Seasonal bites only enhance the vibe of your event.

wedding food bars michelle beller

The inspiration for your spring wedding may have come easy-everything from the budding floral selections to the dusty pastel hues you chose for your table linens was probably inspired by the beauty of nature. While you've probably solidified every last detail pertaining to the ceremony and reception, have you given as much thought to your pre-wedding parties? If not, thinking about what you'll serve at your springtime rehearsal dinner should be your next priority. What's nice about this event is that you can serve just about any type of cuisine you love-including Asian, Mediterranean, Tex-Mex, or Indian-since this event is generally less formal than the wedding itself. It's also nice to let the season inspire your choices. Here, David Zlatchin, CEO of the Bay Area catering company Betty Zlatchin, shares his vision for the ultimate spring rehearsal dinner menu.

Serve seasonal twists on your favorite foods.

Just like your wedding, your rehearsal dinner should be a reflection of who you two are as a couple. Zlatchin adds, "Since it's a smaller group of friends and family at the rehearsal dinner, it's even more of an opportunity to represent the personality of the couple, serve some of the foods they love and bring the families together and share new experiences." Work with your caterer to come up with seasonal takes on the food you two love most. "If the couple loves Asian food, then why not do a family-style, Asian-influenced meal with six or seven dishes that showcase the couple's favorite type of food?" the pro asks. If you two love this type of cuisine, Peking duck bao buns, steamed fish in light soy and scallion sesame sauce, and sautéed snow peas with garlic are some of his favorite dishes to serve that both highlight the food you love and the season in which your event is taking place.

Make it a BBQ.

An upscale BBQ, that is. Since warmer weather encourages everyone to get outdoors, celebrate the season by firing up the grill during your rehearsal dinner. Just remember that hamburgers and hot dogs aren't your only options. "We can utilize the grill in other ways, serving more elevated options like grilled local oysters. Plus, the grill gets the senses going and immediately lets people know it's going to be a fun party. We've also featured chefs cooking Spanish Paella in front of the guests which is both delicious and a great show," Zlatchin says.

Have fun with your serving methods.

Rehearsal dinners have come a long way from the stiff, formal affairs they once were. Today, they have evolved into an opportunity for the couple to treat their guests to exciting food pairings and an evening full of entertainment. Zlatchin says, "We like to suggest and present foods in ways that will foster interactive, fun, new experiences between the guests and serve as ice breakers for conversation. Family-style or small plate food stations work perfectly."

Serve a variety of small plates.

While your parents may have told you not to play with your food as a child, it's time to break that rule. After all, a springtime rehearsal dinner party is the perfect opportunity to get playful with your meal choices. The night is bound to be fun when you treat guests to an eclectic mix of small plates. It's also going to be delicious. Zlatchin says, "If a small plate station appeals to you, get the group mingling over some unique options. One station idea we love is a Thai food option with shredded green papaya salad and mesquite grilled Laotian sausages."


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