Wedding Menu for Every Season

Wedding Menu Ideas for Every Season

Let your wedding catering take a cue from the seasons with menu ideas for every season…

Spring Wedding Menu Ideas

Summon the taste of spring with light flavors and delicate textures…

  • In Season – serve a main dish featuring ham or lamb
  • Fresh produce – round out the meal with a bounty of fresh fruits and young vegetables like baby carrots, baby asparagus and new potatoes
  • Elegant sides – serve mini quiches or update traditional deviled eggs by adding salmon or crabmeat
  • Bar favorites – a spring menu seems to call for champagne.  Mix up a batch of mimosas for a morning wedding, or create a festive champagne cocktail.

Summer Wedding Menu Ideas

Use your summer menu to invoke warmth, sunshine and fun…

  • Serve lighter fare – think fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables like berries, watermelon, tomatoes, cucumber, and corn, seafood and lean poultry like chicken.  Between courses, serve a light sorbet.
  • Spark up the grill – serve traditional picnic and grill fare like barbeque, burgers and potato salad
  • Head to the tropics – feature tropical signature cocktails like margaritas, sangria, or mojitos.

Fall Wedding Menu Ideas

Bring out the rich and comforting tastes of autumn…

  • Traditional favorites – you cannot go wrong with seasonal standbys: turkey, red potatoes, corn bread dressing, green beans, and honey glazed carrots.
  • Family style – re-create a traditional thanksgiving feast by incorporating your family recipes into your wedding menu and serving the meal family style (if your guest list is small).
  • Hearty proteins – Choose a hearty meat that will pair with heavier side dishes – turkey, roasted quail, rib roast
  • Keep it elegant – you can serve traditional fare in sophisticated, creative ways – present soup or veggie puree in mini shot classes or hallowed out gourds, or warm apple cider in glass mugs with cinnamon sticks.

Winter Wedding Menu Ideas

Warm up to a decadent winter menu with these cool ideas to reflect the season…

  • Hearty dishes – serve heartier fare in sophisticated, creative ways – such as colorful butternut squash puree or warm pumpkin soup in ramekins or shot glasses.
  • Wintery beverages – warm guests with eggnog, spiced wine or mixed coffee drinks.

source: elegala.com

Unique Wedding Favors

Wedding favors don’t have to be dull and uninspired…

Wedding favors often evoke a “been there, done that” response from wedding guests.  Looking for something a little more memorable than a bag of Jordan almonds?  Here are our top choices for a few inspiring guest thank-yous.

Unique Wedding Favors Ideas

Late night munchies
After dancing for hours, rolling out individual snacks like mini hamburgers with a fixings bar are a big hit. We did see a couple have Gene & Judes Hot Dogs delivered. The guests loved it.

Photo shop
Rent a photo booth and let your guests take turns posing for the camera.  Set up a DIY station with mini-frames so they can take home their favorite shots.

Escape the Elements
If you really want to impress, give your guests something sublimely stylish yet useful to kep them smiling through the elements: stylish sunglasses (to deflect glare), sleek umbrellas (in case of rain), or cashmere scarves (should a breeze pick up).

Personalized Thank-yous
Place small journals at each place setting, and write every guest a personal thank-you note on the front page.

Make some noise at theme weddings
Liven up the party, and hand out maracas, small horns, or even kazoos – a great idea for a theme wedding.

Family-favorites
Gather a collection of favorite family recipes from both sides into a small recipe book or box printed with your names and wedding date.

Final Farewell
Send guests away with a final parting gift, and enlist the parking attendants to place a flower with an attached thank-you note on the dashboard of each car.  If you’ll be providing guest transportation, be sure to place a basket of these favors at the front of the bus for guests to take prior to departure.

Give Back
Yes, this idea has been done – but altruism is at an all-time high, and we’re jumping on the bandwagon .  Donating in the name of your guests to a charity, one that holds special meaning for the two of you, adds another sentimental personal touch to your wedding.

source: elegala.com

44 Creative Wedding Ideas

Below are a some wedding tips from elegala.com

Wedding Ceremony Ideas

Location
If you don’t host your ceremony in a house of worship or in the same location as your reception, you can get creative with your ceremony location and exchange vows at sunrise on the beach or at sunset from the rooftop of the tallest building in your metropolitan area. Get more ideas for unique ceremony sites.

Refreshments
Use the season or your location as an opportunity to greet guests with a refreshing drink. Lemonade and sweet tea will quench your guests’ thirst while gathering in the blazing sun, or serve hot apple cider to warm your guests during chiller months.

Grand Entrance
Make your entrance especially grand by being escorted by your pet dog or by arriving on a white horse.

Vows and Readings
Not a new concept, but speaking from the heart by writing your own wedding vows or incorporating personalized poems and popular wedding readings or even humorous wedding ceremony readings into your ceremony will surely grab the attention of your guests.

Unique Wedding Reception Ideas

Location
You shouldn’t feel bound by the need to have your celebration in your hometown or the town in which you currently reside. Don’t be afraid to consider something unexpected. Bring your event to your favorite vacation spot or another location that has special meaning to you and your hubby. Everyone can appreciate some time away.

Venue Type
Think outside the banquet hall and bring your celebration to a naturally beautiful venue like a garden or museum. Your guests will enjoy strolling around picturesque grounds or appreciating timeless works of art.

Seating Arrangements
Add some visual interest to your setting by interspersing different shaped tables throughout the room or seating your guests at long tables for a family-style affair.

Catering Ideas

Bars
Who doesn’t like something with the word “bar” attached to it? Your guests will delight in all things bar, from a mashed potato bar or dessert bar to an espresso or martini bar.

Ethnic Cuisine
If you have a strong heritage, have visited a favorite world destination together, or even just have an affinity for a particular variety of cuisine, revolve your menu around that ethnic specialty.

Family-style
Offer delectable comfort foods with a twist, served up family-style – a great icebreaker for your guests.

Seasonal
Take inspiration from the season and serve a menu that offers a theme of seasonal favorites.

Courses
Break out of the conventional chicken-or-fish mold and base your entire meal around cocktails and appetizers or coffee and desserts.

Fondues
Fondues are making a comeback, and whether you prefer sweet chocolates or savory cheeses, your guests will relish in the rich offering.

Wedding Decoration Ideas

Color Scheme
Try pairing a few uncommon colors together or featuring varying shades of the same color throughout your space.

The Food Pyramid
Fill cylindrical glass vases with fruits and vegetables reflecting your colors. Oranges, lemons, and limes have been done so try a unique, more contemporary look with mangos or coconuts or tie it to the season with texture-rich earthy vegetables like husked corn, acorn squash, or artichokes.

Au Natural
Consult Mother Nature for inspiration, and bring the outdoors in. Natural objects like stones, leaves, pinecones, even twigs can add an organic aesthetic to your reception décor. Place in rustic containers or scatter amongst pillar candles for added ambiance.

Lighten Up
Floating candles in a shallow bowl adds lighting and elegance to your tabletops. Or arrange multi-level candles on a mosaic of mirrors or tiles and surround them with seashells or flower petals. Placing coffee beans or red hot candies at the bottom of a vase or bowl to hold the candles steady also adds an aromatic effect.

Consult your Inner Child
For the kid at heart, fill decorative bowls with your favorite candies – such as jellybeans and M&M’s – in your wedding colors.

Find even more inspiring ideas for unique wedding decorations in our complete guide to wedding flowers and decor!

Entertainment Ideas

Ceremony Music
If “Here Comes the Bride” doesn’t suit your style or personality, choose a song that does. There is no written rule that states you can’t make your grand entrance to a rendition of your favorite Beastie Boys’ song.

Non-traditional Instruments
If you desire live music over a DJ, consider tying your musician selection to the theme or location of your event. A beachside bash naturally lends itself to the sound of steel drums, while a trumpet quartet will sound impressive in an elaborate cathedral.

Themed Music
Take it one step further and zone in on the music that is indigenous to your wedding location. Guests attending a Mardi Gras-themed event in New Orleans will bask in a cocktail hour of Dixieland jazz.

DJ and a Band
Can’t decide which you would rather have? Have both to ensure that all types of music are represented throughout your day to please both your 85-year-old grandmother and your 21-year-old cousin.

Photography Ideas

Photojournalism
More and more brides are leaning toward hiring a photographer who specialized in a photojournalistic style. These photographers shy away from posed shots and aim to capture all of the candid moments that you’ll always want to remember or may have never seen.

Creative Shots
Hire your photographer to follow you throughout your entire day (leading up to the “Do Not Disturb” sign, of course). While it may make you feel anxious to have someone photograph you as you get ready, these shots will help you to remember the joy and anticipation of every part of your big day. Read more ideas for creative wedding pictures.

Wedding Cake Ideas

Minimal Adornments
Some brides believe in the “less is more” adage. A simple cake minimally ornamented can make a bold statement.

Square Tiers
Looking for a subtle way to break away from the ordinary? Square tiers make a modern presentation. Whoever said “it’s hip to be square” must have been in the cake business.

Cake-free
If cake isn’t your favorite dessert, then don’t feel the need to serve it to your guests. Apple crisp, peach cobbler, pumpkin pie, cupcakes, or even glazed doughnuts are a hit at the dessert table.

Sugar-free
The end-of-meal offering doesn’t have to be made of flour and frosting. Think savory instead, and visit your local cheese shop to have them construct wheels of cheese in tiers and stacked to look like traditional wedding cake.

Our complete wedding cakes guide has even more advice and a list of creative and unusual wedding cakes ideas. You can also browse hundreds of pictures of wedding cakes in our wedding cake gallery.

Attire Ideas

Wardrobe Change
Today’s brides are opting to wear not one dress, but two! Wear an elegant gown while you exchange vows, then slip into something a little more comfortable to round out the evening.

Anything but White
A white wedding dress symbolizes innocence and purity, but if that’s not your style, feel free to bring out your colorful personality by adding a splash of color to your attire. You can be as subtle as a colored sash and jewels or as bold as a fuchsia-colored dress.

Something Borrowed
Anything retro screams chic these days. So why not consider donning your mother’s vintage gown as a tribute to a family legacy. A few alterations can make it your own.

Stationery Ideas

Ethnicity
If your heritage is important for you to represent on your big day, do some research and find a stationer who offers multi-cultural invitations and announcements.

Creative Touch
For more intimate, casual gatherings, request the honor of your guests’ presence in an innovative and entertaining way. Here’s an idea – have your invite printed on a balloon so guests have to blow them up to receive the message.

Programs
Do something a little different with your wedding programs by including personal photos or by printing them on something that serves a dual purpose – like a fan.

Storybook
Get the most bang for your program buck by including stories of how the two of you met, who introduced you, and your relationship to everyone in the bridal party. Think of all the time you’ll save by not having to explain all of this to your husband’s childhood neighbor during the reception!

Transportation Ideas

Grand Entrance
If the size of your bridal party doesn’t warrant a stretch limousine, consider arriving on horseback, on the back of your husband’s motorcycle, or in the passenger’s seat of your dad’s antique car.

Wedding Favor Ideas

Double Duty Décor Elements
Use photo frames as place cards or potted plants as centerpieces, and let your guests take them home at the end of the night.

Something Useful
Give your guests something they can enjoy for years to come. A small bag of seeds to plant will remind them of your big day every time they smell the flowers.

Something Edible
As if a five-course meal wasn’t enough, send your guests home at the end of the night with an extra treat of your favorite candies or special hometown delicacies.

Donations
With a high emphasis on karma these days, give something back and make a donation to your favorite cause in lieu of knickknacks. Your guests will appreciate the altruistic gesture.

Wedding Gift Ideas

Attendants
After seemingly endless Friday nights spent planning showers and licking envelopes, your bridesmaids are going to need a little pampering of their own. A spa gift certificate is the perfect way to thank them for their hard work.

Gift Baskets
Make out-of-town guests feel welcome by greeting them with a basket of goodies in their hotel room. Include some essentials that will make their stay more comfortable, and incorporate some items that are reflective of your wedding location. Nothing like some bottled water and Vermont maple syrup to get them through the weekend!

Registry Ideas

The Gift of Travel
If time away is more important to you than a waffle iron, consider setting up a honeymoon registry. Many travel agents offer services to collect, record, and apply contributions from your guests toward your honeymoon travel expenditures. Some even allow guests to contribute to specific activities at your destination location, such as scuba diving lessons or boat rides.

The Gift of Life
If your house is already stocked with all of the essentials, give something back instead. Many eco-friendly organizations such as the World Wildlife Federation offer donation registries.

Ceremony Readings and Vows

Popular Passages

Let some of these favorite ceremony readings inspire you while writing your wedding vows or customizing your ceremony with wedding readings.

If you’re personalizing your wedding ceremony with meaningful readings, delve into the world of literature, poetry, quotes and lyrics for inspiration. Spend some time at the library reading works by your favorite authors; listen to lyrics from songs that moved you—even consult Hollywood for some lines that strike an emotional chord.

This list of popular wedding ceremony readings will get you started.
Wedding Readings from Poetry

William Shakespeare – “Romeo and Juliet”

My bounty is as boundless as the sea,
My love as deep; the more I give to thee,
The more I have, for both are infinite. William Shakespeare – “Sonnet 116”

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

Wilferd Peterson – The Art of Marriage

The little things are the big things.
It is never being too old to hold hands.
It is remembering to say, “I love you” at least once a day.

It is never going to sleep angry.
It is at no time taking the other for granted;
the courtship should not end with the honeymoon,
it should continue through all the years.

It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives.
It is standing together facing the world.
It is forming a circle of love that gathers in the whole family.
It is doing things for each other,
not in the attitude of duty or sacrifice,
but in the spirit of joy.

It is speaking words of appreciation,
and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways.
It is not expecting the husband to wear a halo
or the wife to have the wings of an angel.
It is not looking for perfection in each other.

It is cultivating flexibility, patience,
understanding and a sense of humor.
It is having the capacity to forgive and forget.
It is giving each other an atmosphere
in which each can grow.

It is finding room for the things of the Spirit.
It is a common search for the good and the beautiful.
It is establishing a relationship in which
the independence is equal, dependence is mutual,
and the obligation is reciprocal.

It is not only marrying the right partner,
it is BEING the right partner.
This is “The Art of Marriage”
Wedding Readings from Cultural Heritage

Irish Wedding Blessing

May God be with you and bless you
May you see your children’s children
May you be poor in misfortunes,
Rich in blessings
May you know nothing but happiness
From this day forward

Apache Wedding Blessing

Now you will feel no rain,
For each of you will be shelter to the other.
Now you will feel no cold,
For each of you will be warmth to each other.
Now there is no more loneliness for you,
For each of you will be comfort to the other.
Though you are two bodies,
There is but one life before you.
Go now to your dwelling place,
To enter into the days of your togetherness.
And, may the days of your life
Be good and long upon the earth.
Wedding Readings from Hollywood

When Harry Met Sally

I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.

To Love and Be Loved

We come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly.

Moulin Rouge

The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.

The Notebook

The best love is the kind that weakens the soul, that makes us reach for more, that plants fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds. And that’s what you’ve given me. That’s what I hope to give to you forever.

The Notebook

Poets often describe love as an emotion that we can’t control, one that overwhelms logic and common sense. That’s what it’s like for me. I didn’t plan on falling in love with you, and I doubt that you planned on falling in love with me. But once we met, it was clear that neither of us could control what was happening to us. We fell in love, despite our differences, and once we did, something rare and beautiful was created. For me love like that has happened only once, and that’s why every minute we spent together has been seared in my memory. I’ll never forget a single moment of it.
Wedding Readings from Song Lyrics

Etta James – At Last

At last
my love has come along
my lonely days over
and life is like a song

At last
the skies above are blue
well my heart was wrapped up in clover
the night I looked at you

I found a dream
that I could speak to
a dream that I could call my own
I found a thrill
to press my cheek to
a thrill that I have never known

At last
You are mine
At last

Rascal Flatts – Bless the Broken Road

I set out on a narrow way many years ago
Hoping I would find true love along the broken road
But I got lost a time or two
Wiped my brow and kept pushing through
I couldn’t see how every sign pointed straight to you

Every long lost dream led me to where you are
Others who broke my heart, they were like northern stars
Pointing me on my way into your loving arms
This much I know is true
That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you

source: elegala.com

Wedding Reception Timelines

When it comes to planning the timeline of your reception, you may not be sure how to organize your timeline.  “This is my first wedding and I have no idea what to do.” We hear this time and time again. Please remember, hiring “high-end” wedding vendors will make your planning so much easier.  Music By Design is a wedding expert and is will help your event flow smoothly – your wedding reception should be a stress free time of enjoyment.

You will meet with the banquet captain and discuss your timeline with your DJ prior to your reception. Below is an example of a standard timeline. Please keep in mind, it is your event.  The following is merely a suggestion based on experience, and is in no way set in stone.  Your vendors are there to accommodate you provide the best experience possible.

Traditional Timeline

6:00 pm – Cocktail Hour Begins

6:50 pm – Guest seating

7:00 pm – Bridal party introductions

7:05 pm – Bride and groom cut cake

7:10 pm – Speeches & Toasts

7:25 pm – Blessing

7:30 pm – First course served

8:45 pm – Bride and groom’s first dance

8:50 pm – Bride and father dance

8:55 pm – Groom and mother dance

9:00 pm – Dance floor opens to all guests

10:00 pm – Bouquet Toss

10:05 pm – Garter removal

11:55 pm – Last dance

12:00 pm – Reception ends

FAQ’s

Why cut your cake immediately after being introduced?

Cutting your cake immediately after being introduced is a good idea for several reasons. First, it allows the banquet hall to remove the cake early and begin slicing it for your guests in time for desert. Second, you already have the attention of everyone in the room immediately after being introduced. Third, the photographer has an opportunity to take your pictures before you begin eating. The groom may want to remove his jacket and roll up his sleeves for dinner. Taking the cake cutting pictures early ensures that you still look your best.

How many speeches should we have?

It is traditional to have two speakers, your maid/matron of honor and best man. We suggest that each speech be kept to a maximum of 5 minutes. By keeping speeches short and sweet, you retain the attention of your guests and assure that dinner is served on time and hot. It is recommended that all speeches be given before dinner is served. Having speeches given during food service can be distracting and draws attention away from the individual giving the speech. Your vendors will be flexible, just make sure you know in advance how many speeches will be given. Some family members may want to give “surprise” speeches.  Unless previously scheduled or given the green light by the bride and groom, your DJ will not give the microphone to guests that are not on the schedule. This ensures that your reception flows nicely and allows plenty of time for dinner service and all your other formalities.

What if the bride and groom wants to give a welcome speech?

Oftentimes, the bride and groom are compelled to thank everyone for coming. We recommend waiting until desert to do so.  Why wait?  First of all, it makes for quicker dinner service. The less speeches given before dinner, the faster the food is served, which makes for happy guests and happy vendors. Second, and more importantly, it gives you time to “soak it all in”. During dinner, you have a chance to look around the room and see all the people that made it out for your special day and think of what you really want to say in your speech. These speeches are generally brief, but heartfelt. “We’d like to thank everyone for coming to our reception….thanks to the Smith family for traveling from overseas….thank you to (bride’s family) thank you to (groom’s family)….enjoy the reception….see you on the dance floor.”

We want a video montage.  How long should it be and when should we play it?

It has become very popular to include a slideshow during wedding receptions. A slideshow is a nice way to display your love story to your guests and is sure to draw laughter and tears from those who love you the most. However, a sideshow that is too long can have an adverse affect and cause your guests to lose attention and interest. We recommend keeping your slideshow between 6-7 minutes long using roughly 100 photos. A good rule of thumb is 33 pictures of the bride, 33 pictures of the groom, and 15 to 20 pictures of the bride and groom as a couple. Selecting one song to be played over each segment provides theme music for each sequence and lends itself well to transitions. Plan on scheduling your slideshow immediately preceding the speeches or during desert. If you have a lot of speeches, definitely wait until desert.

We hope this information was helpful. If you have any questions or concerns, please consult Music By Design at 630.262.0432.

Personalize Your Reception

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of DJ’ing a wedding chalked full of personal touches that displayed the bride and groom’s outgoing, fun-loving personalities.

My Thoughts…When planning your wedding, do not worry about what other people expect or what is conventional. Don’t be afraid to add a little flair to your special day.

For starters, their first dance was choreographed to Ray LaMontagne’s “You are the Best Thing.” The groom twirled his bride around the dance floor and hammed it up for the guests. Everyone loved it. You could feel the energy in the room building as everyone anxiously awaited to see what was going to happen next… as the groom dipped the bride and I faded out the music and mixed in “Weapon of Choice” by Fatboy Slim. On the far side of the dance floor, the father of the bride began to move around slowly as if to break into dance at any minute as the song began to build. At the same time, the bride (on the other side of the dance floor) also began pacing the dance floor. After the 30 second intro, the father of the bride and the bride began dancing ala Christopher Walken in the “Weapon of Choice” music video. The room erupted with applause and I knew right away this was going to be a fun bunch. From here, we faded into the more traditional “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong as the groom and his mother joined the bride and father of the bride on the dance floor.

I was told ahead of time that the bride and groom and their friends had a lot of “song routines”. “You’ll see what we mean,” they said. I had no idea what I was in store for. First up, “Time Warp” from the Rocky Horror Picture Show, by special request from the bride. The entire dance floor filled as the song began and everyone took their place as if this was a well rehearsed Broadway show. Everyone in the room was grinning from ear to ear as they “performed” synchronized movements to the song. It was a blast!

Throughout the evening, the group continued to participate in other group dances, including a hilarious dance to The Pointer Sisters “Jump (For My Love) in which members of the bridal party took turns jumping into an imaginary double Dutch jump roping scenario. Again, it was a blast for everyone involved.

Because they planned a night that was customized to their specific tastes, the couple and all of their guests will definitely look back at that night as one they will never forget. They were not concerned about convention. They wanted to have a fun, memorable, and unique wedding reception and they most definitely did. I can honestly say that it was one of the most fun wedding receptions I have ever been a part of.

Grandmother Nails It

Venue: Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza on 7.25.09

The food was great! Outstanding views from the 15th floor reception hall.

As DJs, we see many different events and a few crazy things now and then. After looking at the job sheet for Saturday, I noticed the bride’s grandmother was scheduled to sing. The bride wanted the singing to take place after the mother/son dance and I was slightly concerned about how well this would go over. In the beginning of the evening, the grandmother stopped by the DJ booth to express how nervous she felt. When the time came, I gave her a proper introduction, and she calmly made her way to center stage on the dance floor. What happened next blew us all away. She started with a 5 minute heartfelt monologue that explained what she was singing and why. She was outstanding! Even before the singing began, she had the crowd laughing one minute and tearing up the next.

Finally, the singing began and she nailed it! The entire room was on the verge of tears and disbelief. Her singing was absolutely breathtaking. She finished and the room was mesmerized.  A split second of silence was followed by a standing ovation. The bride and groom (still in tears) met her halfway for hugs.

The rest of the evening was wonderful. The family was great and they danced all night long