Mmm Monday | Comfort Food Entrees & Appetizers

Guests won't be leaving hungry!

Planning your wedding involves deciding on a menu that will please the masses.  While the traditional wedding menus are always a sure thing, we are thinking about some of the options "outside the box."  We have rounded up some interesting entree options that will be sure to not only keep your guests talking, but they will be sure to enjoy your cocktail hour and look forward to dinner.  From Mac'n Cheese cups, wontons & guacamole dips they all hit the spot! Ask your caterer what type of entrees and appetizers they offer, you might just be surprised at how many options they have.

Two Bite Mac and Cheese cups -  fifteenspatulas.com

Two Bite Mac and Cheese cups - fifteenspatulas.com

Crispy Wonton Mozzarella Sticks - via  Neighborfoodblog.com

Crispy Wonton Mozzarella Sticks - via Neighborfoodblog.com

Beer Braised Chicken Sliders -  Thebeeroness.com

Beer Braised Chicken Sliders - Thebeeroness.com

Italian Pizza - via  StyleMePretty.com  

Italian Pizza - via StyleMePretty.com 

Mexican Food Truck - Via  Wedding Bee

Mexican Food Truck - Via Wedding Bee

Baked Potato/Spud Bar via  Pinterest  

Baked Potato/Spud Bar via Pinterest 

Single Serving French Fries - via  Pinterest

Single Serving French Fries - via Pinterest

Feeling hungry yet? Hope these ideas give you some inspiration for your wedding menu!
~Happy Planning~

How to Calculate Your Alcohol Budget

Alcohol Budget When planning your wedding, the first thing you need to determine is your budget.  It may be the least fun part of the whole process but it certainly going to play a huge part in your wedding.  You can read more on how to set your wedding budget here.  So once you have determined your overall budget, you need to select your wedding venue and your wedding vendors.  Doing so will dictate what your needs are.  For instance your venue may have exclusive catering and beverage services meaning you cannot bring in a bartender to serve alcohol that you have purchased elsewhere.

If you do determine that the venue does not have exclusive vendors then first talk with your caterer to see what they offer when it comes to alcoholic beverages and serving.  Some caterers will supply an extra server at an additional cost to you to strictly man your bar, while others do not have insurance coverage or licensing to do so and you will need to hire your own bartender. So after doing your research and you still determine that you will purchase your own alcohol you will want to look into exactly what type of alcohol (beer, wine, cocktails) that you want to serve and how much you should purchase.

Your guest list should be pretty squared away when it comes time to make this purchase so that you are not buying more than you need.  You should also look over your list and think about your guests, are the majority going to want to drink beer vs wine or should you stock up more on hard alcohol for martinis or mixed drinks etc.  Also make sure to consult with your caterer to get their opinion on wine pairing with the food menu you have created (white wine vs red wine with chicken vs steak etc)

Here are a few websites that offer calculators designed to help you determine how many bottles of alcohol to purchase for your event.  You plugin the number of guests and it spits out the estimated break down of how much wine, champagne, beer and or hard alcohol to buy.

Bevmo Party Planner Calculator 

Naturally after you realize how much you will need to buy, your immediate thought is "how do I get the best deal on alcohol?" Hera are some key ways to keep your alcohol budget in check:

1. For wine, take advantage of sales at retailers such as Bevmo & World Market who will often offer a buy one get one sale. 2. Costco offers their Kirkland Signature wines that are not only affordable but also well rated by wine critics. 3. If your venue supplies the alcohol, opt for a limited or no host bar.  You can then set a block of time that you will pay for the guests drinks for example during the cocktail hour. 4.  Opt for a beer and wine only menu 5. Create a signature cocktail menu, this option limits the amount of alcohol you need to buy so that you are only buying the ingredients to make the signature drinks rather than trying to supply a full bar.

Lastly, please make sure to put some thought into how to ensure that your guests drink responsibly and what steps can be taken to get guests home safely should they "over-indulge."  Consider having a shuttle available at the end of the night or have a few business cards for taxi's handy.

~Happy Planning~

Hire a Professional Beverage Service/Bartender

Even if you are having a "dry" wedding, your guests will still be thirsty.  Hiring a professional bartender or beverage service helps to make sure that you and your guests can enjoy the evening without having to pour your own drinks! Catering companies often supply water, tea, or lemonade but when it comes to champagne or cocktail drinks you are on your own.  With a professional bartender you can rest assured that your guests will be taken care of. Make a statement, and treat your guests with signature cocktail drinks made special for your wedding. You will need to check with your wedding venue to ensure they allow outside alcohol for your event.  You can create signature drinks that match your theme, or plan around the season of your wedding.  White Russians for winter weddings and blended margarita's or mojitos for the warmer months.

For our DIY brides out there, look for sales and deals on alcohol and drink mixes and stock up on supplies such as straws, cocktail napkins, stiring sticks etc. Stirrings.com offers printable labels for your stirring sticks, which you can personalize with your monogram, intials or wedding date etc. Another way to keep your budget in check, is to only serve alcohol during the cocktail hour (which may also help keep your guests from getting over indulged.) Have a friend or relative that knows a thing or two about making drinks? Don't be afraid to ask them to help out if you aren't planning on hiring a bartender.

For local professional bartenders and beverage services check out our directory. Below are some cocktail drink recipe ideas, and keep in mind there are endless options out there. Use the recipes for bridal showers, bachelorette parties as well.  If you have a smart phone you can also download free cocktail recipe apps!

White Russian   1 1/4 Vodka 1 1/4 Cofee Licquer 1 1/4 Heavy Cream Directions: Stir together in a pitcher, then pour into ice filled glasses.

Cosmopolitan (serves one) 1 oz vodka 1/2 oz Triple Sec 1/2 oz Rose's sweetened lime juice 1/2 oz Cranberry juice Lime Wedge Directions: Shake liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice, Place lime wedge on the rim of  Martini glass. Pour mix into the glass & Enjoy

Lemon Drop (Shots) 1 Shot Absolut Citron 1 Slice Lemon 1 tsp Sugar Directions: Place sugar on lemon, take the shot and then bite down on the lemon!

Mojito                                                                                         2-3 oz of Light rum Juice of 1 lime (1 oz) 2 tsp Sugar 2-4 Mint Sprigs Soda water Directions: Mix the mint and sugar with a splash of soda water in a mixing lass, until sugar is dissolved.  Squeeze the lime into the glass, add the rum and shake with ice. Top off with soda water, garnish with ming sprig and serve.