Catering disasters: how to avoid a menu that fails to satisfy

Like many aspects of planning a wedding, when deciding your menu, there is no limit to how fancy or exotic you can go. Herb encrusted roasted snails? Yes, please. Thai-style Mangosteen Clafouti? Why, but of course. On a more serious note, however, deciding on a menu can get complicated when you take into account that everyone has different taste buds. What you find delectable someone else might find completely unappealing. So how to choose a menu that has just the right blend of taste, visual appeal and panache?

To begin with, let’s establish some ground rules. Number 1: the food at your wedding is as important as the alcohol selection on offer. While there will be some guests holding out for the slow cooked lamb medallions with the buttered sweet potato purée, give the rest of your guests some fancy cocktails and enough spirits to keep them dancing all night, and they will have a jolly good time even if said lamb arrives a tad dry. Number 2: it is just as important for food to look good as it is for it to taste good. Visual appeal has been known to add to the tastiness of food and unattractive wedding food just doesn’t cut it. Which brings us to number 3: food should live up to its looks. In other words, the plate in front of you should look fantastic and taste equally fantastic. But how to ensure we cover all these bases?

A lot of our success with catering comes down to the taste testings your caterer will offer before the wedding. Take some family members with you and let them have their say. Maybe even take a vote between all of you. If 3 out of the 4 of you agree on the glazed orange duck, glazed orange duck it is. It’s always a good idea to offer your guests a choice of two options, so try to make these options different from each other to increase the likelihood of them choosing one they are happy with. And if you simply can’t choose just one dessert, why not go with a dessert buffet? It will give people a chance to mingle as well as providing them with a number of tempting options.

When deciding on your menu, keep in mind that some of your guests will have special diet considerations. There will always be a handful of people who are gluten free/vegan/vegetarian, and while you can try to arrange options for these people, it’s not always possible to please everyone. However, discuss this with your caterer as there are bound to be options that meet some of these special requirements, especially if you take into consideration canapés and entrées as well as the main. If you get really stuck, close your eyes and spin around and when you stop spinning point down at the list of choices and go with that one. Just cross your fingers that Matt Preston doesn’t happen to be on the guest list.