I’m going to take a few precious moments to brag on my sweet family and friends. Honestly, I can’t imagine what kind of a disaster my wedding day would have been without the support and generosity of these people. I’m not going to say that the show will not go on without this kind of support, but the show… will be rough.
Okay, so let’s start with cocktails. (always start with cocktails) We got super lucky with our venue in the fact that they do not require you to use specific vendors. I could pick and choose as I pleased. So I began by calling several local bars and restaurants to see what it would take to set up a full service bar at our wedding. We considered the idea of an open beer/wine bar, but money. I ended up getting in touch with a super sweet gentleman who owned a local restaurant (one of the few in our itty bitty Indiana town) and was willing to supply a full service bar at no cost to us! Jack and I agreed that we would pay a portion if necessary to make the drinks affordable for our guests, but there was no need! His prices were super affordable, I got to choose which alcohols to have available, and he was even a-okay with us having free signature drinks!!
I was going for a slightly rustic, vineyard inspired feel at our wedding. Sangria as a signature drink was a no brainer!! I’ll share our caramel apple white and spiced red sangria recipes with you all, soon. I came up with the recipes myself, and they were just too stinkin’ popular! Everyone loved that there was a free drink option, but they also loved the full service bar! We had a whole spread of non-alcoholic drinks including coffee, tea, hot apple cider and water, as well.
Now for the cocktail hour food.We made sure to have plenty of food available for our guests following the ceremony, because we knew they’d need to kill time while we took our wedding party photos! I decided a Tuscan/Italian menu paired well with our vineyard-inspired style. We had plenty of bread, seasoned olive oils, bruschetta, meats and cheese available. Our cocktail hour was served outside with gorgeous vintage couches and cocktail height tables to boot, but it was FREEZING COLD. I’m talking winter coats, people. October in Indiana…. so volatile. So our guests took cover in the reception barn, eating, drinking & huddling around the big heaters. Don’t worry, after a few drinks a good portion of them forgot it was even cold!
For dinner, our sweet guests were treated to side salad, stuffed chicken breast, Italian rubbed pork loin, roasted sweet potatoes, green beans and a pepperoni/mozarella pasta salad. Jack and I chose not to do a “first look,” so we used the time while our guests were eating to go take our bride and groom photos. You don’t eat at your own wedding anyway, right??! Which is why I have no photos of the food! Our photographers were a little busy at that moment. We were so incredibly lucky to have my mom cater our wedding. She owns a bakery/cafe and caters, too. I’m telling you guys, use your connections!!
My super ridiculously amazing best friend and bridesmaid made our desserts! If you can’t tell already, I wanted variety. Lot’s of options for lot’s of people!! We chose a few cake and pie flavors to serve at our wedding. Our cake flavors included chocolate, vanilla bean, red velvet and black forest. We also had apple and pecan pie. Everything was SO good! If it weren’t for my awesome wedding planner putting together a box with a piece of each flavor for us to take to the hotel, we wouldn’t have even gotten to try them! What a shame that would have been.
So if you’re still with me, here’s the scoop. It’s better to have leftovers than to leave your guests hungry! We literally sent family and close friends home with the leftovers. I think part of our wedding cake was even eaten at my in-laws’ church the next week. Find a theme or style, and try to stick to it. I made sure my semi-rustic, Italian, winery-esque style was carried out in our menu, as well as our decor. Avoid pitch-in style food spreads by sharing your vision with each of your vendors. Whether they are family, friend or random company. Make sure they understand what you want! Offer your guests variety. Not too much, not too little. Imagine what you would like to eat at a friend’s wedding!
I hope this helps if you’re struggling with your wedding menu! You can apply these practices no matter the size of your guest list, and worked very well for my 235+ person wedding. Good luck, friends. I’m a great sounding board if you need to bounce some ideas around!
As with all of our wedding photos, all credit goes to Hive and Honey Photography. They’re the bee’s knees.