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Food and Cakes

Reception Food Questions...

I have some random questions I want to get some feedback from so people who have already gone through this whole wedding shindig.  I am worrying about food... enough, selection, etc.  I am certain it is only because I am and EATER, and I never think there is enough food. 

My venue (full service) has a package that is a 1 hour cocktail hour, and then a seated dinner, which we are doing.  We are also doing a full open bar the whole time, so I think we have covered all the basics of being a good host. 

The package is:

Cocktail Hour: 3 passed Hors D'oeuvres, 1 stationary cheese and vegetables

Dinner: Soup, Salad, Choice of Entrée, and Cake with Chocolate Strawberries

Questions:

1) I feel like there should be more at the Cocktail Hour - anyone have thoughts on this?

2) On the choice of entrée, we are thinking a fancy stuffed chicken and a beef.  Our other is a lovely fish dish.  Can anyone give an idea if fish was a hit with their guests and if we should consider it instead of the beef or chicken?

3) For soup, we can pick a Minestrone or a New England Clam Chowder.  Anyone have any advice for the crowd pleaser out of these two?  Since we are getting married in the greater Boston Area, and most of the guest are traveling, we were leaning towards the Chowder, but I second guess myself on the love/hate of seafood.

4) What else would you add to the reception? 

As a side note, any special diets (vegetarian for example) will be handled separately as long as they do not exceed 10% of the total guests.

KnotRiley

Re: Reception Food Questions...

  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    3 passed, one stationary is pretty standard.    If you want to add more go ahead.  We had 3 hot/3 cold, stationary and a full raw bar.  

    Soups -  Since it's near Boston I would go with the chowder, unless you know for a fact a lot of people do not eat seafood or have shellfish allergies.      Basically I'm no help at all on this one :p

    Entree - I would do beef and a fish option.  There are many people who do not like meat, but eat fish.   Even if it's only 1/4 of your guests, it worth it to have a fish option. 






    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    I think that is enough food for cocktail hour.  Just make sure that the servers are really passing the apps because nothing sucks worse then having to track down a server only to find an empty tray.  Remember it is only for an hour and since you are having soup, salad, entree and dessert your guests don't need a crazy amount of food before that.

    Can you offer all three?  It is always better to have more options then not.  Or see if they can offer a vegetarian option instead of the fish.  You would be surprised how many meat eaters may choose the veggie option just because it may sound better.

    If I were a guest I would prefer the minestrone, but that is only because I do not like clams.  Maybe ask some of your VIPs which would be more appealing to them just to get an idea of what direction you should go.

    I don't think you need to add anything extra to the reception.  You have plenty of food and it sounds like your venue will happily accommodate anyone with any dietary restrictions so you are good there.

    For your invites when you note the entree choices, I would provide the choice in detail rather then just say "beef, "stuffed chicken," "salmon."  This will help your guests know exactly what the dish entails instead of being surprised by like blue cheese if they hate blue cheese, kwim?

  • 1) Choose heavier apps and/or instead of passed, be stationary...  Three with the cheese/veggies should be plenty (I'd maybe see about adding fruit with the veggies & cheese..)

    2) Chicken and Beef is a pretty solid "please the masses" type option.  Fish is a love it or hate it type dish...  The key is - you know your guests and what they like.  Go with what you and your guests like the most, not something you need to talk yourself/guests into.

    3) Which tastes the best when made by your venue?

    4) You can never go wrong with "Make it Delicious" as your guide for all things food.  You don't have to choose foods that are "out there" for it to taste wonderful whatever "it" happens to be. Depending on where your budget is sitting, what about adding something put out as a snack later in the evening?  Also, make sure to ask on the cake what size portion of cake it is.  May caterers include a dessert, but it's far from an actual wedding cake or equiv. portion. 

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  • cupcait927cupcait927 Western NY wine country member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    I think you're fine on the appetizers. We had two passed and 1 stationary (fruit/cheese/crackers) and that seemed to be plenty for our 50 guests. 

    I say stick with beef and chicken but definitely see if you can offer a third option - can't hurt to ask. We had four options - beef, stuffed chicken, salmon, and stuffed portabella mushrooms - and I only had 2 people get the veggie and fish options.

    For your soup options, the clam chowder makes sense since you're getting married in Boston but either really is fine. I wouldn't overthink it too much. 
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  • JoanE2012JoanE2012 Exit 21 (Jersey!) member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    I love cocktail hour, so for me, the more the better. Most of the weddings I've been to (NJ) are an extravagance of food...and that's just with just the standard package!  That said, I think yours would be fine!  As long as the food is plentiful, I'm happy.

    I would also keep the fish.  We had a beef, chicken and fish (salmon) dish.  I was SHOCKED when the RSVPs came in and we had more people pick salmon than either the beef or chicken.

    I prefer minestrone (and wouldn't eat clam chowder), so there's my vote. :)
  • jacques27jacques27 member
    Knottie Warrior 500 Love Its 1000 Comments 5 Answers
    edited October 2015

    I have some random questions I want to get some feedback from so people who have already gone through this whole wedding shindig.  I am worrying about food... enough, selection, etc.  I am certain it is only because I am and EATER, and I never think there is enough food. 

    My venue (full service) has a package that is a 1 hour cocktail hour, and then a seated dinner, which we are doing.  We are also doing a full open bar the whole time, so I think we have covered all the basics of being a good host. 

    The package is:

    Cocktail Hour: 3 passed Hors D'oeuvres, 1 stationary cheese and vegetables

    Dinner: Soup, Salad, Choice of Entrée, and Cake with Chocolate Strawberries

    Questions:

    1) I feel like there should be more at the Cocktail Hour - anyone have thoughts on this?

    2) On the choice of entrée, we are thinking a fancy stuffed chicken and a beef.  Our other is a lovely fish dish.  Can anyone give an idea if fish was a hit with their guests and if we should consider it instead of the beef or chicken?

    3) For soup, we can pick a Minestrone or a New England Clam Chowder.  Anyone have any advice for the crowd pleaser out of these two?  Since we are getting married in the greater Boston Area, and most of the guest are traveling, we were leaning towards the Chowder, but I second guess myself on the love/hate of seafood.

    4) What else would you add to the reception? 

    As a side note, any special diets (vegetarian for example) will be handled separately as long as they do not exceed 10% of the total guests.

    1.  My answer depends on how many guests you're expecting.  The higher the guest count, the more variety you should have.  If you're having more than 50 guests, I would have at least 6-8 varieties.  I would also lean toward having at least two more stationary apps.  I hate hate hate chasing down servers for passed apps, particularly in larger crowds.  I don't think you need to go to completely extravagant levels or have heavy things that could be a meal unto itself like pasta, mashed potatoes, or carving stations since you are having a full meal afterwards, but I think larger variety is important the larger your crowd gets.

    2.  Chicken and beef are both crowd pleasers.  Most people I know who eat fish (and are not pescatarians) will eat chicken, but plenty of people who eat chicken don't care for fish.  What about vegetarians?  I would add a veggie dish that appeals to everyone.  I eat meat (and fish for that matter), but will frequently choose the veggie option if it sounds better. (although truthfully, my criteria is usually picking the thing I'm least likely to make myself at home - I rarely cook red meat or fish at home, so I'm likely to choose those over chicken or more simple preparations like plain baked or broiled)

    3.  Minestrone is likely the safer choice.  Shellfish tends to be divisive.  You tend to not have people who are just lukewarm on it - people either really love it or really hate it (and it's a common allergen).  And I tend to think of heavier cream-based soups more appropriate for colder weather or as a meal unto themselves rather than part of a multi-course dinner.

    4.  No, other than making sure a veggie option is available, at the very least as a special option to vegetarians, but also potentially offered to everyone if you decide not to go with fish.

  • You should have plenty of appetizers, as long as they keep coming out consistently. The last wedding I was at had 3 passed appetizers and a stationary fruit/cheese station. It was plenty.

    I agree with PPs that beef and chicken are the people-pleasers. However, with your reception being in Boston, I would lean towards fish, just because of the abundance of good, fresh seafood. We are having beef and fish at our wedding because the Bay Area has extremely fresh seafood. And when we tried the chicken options at our tasting, we just were not blown away by any of the chicken options. The beef and fish far surpassed. 

    And a wedding I went to earlier this year had beef and chicken choices. I remember my friend, the bride, describing that approximately 80% of their guests had the beef and virtually no one ordered the chicken (the rest I'm guessing were vegetarian options). 

    I personally love clam chowder, and vote of the chow-dah since you are in New England.

    Just remember that not one choice is going to please everybody.
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  • For the hors d'oeuvres, you may want to add one more option, but only if you have a lot of guests, making it harder for them to be passed around. 

    Being that you are getting married in Boston, I would opt for the chowder.  I'm allergic and voting for  it. That being said, unless you know all of your guest's allergies and know that there are no seafood allergies, I would only do one seafood dish (clam chowder or the seafood option). 

    Every female member of my family and my FI are allergic to seafood (in varying degrees).  It's a fairly common allergen, and one that can be airborne (but usually only for those with a severe allergy).  If my younger sister was sitting at the table filled with clam chowder, followed by several plates of salmon, at minimum, she would be having breathing problems.  For her, it's a proximity+time+quantity thing.  But if it was her writing this, she would also vote for the chowder and deal with sitting at the table...

  • kimmiinthemittenkimmiinthemitten Detroit, MI member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    As far as your cocktail hour goes, why not a salad martini bar or mashed potato bar. Have martini glasses that can be filled with salad or potatoes and have a spread of different toppings so guests can DIY. If you are worried about guests being hungry later on, have serves walk around the dance floor with toothpicked snacks, mini burgers, or french fry or tomatoe soup shooters with grilled cheese croutons. Guess will love it and it will give them the energy to stay on the dance floor


    It is the caterers responsibility to portion correctly for your app pass, so as long as they know how many to allocate for, you should be fine. If you have concerns, make them known. I come from a family of large men (17ish male cousins over 6'3" and well over 200 lbs) so I made sure my caterer was aware.

    I too was going to suggest adding a late night snack. Here in Michigan, coneys are popular because they're a very local food, we're doing a Hungarian coney because FIs fan is Hungarian. If there isn't a local specialty you want to serve, I've seen plenty a pizza station be devoured!
    image
    kmmssg
  • Thank you for all the suggestions!  I love the idea of a late night snack, and some additional apps.  Headed to my tasting tonight.  Thanks everyone!!
  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    As far as your cocktail hour goes, why not a salad martini bar or mashed potato bar. Have martini glasses that can be filled with salad or potatoes and have a spread of different toppings so guests can DIY. If you are worried about guests being hungry later on, have serves walk around the dance floor with toothpicked snacks, mini burgers, or french fry or tomatoe soup shooters with grilled cheese croutons. Guess will love it and it will give them the energy to stay on the dance floor


    It is the caterers responsibility to portion correctly for your app pass, so as long as they know how many to allocate for, you should be fine. If you have concerns, make them known. I come from a family of large men (17ish male cousins over 6'3" and well over 200 lbs) so I made sure my caterer was aware.

    I too was going to suggest adding a late night snack. Here in Michigan, coneys are popular because they're a very local food, we're doing a Hungarian coney because FIs fan is Hungarian. If there isn't a local specialty you want to serve, I've seen plenty a pizza station be devoured!
    My husband sells his apps by the piece.  It doesn't matter if they are little kids or 6'8" football players.  He makes the recommendation of how many they need.  Then it's up to the couple to decide on what to order. 

     You would be surprised how many do not want to pay.   Just the other day a couple ordered 100 apps for 80 people.  No surprise they ran out after the first pass.   While we are blamed, it's really the hosts who are to blame since they didn't want to order what was recommended.   






    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
  • kimmiinthemittenkimmiinthemitten Detroit, MI member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    lyndausvi said:
    As far as your cocktail hour goes, why not a salad martini bar or mashed potato bar. Have martini glasses that can be filled with salad or potatoes and have a spread of different toppings so guests can DIY. If you are worried about guests being hungry later on, have serves walk around the dance floor with toothpicked snacks, mini burgers, or french fry or tomatoe soup shooters with grilled cheese croutons. Guess will love it and it will give them the energy to stay on the dance floor


    It is the caterers responsibility to portion correctly for your app pass, so as long as they know how many to allocate for, you should be fine. If you have concerns, make them known. I come from a family of large men (17ish male cousins over 6'3" and well over 200 lbs) so I made sure my caterer was aware.

    I too was going to suggest adding a late night snack. Here in Michigan, coneys are popular because they're a very local food, we're doing a Hungarian coney because FIs fan is Hungarian. If there isn't a local specialty you want to serve, I've seen plenty a pizza station be devoured!
    My husband sells his apps by the piece.  It doesn't matter if they are little kids or 6'8" football players.  He makes the recommendation of how many they need.  Then it's up to the couple to decide on what to order. 

     You would be surprised how many do not want to pay.   Just the other day a couple ordered 100 apps for 80 people.  No surprise they ran out after the first pass.   While we are blamed, it's really the hosts who are to blame since they didn't want to order what was recommended.   
    Sorry for not being more clear:).  That's more of what I meant, consult with your caterer and they'll tell you how many you need.  The caterer I work for does both by the app (I believe by the tray) or as a dollar amount, i.e. $50.00 for dinner $60.00 for dinner plus # apps.
    image
  • lyndausvi said:
    As far as your cocktail hour goes, why not a salad martini bar or mashed potato bar. Have martini glasses that can be filled with salad or potatoes and have a spread of different toppings so guests can DIY. If you are worried about guests being hungry later on, have serves walk around the dance floor with toothpicked snacks, mini burgers, or french fry or tomatoe soup shooters with grilled cheese croutons. Guess will love it and it will give them the energy to stay on the dance floor


    It is the caterers responsibility to portion correctly for your app pass, so as long as they know how many to allocate for, you should be fine. If you have concerns, make them known. I come from a family of large men (17ish male cousins over 6'3" and well over 200 lbs) so I made sure my caterer was aware.

    I too was going to suggest adding a late night snack. Here in Michigan, coneys are popular because they're a very local food, we're doing a Hungarian coney because FIs fan is Hungarian. If there isn't a local specialty you want to serve, I've seen plenty a pizza station be devoured!
    My husband sells his apps by the piece.  It doesn't matter if they are little kids or 6'8" football players.  He makes the recommendation of how many they need.  Then it's up to the couple to decide on what to order. 

     You would be surprised how many do not want to pay.   Just the other day a couple ordered 100 apps for 80 people.  No surprise they ran out after the first pass.   While we are blamed, it's really the hosts who are to blame since they didn't want to order what was recommended.   
    This shit drives me nuts. One of 1,000 reasons I don't cater. People are cheap, and have no problem letting their poor hosting get blamed on the caterer. I'm surprised more people don't insist on charging per head for apps rather than per piece to ensure that enough food is purchased.
    kimmiinthemittenlyndausvi
  • Don't drive yourself crazy over this- what you have sounds great.

    Late night snacks are trendy (I'll admit I had snow cones for my summer evening wedding) but I've been to weddings where they didn't have anything after cake and still had energy to stay up and on the dance floor.


    Maggie0829
  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    lnixon8 said:
    Don't drive yourself crazy over this- what you have sounds great.

    Late night snacks are trendy (I'll admit I had snow cones for my summer evening wedding) but I've been to weddings where they didn't have anything after cake and still had energy to stay up and on the dance floor.
    This.  I have yet to go to a wedding with late night snacks.  Receptions are typically 4 or so hours and if you are serving a full meal (plus the apps from cocktail hour and the dessert) I really don't see the need for snacks later in the evening.  Are they a nice bonus?  Sure.  But you certainly don't need them.

  • If you do chowder, would the venue provide another option for people who hate/are religiously opposed to/are allergic to shellfish? That might be a good middle ground. I personally love any sort of local specialties when I'm traveling.  
  • I Think that is plenty of food. So many people fill their guests with the cocktail hour crap and then they are too full for dinner and dessert. 
    I opted for less food choices and higher quality offerings. 
    Doing special stuff like signature drinks and specialty bars get expensive...pay for the food, pay for the dishes, glasses,etc. To me it wasn't worth it...

    What you listed sounds like a perfect amount of food! It going to be great!!!!  
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