THE ABSOLUTE BEST EVER WEDDING DINNER MENU

Greetings! As you probably know if you’ve been following along here at After Orange County, in September my son married his longtime sweetheart in a beautiful ceremony that took place at out home in Lake Arrowhead, California. I’m finally getting around to blogging more about this wonderful event. We designed the absolute best ever wedding dinner menu for the reception. So today I’d like to take you through the event from start to finish, as every step of the way involved some sort of delicious food or beverage.

THE ABSOLUTE BEST EVER WEDDING DINNER MENU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

To begin with, as guests arrived on a beautiful sunny afternoon, they were invited to help themselves to fresh strawberry water from a self-serve water station. Many guests were just arriving from a long drive up our winding mountain road and would need a refreshment.

THE ABSOLUTE BEST EVER WEDDING DINNER MENU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Plus, the ceremony would take place outside on our motor-court under the late afternoon summer sun.

THE ABSOLUTE BEST EVER WEDDING DINNER MENU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

THE ABSOLUTE BEST EVER WEDDING DINNER MENU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

THE ABSOLUTE BEST EVER WEDDING DINNER MENU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Following the ceremony a directional sign invited guests to step inside for cocktails and appetizers.

THE ABSOLUTE BEST EVER WEDDING DINNER MENU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

As guests entered the front door into our foyer we had set up a self-serve cocktail station with 2 Signature Cocktails, 1 chosen by the bride, another chosen by the groom.

THE ABSOLUTE BEST EVER WEDDING DINNER MENU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Just off the foyer is our bar where cocktails, beer and wine were being served by a bartender. We had removed the furniture from this room and replaced it with several hightop cocktail tables.

THE ABSOLUTE BEST EVER WEDDING DINNER MENU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

On the opposite side of the foyer lies the formal dining room where a wide assortment of appetizers were beautifully displayed. So this leads me to the the question: What makes the absolute best ever wedding dinner menu? I believe it is one that reflects the family heritages of both the bride and groom. So when we sat down to plan the dinner menu for the wedding, we decided that it should honor the groom’s Spanish & Italian heritage, the bride’s Nordic/Scandinavian heritage, and their shared American heritage. And that would begin with the appetizers.

The Italian & Scandinavian Appetizer Course…

THE ABSOLUTE BEST EVER WEDDING DINNER MENU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

As an ode to the Italian family heritage there was an assortment of traditional Italian Antipasti such as roasted red peppers, olives, artichokes, prosciutto, salami & crostini.

THE ABSOLUTE BEST EVER WEDDING DINNER MENU |  www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

THE ABSOLUTE BEST EVER WEDDING DINNER MENU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

THE ABSOLUTE BEST EVER WEDDING DINNER MENU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

In honor of the bride’s Nordic heritage we offered a Smørrebrød of Scandinavian items such as lox & pickled herring.

THE ABSOLUTE BEST EVER WEDDING DINNER MENU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

THE ABSOLUTE BEST EVER WEDDING DINNER MENU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

There was a wide variety of cheese and crackers offered as well, all artfully displayed along with grapes and grape vines, herbs and floral arrangements.

THE ABSOLUTE BEST EVER WEDDING DINNER MENU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

THE ABSOLUTE BEST EVER WEDDING DINNER MENU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

In tribute to the groom’s Spanish heritage the Main Course would be Paella. We hired a company out of Chula Vista, California called Paella Valenciana that has catered many events for our family over the years. Owed by a Spanish family, they make truly authentic Spanish Paella in any number of different variations.

THE ABSOLUTE BEST EVER WEDDING DINNER MENU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

The preparation of the Paella becomes part of the entertainment for the evening, with guests mingling around the giant paella pans watching it being prepared during the cocktail hour. The aroma was also intoxicating.

THE ABSOLUTE BEST EVER WEDDING DINNER MENU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

THE ABSOLUTE BEST EVER WEDDING DINNER MENU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Following the cocktail hour guests were invited to our forested backyard for a sit down dinner.

THE ABSOLUTE BEST EVER WEDDING DINNER MENU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

At each place-setting guests would find a printed dinner menu describing each course of our “International Dinner Under The Stars”. Each person also received their own baguette and pat of fresh butter sprinkled with fresh lavender and sea salt.

THE ABSOLUTE BEST EVER WEDDING DINNER MENU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

THE ABSOLUTE BEST EVER WEDDING DINNER MENU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

The Spanish Soup Course…

The first course was My Spanish Grandmother’s Gazpacho Recipe, delicious and refreshing on a warm summer’s eve. And, as you might imagine, this was an ode to our Spanish family heritage.

THE ABSOLUTE BEST EVER WEDDING DINNER MENU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

The pretty accouterments: diced red onion, yellow bell pepper and cucumber served along side, look lovely and add nice texture and taste to this delicious summer soup.

THE ABSOLUTE BEST EVER WEDDING DINNER MENU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

The American Salad Course…

The second course was American: Mixed Baby Greens with Fresh Raspberries, Blueberries and Herbed Goat Cheese. It was dressed in a festive Champagne Vinaigrette.

THE ABSOLUTE BEST EVER WEDDING DINNER MENU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

The Spanish Main Course…

By this time our Spanish Main Course, the Paella, was ready to be served.

THE ABSOLUTE BEST EVER WEDDING DINNER MENU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

It was a beautiful sight to behold.

THE ABSOLUTE BEST EVER WEDDING DINNER MENU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Generous platefuls were dished up and served along with delicious Spanish wines.

THE ABSOLUTE BEST EVER WEDDING DINNER MENU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

THE ABSOLUTE BEST EVER WEDDING DINNER MENU | Paella | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

The American Dessert Course…

Our dessert could not have been more American. We served Individual Strawberry Shortcakes topped with real whipped cream, a slice of strawberry, a pretty green mint leaf and a small wooden spoon.

THE ABSOLUTE BEST EVER WEDDING DINNER MENU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

But the sweets did not end there. The bride and groom wanted a traditional wedding cake as well. After a cake tasting at several local bakeries we decided on Sweet Pea & Me Bakery in Redlands, California. The owner, Aimee, could not have been nicer, and the cake was delicious!

THE ABSOLUTE BEST EVER WEDDING DINNER MENU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

The bride and groom chose a Snickerdoodle Cake with a Cinnamilla Filling and a Butter Cream Frosting.

THE ABSOLUTE BEST EVER WEDDING DINNER MENU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

THE ABSOLUTE BEST EVER WEDDING DINNER MENU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Last but not least we had a epic S’mores Bar set up as a late-night-snack station. This kept the guests fortified for a long, happy night of dancing the night away. Read more about it in this blog post.

HOW TO CREATE A POSITIVELY EPIC S'MORES BAR | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

The wedding turned out to be positively perfect in every way. It took a year of planning and very hard work but we pulled it off without a single hitch. To help you in planning the absolute best ever wedding dinner menu, along with creative ways to serve it, here is a list of my wonderful resources and vendors.

Resources & Vendors

So there you have it: THE ABSOLUTE BEST EVER WEDDING DINNER MENU

Thanks so much for dropping in!

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All opinions expressed in this post are my own. Unless otherwise noted, all photos are the original property of Celia Becker @ www.AfterOrangeCounty.com and may not be reproduced without specific permission. This post contains affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a purchase I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.  It’s what helps to make this blog possible. Thanks very much for your support.

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