Wedding Cakes and Menus
Food Fit for an Exotic Wedding
A destination wedding menu can be fun to plan, especially if you have a palate for new and exotic tastes. From island delicacies to customary culinary rituals, you have a chance to treat your guests to an eye-opening dining experience. However, there's more to the planning process than simply choosing your favorite dishes.
It can be difficult to arrange a menu from afar, especially if you're used to complete control. While some couples are happy to work with the resort and the local vendors directly, you might want to bring in a wedding planner to help get your vision to the table in time for the big day.
Prepare for Menu Challenges
Whatever the country, climate or terrain, there will be some limitations to your menu. You might be disappointed to learn that your favorite seafood won't be in season, and the fruits you wanted to serve for dessert are not necessarily as affordable as you had hoped. As long as you understand the unavoidable realities, you should have no trouble navigating the menu hurdles ahead.
- For starters, the season will dictate what's available in the way of produce, and if you want something else, you'll undoubtedly pay a big premium for it. Luckily, tropical climates tend to have an exceptionally long growing season, so you won't have to compromise too much, but don't be too surprised if you need to find alternatives.
- Secondly, consider the limitations of your resort. If you're working with the resort catering staff, they may have strict parameters for a wedding menu based on what their facilities can offer. But you are bringing a lot of business to them, possibly repeat business if things go well, so don't be afraid to ask where they might be able to personalize something for you.
- You can't be there every step of the way. You'll need to trust that the vendors, planners or resort staff will be able to honor your wishes and attend to the details. Do what you can to taste, tweak and talk through the menu in person, but if you can't physically visit the caterers, at least have a thorough conversation at the outset.
Although destination menu planning can be tricky, with every challenge comes an opportunity. An optimistic bride will look on the bright side, and make use of unique circumstances for a wedding reception to remember:
- Sticking to seasonal ingredients can be liberating for your budget and taste buds. If you're working with a local caterer, talk to them about which ingredients will be the most accessible and the easiest to work with. The more local and seasonal you can stay, the farther your wedding food budget will stretch, and you could wind up with some local delicacies that you hadn't even considered!
- Working with a resort staff means there's a better chance your wedding reception will go off without a hitch, especially if they've hosted weddings before. If you're a bit nervous that things may go awry, visit some online wedding or travel forums to chat with people who have attended a party or wedding at that resort, and get their impressions of the setting and dining.
- Once you decide on your menu, it's out of your hands and you can turn your full attention to other wedding matters. If you know your caterer is just around the corner, you might be tempted to micromanage, which can bring undue stress to you and your caterer. As long as you trust your caterer, a tremendous weight will be lifted when you make your final decision.
Tips for Clean and Colorful Cakes
A destination wedding reception is the perfect opportunity to have a traditional dessert with an exotic flavor. Pineapple, rum, coconut, and passion fruit are tasty alternatives to chocolate and vanilla, and they'll never taste fresher than when you are in the tropics. On the other hand, it's nice to retain some wedding cake customs that are important to your heritage and pleasing to the eye.
Do yourself a favor and stay away from chocolate, which can melt in seconds on a hot day. Fondant will be a better choice than buttercream for the same reason – you'll want your cake to stand tall and clean all through the reception. Consider using delicate local blossoms for decoration, or bring in the colors of your surroundings with candy. Or, if you really want to celebrate local flavors, serve a local dessert, pastry or baked treat that's reserved for special occasions instead of a traditional cake.