In our second instalment of planning a wedding menu, we’ll take a look at what’s involved in a sit-down, plated reception.
The first step is selecting your main courses. It’s traditional to offer a dish with red meat and one with white. If you have a number of elderly guests, ensure the cut of meat will be suitable. Tender eye fillet is the best choice, along with a good-quality lamb rump.
A nice, grass-fed sirloin gives a lot of flavour. Make sure the sauces match. Both jus and béarnaise are popular choices. If you have guests who really appreciate fine food, duck can be considered, too.
If you go for beef or duck, also serve fish but only if it’s fresh. Don’t be afraid to ask your venue about this. The most popular types of fish served at weddings are salmon, barramundi fillet, fresh gold band snapper and cobia. Pair fish dishes with light sauces that will allow the fresh fish flavour to come through.
The other choice is chicken, which can be done in many ways. Most people prefer to have the chicken pocketed with a filling such as mango, feta or sun-dried tomatoes.
The norm is to choose two mains, which will be served to guests alternately. If you are worried two choices might not be enough to please your guests, ask the venue if they could possibly do three choices.
Be aware, though, this might cost more, owing to the extra labour involved.
If you have vegetarian guests, ask the venue to cater for them. You don’t have to change the whole menu because a handful of guests are vegetarian — you can simply ask the venue to provide a few vegetarian choices for those who don’t eat meat.
For something a little more exciting, many people like to incorporate more adventurous Asian flavours into a meal. It depends on your circle of friends. When you consider your whole menu, keep your guests in mind and allow a little bit of experimenting. People expect to be treated to something special at a wedding.
When it comes to dessert, chocolate is a must. More than half the population loves chocolate.
It’s always nice to serve a chocolate dessert with good-quality ice-cream, maybe cinnamon, and depending on the time of the year, have a nice, light compote. In summer, it could be mango or peach. Black cherry compote is always popular.
Brûlées are very popular and a traditional crème caramel is making a comeback. A lemon tart is refreshing while a fruit and sorbet plate is also worth considering, especially in summer. It serves many purposes. It’s fresh and healthy, it looks good, it’s a light end to the meal and it’s suitable for guests who can’t eat dairy.
A bombe Alaska, which comes out with sparklers then is taken away to be cut up and served to guests, is increasingly a popular choice.
A sit-down, plated reception gives you so many choices, as do buffets, which we will talk about next week.
– by Nick Tzimas and Peter Tzimas