For a bride and groom who'd like a more conventional wedding menu—but with seasonings and ingredients that make it stand out—a salad with super-fresh ingredients makes an excellent first course. Baby iceberg lettuces, tomatoes, red onion, blue cheese, and watercress drizzled with a tomato vinaigrette provide a light-but-invigorating collection of flavors.
Executive chef Rick Gresh at the James Hotel suggests a bone-in filet or salmon as the main course; the key to ensuring the dishes live up to the occasion lies in the preparation. "Ours is incredibly tender due to the cut," explains Gresh of the filet, while the salmon is seared to create a crispy skin and flaky inside; lemon zest and bok choy add "some Asian flair" that elevates the dish above the everyday.
"For the dessert I thought it would be fun to have our cake-in-a-can instead of the traditional wedding cake," says Gresh. The idea is that the red-velvet cake is baked fresh and then iced with vanilla cream-cheese frosting right at the table, where it's served with triple vanilla bean ice-cream; guests are sure to feel cared for.