If you’ve started to search for a caterer for your wedding (or your next large party), you’ve probably seen lots of meal “packages”; that is, menus that don’t allow for a lot of flexibility. Perhaps you’ve found these kinds of catering menus while searching online or even when you’ve met with a caterer or a reception venue manager in person.
Typically, with such a menu you’ll be offered the choice of a handful of appetizers, a salad, maybe two or three entrees (from a list of about 6-8), and a dessert. You might have some opportunity to make some changes, but these menus aren’t as flexible as you might like.
But as the best caterers in the business recognize the need to diversify a bit, these traditional meal choices are perhaps fading in popularity as other choices become more prevalent.
Enter, for example, the a la carte option, which has become more of a trend at weddings and other large gatherings. A la carte options give you the opportunity to mix it up, so to speak, and to perhaps select dishes that reflect the culture and background as well as the likes of both the bride and the groom.
Why a la carte?
Consider the fact that among millennials there are more interracial and interfaith marriages than ever before and that makes it easy to understand why such flexibility in wedding catering is essential. The couple may be looking to combine two or more heritages into one meal, providing them the opportunity to treat their guests to the food with which they’ve grown up in their respective households. A la carte options – a little from each culture – make sense.
Caterers who thrive on letting their guests know that they are willing to think out of the box rather than stick with one or two traditional menus are the ones that are attracting couples who really want to give a bit of themselves to their guests who’ve come to enjoy the wedding meal.
Making it cohesive
The biggest trick, however, is to take those foods from different countries or cultures and meld them into a meal that makes sense. As the caterer tries to fuse these varied traditions, he or she needs to come up with a way for the meal to flow sensibly. For example, you wouldn’t want to serve Moroccan Chicken with a helping of hearty Italian gnocchi on the side. That just doesn’t go together!
Most caterers have discovered that the best way to handle such fusions is to break them up into courses. For example, if you’re hoping to combine Asian cuisine with French cooking, you might offer a variety of small dim sum-type appetizers followed by a classic French entrée with sides. You might end with a dessert buffet that includes options from both cultures.
That really is the trick…to make to it all work together, say caterers who’ve been finding the need to offer such a la carte options more and more often in the past several years. An experienced, creative caterer can take the suggestions of the couple and/or the wedding hosts (parents, etc.), hone them a bit if necessary, make his/her own suggestions, and come up with a menu that’s interesting and exciting for the guests while meeting the wants and wishes of the bride and groom.
Finding an a la carte caterer
Serving good quality wedding food is important to most couples, regardless of how creative or traditional they might want to be with the menu. But when the bride and groom really are thinking outside the box, it’s essential to find a catering service that’s willing to go the extra mile and work with the couple to craft a menu that may be a little different.
These days, many couples looking for a la carte options begin their search on the internet, seeking a caterer in their area who does more than roast beef, potatoes, green beans, and chocolate cake. As you search, a good rule of thumb is to look for website text that talks about “customizing” your own menu. That means the chefs are willing to merge your ideas with theirs to come up with something that’ll please you and your guests while also speaking to your personality, heritage, or culture.
While you’ll likely pay a little more for these custom options, most couples will agree that money spent on delicious, quality food is money well spent. After all, when all is said and done, your guests may not remember the color of the napkins or the title of the song for the first dance, but they will remember what you served them for dinner.
Looking for information on a la carte options for your wedding? Call us at 604-657-8373 and speak to a member of our team.