So— you're prepping for your big day. Big days call for big indulgences, but planning these indulgences can also be a big pain. You already have to figure out what to wear, who to invite, and where the venue should be. Who possibly has the time to plan out an entire menu? The big day doesn't have to be a big stress. For plenty of comprehensive and delectable spreads that can be easily tweaked depending on your theme, budget, and level of casualness, keep reading below.
1. Southern Comfort
For an occasion meant to be sweeter than a Georgia peach, you really can't go wrong with that satisfying taste of down home southern cooking. Keep it casual with fried chicken, biscuits, collard greens, and mac-and-cheese, or put an upscale spin on these comfort food favorites; classic fried chicken gets a bourbon pecan-crusted makeover, and typical mac-and-cheese gets a touch-up of four different cheeses, plus juicy chunks of lobster. Fried green tomatoes with goat cheese and shooters filled with mini, single servings of shrimp and grits provide extra flair. Toast to the two souls in love (and all of the mouth watering soul fool) with a peach and sweet tea-inspired cocktail.
2. Love You to the Beach and Back
Southern cooking not your thing? Craving something a little more... tropical? Never fear, a beach-inspired menu is here, and it's sure (or shall we say shore) to please. For appetizers, try pineapple ceviche, crab-stuffed mushrooms, lobster bisque, or coconut shrimp skewered with toothpicks served atop palm leaves. Hollowed out watermelons, coconuts, or pineapples filled with various fruits (especially mango, pitaya, pineapple, kiwi, and starfruit) are also great for self-serving stations. The entree options are endless: jerk chicken, crab cakes, fish tacos, sushi, oysters, or various surf and turf combos are all tantalizing options. For sipping, try serving up hurricanes and mojitos for the adults, and mocktails comprised of pineapple juice and sparkling cider (with a pineapple wedge garnish, of course) for the kiddies. This menu is especially great for beach receptions or when you take a Western Caribbean cruise.
3. Boozy Brunch
Who doesn't love bottomless mimosas, especially when celebrating an event like this? Since everyone's gathered together and wearing their finest, you may as well make one big brunch affair out of it! Invite guests to get a get a little creative with the culinary delights that await them by setting up do-it-yourself-style bars. A mimosa and Bloody Mary bar keeps everyone 21+ happy, while a slow-drip coffee station and sparkling cider appease everyone else. For food, have plenty of bagels, toppings, and various jams, cream cheeses, and schmears available for guests to assemble. Fruity yogurt parfaits provide a healthy option, while baskets of pastries arranged on tables make for easy sweet tooth-satisfying. For a fun, on-theme wedding favor, consider giving out personalized jam or preserve jars.
4. Taco 'Bout a Big Occasion
Who doesn't love tacos? A Mexican-inspired menu has enough options to appease even the pickiest of eaters. It's also a great route to build your menu from if you're looking to accommodate vegetarian, vegan, and/or gluten-free diets. For starters, try a myriad of different salsas and warm tortilla chips. If you're looking for something a bit more elevated than your typical salsa verde, go for a salsa made with avocado and shrimp. For the entree, host a taco bar offering up both corn and flour tortillas, plus skirt steak, carnitas, black beans, and pico de gallo for fillings. Serve lime wedges on the side. Cilantro lime rice, elote (Mexican street corn), and chile relleno are all great options for sides. Margaritas make for a classic crowd-pleasing beverage, but offering up Micheladas will add a dose of fun variety. Iced, cinnamon-sweetened horchata makes a divine virgin elixir. Last but never least, cap off the menu with a batch of sugary, chocolate-dipped churros. ¡Salud!