Food should be at the top of your list when it comes to what you should focus on while planning your reception. The food you provide guests could make or break your celebration…and your budget. Luckily, there is a new trend on the rise that is breaking the tradition of three-course stuffy dinners and over the top buffets; that trend is grazing menus.
A grazing menu is a series of small bites (similar tapas) that are available to guests throughout the reception. It is a fantastic way to cater to different tastes, dietary restrictions, and allows your guests to eat at their own pace.
Creating Your Grazing Menu
Here are the steps you can take to put together a fantastic grazing menu at your reception:
Divide and Conquer
If you can afford to have, people walk around with silver trays and stagger what small bites are available at certain points of the night, awesome! Your caterer and wedding planner can plan when each tray should be sent out to your guests. If you do not have this luxury, we suggest setting up individual tables with similar types of food. For example:
Table 1: Hors d Oeuvres
Table 2: Vegetable Dishes
Table 3: Heavier Meat and Starchy Bites
Table 4: Desserts
Plan Your Menu by Table
After getting a sense of organization, so you aren’t just randomly throwing things onto your wedding food Pinterest board, you have two options here you can find a caterer to help you put your menu together, or if you plan correctly, you can make everything yourself with the help of friends and family. This is a great time to let your personality shine. You can have mini versions of your favorite foods or go a little out of the box with exotic cuisine. Here are some of the most popular grazing menu items based on the table organization mentioned above.
- Charcuterie, fruits, bruschetta, one-bite Caprese salads, spinach artichoke dip, mushroom crostinis
- Flatbread pizza with seasonal vegetables, prosciutto wrapped asparagus, cream cheese cucumber roll-ups, a large veggie platter with various dips and hummus
- Garlic pesto skewered shrimp, crispy garlic smashed potato bites, savory meatballs with chimichurri sauce, cheese and potato croquettes
- Mini pies and cakes, small fruit tarts, tiramisu trifles in shot glasses, truffles, mini gourmet donuts
Order Enough Food: The most important factor in creating a great grazing menu is knowing how much food you will need to purchase. One of the biggest mistakes with any wedding menu is not having enough food for everyone-especially if alcohol is being served. We suggest ordering double the amount of food you think you need-if your budget allows-or at least doubling down on the less expensive bites. There is always that person that didn’t RSVP their plus one, or that relative that shows up unannounced, so having extra is better than not having enough to go around. On the same note, make sure you have plenty of plates and napkins for all of your guests
Have a Plan for Hot and Cold Foods: A grazing menu means that guests will be eating throughout your reception. If you have hired a caterer, this will probably just have to be a quick conversation between you two. Make sure they have a plan in place to keep hot food hot and cold food cold through the entire night.
If you are preparing your own reception menu, this could be a bit more complicated. You can use chafing dishes with warm water and burners to keep food warm (leaf has a great step by step guide here). For cold food, fill chafing dishes with ice water to keep the food from spoiling. Make sure you designate somebody to periodically check food temps, replace ice, and manage the burners.
A grazing menu is an extremely popular choice when it comes to wedding food right now. We hope that this guide has helped you get a better idea of how to create a great menu for your guests!
For booking information, contact us today!