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Gino Spano

Planning your wedding menu is no easy feat. Between finalizing the menu and ensuring it’s an outstanding meal for friends and family, you’ve got a lot on your plate—no pun intended. Yet, excellent catering menu ideas will leave every guest raving. Make sure you ask your caterer these five crucial questions for a menu you and your guests will love.

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1. What about Dietary Restrictions?

You want to ensure all of your guests get to enjoy the food, which means finding out what your caterer can do to satisfy a diverse range of eaters. Can they offer vegetarian and vegan alternatives? Is it possible to serve gluten-free pasta? Is serving halal meat an option?

A caterer who cannot meet the many dietary needs of wedding guests won’t be very helpful when planning your wedding menu. Discuss menu exceptions far in advance so they can shop for the appropriate ingredients, prepare an adequate menu, and offer taste tests to guarantee everything turns out delicious. This way, everyone can enjoy a menu filled with savoury food without any allergic reaction or dietary mishaps.

2. Where Is Your Food From?

Inquire where each caterer sources their ingredients. Are they shopping local for the freshest produce or are they buying a majority of frozen vegetables? Great chefs use seasonal ingredients to enhance the flavour in each dish.

Your menu is a reflection of the time and place of your wedding, and you want your guests to enjoy a divine meal. Ask your caterer where they do their shopping and how they can make seasonal food the highlight of the menu.

3. What’s the Best Serving Style for My Wedding?

Cocktail, buffet, sharing style: There are pros and cons to skipping the formal wedding dinner. Today, wedding parties have more options than ever. The time of the wedding reception is another factor, one that wedding caterers can take into account to recommend the best idea for your party.

The ballroom and country club might work best for a seated dinner, where a buffet would create a massive line of hungry people. A cocktail reception is perfect for hors d’oeuvres and mingling with a smaller list while retaining an intimate atmosphere. Discuss the guest list and the wedding theme with your caterer to see what kind of menu plan works best with your wedding venue, guest size, and vision.

4. Can We Include Our Favourite Dish?

Incorporate a little personality into the menu. Think about what speaks to you as a couple and what will be a hit among guests. It could be the first meal you cooked together or an appetizer the two of you love to share.

Food brings people together, so why not use it to share your story and special moments when planning your wedding menu? The caterer can use it as a main dish or present it in a creative way, such as turning an entree into an appetizer. They should be able to incorporate the meal into the menu any way you want.

5. When Do You Prepare the Food?

Each caterer has their own food prep routine, which is often impacted by other factors, from the dishes themselves to other scheduled events. Ask if the majority of the food is pre-prepared and just needs finishing touches on the final day, and find out if any dishes will be prepped the day of.

These options will all vary by your particular wedding menu. Remember, prep time impacts taste and presentation. Some foods can be prepared ahead with the last details added on site, such as antipasto platters and cold salads. Other foods have to be prepped immediately before serving. Ask your caterer what their plan is so you can be sure you’re serving the best to your guests.

The Guide to Planning Your Perfect Wedding

Gino Spano

Starting with roots in a kitchen at 14 years old, he worked his way up the ranks and by the young age of 17 was responsible for daily events of 50 to 600 people. Gino continued to use his talents to work in catering, banquet and restaurant kitchens across the GTA. His love for Italian, French and Asian cuisine paired with his wide variety of knowledge brought him success in his new venture at Seventh Heaven in 2001. Over the past 12 years, he has cooked many meals for social events, corporate events and government officials. His love for new challenges brought him into corporate sales where he and the Seventh Heaven team won Best Catered Event for Canadian Linen’s “The Great White North” – Facility Grand Opening in 2009.
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