Eat, Drink & Be Merry: The Process of Planning Your Wedding Menu

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Food photography by Daniel Walley Wedding photography by Jordan & Alaina Photography


Screen Shot 2017-01-26 at 10.46.48 AMEvery wedding is unique, and the task of catering to different palates, wedding sizes and guests’ dietary restrictions can seem daunting. Gone are the days of pre-packaged menus and three-option choices. Couples today want a unique and tailored menu that speaks to their personality and taste. You don’t have to purchase an album just to get your new favorite song, so why should you have to get the cupcake tower that’s pre-packaged with your favorite slider station? Yeah, it doesn’t make sense to us either. That’s why our top priority for our wedding couples is to get to know the bride and groom, ask the right questions, and customize a perfect menu to fit their venue, budget and culinary expectations.

This month, we are sharing an inside look to that process with details from a wedding we recently catered at The Parthenon for Jena Locke and Josh Thomas. We’ve known the Locke family since our grown-daughter Mary was in Jena’s mom’s second grade class, so needless to say, we had a bit of insider information on their style and taste. Nonetheless, we started the process with this happy couple the way we would with anyone – a sit down conversation about the look-and-feel of the wedding and the ideas the couple had about the food that would be served.

When talking with Josh and Jena, we learned a few specifics about the couple that we worked into our menu. We discovered the couple’s favorite date spot is at Lockeland Table where they always start with the empanada of the day and that the groom was a Memphis native, home of all the best barbeque. They had selected The Parthenon as their venue, which we felt set the stage for a lavish display of fruits, cheeses and charcuterie that would do the Greek goddess Athena proud. The fall season of the wedding also played a role in determining side dishes, such as our autumn roasted vegetables and our signature superfood salad. With this insight in our pockets, we went to work to develop a custom menu for the couple’s first meal as Mr. and Mrs. Thomas.

Once the menu was determined, we invited the couple back to Chef’s Market for a formal tasting of the final selections. Chef Bill was on hand to take note of any tweaks or requests, as well as the event captain assigned to the wedding to ensure each detail discussed would be accounted for on wedding day.

On wedding day, our team transformed The Parthenon’s Treasury Room into a double-sided X-shaped buffet, featuring a grand display of hearty hors d ‘oeuvres to keep guests fueled for the dance floor. Our in-house event stylist Ricky Carroll styled the details, at one point joking that he had developed the Greek mythological Midas touch for the grand affair, as everything he touched seemed to turn to gold – the wedding color the couple selected inspired by The Parthenon’s forty-two-foot gold Athena statue.

Thankfully, his touch didn’t turn the food to gold, as guests enjoyed a menu that included a charcuterie display; fresh shrimp cooked with champagne and herbs presented with cocktail sauce and horseradish; smoky chicken empanadas with a chimichurri sauce; our super food salad with baby spinach, feta, five grain, blueberries and an agave herb vinaigrette; mini stuffed potatoes; Memphis-style pulled pork barbeque sliders on Silver Dollar rolls; herb-encrusted beef tenderloin with horseradish crème fraiche and béarnaise; and autumn-roasted vegetables. In addition to the traditional wedding cake, our team passed white chocolate banana pudding shots – a nod to the groom’s favorite dessert.

If your invitation to this wedding was lost in the mail, we’ll share a few of our favorite recipes from the menu. Or better yet, come visit us at our restaurant in Goodlettsville and let us create a tasting catered for you.

Chef’s Market Catering & Restaurant is a full service catering company that continues to be celebrated as a leader in culinary skill and presentation, voted as Best Caterer in Nashville for the past five consecutive years. Chef’s Market offers catering and take-away options for both large and small events, from formal corporate galas to casual in-office get-togethers and outdoor affairs. Its Goodlettsville, Tennessee restaurant serves customer favorites for lunch and dinner Monday – Saturday. Visit for more information and menu selections.

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