6 Fresh Summer Wedding Menu Ideas
Whether you and your family prepare the food for your wedding celebration or you hire a caterer, you can save money if you keep your menu and venue close to home.
Using local products and resources says that you’re an ecologically sensitive person, while your wallet signals that you’re a smart consumer.
“Local is cheaper, and it’s green,” says John Crisafulli, president of Behind The Scenes Catering and Events, which operates in Chicago and San Diego.
Of course, you don’t want to sacrifice sophistication for the sake of your budget, and you don’t have to, say the experts. Embracing the local-food trend allows you to have an exciting menu and the backdrop of your dreams.
When planning the food, see what’s available at your farmer’s market. Find out what’s being harvested close to your wedding date and incorporate the ingredients in dishes.
For example, if it’s peach season, make the Bellini your signature drink; add sliced peaches to a salad or offer mini peach shortcakes on the dessert table.
Watermelon salad, starting with a farmer’s market melon, is a summer favorite for weddings, says Denise Vivaldo, a Los Angeles caterer and author of “Do It For Less! Weddings” (Sellers Publishing, 2008).
“Even if you can’t cook you can make that,” says Vivaldo.
Her recipe: Chop up the flesh of three watermelons; add crumbled feta cheese and mint. Spike with a little vodka or tequila, if you like, and serve 50 guests.
Don’t be shy about announcing your sources, either. Add a line to the menu telling where the food comes from, Crisafulli suggests.
Choosing an untraditional but local wedding site also may help you rein in food costs.
Take a wedding on the beach at sunset. It’s more than a romantic setting; it’s an excuse to host a do-it-yourself grill menu.
“Put out a grill and grill oysters until they pop open. You can buy satay (Indonesian skewered meat or chicken served with peanut sauce) at an upscale supermarket and grill that as well,” says Vivaldo.
Here are more tips for keeping your reception local and economical:
• Skip the entrée and serve cocktails, hors d’oeurves and desserts, says Crisafulli.
“You may have small-bite savory items on small plates, then do a dessert buffet or bar,” he says.
• Feature in-season produce for the appetizers and sweets.
For summer celebrations, include such vegetables as tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, corn, beans, summer squash and fresh herbs, and fruit including berries, peaches, plums, cantaloupe, watermelon, cherries and grapes, Vivaldo suggests.
• Stuff vegetables with cheese for easy one-bite morsels. Fill cherry tomatoes with blue cheese, or sugar-snap peas or baby bell peppers with goat cheese.
• Wrap up appetizers. Twist prosciutto strips around steamed green beans or bell pepper wedges.
Vivaldo suggests filling in with antipasti, breadsticks and condiments from an Italian deli.
• For dessert, take a dip: strawberries in chocolate sauce; peach slices in amaretto; cantaloupe chunks in Port.
• Bake mini baking-powder biscuits. Arrange the biscuits on a tray with a bowls of sliced peaches, strawberries, raspberries and whipped cream.
“Use your creativity. Take the opportunity of a wedding and make it fun,” says Vivaldo.