Traditional wedding menu planning is often an industrial task. Brides and grooms have to cater to hundreds of people, including long-lost aunties they haven't seen for decades.
However, with the advent of micro weddings, things are changing. Couples are ditching traditional, large-scale catering operations and scaling back their menus for groups of just fifty or even twenty people.
That said, micro wedding menus still require planning to make the most of them. Feeding a few dozen people is not trivial, no matter how you slice it.
So what do you need to do? Let's take a look.
Give Your Guests Individual Champagne Bottles When They Arrive
Dishing out champagne bottles to hundreds of guests is unrealistic on most wedding budgets. However, it's possible if you only have a dozen attendees. Adding the world's most celebrated wine to their gift bags immediately sets an intimate and exclusive tone.
Add Signature Touches To Your Dishes
For larger weddings, volume is the aim of the game. Catering menus feature easy items for staff to assemble en masse behind the scenes before quickly rushing them to banqueting tables.
With micro weddings, though, mass production of meals is not the overriding objective. Instead, you have more scope to customize. There are all sorts of ways you could do this. For example, you could get caterers to:
Sign dishes with sauces or toppings with your name, call sign, or the wedding date
Present food to Michelin-star standards (with all the usual carefully-arranged microgreens and caviar eggs)
Introduce rare ingredients or unusual cuts of meat to fit the theme (for instance, local fish for a beach wedding)
You could also switch up your drinks and accessories. For instance, you might:
Serve mini cocktails (that you had a micro wedding catering company create for you)
Give guests custom beer koozies
Offer guests mini bottles of red, white, or rosé wine with their meals
Provide them with monogrammed shot glasses that they can take home with them
Tell The Chefs To Have Fun
Caterers often compromise on wedding food to adhere to couples' budgets. There are tradeoffs between price, ingredient quality, and the time that goes into preparation.
But with micro weddings, that's no longer as much of a concern. Price drops out of the equation, giving you more freedom.
Giving chefs a detailed brief is one option. But as with all creative pursuits, results will likely be better if you tell them to have fun. Many professional chefs are dying to unleash their creative skills and meals that dazzle guests. Trust them and see what they come up with.
Micro weddings let chefs prepare dishes that are only feasible on a small scale. This means you can skip the arugula salad and do something entirely untraditional that speaks to you as a couple. Ask chefs to create visually spectacular food that wows guests as it arrives.
Maybe Go For A Buffet-Style Menu
Buffet menus: how low brow!
But don't write them off just yet. Many guests love them, and they're easier to manage at smaller weddings because numbers are lower.
Say goodbye to placing buffet items behind perspex screens and getting catering staff to dollop items on guests' plates. Adopt a self-serve policy and place buffet stations strategically around your venue. This way, you can prevent crowding and please fussy eaters while also providing hungry guests plenty of calories.
Consider Individually-Plated Miniature Desserts
If you've ever been to a top restaurant, you'll know how special it feels to get an individually-plated miniature dessert. It's like nothing else. Plus, when you have miniature desserts, you can mix and match, trying several in one sitting—no more FOMO.
Miniature dessert ideas include:
Mini-maple and cinnamon Danishes
Banana-infused beignet bites
Date and walnut balls
Mint-chocolate chip trifles
Individual blueberry pies
Of course, you don't have to go with these ideas. Just ask your caterers what they can do.
Craft A Luxury Mini Wedding Cake
If you're only catering to a couple of dozen guests, you don't need an enormous, three-tiered wedding cake for 500 people. Something about the size of a top hat will suffice.
When crafting a small wedding cake, feel free to go beyond regular Victoria sponge and cream. Consider luxury fillings, like Bailey's mousse, vanilla custard, white chocolate mousse, and cream cheese icing. Play with flavors, too, to come up with something experimental. Cardamom, anyone?
Fill The Stomachs Of Your Virtual Wedding Guests
If you have wedding guests watching celebrations unfold online, you don't have to leave them out in the cold to fend for themselves. Instead, send them a box of nibbles in the post, giving them a sample of the type of flavors available for in-person attendees. Think of it as a "reception in a box" with bottled cocktails, miniature desserts in plastic wrapping, and perhaps even chef-prepared meals they can warm up in the microwave.
If that sounds a little too difficult, arrange on-the-day food delivery instead. Get local caterers to prepare dishes and deliver them fresh to guests' front doors as they watch online. Then ask them to comment on the food via Zoom during the wedding breakfast.
Go To Town On Your Appetizers
Finally, micro weddings are an opportunity to go to town on appetizers. You don't have to stick to the regular hors d'oeuvres at an intimate gathering. You can do things differently.
For instance, you can be more thoughtful in the type of service you offer. For example, you might arrange finger-friendly items on large trays and get staff to dutifully carry them around the wedding venue, avoiding the need for knives.
You can also craft items for service at room temperature to get around annoying refrigeration issues (particularly in the summer). Things that are decadent yet self-contained are the way to go.
If you're looking to craft a menu for your micro wedding, contact The Warehouse by David Alan, and we'll be in touch to discuss your options.