Catering Events Planning in Santa Barbara Chef Michael Hutchings
Michael's Catering - Serving Discerning Diners in Southern and Central CaliforniaContact Us at 805.568.1896

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Wedding reception themes are as varied as the brides and grooms than plan them. We have done burger buffets in a barn, Mexican food at a museum, California cuisine at the beach. Having a central theme sets the tone for the design and style of everything from decor, service style, menu selection, rentals, flowers. The wedding reception is a once in a lifetime event that should be memorable. Following are some of the all time best themes. Call us today for a cornucopia of menu ideas.

This is the most popular theme of all time. This is the fairy tale wedding, preferable in a castle or grand estate. The dress is very formal and feeling is very classical. The setting begins in a grand church with traditional music. Flowers arrangements and lighting are somber to compliment the special theme. Classical dance and music are the right choice for the event. Traditional food & wine is proficiently served on white linen in the white crockery with silver cutlery and classic glasses.

Traditional Menu
Spring Greens with Belgian Endive and Hazelnut Dressing
Breast of Free Range Chicken with a Morel Cream
Spinach Flan and Baby Carrots

This is a down to earth theme that can be a forest setting, old barn or in Santa Barbara, a winery. Some like to have a somewhat formal look in a rustic setting. You have the option to have a deluxe feel or a minimalist approach. Use the natural surroundings to amplify the theme. Traditional flowers and decorations compliment this theme. Food and wine is served according to the atmosphere of the reception. It could be regional Mexican, casual Italian or country French.

Country-Style French
Beluga Lentil Soup
Roasted Rack of Lamb with Herbs de Provence
Gratin Potatoes
Garden Vegetables

Sea Side
A beach side reception is quite the Santa Barbara style. Use shades of blue and sea shells to compliment the theme. The décor reflects idea of marine life in various ways. The beach or venue overlooking the sea is the best option for this wedding. You can also try for places like a boat house, harbor, or cruise ship for this event. Use the marine life such as sea shells, fish, plants, mermaids, crystals, and interesting rocks. The menu should reflect the sea theme with options for non fish eating guests. Even the cake could have shells and coral in the design.

Seaside Menu
Cultured Abalone with Snipped Dill
Local Sea bass with Vegetable Pearls and Port Jus
Napolean of Squash, Heirloom Tomatoes and Mozzarella
Potato and Celery Root Puree
Tiny French Beans with Shallots

Modern Chic
This is urban approach; big city chic look is prominent throughout the reception. Drama and simplicity are hallmarks of this theme. The modern wedding reception is a clean and clutter free idea. Florals are as simple as a perfect orchid, a Wang like wedding dress with simple, clean lines, table top design with simple patterns. The colors are subtle and a modern feel is there. The Deco or neo-classic look are hallmarks of this theme. The food should be simply, clean, unfussed and rely on superb ingredients.

Menu Moderne
Jumbo Sea Scallop in and Edamame Puree
Ginger-Lime Butter
Beef Tenderloin on an Asparagus Raft, Tarragon Jus
Fondant Potatoes

Garden or Tent
A garden or outside wedding is a classic in Santa Barbara. There are many options from public parks to private estates. You will be surprised that the management of such places is very friendly and welcoming. Look for the amenities that make for a wonderful reception like great views, interesting landscaping. If you have the chance to be part of a historic or beautiful setting there is nothing like it. If weather is a concern have a plan B and a tent option. Consider wind and sun. Work with your event planner to make sure all the amenities are in place from lighting to restrooms. Food and wine are as varied as the venue.

Garden Wedding Menu
Curried Chicken Pot Stickers
Wild Rice Pancakes with Pecans
Gougieres with Gruyere Cheese
Avocado Salad in a Pastry Shell
Baja Shrimp and Pearl Pasta
Served with Spring Mix Lettuces
Balsamic Vinaigrette and Crisp Leek Julienne
Roasted Filet of Pork Bernaise
Parmesan Croquette Potatoes
Bouquet of Vegetables
Red Wine Shallot Sauce

Seasonal or Ethnic Celebrations
Seasons can be an effective theme that can dictate flowers, dress, menu and even music. You can celebrate the seasonal presence with colors, light, and beauty of the season. The food should include seasonal delicacies. While all types of wine, meat, vegetable and fruit are available through out the year, there is a time when they are the best and freshly available. Challenge the chef to suggest a seasonal menu. You might be surprised to find that locally prepared meals and foods come at better value and are fresher. Whatever theme you choose, always keep in mind the timeframe, material, suppliers, and budget. Menus can be spring, summer, fall, Greek, Asian, Middle Eastern.

Seasonal Menu
Passed Canapés
Gorgonzola Mousse with Grapes on Bruscetta
Spinach Greek Style - spinach balls, breaded and fried
Hummus - with Sundried Tomatoes

Bibb Lettuce Blend
house croutons and Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes
Penne Pasta with Vegetables-Putanesca Sauce
Poached Local Sea bass with a Basil-Tomato Relish
Chicken Breast Ragout - slow cooked with
mushrooms, herbs and red wine sauce
Rosemary Roasted New Potatoes
Thin Green Beans with Shallots
Baguette Bread with Butter
Wedding Cake from Bride and Groom

© 2011 Chef Michael Hutchings / Michael's Catering

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