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Advice from the Pros: How to Plan, Select and Customize Your Rehearsal Dinner and Wedding Reception Menu

Food is an essential part of southern culture, from ubiquitous soul food to regional flavors like Cajun cuisine, Caribbean fusion and Tex Mex. We plate it, present it, celebrate it and pass it down through the generations. Down here, food is love.

The intimate relationship between food and culture gives engaged couples in the South countless opportunities to personalize their engagement parties, wedding showers, bridal luncheons, rehearsal dinners and receptions with specially selected menus.

For the last 11 years, the seasoned staff at Biaggi’s Ristorante Italiano has served the Jackson metro area with fine dining at an affordable price. Its spacious private dining areas provides ample seating for large gatherings and its extensive catering menu accommodates off-site events.

We asked Dwayne Rainer, managing partner of Biaggi’s in Ridgeland, how couples can create a menu to suit their guests’ needs.

Number of Courses

“One of the first questions we ask is the number of courses in the meal.” Rainer said. “A full course meal includes three courses: an appetizer, main entrée and a dessert. A seven-course Italian meal generally begins with finger foods, a soup, a salad, the main course, then a lighter offering, a dessert, and finally an after-dinner drink.”Dietary restrictions

Food allergies and dietary restrictions are serious concerns for many guests, but with enough careful planning, these don’t have to keep anyone from celebrating with you. Many restaurants can take these into account. “At Biaggi’s, we work with couples to determine how to best serve their guests needs with custom menu options,” Rainer explains.

When accommodating food allergies, couples should also ask questions about how the restaurant or caterer prevents cross-contamination and whether they specially mark custom dishes. For severely allergic guests, they may want to consider the extra precaution of requesting a designated server to handle food for severely allergic guests.

Personalizing the Menu

“Another way to add personality to the food selection is to include His and Hers Personal Favorites,” Rainer said. “Couples can select their favorites from our menu. We often get requests for things we no longer serve, so we try to accommodate that.”Libations

Another way to customize your rehearsal dinner, wedding shower, bridal luncheon or reception is with signature cocktails. “If the bride and groom have go-to cocktails or a specific wine that reminds them of a moment in their relationship, talk to your caterer or bar service to see if they can recreate it. The more of your story you incorporate into the evening, the more personal the details become, and that is how you leave your mark on the menu,” Rainer explained.

Biaggi’s Italian Ristorante has a large selection of Italian wine and we are happy to help couples make selections that complement their menu,” he continued. “We also have sparkling wine for well-wishers to toast the bride and groom.

Children’s Table

Don’t forget your pint-sized guests. Accommodate their youthful energy (and picky palates) by providing them with their own table, complete with a kid-friendly selection of food. To keep them entertained, give them after-dinner activities or games they can play in their seats.“There are many ways to customize a menu and,” Rainer said. “Hey, we love food, and we love love, so let us help you make the food at your event an experience your guests won’t forget.”

This post is sponsored by Biaggi’s Italian Ristorante in Ridgeland, Mississippi. Biaggi’s provides private dining for large groups of up to 60 and catering for weddings, engagement parties, wedding showers, bridal luncheons and more.

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