Wedding dinner in France
Wedding dinner in France is the whole experience where the service plays an important role. This article will help you to understand how to create your french wedding menu and will help you to avoid errors.
Generally, wedding reception would start with a light cocktail that would last between 1 and 2 hours depending on the venue and your catering package. Chateau weddings often have longer cocktails and more generous catering packages. During the cocktail, you and your guests will enjoy small finger foods and live culinary shows. Grilled gambas/scallops stations and foie gras or cheese buffets are very popular. Fifteen finger foods per person is an adequate quantity for a cocktail that lasts 1h30-2 hours.
The cocktail is usually accompanied by champagne, wine, sometimes stronger alcoholic beverages and cocktails. I personally think that having a signature cocktail station is lovely, as it brings some freshness and authenticity to the event. Serving strong alcohol is a bit risky though. If you want your guests to stay fresh for longer, stick to wines and low-alcohol cocktails.
After the cocktail, guests are invited to take their seats for dinner. When guests are seated, waiters serve water and wines. In France, we rarely drink champagne at the table, so if you want to have champagne to toast, make sure your caterer is aware. If you love champagne you can opt for all-champagne dinner, where champagne variety is changed for every meal. I would strongly recommend you to get assistance from a professional oenologist for that.
Typically, the French wedding menu would consist of a starter, main course and a dessert. Sometimes, you will be offered an amuse-bouche before the starter, however, I would only keep it for intimate gatherings with up to 30 people. Serving amuse-bouche to 150+ guests will eternalise the dinner. You can add an alcoholic sorbet between the starter and the main course. It is very refreshing, quite surprising and very French. Two popular flavours include green apple and French calvados or litchi and champagne.
Catering companies often offer cheese before the dessert, but personally, I would rather encourage you to have a beautiful cheese station during the cocktail. It will give your guests an opportunity to discover a wide variety of cheeses, comparing to a service where they would only taste two or three. Too often cheese plates are returned almost untouched to the kitchen. It happens because people might no longer be hungry or simply because French cheese is rather strong for them. Skip cheese at the table and favour a cheese station instead to eliminate unnecessary waste.
In general, French wedding dinner lasts two to three hours depending on the number of dishes. Often, dessert is served in a buffet. I love offering a variety of mini bites that would include mini eclairs, macarons, fruits and berries and other French patisseries in a smaller format. It’s entertaining, delicious, looks nice and kind of brings all guests to a childhood dream where they can eat as many desserts as they want.
Normally, there is no bar open during dinner. Beers, cocktails or strong alcohol are never included in a French wedding dinner menu, and should you wish to have it, you will need to specify it. There is no concept of the late-night snacks either, so if you think you will need them, ask your caterer to make his suggestions.
Often, a selection of alcohol including wines and champagnes is proposed by the catering, but you can also hire an independent sommelier to select wines that would match your meal perfectly. Often, wines and champagnes that you drink at your wedding become your family brands that you will buy for all special occasions. It might make sense to invest extra time and effort in choosing your wine.
When you will be planning your meal tasting session, don’t forget that the summer wedding menu is different from the winter one. If you have a summer wedding, you will need to plan your degustation between April and October. You won’t be able to try a summer menu in the wintertime.
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