Create a Personalized Reception Menu

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

The menu is one of the biggest (and most stressful) aspects of planning your reception, but it also offers an opportunity to add a personal touch to your celebration and share some of your favorite foods with your guests. So how do you plan a menu that reflects you as a couple? We broke it down into manageable steps.

  1. Brainstorm. To begin, sit down with your significant other and think about what you both love to eat. Dishes you like to cook at home, favorite restaurants, beloved family recipes and foods that are part of your ethnic heritage can provide inspiration for your menu.
  2. Prioritize. After you've made a list of the things you love, reflect on what's most important to you. You don't want to get overwhelmed with options-and neither do your guests-so focus on just one or two favorite dishes or on personalizing one part of the meal. For example, if you want a more traditional sit-down dinner, you can incorporate some unique appetizers into the cocktail hour.
  3. Consult the experts. Armed with your ideas and priorities, it's time to talk with the caterer. Ask important questions like: "Will these ideas work with the venue and time of year we've chosen?" and, "How can we make this work with our budget and number of guests?" Find a caterer with whom you feel comfortable, as he or she will guide you through the practical considerations of menu planning.
  4. Do a tasting. Once you've discussed potential menu options with your caterer, have a tasting together. This will help you make your final decision. Keep in mind your guest's tastes might not be quite as adventurous as yours, so aim to serve dishes you think others will love, too.
  5. Educate guests. If you don't inform your guests about the significance of the foods you've chosen, they may never know why they're special. Don't forget to include a note on the menu cards, which lets everyone enjoy the personal meaning behind your selections and sparks dinner-time conversation.