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Wedding RSVP Card - Entree Selections - list full description or just general category?

I'm creating the text for the RSVP card for my upcoming wedding.

For weddings in the past - I've always hated the generic categories: Fish, Poultry, Meat.... I find it's impossible (and slightly annoying) to select an entree because you don't know how the protein is being prepared - or what type of fish it is, etc.

So - now that it's time to create my own, I'd like to put a detailed description of the actual entree selections. But, someone advised me against it, saying that people would start making special requests omitting parts of the preparation, based on food preferences.

We are waiting on a final menu tasting to get our invites to the printer ... I'm starting to second guess my decision to be more detailed and revert back to a standard practice of just being more generic in my descriptions (to get the invites back sooner).

'hounds, help me out - what are your thoughts on the subject?

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  1. How about a middle road?

    I would go beyond just the generic "Fish, Beef or Vegetable" descrption.

    But I wouldn't go into excruciating detail (like some restaurant menus) by listing every single possible ingredient like "Slow Roasted Luch Duart Atlantic Salmon under Sun-dried Tomato-Yogurt Glaze with Chick Pea Fritter and Cora Cora Orange Reduction , Fiddlehead Ferns and Espelette Pepper Broth"

    Instead, try a middle road, like "Beef Tenderloins with Roasted Yukon Potatoes and Burgundy Mustard sauce"

    This way, if your guest prefers a meat or beef selection, she's not left wondering (1) what type of meat, (2) how it's prepared and (3) what accoutrements are provided.

    And for what it's worth, I would not accomodate "food preferences" -- only "food allergies". And even if you were to go generic in your descriptions you would still have to accomodate the latter.

    Good luck.

    4 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit

      +1. If I was responding I would appreciate the information.

      1. re: runwestierun

        +2. The whole involved thing wouldn't be needed, but a basic information single line certainly works.

        And agree on the changes for "food allergies" only. (Would someone really have the gall to ask for change in a wedding menu just for themselves just because of preference? Oh wait - people don't even RSVP...of course they'd do that! LOL)

      2. re: ipsedixit

        Or simply "Beef Tenderloin," "Salmon," etc.

        Our daughter and SIL did a combo of a small piece of halibut with a lemon beurre blanc sauce and beef tenderloin with a cognac something sauce. Each sauce came in its own little pitcher. Prior to serving, the servers asked if anyone had asked for the vegetarian option and that was then served when the other meals were. I thought it was tremendous.

        1. re: ipsedixit

          How about airplane version: chicken or beef?

        2. I think ipsedixit is right on. Middle ground b/w the two options. I'm not convinced that people would try to make special requests even if you did list the entire menu in detail, but giving them just enough to make an informed decision (as ipsedixit suggests) is all you really need to do to accomplish what you want.

          For my wedding, we did something similar to what ipsedixit suggests, and not one person (of 100 guests) made a special request.

          1. congratulations!

            Why don't you post what you are thinking of printing on the card? I agree that you really do not want to go into a great deal of detail.

            For instance:

            Pan Roasted Chicken Breast with Chanterelles

            versus

            Farm fresh chicken breast wrapped with caul fat and pan roasted served with roasted turnips and candy cane beets in a saffron nage dusted with freshly ground cumin and rubbed sage.

            1. of course!!! A middle road!! Make SO much sense and should work out just fine. I'll list the general dish and accompanying sauce. Love it!

              We are making the final menu selections this weekend - so it's even better that I have this mindset going into that appointment (so I can get all the specifics I need).

              Thank you for all the advice. Wedding planning has fried my brain ;)

              1. wow I have never heard of this nor seen an RSVP card with the menu. Why even give a choice (just asking)? Choose what you like for your wedding and maybe a box for vegetarian option on the RSVP card.

                I would find it odd to choose my meal 6 weeks in advance when going to a function. I do understand if there are say 120 guests you would not expect the caterer to make 120 meals of each chicken fish or meat but I would not expect to be picky as a wedding guest and eat what's given or pick round what there is.

                I am not criticizing just stating that I have never seen it and would not expect a choice.

                6 Replies
                1. re: smartie

                  It's actually quite common.

                  You won't get a full blown menu, per se, but typically the RSVP will include a choice of options beyond just an auxiliary choice for non-meat eaters.

                  1. re: smartie

                    Choices are pretty common from what I've seen. I've been to some that are red meat only and was rather frustrated that I didn't know in advance so I could load up on the appetizers.

                    1. re: smartie

                      I've almost always gotten a meal choice, unless it's a buffet. And when I have, it's always been the middle-ground that ipse and kater suggested.

                      1. re: smartie

                        I think people want to give their guests the choice in case there are food restrictions based on allergies or religious reasons. I have Jewish friends who won't eat pork and I have Indian friends who won't eat beef. If the meat touches some other food on the plate that food also can't be eaten. However, both groups will eat chicken. Obviously Oracle wants to make sure none of the guests end up with a meal they can't eat.

                        1. re: smartie

                          It is standard in my area. The difficulty is that many people seem to forget what they ordered and others change their minds if the other dishes look better when they are served. Of course, if the choice is based on allergy rather than preference then the responder does remember.

                          Finally, IMO, fish does not do well at a large affair, although salmon holds up fairly well. Meat is the safest bet and chicken tends to be too dry.

                          This is only partially "tongue in cheek" as I like to stay true to my screen name.

                          Besides, who attends a wedding for the food?

                          1. re: smartie

                            Many years ago, I resisted this then-beginning trend and chose one entree because I can and do find this wedding RSVP menu selection strange and tacky. IMO, if your caterer can't accommodate a choice, don't offer one, or else plan a buffet. I did add a note that we would try to accommodate food restrictions or allergies if the guest contacted us at least a week in advance to make special arrangements. Out of 100 guests, only one of my DH's aunts came back with an "I must eat baked fish" response. No one else did. BTW, said aunt passed away shortly of a heart attack, so she probably was really trying to adjust her diet. She was not just being picky.

                            Yes, I know giving a choice is just being pragmatic, and to some degree, I understand it. There is less waste, and you can accommodate a range of preferences. However, I have learned never to discuss nor plan menu options with my party guests, regardless of the type of party, unless there is a special situation to accommodate (Kosher, medical, vegan, etc.). As the host, it is up to me, and I have found that most of the "allergies" turn out to be the result of food preferences or picky eating habits, and rarely include people with real food restriction issues. I give you credit for trying so hard to please your guests. I wouldn't do it.