A Bon Appétit Editor on Creating Your Wedding Menu: Don't Try to Please Everyone

Food & Drink

Meet our newest guest blogger, Carey Polis, senior web editor at Bon Appétit magazine. From her food-filled proposal to figuring out a menu, Carey is taking us through the process of all things edible when it comes to weddings. For even more wedding food advice, head over to bonappetit.com/weddings to explore dessert ideas, wedding cake trends, catering advice, booze tips, and way more.

Truth time: I had already written a 500-word post about why we decided to serve Mediterranean-inspired vegetarian food at our wedding and how that was strangely a radical decision in my family because it's not the typical meat-and-two-sides options you typically expect.

But I decided to scrap it. Frankly, it was really negative, with a lot of ranting about bad wedding food and then explaining why I'm trying not to fall in that trap. But you don't know me (well, a few of you might. Hi, mom! And hi various relatives that my mom is inevitably forwarding this to!). And you probably aren't that invested in the fact that I'm pretty stoked about a halloumi-stuffed eggplant dish we're serving, or the yogurt-shallot-dip, or the stewed pole beans.

Maybe you're really into the meat-and-two-sides option. Maybe all you ever wanted was to have a mashed potato bar in which the potatoes are served in a martini glass and people can put kind of weird toppings on them. Not my thing, but hey, it's your day. I would never want to deprive someone of his or her one true potato love.

Look, if I really could serve whatever I wanted, I would probably have opted for a barbecue with a truly epic nacho bar. Just massive quantities of nachos, with no naked chips and lots and lots of melted cheese. And guac. So much guac. Avocados everywhere.

See More: The Ultimate Guide to Wedding Catering: A Breakdown of Your Options

But there is also reality to consider; like the fact that my fiancé and I are having a Jewish wedding and it needs to be kosher-style. And that while I am fully capable of making nachos my meal, I understand that perhaps that's not everyone's thing. I've quickly learned that it's impossible to please everyone, especially when your family consists of various relatives who either don't eat salt, don't eat dairy, are allergic to nuts, avoid gluten, don't like vegetables, or don't eat anything red (true story).

What remains important is to give everyone an entry-point, though. We opted to go for a buffet so people can choose specific foods that they like. We'll probably label each dish so people know exactly what they're getting. If my mother succeeds in convincing me, we might even offer a fish dish even though something about pre-cooked seafood just doesn't sound that appetizing to me.

Even if the food you serve at your wedding maybe isn't your original dream (I'll save the nachos for a smaller gathering), it definitely doesn't have to be mundane. The best wedding food I've ever eaten was a simple soba noodle salad, some vegetable sides, and a roast pig, all served family-style. It was not that dissimilar to what I would want to serve someone if they were coming over for dinner at my apartment.

So maybe that should be the new rule of thumb. Forget the salad with the bad vinaigrette, forget the dry chicken, and forget the never-quite-molten-enough-molten-chocolate-cake. Serve a menu that feels like an extension of the food you love and want to share with others.

And if your guests don't like that, well, then, they might be missing the whole point of a wedding.

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