Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Wedding Q&A Thursday - Food Choice Confusion

Q: We want to give our guests a choice between 2 entrees for our wedding reception. How do we make sure each guest is given the right entree?

A: Good Question! I have to start out up here on a soap box tell you that if you were my client and we were discussing this decision I would strongly suggest not giving your guests a choice and going with a Duo-style plating - a little of both for everyone. This method saves you the trouble of having to count meal choices (except, of course, vegetarian), doesn't allow wedding guests who have "changed their minds" to throw off the food count, and saves you the from having to assign exact seats if you don't want to.

That said, you may feel strongly about giving guests a choice, and I will offer you advice on that! I have heard a few banquet managers telling brides to just give them the number of each entree per table, or that they don't need to assign seats just because they are doing meal choices, and other such half-truths that will not guarantee each guest receiving the meal they selected. If you send a banquet server to each table and have them ask guests if they ordered chicken or beef, many guests will pick what looks and sounds most appetizing to them at that moment and not remember or care what they actually ordered. Using this method will leave you with a situation similar to that on an international flight - the last people to be served eat what is left.

Since you do not want any of your guests to feel like the person sitting in the very-back-non-reclining-next-to-the-bathroom seat on a crowded overseas flight, you must indicate which meal was chosen by each guest to the banquet servers. The most seamless method is to print place cards that are different based on food choice - such as one color for beef, another for chicken. If you do something like that, the server can identify the meal choice without asking your guests to look on the back of the place card, tell them the number, and explain what this all means and so on.

If you do not want to assign specific seats, what do you do? Well, in that case, escort cards will need to serve double-duty as place cards and guests should take their escort card, with food designation, to their assigned table with them. Many guests won't and there will be slightly more confusion. My recommendation - assign seats.

READERS: What do you think about giving guests a food choice and the best way to organize selections? Have you seen a unique way of indicating which guest chose which entree?

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