Vegetarian weddings are becoming quite popular in recent times with topics about cruelty to animals being in the spotlight! Since you are on this page, I'm assuming that you are thinking of planning a vegetarian wedding menu, so I offer my congratulations (on your impending wedding and your choice of menu!). Many people think that a vegetarian menu isn't 'real' food! That is not at all the case, and I'm assuming that those who think so are probably yet to eat a filling vegetarian meal, and will hopefully change their opinion after doing so! A vegetarian menu can be just as innovative, delectable and fun as a non-vegetarian one. Here are a few tips to help you plan your vegetarian wedding menu.
Dishing Out a Vegetarian Menu Plan
Tip 1 ~ Plan the Budget
Decide the menu according to your budget. It's a myth that a vegetarian menu will be cheaper than a non-vegetarian menu! The cost strictly depends on the type of dishes, number of dishes, and the availability of the food items. If you opt for exotic vegetables, you will have to spend more money than if you try new recipes with easily available vegetables. So if your budget is small, try experimenting with the menu.
Tip 2 ~ Select the Caterer
Instead of selecting a caterer who is renowned for both vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian courses, it may be more helpful if you opt for a caterer who is a vegetarian specialist. Of course, there is no harm in opting for the former. The advantage with the specialist is that his knowledge about filling vegetarian dishes, and the variety available, will be more comprehensive, thus making the work easier for you.
Tip 3 ~ Plan the Details
Sit down with your caterer and plan the menu in detail. The wedding appetizers, main course, special wedding desserts, etc., everything needs attention. Try to incorporate filling dishes over snacks, see which are popular vegetarian substitutes for a non-vegetarian menu, so that your non-vegetarian guests are not left dissatisfied. Find someone who has a variety of vegetarian desserts to offer (you can stick to your caterer, or find a different bakery). Don't be scared of bombarding your caterer with questions, since it's your big day you are planning for, and you don't want your guests being dissatisfied or having not-so-nice memories about it!
Tip 4 ~ Stick to 'Safe'
When given a choice between something that your guests are familiar with over something that is totally new, they usually prefer the familiar dishes. Also, the visual effect cannot be denied, so urge your caterer to be attentive to the presentation too (without comprising on the taste, of course!). This doesn't mean you should absolutely not try new dishes! But if you've picked a different cuisine, then try to pick the popular dishes from that cuisine. If the cuisine itself is popular, then experiment all you want!
Tip 5 ~ Choose Dishes Wisely and Provide Options
If you have a vegetarian equivalent of a non-vegetarian dish, made simply by skipping the 'meat' part of the dish, be ready to tackle some very disappointed guests! This is simply not done, and your wedding menu will turn out to be a major letdown! Choose vegetarian dishes that stand out on their own (and there are tons of these), instead of having vegetarian rip offs of non-vegetarian dishes. This is a strict no-no. Provide a food station with more than a couple of dishes, so that your guests have a choice, and do not feel like they are being forced to eat a particular dish!
Tip 6 ~ Insist on a Tasting
Agreed that this caterer comes with the highest recommendation from your BFF who had hired him for his/her wedding, but a little caution didn't harm anyone! After deciding the menu, ask the caterer for a tasting. Specially if you are trying out some unusual dishes. It's better to try your choices before you serve them to your guests. Depending on whether or not you like what you eat, you can decide to change the menu. This way, on the day of the wedding, you can rest assured that the food is going to be great, and concentrate on the wedding. One less thing to worry about, right? Some caterers may charge for a tasting, some won't.
Tip 7 ~ Don't Make a Fuss
By this I mean, about the menu being 'vegetarian', not the wedding, or the choice of dishes (or anything else!). Don't put it on your wedding invites as a warning or a disclaimer! It's not like you are planning to cook up aliens and serve them, right?! Vegetarian menus, just like non-vegetarian menus, are absolutely all right. No one is going to express distaste at your choice, so relax. Your guests will enjoy the food if they haven't built up prejudices against it!
Tip 8 ~ Be Considerate
If you know that more than half your guests are not really for vegetarian food, provide at least one non-vegetarian option for them. Let the ones who are ready to experiment, try the vegetarian food, while those who are uncomfortable with it also have an option. If you are a strict vegetarian, you wouldn't like it if a wedding you attended had strictly non-vegetarian food, would you? The same applies here.
After all, you wouldn't want anything to ruin your perfect day! Leave your guests with happy memories of your day, and of a meal they won't forget in a hurry !