Beef, fish, or chicken? How about: make it a surprise? For my destination wedding in Provence, France, I decided to buck American convention and not let my guests choose their meal. It made life a lot easier for me — and I think it made the dinner more enjoyable and festive for my guests. Here's why.
The Paradox of Choice
I'm sure you've heard about it. It's the idea that too many options create anxiety. How does this play out at a wedding? Well, imagine three months before the big day you selected the fish. But now you're looking at that filet mignon your plus-one chose and having buyer's remorse. Taking the choice away from your guests removes the risk of culinary regret.
One Good Meal Instead of Three Mediocre Ones
Asking a chef to prepare three different entrées creates a trade of quality for quantity. Instead, we asked our caterer to imagine one cohesive menu for our wedding, inspired by the Provence region. For the first course, we offered a watermelon gazpacho with prawns and crispy bacon. The main event was a seven-hour-cooked lamb with lemon, basil, and an herbs de Provence crust, served with a vegetable casserole and mashed violette potatoes and hazelnut. We followed that with an assortment of French cheese, a salad, and finally a traditional French wedding cake and mignardise, like macarons and éclairs.
The Joy of Replicating a Family Meal
When you welcome family and friends into your home, you typically eat the same thing. And if you're anything like my family, you discuss what you're eating, how it reminds you of that dish your grandmother made or how it has the perfect amount of rosemary. We hoped the common meal would help guests enjoy a delicious debate and build a shared memory.
You Can Still Respect Dietary Restrictions
We asked our guests to note any dietary restrictions when submitting their RSVPs. We passed those on to the caterer, who was able to provide delicious and creative fish and vegetarian meals for our guests who didn't eat red meat.