Monday, September 21, 2015

Return of the Plated Meal: Part 2

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Frank J. Andonoplas, MWP of Frank Event Design gives his top tips for creating the perfect plated dining reception. For details on each course, see Part 1 of this post.


Food. Glorious Food. When designing any wedding, it’s not just about flowers and décor. For me, it’s personalizing every detail, including the food. Now trending is a huge sway away from the casual food stations and lounge seating. With many couples being self-proclaimed “foodies,” formal is back, and so is the plated, multi-course, seated meal at a stunningly set table with all the appointments.

Wyndham Grand Chicago Riverfront

Things to think about:

  • While individual menu cards have been very common and expected, why not have it double as a place card, and personalize it with “Menu for ___” at the top. Guests love to know what is being served for dinner. It will also give a heads up to anyone who didn’t inform you of a dietary restriction.
  • Find different ways to present the food. My out-of-the-box approach is to incorporate different china and vessels for every course. Guests love to be taken by surprise. Rental companies have so many great, fun, and sophisticated options.
  • I always try and incorporate a client’s favorite foods into the menu. I have often asked the chef to use a recipe from the bride's grandmother as a tribute to her. How personal is that?
  • A five course meal is what I recommend: Appetizer, Salad, Intermezzo, Entrée, and Dessert. For those on a budget, I would recommend serving salad, entrée and the beautiful wedding cake for dessert, embellished with a sauce, fresh fruit, or ice cream.
  • I always say you eat with your eyes. So the plating should be a prelude to the enjoyment of the palate. Plates of food can be a work of art.
J&L Catering

  • If your caterer is agreeable, why not present the food with French or Russian service? This is where wait staff bring food out on trays, and guests take from the tray (French) or waiters place it on their plate (Russian). Keep in mind this will add a lot of time to the service, but could be an interesting concept.
Thanks so much to Frank for his amazing insight into this dining trend and for his gorgeous styling and design of our photo shoot! To learn more about creating an amazing dining experience for your guests, contact Frank Event Design at 773.275.6804 or via email at

Photography: Duron Studio // Styling: Frank Event Design // Venue: Wyndham Grand Chicago Riverfront // Flowers: The Meetinghouse Companies, Inc. // Rentals: Hall's Rental

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