I recently had a strange epiphany: There is something about springtime that makes people fall in love as well as get engaged or tie the knot — at least that is what has been happening in my circle of friends.
And quite frankly, it is starting to make me anxious.
First, I spot engagement pictures on Facebook. Then, seemingly all at once, I get the invitations and the thank-you cards in the mail and before I know it, there are pictures posted all over social media of their adorable babies, almost foreshadowing, “Hey — you’re next.”
I might be jumping to conclusions, but it has become apparent that in this day and age, many college kids are meeting both the people they will be with romantically for the rest of their lives and the friends that will be at their weddings.
As for me? Who cares about finding love in a hopeless place — I believe that love will find me in a tasty place.
Apart from all of these engagements and announcements, I cannot help but think of what kind of food the couples will choose to have at their parties — sorry, I’m not sorry.
I love the television shows that completely dramatize how stressful weddings can be, from choosing the cake icing to ensuring that the DJ does not epically ruin the evening with awkward slow jams from the ‘90s and splashes of salsa in the mix. Engaged couples have so many options and also not a whole lot of time to choose. Their food options vary from sit-down dinner to buffet style to little appetizers served throughout the night like tapas, but the pressure to accommodate picky eaters, special diets and the wedding theme or season is evident.
All these factors make choosing food for such events difficult. But all in all, two things remain — love and food. That’s where I come in; after all, I am “In Love With the Edible.”
In my young life, I have been to my fair share of weddings — good, bad and ugly. The bad for me always consists of a bad combination of a lack of food and music. Wedding and engagement parties should celebrate the couple and their future lives together — but what about all of the people who love and support them? They need to eat too. So with that being said, here are a few key tips to having great engagement and wedding receptions, brought to you by some helpful people.
Hire a great caterer
Though Aunt Marge makes great potato salad and barbequed meatballs for the church potluck, that is not what you want — or your guests expect — for the greatest day of your life. When hiring a great caterer, one often has all the linens, china, silverware, coffee and water service — decorations included. A top-shelf caterer is priceless and their food is outstanding, their service is great and the night becomes memorable not only for you but your guests. If you cut corners on catering, you are not fooling anyone. If budget is a concern, hire a top-shelf caterer and invite fewer guests. If you are doing a buffet-style dinner, make sure your caterer has one line for a buffet table for each 50 guests.
Eat first, then greet your guests
Instead of forming a receiving line that takes an enormous amount of time to chat with every guest individually, it’s better to get things going. Arrange for a 30 to 60 minute cocktail hour, make your Grand Entrance halfway through, then open the buffet line with your wedding party.
Since you are the first through the line, you will be the first done eating and have a chance to eat in peace, as your guests will be waiting to get in line. Once you are finished with your dinner, walk around and greet your guests one table at a time. This allows you to greet eight to 10 people at once while the event continues to move along at a good pace. By speaking with your guests proactively, they will not feel as inclined to seek you out later for one-on-one interaction. If you have 200 guests and speak with each one for only one minute each, that takes up 3.5 hours of your reception.
Do not make your guests wait
The time before dinner is very important. We do not want anyone running late, because the guests will be left standing around doing nothing. Make sure your ceremony starts on time and that the photographer does not take longer than the cocktail hour to complete your photos. Your reception doors should open up between 45 minutes and an hour after your cocktail hour begins. If the guests are left waiting much longer than that, they will start to get restless.
Eat, Drink and be Merry
Your guests will take their cues from you. If you are eating, dancing and enjoying yourself, your guests will too. When I see a packed dance floor, typically the bride and groom are right in the center of the crowd.
We are Trojans — “Win or lose, we still booze!” Therefore, host your wedding appropriately and make sure that beverages are readily available for a good time.
Alegra Hueso is a sophomore majoring in creative writing. Her column, “In Love With the Edible,” runs Wednesdays.