What's an Appropriate Number of Dining Options to Give Guests If You're Having a Plated Dinner?

Etiquette, Food & Drink, Planning Tips

Offering menu choices for a plated dinner at your wedding reception can be tricky because too few means there's not "something for everyone," but too many can drive a caterer mad trying to perfect every plate. Our experts' suggestion? Leave your guests full and satisfied by focusing on the quality of what is served rather than the quantity of entrée options.

Traditionally, three menu options — created from some combination of beef, chicken, fish and vegetarian — are offered on an RSVP card for a plated dinner. That being said, throwing tradition out the window is one of our favorite things to do. This is your celebration, and there's no reason you should feel apologetic or embarrassed for offering two, or even one, menu options. There's a big difference between offering something for everyone and pleasing everyone. Mainly because the latter is simply impossible.

There is always going to be that guest who turns up his nose at saffron pearl cous cous with roasted eggplant and would have preferred an improperly cooked steak over something so 'funky.' Let your wedding menu represent you as a couple: If you're both vegans, surprise guests with a mind-blowing vegan meal they might not otherwise have the opportunity to enjoy. Remember that you're inviting them into your world, and trust us when we say that the majority of the crowd will have fun with a unique dining experience.

See More: The Ultimate Guide to Wedding Catering

During the menu tasting with your caterer, you'll have the opportunity to discuss prospective plates based on the season and your taste buds. While some caterers are pros at simultaneously plating 300 servings of prime rib, many will fall short of delivering a piping hot meal to each guest.

Do a little research on a caterer's strengths before booking so that if you envision a Wolfgang Puck-inspired menu of lobster spring rolls and wild mushroom risotto with shallots, the one you hire can handle the request. And if you collectively design a three-course menu that's absolutely mind-blowing, it's OK to settle on one menu with three courses where everyone has the same entree. Take heed from that old adage "less is more" and go with what your gut tells you, literally.

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