Who doesn't love food that's custom-made to order? Even the pickiest of your wedding guests will jump for joy when they see professional chefs awaiting their precise order. Avoid the congestion of buffet tables and the stodginess of sit-down serving. Liven up your wedding reception with multiple grilling stations and watch your guests mingle as they munch.
Grilling stations keep guests interested just like interactive self-serve stations, but with the added formality of being served by a professional chef. Grills allow you to serve heartier and more satisfying fare than would be found at a cocktail hour, yet retain the spontaneity and socialization that happens as a natural result of guests mingling as they talk. A sit-down dinner only gives guests the opportunity to catch up with the people seated directly next to and across from them. Grilling stations let all of your guests converse freely, which makes the reception more exciting and enjoyable. Plus, the versatility of a grill means everyone can create the perfect meal.
To avoid long lines, disperse your food options around the room. One station can just grill skewers of pineapple, mango, and other tropical fruits. Another station may specialize in grilled Reubens. Place sweet and savory stations on different sides of the room to give your guests more reason to wander.
For an extra touch, hire chefs who know how to work a crowd. A lively patter keeps the line from feeling too long, and most guests like personalized attention. Choose a chef who knows how to chat and keep people in a festive mood.
Add Pizzazz with Personal Pizzas
Personal pizzas are great additions to a reception. A hit with guests of all ages, mini pizza pies don't fill you up like slices of their larger cousins. Have stacks of ready-made dough circles awaiting the guest's choice of toppings. Since the pizzas cook) within minutes, your guests won't have to worry about standing in a long line.
Gourmet Grilled Cheese
Don't dismiss grilled sandwiches as too pedestrian until you've experimented with gourmet twists on grilled cheese. Chèvre vinaigrette, salmon and rye, and jalapeño corn bread are just some of the delectable options. Make some classic "just grilled cheese" sandwiches for your more traditional guests, as well as popular kiddie options.
Intersperse marinated chunks of chicken breast and grilled bell peppers. Separate chunks of white, flaky fish with thin slices of lemon, lime, and tangerine. Skewered jumbo shrimp pair with plump cherry tomatoes. Portabella mushrooms and garlic-rubbed zucchini slices make a perfect vegetarian option. The key to providing mouth-watering shish kabobs is marinating the ingredients for at least a few hours beforehand.
Grills aren't just about searing perfect cuts of meat. Grill up some vegetables to round out the meal. Asparagus grills quickly and tastes great when sprinkled with lemon juice as it cooks. Ears of corn make wonderful grill additions and can be dipped into butter, lime, or aioli sauces after cooking. Marinate and grill thin slices of eggplant and summer squash. Green onions cook very quickly and make perfect toppings.
Grill stations make great desserts, too. Grill skewers of mango, pineapple, and red and golden papaya for colorful, exotic desserts. Fruit only needs to be grilled for a very short time, which makes it a popular choice for quick snacks. Brush the fruit with maple syrup and honey before grilling. Slide the grilled fruit onto a bowl of ice cream for an especially decadent offering.
Arrange Your Reception Intelligently
Lining a room with grilling stations is an excellent use of space if you want one room to serve as the banquet hall and dance floor. Keep tables ready around the outskirts of the room for seating, as some guests will appreciate a more traditional dining option. Leave the middle of the room open for dancing and keep the music going all night. Guests can dance for a while, drift away for a snack, and fuel up to boogie the night away.