Here are just 5 ideas of ways we helped our wedding couples push the bounds of the traditional wedding meal and break the stigma of boring, dry, cold wedding catering. Use these ideas for inspiration for your own boundary pushing non cookie cutter meal, or reach out and challenge us to help you create something totally new.
1. Themed Food Stations
Food stations are ideal for couples wanting a relaxed meal, a meal that brings together many different menu ideas, or a meal that encourages their guests to be adventurous diners. Some station options could be a farmer’s market station filled with market fresh ingredient small bites, a Pho station where guests are invited to make their own Pho choosing their broth, meat and veggies, a raw bar with chefs shucking oysters to order, or a Santa Barbara Barbeque station with tri tip, chicken, and grilled garlic bread. Food stations are eye catching and a great way to enhance or tie in to the overall décor of a wedding. Food stations will work best if you opt for lounge style seating arrangements with a mixture of table shapes and sizes, and a relaxed dinner timeline, otherwise your non traditional concept will turn into a spread out buffet. In most cases two to four food stations will leave your guests full, content, and ready to dance.
2. Entrees Beyond Steak, Fish, and Chicken
Bored with the typical steak, fish, and chicken entrée choices? Think about choosing another protein option instead. Pork tenderloin works beautifully for a plated dinner, it’s flavorful, tender, and surprisingly very affordable. Leg of lamb is a beautiful choice for a family style or buffet dinner. Like pork it is far more flavorful than beef and very budget friendly. On a buffet it can be carved to order for your guests, or sliced and fanned out on large platter for a family style dinner. Duck breast is a very unexpected wedding protein option, while not as budget friendly as some other options it will really bring a big wow factor to your menu.
3. Wine Poptails
Want a unique and fun welcome beverage? Look no further, Wine Poptails are sure to “wow” your guests. These wine popsicles are perfect for a hot summer day wedding. Guests can enjoy these delicious and refreshing sweet treats while waiting for the ceremony to start.
4. Cheese “Cakes”
An idea gaining recent traction are “cakes” made from cheese rounds. They make for a beautiful display and delicious food station during cocktail hour. What many couples fail to consider is how their guests will actually cut into and enjoy the cheese without feeling intimidated by it, or turning it into an unsightly mess. A server attendant should be provided for the station, they should be knowledgeable of the types of cheeses being offered, skilled at delicately cutting and gradually dissembling the “cake”, and should offer paring suggestions with the station’s accompaniments. If you are a cheese lover this is a must have at your wedding and it is sure to make a memorable statement.
5. To Go Late Night Snacks
In recent year late night snacks have become very popular, but often venues in Santa Barbara require a earlier end time. Late night snacks served at 9 o’clock may go uneaten by guests that are not yet hungry, which is why we love the idea of sending guests off with a snack to enjoy back at the hotel. Why not send them on their way with a“to go” late night snack as they board shuttles, get in their cars and head back to their hotel rooms. How about fresh cookies and glass bottles of milk, sliders and fries in a little box, or a little Chinese take outbox of chow mein noodles. Even if your venue does allow you to party till the wee hours of the morning your guests will still appreciate the thoughtfulness of a take away snack with cute packaging.