Post # 1
We had our food tasting last night, and everyone was expecting a very enjoyable evening. Me, my Fiance, my parents, and my FIL’s were so excited to taste all of our delicious choices.
The cornerstone of our wedding is that it is a very nice dinner. It is being held at a high-end restaurant and we aren’t really having dancing. We have discussed with the venue since day-1 that we wanted everyone to order their entree from a set menu that night.
We tasted the appetizers, soup, and salad and they were great. Then the other shoe dropped.
The banquet coordinator said “for the entree, our chef thinks there will be a long wait between the salad and main course if we have everyone order on-site, so we have decided to do a dual-plate of both steak and sea bass.”
Um….No??? This is not what had been discussed for the last 8 months, and it is not what we wanted. Half of our guests have dietary needs or wants (don’t eat red meat, don’t eat fish, kosher, hallal) that this would completely disrespect. Plus, she chooses to bring it up in front of my FIL’s who are not involved in the planning at all. This lead to an argument with everyone taking different sides and making different suggestions with no one coming up with an answer that will satisfy us.
We already got back every response card and never asked for entree selections. My dad thinks that if people have to sit and wait for food, that is all they will remember from the wedding. I think that we can fill the gap with speaches and it’ s not like people will be sitting there hungry…they would have already had 3 courses!
What are we supposed to do? Have people wait (up to 1 hour) for their entree from when they place their order, or give everyone a dual-plate where they most likely won’t eat half of it.
Please keep in mind that the wedding is in 2 weeks, so we don’t have a ton of options at this point….
Post # 3
Did the coordinator tell you why he/she felt that it would be such a long wait? If they’re used to doing events and you only have two entree choices, it shouldn’t take an hour to get them cooked and out of the kitchen. How many guests are you having?
If you’re not having dancing, I’m not really sure what would take up that time…and hour of speeches is a lot! could you maybe contact each of your guests and get their menu choice? It would just be terrible to have that food go to waste if the guests are served both but don’t eat one of them.
Post # 4
It’s a restaurant – if MOST people are able to eat the duo, they should put enough of that together to feed 90% of your guests give or take, and then have a vegetarian option. I went to a wedding at the Ritz and we did not order before hand but they had vegetarian meals ready to go along with the other main course and it came out at the same time.
This would probably be your best option (have one main course and then a vegetarian option that guests can ask for). At the wedding I mentioned, they had a menu for each guest that said “vegetarian option available” on the bottom.
If you need to accomdate religious obligations vs. just provide vegetarian, then I don’t know 🙁
Post # 5
Having worked in a restaurant that did banquets, I would say that the coordinator you talked to was full of it. Granted, I don’t know their particular setup, but this is based on my experiences doing weddings and other banquets. If you have people order immediately before the soup and salad courses are served, that gives them at least 30 minutes in the kitchen, easily (depending on how much waitstaff they have, it can take between 5-10 minutes just to put a full course in front of each person, plus you have to give them time to eat, then another 5-10 minutes to clear). If they have people order, then do toasts followed by those courses, you have an hour. If they are ordering from a set menu of 3-4 choices, it really should not take an hour to prepare the food.
Post # 6
I think as long as people order right when they get there you should be fine and it wont be that long of a wait as long as they dont have 10 options. The kitchen should be able to prep things no problem. And a good suggestion on your part is to do the toasts & speaches at that part and no one will notice!
How many guests do you have coming?
The only other option I would see is to call/ email your guests and ask what they would like.
Personally I dont eat red meat or fish so I wouldnt be able to eat.
Post # 7
I don’t understand – you’re offering a set menu, so there should be many fewer options, maybe 3-4, right? Why can’t the chef have a fair number of those 3-4 pre-prepared and ready to go? Also, if orders are taken immediately, he would have the entire soup and salad courses to work and prepare.
How big is your wedding reception? Would it be possible to call everyone and say that the venue is now requesting dinner orders in advance, and take at least an informal poll to get an idea of how much of each entree would be ordered? Or actually take orders (like you would on an RSVP card, except by phone)?
Post # 8
We have 100 people and we only have 2 choices, steak or sea bass (with vegitarian rissotto going to our vegetarian guests and very picky eaters).
I think the “1-hour” wait was a scare tactic, but we did learn that it’s the week of Restaurant Week in Detroit, so I think the restaurant realized that they were going to be much busier than they normally are.
But, we signed our contract 8 months ago, and it says “guests will order entrees at their table.” I think they owe it to use to fulfill our contract, and maybe have to turn away some other patrons that night.
I’m really upset about this!
Post # 9
I have been to weddings with dual entrees and I thought it was a great solution. Just offer a vegetarian option as well.
It sounds like the restaurant you chose is a regular fine dining restaurant that does not typically do weddings, is that correct? If that is true, they may not be set up to do it quickly. On a regular night they may serve the same number of people as your wedding, but the orders would not come in all at once.
On the other hand, they may also just be trying to avoid losing money on all “extra” food they have to order for 2 different entrees. It always results in a lot of wasted food because you can’t predict how many people will order each choice.
You can insist on doing it as originally planned, talk to the restaurant about ways to minimize the wait, and plan your toasts for that time. One hour from taking the order actually doesn’t sound long at all-they will be getting their appetizer, soup, then salad in that time, right?
Post # 10
Get what is in your contract – stick to it! As some have said, if they order upon arrival then that will help.
And as you mentioned, you can fill that hour up with speeches and other things to keep guests entertained – plus they have already had 3 courses. This will give people a chance to get up, chat and listen to speeches and what-not.
Stick to what you want and in the end, what will make your guests happiest – their dietary needs being attended to.
Post # 11
If it’s in your contract that they will order on arrival then they need to uphold that, or give you something in return. If they’re using “scare tactics” on you I’d try to scare them right back- asking for a serious reduction in the cost per meal due to the inconvenience to many of your guests who will not appreciate having the two meats.
Also- I don’t see how it would save any time or money for the restaunt to give everyone both options, as it means they will be cooking 100 steaks and 100 fillets at the same time, rather than say 50 50. And would your guests get to choose the temp of the meat if everyone is getting the same dinner?
Stick to your guns on this one- People at weddings will not just be sitting there in silence waiting for their food- they will want to chat, you will want to get up and mingle, and as you mentioned the gap before dinner will be a good time for toasts, and maybe a slideshow or something if you really feel you need more filler.
Post # 12
I would say order table-side… We have a 7 entree menu and everyone will order tableside. This shouldnt be a surprise to them and they should be able to manage it. I would say throw a fit at the coordinator a. for bringing this up so late being that it doesnt really give you a chance to find some place else, had you know you may not have chosen that place. and b. bringing it up in front of other like you said that caused an issue. I say they better be throwing in something special for causing such an issue.
Post # 13
Yeah, definitely do NOT give in to them on this one – you have a contract, and their way of handling it was entirely inappropriate.
Post # 14
you should get what you asked for but i wouldn’t worry about people starving. we did a duo of lamb and sea bass. if people only like 1, they will often switch with their significant other so that they can have two of the one they like.
we had a vegetarian option and i submitted requests for guests that had other specifics – i.e. we had some kosher people there, so we got double fish for them. i emailed the guests beforehand to make sure they were okay with that – otherwise i would have gotten vegetarian for them. i don’t eat fish, so i got double lamb.
i also don’t eat fish or beef, so if i was going to your wedding i’d ask for vegetarian. i have done this at many many weddings since beef/fish are so popular and its never been an issue.
we weighed doing a choice at the table, and it does take longer, but an hour sounds a little long.
Post # 15
Is there any way you can have them choose their entree earlier in the day? Say, at the cockatil reception or something? That way the kitchen has some extra time but they’re still ordering which one they want. That might reduce the wait time a bit.
If not, I doubt the double entree would waste a ton of food. At the weddings I’ve attended that have had served meals, people swap amongst their table so that everyone gets to eat what they want.
Good luck figuring this out!
Post # 16
Honestly, if I were at your wedding and I’d already had three courses, I would want to wait a little bit before eating the main course. If not, the idea of ordering early would work too? But seriously, if people are still starving after three courses, they must have serious issues :).