Ideas for a nice wedding lunch?


I'm going to ask this on the cooking forum too, of course, but since you gals all have "wedding" on the brain, I thought you might have some unique ideas as well. :-)

Wedding is Sept. 4th, and we've ruled out BBQ, potluck, etc because we don't want our respective parents "competing" with each other (believe it or not, that *would* happen). So then we thought we (DF and I) would just take everyone out to eat...but his mom wants to pay for it, my parents *can't* pay for it, but they would feel bad if his mom did because it's "their" role, and she won't agree to pay for it "behind the scenes" so no one knows, so that's turning out to be not such a good idea either. *eyeroll*

So, since I have that entire week off, and a new kitchen/new cookware to try out, I am seriously thinking about making lunch myself (ahead of time, to heat up). That way no one can "compete" with anyone else, no one has to worry about who paid for what, and we can all just sit down and not worry about it. I love to cook, so really, I don't mind this option at all. ;-) Mom wants to buy a cake, so I plan on letting her get an inexpensive one for us.

There will be 9 people total.

I was trying to think of easy foods that everyone likes...maybe lasagna? I could make a couple different types...or roll up different types of ingredients in lasagna noodles for "personalized" lasagna rolls. That could be made ahead, frozen, and just heated up the day of our wedding - very simple. Corn and a salad on the side, maybe?

Anyone else have any ideas for a nice lunch that could be made ahead of time to serve after the wedding? It would be nice to have an elegant, 3 course meal, but while I don't mind *cooking* the meal, I'm not too keen on *serving* a 3 course meal on my wedding day, so I'd like to do something we can serve either family style on the table or buffet style (actually, a buffet would be fun...more variety then). Leftovers will be good, of course... ;-)

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How about mostly cold foods, as it will still be hot weather. I'm thinking:

- fruit bowl
- chicken salad
- sliced tomatoes, cucumbers and hard-boiled eggs, arranged beautifully on a platter, with a light dressing
- cold baked salmon
- spiral ham - served either hot or cold
- spinach salad (my favorite) or mixed salad
- rice pilaf and/or fresh breads and muffins
- chocolate mousse (if you want to have something with the cake) or sherbet

Good luck!

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I went on to the Food Channel's website ( and found all sort of entertaining menus. They even had a section for weddings. I would look through that and see if there is anything that interests you.

I thought the Wedding Brunch menu looked especially appetizing and elegant. You can serve in buffet or family style (especially with just 9 guests). If you want to make things even easier on yourself - you could give each of the Moms one of the recipes and say "I am making a lunch for the wedding guests. I have a menu planned out already. Since you expressed interest in helping, I thought you could make X. It would be so helpful."

That way they really aren't competing, and you are able to set a menu and not do all the cooking and preparing yourself. But, I think that one person could easily create these meals ahead of time with very little or no help at all.

It also might be fun to print menu cards with what you are serving or even make a recipe book with all the recipes of the dishes you are serving as a favor for each of your guests.

Have a wonderful wedding!

Here is a link that might be useful: Wedding Menus/Recipes

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lunch for 9 isn't that hard. And I think it sounds lovely!

And the perfect solution to your problem.

You could marinate chicken breasts, and then bake them. Or broil them; it's only 9. (don't you have a sister who would help you on the day of?) W/ broiling it's not THAT much time away from your guests to get it ready.

I'd want to do some great bread; lots of them, you can freeze and then bake later. Homemade breadsticks, maybe.

I make a great pasta salad. I cut mozzarella into cubes, and marinate them in a balsamic vinaigrette (they turn all brown). Then I combine the corkscrew pasta, julienned red, yellow, and green peppers, finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, sliced scallions, and chopped parsley (sometimes basil). And, of course, a balsamic vinaigrette.

You could add chicken to that, if you want. It's really yummy.

I make a green-and-white salad I like: blanched broccoli florets, fresh cauliflower florets, fresh asparagus cut into chunks (if it's available), frozen peas (just let them thaw out while you're making it), tossed w/ ranch dressing.

And it contains my secret to impressive cooking: green flecks. (they sell them in the grocery store next to the mesclun)

It doesn't matter what you cook--if you sprinkle something green that's chopped over it, or in it, people think it's impressive!

i also like big cuts of meat for events like this (if you can stand to have the oven on), because they don't take any work while they're cooking--just don't OVERcook them. And everybody gets ALL impressed--wow, you must have been cooking all day. (I wasn't, but the pork leg/fresh ham was!)

And you can stick the baking sheet of baking-powder biscuits in right before dinner, bcs the oven is still hot. two trays, w/ 9 guests.

You could also do cold roast beef or something, so it doesn't take any work the day of.

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If you do baking powder biscuits, you could cut them out w/ bell-shaped cookie cutters. I could loan you a couple, if you want 'em.

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You could do a salmon coulibiac - it's a french/russian dish with salmon, wild rice, mushrooms, eggs and dill all baked in brioche dough - very buttery, rich and delicious, and pretty decadent though not so expensive. And it's practically a full meal in itself. You could just follow it with a salad, maybe a cheese and fruit course.

You can make the dough ahead of time (or use purchased dough) and assmble it the day before, or you could probably do the whole thing a week ahead and freeze it, though I am not certain. Needs to be baked just before serving.

Here's a recipe from Martha Stewart, which calls for cellophane noodles instead of rice, but there are all different recipes online of course, with lots of variations.

Here's another recipe - it says it was served at the royal wedding of Edward and Sophie! (whoever they are...):

Try a google image search to see what it can look like - you can top it with a pretty design with the dough, you could do wedding bells or something if you wanted.

For other ideas, try the epicurious advanced search, where you can search just for recipes that are prepared in advance.

Poached salmon with aspic is a classic. There are lots of things in phyllo dough, like tyropitas, that you can make well ahead of time and take straight from the freezer to the oven. You can grill baby summer vegetables a day or two ahead, with olive oil and fresh herbs and sea salt, then arrange them on platters and refrigerate, and bring them to room temperature before serving.

The nice thing about lunch in summer is that cold or room-temperature dishes are nicer than hot ones. You could do a beef roast or a stuffed leg of lamb or anything like that in the oven or on the grill, and have all cold side dishes, and it would be perfect.

Gazpacho! Yum!

Or you could just pay to take everyone to lunch yourselves, and then you wouldn't have the awkwardness.

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I told DF my plan, and got "the look", which means his mom will probably get offended yet again...whatever. But things change from day to day with her - I'm going to go ahead and just plan a nice meal anyways, and if we need it, great, if not, I'll use the menu for another time.

LOL Anita - I *want* to pay to take everyone to lunch ourselves, but my FMIL has a serious problem with the bride & groom paying for lunch on thier wedding day, which is why *she* wants to pay for it (but won't do it in a discrete way, which is why we refused). See the problem here? I can't have each mom make something, because then if one's dish was "more gone" than the other, they would be whining behind our backs (to us, individually) that everyone liked the *other* dish better. I know, it's pathetic, but true. That's why we can't grill either - both dad's grill, and both think they have the "perfect touch", and neither think that *we* should grill ourselves...aye karumba...what a mess. LOL

Tally Sue, thank you!! I don't think I'll borrow the cookie cutters, but that is a wonderful idea! I'm going to keep your salad recipes too, because they sound great (esp. the pasta one). That would work with the baked chicken quite nicely (my sis will help, but she can't really cook, so nothing too fancy). Joann's fruit bowl would go nicely with all of those, I think...I'll have to check out that brunch menu. So many options!!

Anita, that salmon dish sounds *phenomenal*, but unfortunately, it's hard to find good fish here (we're kind of land-locked). But I'm definately going to look into that...

Thanks for all the options, gals!! Cross your fingers that this plan doesn't get nixed too...the rate we're going (everything I suggest seems to get shot down for some reason or other), we'll be having cake, punch, and going our merry way (what a relief *that* would be, eh?). *eyeroll*

Whoever thinks a wedding is for the bride & groom is absolutely insane - with ours at least, it's for everyone *but* us, we just draw the line occasionally! LOL

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Here is a recipe that might be just the thing, especially because it is just as good cold as hot, and you make it ahead (and it's really easy, but still special). All you will need to round out the meal will be some rice and the cake your mom will bring. It's from The Silver Palate Cookbook, and it ALWAYS comes out perfectly. Everyone seems to love it (it's a very popular recipe around here).

You can use any amount of chicken you want, and any type of pieces (e.g., all boneless breasts instead of a cut-up chicken) that you like.

Chicken Marbella

4 small or 2 large chickens (about 10 lb.), cut in 1/4 or 1/8, or 16 chicken pieces, or whatever you want
1 head of garlic, peeled and finely pureed
1/4 CUP dried oregano
coarse salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup pitted prunes
1/2 cup pitted Spanish green olives
1/2 cup capers with a bit of juice
6 bay leaves
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white wine
1/4 cup Italian or regular parsley or fresh cilantro, finely chopped
In a large bowl, combine chicken quarters, garlic, oregano, pepper, salt to taste, vinegar, olive oil, prunes, capers and juice, and bay leaves.
Cover (I put it in two big zip-loc bags) and let marinate, refrigerated, overnight.

Preheat oven to 350F.
Arrange chicken in single layer in one or 2 large shallow baking dishes and spoon marinade over it evenly. Sprinkle chicken pieces with brown sugar and pour white wine around them. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour basting frequently.

To serve, use a slotted spoon and transfer chicken, prunes, olives, and capers to serving platter. Moisten with few spoonfuls of pan juices and sprinkle with parsley. Pass remaining juices. Serve with rice and maybe a nice wine!

This can also be chilled and served cold.
10 or more portions


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I just have to tell you that I think your attitude is marvelous. From your various posts, it sounds to me like you have quite a "situation" to handle, with trying to keep everyone at least *somewhat* content, and yet you seem to be staying very calm, and have a "go with the flow" perspective. Good for you!!

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Mmmmm, my aunt makes that chicken marbella dish sometimes - it is delicious. Would be nice with a caprese salad too.

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Gellcom, that sounds wonderful...except there are various ingredients in that dish that no one I know will eat (one person doesn't like prunes, several don't like green olives, a few don't like rice, etc). LOL But it does sound like a wonderful dish...I may try it at a later date (with noodles, for my DF).

Thanks everyone - I think (if I'm allowed) I'll stick with a warmer menu (the weather has been unseasonably cool anyways lately)...over on the cooking forum they suggested lasagna, a great cannaloni receipe, and meatballs in the crockpot, which would be perfect with a couple salads and a wedding cake. A little bit of something for everyone, and a big enough meal that no one has to eat again for awhile (and a light dinner later will be just fine for us).

Grace, I'm *trying* really hard to be "graceful" about everything...but mostly I just don't have time to worry about the wedding stuff, because I'm selling my house and buying a new one with DF, the closing is supposed to be next week and there are...uh...a few "problems" to deal with, so most of my stress is focused there. But it helps that I really don't care much about any aspect of the wedding except just getting married - we could stand in the middle of a bathroom or a root celler (sp?) and say our vows for all I care, as long as I finally get to marry this guy. ;-)

I finally decided on an inscription for his ring too this week: My Favorite Pet 9/4/04. LOL Inside joke, but I have a lot of pets, and I have discussions with my girlfriends about how men are the ultimate "pets" (he's been in them on a few times), so really, it does fit us very well. LOL I hope it will fit on the ring! ;-)

Thanks again!

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I make lasagna as a do-ahead dish often when we have company. It is so quick to prepare and it keeps well in the refrigerator or freezer. I would go with that, as you originally mentioned, along with a green salad and bread. That is plenty for a luncheon and it is quick to prepare for 9 people with almost no last minute preparation involved.

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Game over. Entire forum gone to hell. The barbarians are victorious.

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