Wedding Food & Drink: Alternatives to Chicken?
Q: My wedding is going to be a formal evening affair at a lovely club, but I am having a tough time selecting an entree for the wedding reception. My future mother-in-law (who is paying for almost our entire wedding) said to just select a chicken dish, and not get hung up on serving something fancy. She is being a real stickler on this point. I know that "everyone likes chicken", but I was hoping for something a little different. Are there any other wedding reception dinner options you can suggest?
A: Since your future mother-in-law is paying for the majority of your wedding, you do need to be somewhat sensitive to her tastes and budget constraints. That said, there are a host of inventive chicken recipes that won't break the bank and that don't come close to resembling the dried-up broiled chicken breast you probably remember from your senior prom. A good chef can do wonders with this white-meat mainstay, but there are also plenty of other options to give your wedding menu some style: pheasant, Cornish game hen, duck, veal, lamb and pork tenderloin are all nice alternatives to chicken, and can be prepared in endless varieties to suit your taste and the style of your wedding. I suggest you do a little research (look through food magazines, cook books, and even try to catch a cooking show), talk to some caterers and get quotes for various wedding menu choices, and then present your case to your mother-in-law. She'll no doubt be so appreciative of all your legwork and your efforts to plan a budget-conscious menu that you'll both end up happy. One final note: You should probably consider your guests' dietary restrictions (vegetarian, kosher, etc.) and offer some alternative to meat as well.