatives don’t have to be available for every dish you choose, but there should be enough so that your gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, or Kosher friends and family feel welcome.
3. Offer Light Options
Are you someone who is typically a health-conscious eater? Do you want to be able to enjoy your wedding without worrying about over-indulging in all the delicious food?
If this relates to you, find ways to turn classic holiday treats into non-guilty wedding eats instead of ruling them out on your special day. This is much easier than it may seem. All it takes is a bit of swapping ingredients (and a few differences in cooking styles (like baking instead of frying), and voila – you’ll have a full holiday feast!
4. Do Something Different
If you like the thought of a little culinary challenge, take a moment to think outside the box. Instead of making classic holiday meals fit the bill of a healthy dish or a vegan-friendly food, see if you can give your favorite foods a festive spin.
Say you really like pizza and want to dress it up a bit for your wedding. If so, put butternut squash and goat cheese flatbread on the menu to turn classic pizza into an elegant, fall-appropriate food. This is just one example of the many, many everyday dishes that can become wedding-appropriate and fit the holiday spirit.
5. Don’t Forget the Cocktails
Speaking of turning a favorite of yours into a holiday food, take a moment to consider the kind of cocktails you’d like to have served. Think of the drink you almost always order out or the ones that your friends know you for. Then, find a creative way to put a holiday twist on it!
There are practically no limits to what you can come up with here. Just think what a gingerbread Old Fashioned or a cranberry mojito may taste like. To really take things to the next level, imagine these drinks dressed up with a stick of cinnamon or a piece of fresh rosemary.
6. Give Your Menus a Holiday Theme
Another way to perfect the art of holiday catering is to put festive art on the menus you’re getting printed. Whether you’re having one menu per table or per person, it’s worth giving it a look to fit the theme of the food.
For Thanksgiving-inspired eats, be sure to include warm tones, fall leaves, and classic root plants like pumpkins and squash on the design of your menu. For Christmas, you can’t go wrong with red and green, festive lights, or gingerbread decorations. And if Hanukkah is the holiday happening around your special day, a nice menorah or Star of David will do the trick for your menu’s design.
7. Bring Everything Together with Festive Decor
The final tip to help your wedding food match the holidays is to make sure you have festive decor on the table.
Think of the colors typically associated with the holiday that falls on or close to your wedding day. Close your eyes and think of the smells that are usually in the air during Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, or Christmas. Also, consider any fun traditions that come with the holiday that could easily be tied into the table setting – like paper turkeys or cracked chestnuts.
These details may sound a little silly or over the top, but they make all the difference. They’ll ensure your guests have a lovely meal, and they’re the small but important things that make your wedding magical for all.
Holiday Catering Made Simple
Here’s a bonus tip about holiday catering: it doesn’t have to be complicated!
Between all the tips listed above and the help of a professional team to bring your vision to life, you have nothing to worry about. All you have to do is focus on the food – what to serve, how to serve it, and how to make sure all the pieces of your wedding come together.
Leave everything else up to the team who’s committed to making the day a huge success for you, your future spouse, and all your cherished guests.
To plan for an upcoming catered event, learn more about our services here!