Michael Clinton, executive chef at the Park Hyatt Hotel, Dubai, gives his advice on making your reception rock.
Choose what you want
What makes a good wedding meal is entirely down to personal choice and you should opt for what you’d like to eat, not what you think the guests will prefer. Some couples are happy with a casual buffet, others like a set meal. Beef is the most popular choice in western set menus, with fish coming a close second. In local Arabic menus, lamb is served first. Usually for western weddings, a meal is set in four courses.
Dare to be different
When it comes to the food, more and more couples are daring to be different. Our guests at the Park Hyatt can choose any cuisine they desire, and we make sure to give them just this. For example, we’re currently putting together a Moroccan/Thai themed menu for the latter part of this year. Big trends include:
• Tapas-style menus – curries or buffets are all great for sharing and socialising
• Miniature meals – set on a table so guests can help themselves
• Live cooking stations – pick your food personally
Pick your timing
Europeans tend to eat earlier while Arab guests prefer eating later in the evening, after 10 pm. Europeans usually eat again with some light snacks around midnight; Arabic guests who eat late tend to prefer a buffet.
While not essential, it’s a good idea to do a tasting around three months before to assess the food quality. Generally one tasting is enough for you to feel relaxed on your big day. As with most hotels and caterers, the chef can also address questions you might have.
Mix it up
The most popular type of entertainment is a combination of a live band followed by a DJ, usually starting with live music when guests arrive. This can be followed by a performance (dancers for example) while the meal is served and the DJ at the end. The entertainment is usually best when its prevalent throughout the celebration.
This is something that is totally up to the couples’ budget and taste. Usually, good entertainment means that guests are engaged, participating and dancing. A new take on entertainment, especially if you’re having an international expat wedding, is having your entertainers perform between courses. As well as making your wedding memorable, it gives people a break between eating and adds to the atmosphere.
• Magicians: magicians-dubai.com
• Photobooths provide hours of fun. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
• Soloists and harpists in a bubble: Shelley Frost on 050 6551405
• Drummers: Dubaidrums.com
Face the first dance
What you choose to dance to depends on whether you’d like something subtle and easy, or a number you can show off to! Classics like Frank Sinatra are popular, as are new acts like Michael Bublé.
Top Wedding Food Trends
1. Bite-size fish tacos
2. Mini gourmet-mac-and-cheese tubs
3. Baby lobster rolls
4. Zucchini fries in cones
5. Asian slaw salad with mini California rolls
Wedding Cake Colours
1. Aubergine (eggplant)
3. Deep turquoise
Bridal Catering Buzz Words
For more information log onto dubai.park.hyatt.com