Meals & Drinks

New Wedding Menu Ideas

Gone are the days of poached salmon and generic cake—today, couples are requesting menus featuring high-quality ingredients and exotic flavors. To meet these demands, caterers are serving up dishes designed to treat guests to a memorable gourmet experience. Here's what top chefs are cooking up for weddings in 2011.

Inventive Hors D'oeuvres

"Vertical" BBQ stations with roasted game (like venison or elk) displayed on cedar planks
—Mattie Mott, Thomas John Events, San Carlos, CA

Smoked meats served tapas style, with imported French cheeses
—Karen Lerner and Rachael Volz, A Fare Extraordinaire, Houston

Falafel burgers on homemade naan
—Michael Steifman, Stuart & Welch Catering & Events, Brooklyn, NY

Deviled quail eggs and mini breakfast sandwiches of prosciutto, cheddar, and an over-easy organic egg
—Jennifer Spiegel and Jonathan Biel, Fork and Spoon Productions, San Francisco

Tray-passed salmon and tuna tartare, plus Bay scallop and striped bass ceviche served with fresh chillies and lime
—Jon Weinrott, Peachtree &Ward Catering, Philadelphia

Three-cheese spaetzle bites
—Kevin Siegrist, Hotel Jerome, A RockResort, Aspen, CO

Sweet hors d'oeuvres such as brie and apricot tartlets with toasted almonds
—Emily Vandevender and Dana Konya, Jewell Events Catering, Chicago

Mushroom bread pudding served in petite cups
—Dawn Meitz, A Spice of Life Catering, Boulder, CO

Fusion tapas such as pizzettas with duck confit and truffled goat cheese mousse
—Shai Tertner, Shiraz Events, New York and Miami

See Ya, Silver Serving Trays, Hello...

Rustic redwood planks accented with wheatgrass
—Mattie Mott

Unique glassware—such as individual rocks glasses, shot glasses, and cosmo glasses—for serving hors d'oeuvres
—Karen Lerner and Rachael Volz

Antique wooden crates, woven baskets, and brown apothecary bottles
—Michael Steifman

Paper cones crafted out of butcher paper or newspaper
—Jennifer Spiegel and Jonathan Biel

Rectangular trays made of ice for serving oyster shooters
—Jon Weinrott

Wheeled carts offering street foods (like tacos) or desserts (such as mini sundaes)
—Kevin Siegrist

"Sabers"—gourmet sliders skewered on long swords
—Emily Vandevender and Dana Konya

Recyclable and compostable dishware such as bamboo plates
—Dawn Meitz

Artist paint palettes used as hors d'oeuvre trays
—Shai Tertner

Cool New Cocktails

Infused vodka shooters: vodka blended with puréed fruits such as green apple lychee
—Mattie Mott

Aromatic cocktails like basil margaritas or gingered pear and brandy
—Karen Lerner and Rachael Volz

Elderflower presses: vodka, St-Germain, ginger-lemongrass syrup, lemon thyme, elderflower water, and club soda
—Michael Steifman

Boozy milkshakes: shot glasses filled with homemade ice cream and Frangelico, Kahlua, or Baileys
—Jennifer Spiegel and Jonathan Biel

Rosé wines from a tasting station with four to six different varieties for sampling
—Jon Weinrott

Blue spruce martinis: pine-and spruce-infused sorbet and San Nicola prosecco
—Kevin Siegrist

Sweet tea vodka lemonades
—Emily Vandevender and Dana Konya

Miniature cocktails: classic drinks such as gin and tonics served in shooter glasses
—Dawn Meitz

Drinks made with various liquors, fruit purées, and herbs at a mixology station
—Shai Tertner

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