Variety is the spice of life with wedding cuisine

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Posted: Thursday, March 28, 2013 12:00 am

Weddings are a celebration wherein guests look forward to the reception as much as the actual ceremony, and the food served at the wedding is often hotly anticipated.

Wedding receptions feature a bevy of different foods to tempt the palates of those in attendance. From appetizers served during the cocktail hour to the last crumb of cake, food plays a big role in a wedding reception. Choosing foods for a reception can take a little forethought, especially when the wedding party is especially large. The following are a few suggestions to ensure most guests are happy with the menu selections.

The first rule of thumb is variety. As much as budget allows, give guests the choice over what they dine on. During the cocktail hour -- if there is one -- couples can play with many different tastes and offerings. For those who want to be creative, this is the time to do so. Exotic flavors can be served alongside more traditional offerings that guests recognize. For example, offer Asian fusion appetizers that may have spice alongside more traditional items, like miniature quiches.

During the main course of the meal, give guests a few options. Most catering facilities will offer suggestions in their meal packages. Couples can typically choose to offer a meat dish, a poultry and a seafood. This caters to a wide variety of diners.

It is important for couples to recognize that many people have food allergies or are on restricted diets. While it may not be possible to provide for everyone's specific requirements, it is possible to make some accommodations First, ask the catering manager how his company provides for guests who are vegetarians or vegans. Ensure that the meal will not be simply a bunch of garnishes and vegetable side dishes lumped together.

In addition, couples should recognize that many people have now adopted gluten-free lifestyles. More and more restaurants and establishments have expanded their offerings to include gluten-free items, so it is important for the bride and groom to confirm. People who are diabetic and must limit their consumption of sugars and carbohydrates may appreciate a selection of sugar-free desserts or lower carbohydrate foods. When couples focus on meeting the needs of their guests, it shows they have put in the effort to make everyone feel welcome and comfortable at the wedding.

Couples who have the environment in mind can choose to serve organic foods and look to catering facilities that purchase foods from local vendors and farms. If a banquet hall does not make such concessions, ask if specialty items that benefit organic and local food producers can be brought in. Some caterers will be happy to make the change, but it will likely affect the cost of the wedding package to do so.

Food and drink will be some of the most costly portions of a wedding, and couples who are interested in keeping costs down can still offer quality foods if they make some changes. Varying the time of day that the wedding is held can enable a brunch or luncheon wedding to take place. These foods are often less expensive and labor-intensive to prepare, and therefore the cost savings are passed down to the bride and groom. Some couples opt for a cocktail and hors d'oeuvre-only reception -- which should clearly be indicated on the invitation so that guests can plan accordingly. An informal wedding may feature only a selection of desserts and specialty liquors. This may be the least expensive option.

Food is an important factor at a wedding and it is in a couple's best interest to ensure that the food served is tasty, full of variety and acceptable to the majority of the guests who will be attending the reception.

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