Going to Your Menu Taste Testing...Go Ahead and Bite Off More Than You Can Chew

by Jenny Bryde 9. June 2010 01:41

As my fiance falls neatly under the stereotypical male, he has had little to no preference in the wedding planning topics that have come up thus far.  Flowers?  Invitations?  Linens?  "Whatever you like best." has become my guy's mantra.  While this is nice that I have nearly full creative control over these ideas, this wedding is not some glorified party for me, and I want my fiance's personality and taste to be reflected some how in the finished product.  Where oh where can this happen? 

Luckily, my fiance came to the resque over this internally-played dilemma.  "I just want good food, drink, and entertainment."  Okay!  Now we are getting somewhere.  After he told me this, I definitely felt considerably less guilty about making decisions on tealights and doilies without his stamp of approval. 

This past weekend, we had our menu tasting at TPC Deere Run, and believe me; this was my fiance's time to shine.  As a previous fancy schmancy country club waiter, my fiance knows his fine food and wine pairings.  Compared to him, I know squat about food.  My food basically falls into two food groups:  1) tastes good, and 2) doesn't.  My guy on the other hand, knew all the specifics to ask during our meeting with the food and beverage coordinator.

Before our taste testing, I called to initially discuss the menu options with Richard, the food and beverage coordinator at TPC.  I told him that our rehearsal dinner menu had already been set and that we wanted something different so that we weren't eating the same things two nights in a row.  Other than that, I wanted him to suggest items for our menu that they did best.  Richard could name several entres that we might like, and he even remembered that my fiance's nieces have a peanut allergy and made mention that nothing that had any kind of nut product would come close to our menu.  Within about five minutes, we had a great menu line up.  Richard made suggestions for some of their most popular menu entres and veggies that would be in season around our wedding.  It sounded good to me, so we set up a date for my fiance and me to visit TPC to taste everything. 

When we arrived at the menu tasting appointment, we were greeted by Colleen, the new event coordinator, and she led us to a table which was set up for us with a number of different napkin and place setting options.  As a new member of the team, Colleen chatted with us and played a little catch up with us by going over our information file and asking us some clarifying questions.  Richard soon joined us, and our taste testing began with the chef himself personally bringing out our appetizers and entre.  Everything that was brought out to us fell in to my "tastes good" category, but I was really happy to see that my fiance was totally impressed and loved all the food and wine choices. 

In the end, we only ended up making one minor change in that our appetizers were served in portions that may not have lended themselves to "easy finger food" which was needed as the appetizers would be served as people were mingling during our cocktail hour.  No problem for the amazing staff at TPC Deere run; they simply made a note to halve the portion size served on our wedding day. 

Here are some tips I wanted to share with you all as you plan your menu tasting or conversations with your caterers:

1)  Your caterer should be a good listener and be able to adapt for your audience.  He or she should also know what they do best and be able to make suggestions so that a great menu can be created.

2)  If you are able to do a menu tasting, do it!  You will feel so much better knowing that you have verified that everything is delicious, or if it turns out not to be what you wanted, that you were able to speak up well in advance of your wedding. 

3)  Your experience with your caterer is about so much more than food.  It is also a relationship that revolves around service and comfort which, when combined with delicious food, will make your guests have an amazing experience at your wedding reception. 

After the tasting, Richard and Colleen gave us a little tour of how the reception area would be arranged.  With delicious food and wine in our bellies, I saw my fiance's wheels start to turn, and for the first time, I heard him speak up about how he envisioned our wedding day.  Maybe it was the wine that got him talking, but I could tell that he really has been taking note over these last months as I spewed wedding ideas.  I walked away with a huge smile as well after having finally been able to watch my fiance become truely excited and engaged in a major planning piece of the wedding. 

So here are my questions for you today, lovely readers:  What experiencies and/or questions can you share about menus and tastings?  OR, what wedding topics have gotten you both working together on creating the ideal plan for your wedding day?  OR, what menu items were a big hit for your wedding day??


Food and Drink

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Hi!  Welcome to the QCWeddings.com blog!  My name is Jenny, and I am a Quad Cities bride to be.  Our goal for this blog is to share information on all things wedding including local vendors, new trends, and amazing inspiration.  Let us know if there is something you'd like to see on here!  

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