Singaporebrides | Fine Dining

August 2011

Wedding F&B: It’s Not Just About Tucking In and Drinking Up

A good F&B spread can be a great source of wedding conversation while news of a bad menu can spread like wildfire after the wedding, for all the wrong reasons. So, just a tad bit of pressure there. What are the things you should consider before deciding on your wedding f&b?

Consider the kind of wedding you’re going to have – a themed wedding (your food could reflect the theme as well)? An outdoor reception (perhaps it’s best to skip anything that would melt)? Unfortunately, the choice of food to be served at your wedding may not entirely be up to you. Your choices are limited if you’re holding a Chinese wedding banquet, but if you’re engaging your own caterer, the sky’s the limit.

Here are the top five gastronomic questions to consider:

1. Should we do an open-bar?

An open bar is one that offers everything from hard liquor, beer and wine to soft drinks juices and mixers. Before you jump at the opportunity to please all your guests in the thirst-quenching sense, bear in mind that it means your costs go up, up, up with every drink that your guests down, down, down.

If neither you nor your significant other is a big drinker (remember that you’ll be spending most of your time entertaining anyway), but yet want to offer your guests some choice, you can still limit your costs by offering only house wines, and bringing your own hard liquor. Most venues will charge a small amount for corkage, but it’ll still be cheaper than taking from their well-stocked bar.

2. How much food is enough?

Don’t forget that people are there to celebrate your special day with you, and not just for the food. Nobody should go hungry (you don’t want any Oliver Twists loitering around the kitchen asking waiters “Please Sir, can I have some more?”), nor should it be an opportunity to “pig out”. For buffet spreads, get a final count of the number of guests 2-3 weeks before your wedding, then cater for 5 per cent more to ensure that you’ll have enough food. You’ll probably end up with leftovers, but that’s better than having guests standing around with empty plates.

Wedding banquets cater for guests on a per table basis (usually either 10 or 12 per table), and portions are generally sufficient, so you don’t have to worry much there.

3. For sit-down dinners, should we just offer a set, or provide more options?

For sit-down dinners, it is common to have 1 or 2 set menus (usually a chicken or a fish selection as the main dish, paired with a side or two), with a non-meat option for vegetarian guests. Yes, you want to be a good host by giving your guests a myriad of choice, but remember that the more varied your menu gets, the higher the cost. Remember the term ‘economies of scale’ that you learnt in school? It applies to wedding F&B as well.

4. How many taste tests should we go for?

You can arrange for an official complementary ‘taste test/sampling session’ with your hotel after you’ve signed on the dotted line (many couples use that as an opportunity to invite both sets of parents for a meal together before the wedding), but other than that, you can do ‘unofficial’ taste tests by attending other weddings, or dining at the venues that you’ve narrowed down. Try to do this way in advance to give yourself a chance to savour all the delectable delights. If you’re able to hold a small wedding, why not ask if your favourite restaurant is able to accommodate?

5. Will we really never get to eat at our own wedding banquet?

If you’re opting for a traditional Chinese banquet, most brides and grooms would warn you to be prepared for an evening of hunger! If you’re lucky, you’ll probably be able to sample the first 2 dishes before you get whisked off for a new change of clothes, table-to-table greetings and endless toasting and drinking (take heart, people will only do that if they like you). Try to eat something light before the dinner, because you want your guests to remember your wedding, but not as ‘the one where the bride fainted from hunger’. Ask your best man and maid-of-honour to hold on to a granola bar just in case you need a quick boost while ‘doing your rounds’. Most hotels are happy to bring some food up to you after the dinner, but you may see it on your bill when you check out.

It’s your wedding, your very special day, so do let your hair down and enjoy it together with your guests. As the saying goes, eat, drink and don’t forget to be merry!