How Did You Plan Your Wedding Menu? It's Trickier Than I Expected

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My partner Sam and I have been planning our wedding now for a few months and, all in all, it's been going pretty well. We quickly found a venue we love, hired our favorite photographers, have been planning lots of DIY decorations and then ... became stuck. And the one thing we're stuck on is the food which I'm finding extremely odd considering we both cook a great deal, love food and consider it one of the bigger parts of the celebration that day. How did this happen?

When Sam and I sat down to talk about wedding food we began with some questions: what were our favorite things? What would we really love to see at our wedding? What would mean something? Stuck again. My favorite foods? Polenta and ice cream. Sam loves hummus, sandwiches and deviled eggs.

The more ways we thought about how to incorporate a few of those things, the weirder it got. We don't necessarily have a food that is particularly meaningful to us as a couple nor do we have a dish or a recipe that has strong family memories or importance. Sam is Lebanese and grew up eating many traditional Mediterranean foods, but I grew up eating pretty standard American fare from the kitchen of a busy working mom — lots of baked chicken and casseroles.

So how do people come up with a wedding menu? I started asking my friends and the gist seemed to be that either they let the caterer take over or they chose some sort of a theme or type of food that kind of worked with the wedding and ran with that (i.e. Mexican food or rustic Italian food). Sam and I are getting married on a farm on one of the islands off the coast of Seattle in September so we thought maybe using a lot of local produce might be nice.

Instead of obsessing over a theme or a feel or the perfect menu, we decided to sit down and talk to our caterers openly about what we thought would taste good: Tomatoes are in season then so maybe we could do a big, juicy plate of sliced tomatoes? And the Pacific Northwest has a mess of crazy wild mushrooms that might make a killer salad. We thought about doing chicken but they suggested maybe something a bit more special for a wedding so we're considering a slow-roasted shoulder of pork. Or lamb. My polenta could make the cut. I think Sam's deviled eggs will make an appearance.

It's looking like a Southern-inspired Pacific Northwest dinner which makes us both really happy — the farmhouse where the ceremony will take place has a Southern feel to it so it's all coming together in "feel," I suppose. But there are still many details to think through (appetizers, main course, dessert) and I find myself pondering the decisions and details —and wondering how two "food people" could be so clueless about what they'd really like to serve at their own wedding.

I'd love to know how you decided on the food for your wedding? Was it more by theme or did you do more of a potluck / DIY affair or let a caterer or planner take the reins? We still have a ways to go and I'd love your suggestions!

(Image credits: Megan Gordon)

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