Is It Worth Having a Separate Children's Menu?
You’ve sampled skewers and bitten blinis, you’ve debated the benefit of seared beef over seared tuna, you’ve tasted seven different wedding cakes, and you’ve even downed a shot glass full of cold gazpacho. After all your tastings, your palate and partner are finally in agreement, and you’ve settled on a delicious menu, but your triumph is short-lived. Your RSVPs begin to arrive, and you realise that there are children attending your wedding, and they need to be fed.
Do you use adult food and just give smaller portions to your smaller guests, or should you provide a completely different menu, that caters specifically to kids? We’re here to break down your two options, so that you can make an informed choice.
Your first step is to speak to your caterer to find out if they offer a children’s menu. Many catering companies do provide this service, but they don’t openly advertise it, while others simply do not. Whether they answer yes or no, dictates your decision.
A Big Menu For a Little Tummy
You’ve spent months planning what food you’re going to eat, so you’re under no obligation to provide different options for the children who are going to be at your wedding.
One of the biggest factors to consider is price. An adult-only menu means that the cost per head is the same for everyone, whether they’re 50 or 5. One way to reduce your costs is by asking that one meal be split between two children. This will also provide smaller children with more reasonably sized portions.
Another obvious- yet important- piece of information is to find out how many children are attending, and what their ages are. Wedding guests that are 12 or older are expected to eat from the grown-up menu, and often children below three aren’t included in the price.
Children today can have surprisingly refined palates, and there are many eight-year-olds who I’ve seen devouring a plate of sushi. Modern kids – admittedly not all of them – can also be more adventurous, which means they’re willing to try the food that their parents are eating.
Many couples are electing to have food stations on their wedding day, rather than a plated service. With a wider variety of food choices, it increases the likelihood that there will be food that children will eat. You can set up a special food station just for the youngsters, so that they don’t hold up the proceedings for the adults.
If it’s impossible to arrange for some food to come out earlier, organise a few snack packs for the children, to keep their hunger at bay.
Caterers want your business, so they’re usually very willing to accommodate your specific needs. You can keep your adult menu, but attempt to make it more kid-friendly. Take your fillet mignon, cook it until it’s well-done, slice it up, put it in a hamburger roll and add tomato sauce. Foodies may be appalled, but your young guests will be thrilled, and satisfied.
A Little Menu For a Little Tummy
You’ve laboured over your wedding list, and you’ve invited certain children to share in your day, so they must be important to you. Make them feel special by giving them their own menu.
Most caterers will provide some kind of children’s menu on request, and you can usually negotiate a reduced rate, which may be as much as 50% less per head. With this option, expensive food isn’t wasted if the kids refuse to eat their meal.
The more children you have attending your wedding, the more sense it makes to have a child-friendly menu, particularly if they are under 12-years-old.
Children are notoriously fussy eaters, so you could end up with kids eating one potato, pushing the blanched asparagus around their plates, and hiding the smoked salmon in their serviettes. Their little taste buds are different, and they won’t always enjoy the same food that their parents do. What makes children happy is eating kid’s meals.
All kids like to feel special, and you can do this by giving them their own food station. You don’t have to include options, but they’ll love the novelty of picking out what they want to eat, which is an easy way of dealing with picky eaters.
Kids are sweet little rays of sunshine- until they’re hungry- and then they can turn into tempestuous tornadoes of unpleasantness. With a separate menu, you can arrange special meal times that will stop the kids from getting cranky, by feeding them at their usual hour.
Children want food that they can recognise, but they also want to be excited by it. Ask your caterer to update the menu by serving fruit, cut out into shapes, and attached to a skewer, or by putting chips in a cone, rather than on a plate, and then adding a shot glass of tomato sauce.
It doesn’t matter if you pick an adult-only menu, or a child-friendly option, be sure to find out about food allergies and preferences. Meat-lovers might not comprehend that there are five-year-old vegetarians, but they are out there! Pay attention to portion sizes, and the cutlery and crockery that they will use.
Arrange snack boxes for the younger children, and fill them with goodies like: crackers, cheese, apple slices and popcorn. Put their names on the boxes and add a toy or puzzle for them to play with. You can also put crayons on the table, and use a paper tablecloth so they can keep busy, and more importantly – quiet.
There’s no doubt that children bring innocence, humour and spontaneity to a wedding day, but they also add that element of unpredictability. With the best intentions, parents can’t always control their kids, so increase your odds by keeping them well-fed, whether it’s with chicken nuggets or chicken cordon bleu.