Top 5 Dos and Don'ts for a Perfect Summer Wedding Menu

May 31, 2024

Planning your wedding is an exciting journey, and one of the most memorable aspects of your big day is the food. At The Ashley Inn, we’ve seen our fair share of summer weddings, and we know just how crucial it is to get the menu right. With the warmth of the season in mind, here are the top five mistakes brides often make with food on their summer wedding day and five ways to ensure your culinary choices are a hit.

5 Common Wedding Day Food Mistakes

Choosing Heavy, Rich Foods

Summer weddings are all about light and refreshing experiences. Opting for heavy, rich dishes can leave guests feeling sluggish and uncomfortable. Avoid overly creamy sauces, heavy meats, and rich desserts. Instead, think fresh salads, grilled vegetables, and lean proteins.

Not Complementing Drinks with Food

A well-paired drink can elevate the dining experience. However, many brides forget to match their food choices with appropriate beverages. For example, pairing spicy dishes with a sweet, cooling drink can be a game-changer. Consider both alcoholic and non-alcoholic options that complement your menu.

Ignoring Dietary Restrictions and Allergies

With dietary preferences and food allergies becoming increasingly common, overlooking these can be a significant mistake. Ensure you have options for vegetarians, vegans, and guests with gluten or nut allergies. Clearly label dishes or create a separate station for common allergens to avoid cross-contamination.

Not Considering the Venue’s Capabilities

Your venue’s setup plays a crucial role in the success of your food service. Some venues work better with buffets, while others excel with plated meals or even food trucks. Discuss your options with your venue coordinator to ensure your choice aligns with the space and facilities available.

Skipping Fun, Non-Alcoholic Drinks

Summer weddings call for more than just alcoholic beverages. Offering a variety of fun, non-alcoholic drinks can keep guests refreshed and hydrated. Think infused waters, sparkling lemonades, and creative mocktails. These options are especially appreciated by non-drinkers and children.

5 Ways to Ensure a Successful Wedding Feast

Opt for Handheld Foods

Handheld foods, such as sliders, tacos, or skewers, are perfect for a summer wedding. They’re easy to eat, encourage mingling, and don’t require guests to juggle plates and cutlery. This can be especially effective during cocktail hours or for a more casual reception vibe.

Keep It Light and Refreshing

Focus on dishes that celebrate the season’s bounty. Fresh fruits, crisp salads, and light seafood options are perfect for a summer menu. Consider a caprese salad with ripe tomatoes and basil, or a chilled gazpacho that’s both refreshing and flavorful. A great addition to your menu could be the Ashley Inn Signature Salad: a delightful mix of organic field greens topped with juicy pears, sweet dried cranberries, crunchy pecans, and creamy blue cheese, all drizzled with our homemade sweet and tangy Vidalia onion vinaigrette.

Choose Foods That Keep You Cool

Beat the heat with menu items that help guests stay cool. Cold dishes like ceviche, sushi, or even a chilled pasta salad can be refreshing options. Additionally, offering frozen treats like sorbet or ice cream can be a delightful way to end the meal.

Make It Personal

Incorporate elements that reflect you and your partner’s personalities. Maybe you both love a specific cuisine or have a favorite dish from your travels. Personalized touches, like a signature cocktail or a family recipe, make the meal more meaningful and memorable for you and your guests.

Interactive Food Stations

Interactive food stations can be a hit, allowing guests to customize their meals and have fun in the process. Consider a build-your-own taco bar, a pasta station, or a sushi rolling station. This not only caters to various tastes but also adds an element of entertainment to the dining experience.

Food is a central part of any wedding celebration and getting it right can make your day even more special. By avoiding common pitfalls and embracing successful strategies, you can ensure that your summer wedding feast is remembered fondly by all your guests. At The Ashley Inn, we’re here to help you every step of the way to create a culinary experience that’s as delightful and unique as your love story.

Happy planning, and bon appétit!

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