A Festive Menu

After choosing our date and venue, we created our budget. And we allowed ourselves two splurges: food and photography. Food because we’re the culinary couple, and photography because it’s what we’ll have to remember a day that passes far too quickly.

So we started our search for a caterer at the Festive Board in York. Ed, the owner, greeted us with energy and enthusiasm. He sat down with us in a corner of his quaint deli and asked us to describe our ideal menu. He said, “Don’t consider costs at this point, just tell me exactly what you envision.” And so we did. He took notes and offered suggestions, but mostly he listened. We talked about meats prepared on grills on site and a buffet of hot and cold sides. We told him that our favorite summertime salad has fruit and a honey vinaigrette, and he said he could make that happen. He recommended a spread of European cheeses for the cocktail hour, and we thought that sounded fantastic.

Then Ed asked what we thought about German sausages. “Bratwursts?!” Nick practically jumped out of his chair. Nick was born in Germany while his father was in the military. Turns out Ed also has German roots, and when the two started to talk about rotkohl and spaetzle, I knew we had found our caterer.

We also discussed dessert, and we told him we didn’t want anything fancy. We shared with him our vision of a rustic assortment of cakes and pies, and he liked it.

{credit Bride Sophisticate}

Then Ed left to crunch numbers. Here it comes, we thought. There’s no way we’re going to be able to afford this meal for ~125 guests. Sure enough, it was about $15/person over budget. Wait, he said, we’re going to make some adjustments without touching the menu.

And he worked his magic. We eliminated the formal china and champagne flutes and cut the cocktail hour spread in half. And voila! We ended up just $1.50/person over our original budget, and we were thrilled.

So we’re planning to use white plastic square plates (though I’m up for suggestions of more environmentally friendly options if anyone has ideas) and toast with a variety of beverages. (Neither of us are champagne fans anyway.) During the cocktail hour we’re going to serve signature drinks (yet to be determined) and iced tea and lemonade. Hopefully presented in something similar to this:

{credit Pottery Barn}

And we’re going to have beer from our favorite microbrewery in State College (if you’ve read any of my previous posts, you’ve already heard about our fondness for Otto’s). We may get a few bottles of local wine, too. Are you having a limited bar? What are you serving?

And now I present to you our menu:
European cheese spread with fresh bread, fruits, dips, and mustards
Spinach salad with strawberries, blueberries, and sesame seeds in a light honey vinaigrette
Pit-style pork and beef
BBQ chicken
German sausages
Saurkraut and rotkohl (to please the groom)
Broccoli almondine
Garlic grilled corn
Roasted red potatoes
Crab macaroni and cheese (one of Ed’s specialties!)
Assortment of cakes and pies with coffee and tea

Wow! My mouth is watering just thinking about this spread. It totally fits our tastes and personalities.

How did you choose your menu? Are you incorporating any unique dishes or family favorites? And how did you keep it within your budget? I’d also like to hear your ideas for desserts. We may still add a cupcake display because a) we found an amazing bakery: Providence Divine Cakes and Pastries and b) who can resist something as beautiful as this?

{credit Pink Cake Box}

Next up: The search for the perfect photographer wasn’t quite so simple.