Wedding Food Tasting: What You Need to Know

8 essential tips on etiquette and making a good impression

Planning your big day is an incredible adventure and one of the most enjoyable parts of that is your wedding food tasting. This is when you meet with your caterers and try bite-sized samplers of various wedding dishes, from trendy hors d’oeuvres to fashionable desserts. However, it’s important to know that your tasting experience is about more than just sampling food—it’s also about lovingly shaping a menu that reflects your wedding theme, as well as your own unique style. 

But what exactly should you expect at your wedding food tasting and what is the etiquette of this whole thing anyway? Let’s talk you through it all to ensure that you make a dazzling impression.

1. Time your tasting appointment

Your wedding menu tasting is a big moment and shouldn’t be rushed, so aim to book it on a day when you have plenty of time to relax and enjoy the whole experience. In other words, don’t book it on a mega busy day when you’ll have to cram your tasting in between bridal gown fittings and florist visits. And as you’ll want to leave room for all of those delicious nibbles, make sure not to plan it for the same day that you have other special meals scheduled.

Finally, don’t book your tasting too early in your wedding planning process, before you’ve fully nailed your theme. That’s because you want to make sure that your wedding cuisine perfectly matches the vibe of your big day.

2. Bring the right people—but not too many

It’s tempting to want to invite a crowd of your besties along to your wedding venue food tasting but generally, that’s not such a good idea. Not only can this seem disrespectful and overwhelming to the venue and caterers, but it can also cause confusion. For instance, if everyone has a different opinion on those delicate salmon canapes then how will you make a firm decision about them? It’s better if your group is compact and made up of the most important people.

So ideally, aim to take along no more than three or four people, including your partner, anyone who is helping to pay for the wedding, and of course your wedding planner if you have one. The latter is very important, as your planner will be an old pro about wedding food tastings, meaning they’ll be able to spot little details or issues that you might overlook. They’ll also be able to use the tasting as a chance to liaise with the caterers and ask them crucial questions to ensure that your big day goes smoothly.

3. Don’t get too distracted

We get it—wedding menu tastings are fun. And it goes without saying that you should enjoy every single moment of yours. However, it shouldn’t be treated as a catchup session either. Because if you end up getting distracted by swapping gossip with your tasting party, then you won’t be paying full attention to the most important element—the food. 

So make sure that you keep your focus on the menu, including taking notes, taking photos, and asking the caterers anything that you need to know.


4. Dress to Impress

How you dress is another big part of wedding tasting menu etiquette. Making a good impression on the caterers, chef, and venue will make them want to create a better experience for you, both at the tasting and your actual wedding day. So make sure to look smart and treat your wedding catering tasting just like the special occasion it is. That said, you don’t want to go overboard either—it’s important to feel relaxed and comfortable while you’re indulging yourself. 


5. Pace yourself 

When those first delicious dish samplers start coming your way, it can be super tempting to want to guzzle them down with gusto. But if you do that, you’re just going to spoil your appetite for the rest of the courses—and also undermine your ability to make objective judgments. 

Remember that a wedding tasting session is a marathon, not a sprint, so savor each bite slowly, carefully, and with as much restraint as you can muster. After all, you definitely want to leave room for those dinky wedding desserts.

6. Sip and savor

While you’ll have the opportunity to sample drinks as well, remember to go easy, tiger. If you sip each drink slowly and don’t let yourself get too tipsy, then you’ll be more able to decide whether different wines complement their accompanying dishes. 

You’ll also be in a better position to make sensible, savvy catering decisions and not get too carried away—which is especially important if you’re aiming for a budget wedding reception menu


7. Be polite when sampling food

The whole point of a wedding food tasting is to make menu decisions and give your honest opinions to the catering team. But it’s also really important to do this with tact and grace. If you are rude about any dishes that you don’t like or pull faces when you taste things, then you’re not going to endear yourself to anyone. 

Instead, it’s best to be positive, polite, and constructive with your feedback. After all, part of the reason for a tasting is to get the kitchen team on your side in time for your big day.


8. Show your appreciation to the chef.

Finally, it’s important not to overlook that very important person behind the scenes in the heat of the kitchen. So don’t be shy about asking to meet the chef and thanking them personally. Make a point of commenting on any dishes, flavors, or ingredients you particularly liked, as that will show that you’ve been paying attention. It goes without saying that making friends with the chef is a pretty good strategy in the lead up to your wedding. 


Ready to Get Stuck In?

At Il Tulipano in Cedar Grove, we offer an unforgettable New Jersey wedding venue with award-winning chef and classic Italian cuisine. Our iconic space has just had a makeover and has been praised by New Jersey Bride, The Knot, and Wedding Wire. The Il Tulipano team will treat you like family, so get in touch today and let’s plan your dream wedding.


Want more wedding tips? Head over to our blog and read our latest on how to capture those perfect ‘getting ready’ wedding photos.