But, arguably one of the most fun to-dos is creating your wedding menu. With so many options such as grilled chicken breast or spaghetti with parmesan cheese, it can be hard to choose what to put on your menu.
Italian food is one of the most popular choices for wedding menus—and for good reason! Who wouldn’t want Italian sausage at their wedding? Italy is home to some of the most versatile, popular, and delicious dishes in the world—making its cuisine a major crowd-pleaser at weddings.
If you’re a fan of Italian food, chances are that you already have your favorite dishes, such as grilled chicken with homemade marinara or cherry tomatoes and mozzarella cheese with a balsamic glaze, in mind. However, just because there’s an Italian dish that you love doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the right choice for your wedding—which is why it’s so important to work with your caterer to build the Italian menu for your wedding.
Schedule a time to meet with your wedding caterer as early in the wedding planning process as possible, and then let them know that you want to create an Italian menu for your wedding. Because your caterer has experience building wedding menus (including Italian menus!), their insights will help ensure that you create a menu that’s going to be delicious and make the most sense for your wedding.
For example, if you’re planning on doing a more casual, buffet-style dinner service, your caterer might suggest different Italian dishes (such as an easy-to-serve spaghetti pasta dish); however, if you’re doing a more formal, individually plated meal, your caterer might suggest chicken breast with seasonal vegetables. If a large percentage of your guests have food allergies, your caterer might have ideas about what dishes will work for all your guests—and how to serve them (for example, offering gluten-free pasta options or having a separate cheese table so that cheeses such as parmesan and mozzarella cheese don’t accidentally make their way onto the plates of your lactose intolerant wedding guests).
Your caterer can also give you insights into what kind of Italian menu is realistic for your budget—and how to get the most bang for your buck. For example, if the fish dinner you were envisioning is out of your budget, your caterer might suggest serving zuppa di pesce—also known as fish stew—which gives you a seafood option at a more affordable price point.
Traditionally, Italian menus contain 10 courses:
Understanding the traditional Italian menu structure can help guide your decisions as you’re creating your wedding menu, but there’s no need to serve 10 full courses at your wedding! Use the traditional menu structure as inspiration; however, feel free to adjust it as needed to suit your wedding, your guests, and your budget.
For example, you might combine the aperitivo, antipasti, and formaggi e frutta courses—and serve them all during cocktail hour. Or, instead of serving a pasta and a meat dish, you might opt for one or the other.
The point is, the traditional Italian menu structure can give you an idea of what foods Italians typically serve during their meals, and in what order. But you don’t have to keep everything true to tradition for your wedding menu; instead, adjust the traditional structure as needed to come up with an Italian menu that makes the most sense for your big day.
Italian cuisine is extremely varied and there are tons of options to choose from. So, how do you choose which Italian dishes to feature on your menu?
There’s no right or wrong way to choose menu items; ultimately, you have to choose foods that you love and want to share with your guests. That being said, there are a few things that you’ll want to keep in mind when creating your Italian wedding menu, including:
Not sure what an Italian wedding menu looks like—or what dishes you might want to include in your wedding menu? Here’s a sample menu from food wedding vendors to serve as inspiration and help you get your creative juices flowing (and your belly rumbling!):
Prosecco, Champagne, bellinis Olives, nuts, and assorted cheeses
Selection of cured meats, including prosciutto, salami, mortadella, and pancetta Marinated grilled vegetables Fresh mozzarella marinated in olive oil and assorted spices Bruschetta with garden-fresh cherry tomatoes
Linguini with sauteed broccoli rabe and roasted garlic
Lamb tenderloin Pan-seared branzino
Caesar salad Caprese salad with buffalo mozzarella, basil, and tomato
Tiramisu Cannoli Profiteroles Assorted fruit and cheeses Coffee and espresso
Italian food is one of the most beloved cuisines in the world—making it a great option for your wedding menu. And now that you know the steps to take to create an Italian menu for your wedding, all that’s left to do is get out there and create your menu (but definitely schedule a tasting or two along the way).