Brides Wanna Know

Food For Thought

You selected your venue, chose the perfect theme, found your dream dress and now you're perusing the Food Network to plan your delicious menu.

April 23, 2012

Photo Credit :: Kris Labang Photography

You're one sharp cookie... you selected your venue, chose the perfect theme, found your dream dress and now you're perusing the Food Network to plan your delicious menu.

Whether you're working with a catering company or your venue's catering team, these culinary experts will help you design a spread that matches your taste buds. Catering managers are wonderful to work with because they can customize a menu that can follow a specific theme, such as childhood favorites or menu items you dined on during a European vacation together. Most locations are very open to customizing a menu to suit your needs, so don't be afraid to ask. Come prepared to meet with your catering team with a few key things in mind: budget, theme, time and location.

BUDGET ::Catering managers and companies can help you keep cost from boiling over by customizing your menu, so be sure you know what your food budget is and find out how much per head you're willing to dish out (the average price per head is $60). Remember to consider how much your desserts, cake and drinks costs separately if you've hired individual vendors for each. Here's three tip to keep your cost down:

1. Time is on your side! Have an afternoon reception and serve pupus and lunch instead of a heavy dinner meal. Think spring salads, local fruits and gourmet cheese and crackers.
2. Skip the open bar and signature cocktails or stick to a few beer and wine choices... even though we know how hard it is to resist adding lychee martinis to the menu.
3. Keep dessert simple and serve that cake you spent hours designing. No need to also include a dessert bar. Guests will love anything and everything you provide!

THEME ::Find one theme you really love and stick to it! If you really want to serve sushi to show off your Japanese heritage, carry the Japanese menu throughout the meal. Caterers and venues love to help you brainstorm, so bring your ideas to the table and start creating a menu that showcases your personalities. Some fun theme ideas? Old family recipes, finger foods, the same meal you ate on your first date or an Italian feast to represent your honeymoon adventure!

April 23, 2012

Photo Credit ::

TIME AND LOCATION ::The time and location of your reception can also help you decide on the perfect menu. Having a brunch reception? Swap out that seafood buffet for an omelet bar and mimosas! Don't forget to find inspiration by your surroundings, too. Imagine a Great Gatsby themed menu at your art museum venue or a lavish picnic menu for your Kualoa Ranch reception. 

Tip? If you're planning an outdoor event keep in mind that your caterer might be working with a travel kitchen or will be prepping everything off-site. Don't feel like you're in a jam though, these guys are pros and will you help you out of any pickle!

Besides deciding WHAT to serve, think about HOW you want to serve your guests! There are lots of options to choose from... seated, buffet, live stations or family style, but to pick the best style for your wedding, 'cater' to your guests! If you have over 100 guests, seated is the way to go so buffet lines don't get too long. If you have a small, intimate reception, family style leaves guests feeling at home and chatty! And don't be afraid to combo these ideas. How about butler passed pupus, then a sit-down plated dinner, followed by a dessert buffet? WOW!

Now you're cookin'! Once you've chewed over the details, get to the good part and set up a taste test to finalize your menu.

April 23, 2012

Photo Credit :: Steve Czerniak

Ever wonder what's on THEIR menu? 
We asked our Catering Managers for their favorite item off their mouth-watering menus. Here's what they love!

HALE KOA HOTEL, Dora Young :: Baby lamb chops
HYATT REGENCY, Michele Ganiko :: Crisp chili garlic chicken
HALEKULANI, Lauren Patrowski :: Halekulani's Signature Wedding Cake
HILTON HAWAIIAN VILLAGE, Chef Jeff :: Wailua Chocolate Cake
KO'OLAU BALLROOMS, Mary Ford :: Bread Pudding
MOANA SURFRIDER, Toni Takata :: Wok and Pasta stations
SHERATON WAIKIKI, Rhonda Toomey :: Portuguese Sausage Fried Rice and Kalua Pork Enchiladas
HAWAII PRINCE HOTEL, Joann Perreira Machiguchi :: Mochiko Salmon with Sweet Chili Aioli and Baked Molokai Sweet Potato with Coconut Milk and Toasted Coconut Flakes

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