When it comes to wedding fare, what could be better than that comforting taste of your favorite foods? Whether it’s a low-key backyard bash or a black tie ball, don’t be afraid to include all the comfort foods you love and wow your guests at the same time!
- Personalize It
One of the biggest wedding trends today is personalization, says Megan Estrada, wedding and event consultant with Chicago-area North Shore Weddings & Events. One way to seamlessly include some personal food preferences is by serving unique late-night fare.
“Common things in Chicago have been Lou Malnati’s pizza for a late night snack or bringing in a food truck that offers the bride and groom’s favorites,” says Estrada.
The planner says she’s seen everything from chicken and waffles for Southern couples to hiring hot dog carts to serve Chicago-style hot dogs (no ketchup allowed!) at ballroom weddings. Most venues, she adds, are growing accustomed to couples looking to bring in outside vendors for late-night eats.
- Stations, Stations, Stations!
Stations are a popular way to serve a wide variety of foods at weddings today, says Chef Suzanne Rockwell of Chef Suzanne Catering in Fisher, Indiana.
“One our favorite events had stations that featured foods from where the couple had lived and worked,” says Rockwell. “We themed the food East Coast and West Coast, and met in the middle for the Indiana wedding. Guests enjoyed crab cakes and chowder, a make-your-own specialty taco bar, pulled pork sliders served on mini pretzels, spicy coleslaw and watermelon salad.”
- Build Your Own Everything
Take stations a step further with customizable foods for anything from make your own loaded mashed potatoes to make your own mac and cheese with loads of toppings and options.
- Throw Tradition to the Wind
Who says you have to cut a cake at your wedding? Or stick with traditional plated meals for events like the rehearsal dinner? Instead of a cake, take note from couples who raise the comfort food game with a pizza or pie cutting.
To add a bit of your own personality, sub in something unique for the main meal. Estrada suggests mixing up the rehearsal dinner with a theme to avoid mirroring the wedding dinner too much.
“If the client loves Indian food, we may incorporate those flavors or items into the menu,” says Estrada. “Also, for the wedding day, we often will take the client’s flavor profile and suggest it to the caterer for the menu.”
You can also talk to your caterer about gathering inspiration from some of your favorite comfort foods, even if they’re signatures of other establishments (how yummy and fun would Coney Island hot dogs or In-N-Out animal style burgers be?). Estrada points out this can be easier to do with off-site caterers, who are typically more flexible on menus.
Another pro tip: dessert is a great way to customize your wedding food, as many venues are more lax with outside sweets vendors coming in.
- Make It Mini
Since comfort foods like burgers or mac and cheese tend to be heavier, guests aren’t going to be able to stomach too much full-sized fare. Instead, consider shrinking it down into bite sized pieces. Cocktail hour is a great opportunity to be able to include tiny tastes of all of your favorites like sliders, mini hot dogs, ice cream — if you can dream, you can make it mini!