Preparing for the big day can be a big deal. There are hundreds of things to keep an eye on, and each one can feel like a detriment to your special day. But of all things, the bride should not have to worry about the food. No one should.
We absolutely love outdoor weddings. The natural setting emphasizes just how natural the wedding feels for the couple. Their vows represents an eternal promise, beautiful in every season of life, just like the land around them. LOVE outdoor weddings.
That being said, there a couple of things that we recommend taking into consideration. And yes, they’re mostly weather-related.
How will your ideal menu work with the weather? It can be difficult to keep food hot in a snowstorm, and your guests may not want chili on a humid Tennessee summer day.
How much space will you have in the eating area? Is it covered or uncovered?
How will weather changes affect your day? We always recommend having a rain plan.
Will that rain plan also affect your food choices? Maybe you want heavy hors d’oeuvres for a night of dancing, but what happens if the dance falls prey to rain?
Speaking of rain plans – do you have a mud plan?
These questions are not meant to scare or worry you. We just want a plan heading into your special day. The more work we put in planning, the less reason to worry on the big day.
While we love outdoor weddings, nothing compares to predictability. Indoor weddings ensure that everything can go exactly as the couple likes. The rain cannot stop what it cannot touch. And the wind will not be able to rip the decorations from the walls or ceilings, either. There are restrooms easily accessible, and behind-the-scene work areas.
Consider these questions:
Is there a kitchen for the caterers to use?
Where will the food be set up in relation to the dance floor? Is it a dine-and-dance event? Or does the eating area need to set apart from the dance floor?
For buffet dinners – how will the table be arranged? Is it an island or against a wall?
For seated dinners – what food can be placed ahead of time? Or served family style?
Ultimately, what excites you the most about your reception? Do you picture the food, or do you picture the party?
Weddings, as we all know, only get more complicated. Not only do you need to meet with vendors, musicians, planners, coordinators, and in-laws, but you have to learn all of the unspoken rules. Who gets invited? When can your guests eat? What is considered polite, and what can be an accidental slight?
In order to be helpful, we’ve provided some unspoken rules about the meal to help make your decision less complicated.
If you plan to take pictures after the ceremony, it is common to offer a cocktail hour or heavy hors d’oeuvres for your guests as they wait.
If the reception is planned during a prime eating time – during lunch, dinner, or, for the brave, breakfast – it is courtesy to provide a meal.
If the reception occurs between meals, it is acceptable to offer something light. A fruit bar, cold salad bar , or a dessert bar would work for these occasions.
Fancy weddings may require a fancy feast. If you ask your guests to don black tie attire, it is courteous to offer them a seated dinner. This type of meal reduces the risk for spills and dry cleaning bills.
So there you go. Those are some etiquette rules to help you start the process.
But regardless of the etiquette, one rule trumps them all. This is your big day – do what you want. If you want to do a full meal at 3:00 PM, do it. If you want to serve finger foods and cocktails at dinner time – do it. Just make sure to communicate with your guests, and have fun!