Country Club Wedding Menus: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

In my last Wedding Reception Menus post, I talked about some great, simple yet memorable wedding reception menus. But what happens when the wedding meal is memorable because it was bad? No one wants their guests to leave the reception whispering about how horrible the food was.

Ugly beach themed wedding cake

No bride wants her wedding cakes to be a flop! These cakes were created by the staff of a country club and were supposed to have the appearance of a sandy beach.

One unforgettable wedding reception for me was one that cost an outrageous amount of money, but is most memorable for its disasters. This reception was held at a country club that has a $10,000 minimum expenditure. All of the food was provided by the country club, so I was a little surprised at the disaster that was the wedding cakes. For her beach themed wedding, the bride had requested the cake to be decorated to look like a sandy beach. What she ended up with was an unappealing glob that appeared to have been frosted with peanut butter. Guests snickered and giggled, whispering that they hoped it wouldn’t taste as horrible as it looked.

It is so important to do your research when choosing a baker to create your wedding cake. And if you’re looking for a specialty cake, in most cases you do not want to hire a traditional baker at all. Instead, what you want is an experienced cake designer. Ask to see pictures of the designer’s previous work, as well as references from other couples he or she has worked with. The wedding cake is one of the main focal points of your wedding reception, so you do not want it to be a flop!

Peach and white beach themed wedding cake

If you're looking to cut corners on your cake, order one small cake and several sheet cakes.

The one good thing on the menu of this expensive country club wedding was the main course, a honey pecan chicken dish that the guests devoured. I was lucky enough to get a copy of the recipe afterward, and I was floored at the simplicity of this dish. Did they really pay the country club this much money for a dish that a few aunts, cousins and sisters-in-law could have tossed together themselves for around $100?

The lesson? Do It Yourself for less! Don’t make the mistake of believing that just because you are paying a country club thousands of dollars to prepare your food and decorate your reception hall, they will provide the wedding of your dreams. In fact, chances are, those minimum wage country club employees will throw your wedding together in minutes using decor that has been used and reused for hundreds of weddings before yours.

In all my life, I have only been to one wedding reception which was held at a country club, and I would have to say it did not meet my expectations at all, especially considering the expense. The most beautiful weddings I have attended have been those which were catered and decorated with love by friends and loved ones who had a vested interested in making sure the bride and groom would have the wedding day of their dreams.

So, when planning your wedding, consider who really has your best interests in mind. Remember, there are plenty of wedding venues that will be glad to pocket your money rather than spending it to give you the wedding of your dreams. Often, it’s your own family and friends who will be most likely to make sure your special day is what you always dreamed of.

Purple sheet cake

This beautiful purple sheet cake was served to guests at the most recent wedding I attended, and I would bet it cost a pittance compared to the price of the country club disaster pictured above.

Instead of immediately going for the most expensive venue in town, do some research and find out just how much of the work you can do yourself for less. Then you can save your money for those items you can’t do on your own. For example, instead of trusting the cook at your local country club to create the cake of your dreams, hire an experienced cake designer to create a masterpiece.

If money is an issue, order one small cake and bake several large sheet cakes at home. The sheet cakes can be kept in the back until it’s time to serve the cake. Proper etiquette dictates that the wedding cake should be removed to a back room for cutting out of the eyesight of guests anyway. So, as long as the frosting on the sheet cakes matches the main cake, how are your guests to know whether the piece that ends up on their plate came from the expensive designed cake or from the homemade cake? In fact, you may choose to save that expensive cake for the wedding party and serve up the sheet cakes to your guests!

To get you well on your way to catering the wedding of your dreams, I’ll even share this amazing recipe with you for free, so you can offer your guests a simple main course that is worthy of being served in a country club:

Country Club Honey Pecan Chicken

1 lb. butter, room temp

CCS-1797-3 Royal Champagne Flutes & Wedding Cake Server Set

The Royal Champagne Flutes & Wedding Cake Server Set will make an excellent addition to your wedding cake table.

1 cup honey

¼ cup packed brown sugar

1 cup toasted pecan pieces

¼ tsp. vanilla

¼ cup vegetable oil

8 pre-breaded, frozen chicken breasts

In mixing bowl, combine butter, honey, brown sugar, pecans and vanilla. Mix well with electric mixer 3-4 minutes. If desired, mixture can be refrigerated or frozen at this point and used later.

To prepare: In large skillet, heat oil to between 350 and 375 degrees. Place chicken (still frozen) in hot oil and fry 3-4 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Remove pieces of chicken from oil and place in serving dish. Scoop pecan butter mix on top of each piece of meat. Let chicken sit 2 minutes before serving so some of the sauce is absorbed into the meat. Garnish with parsley. Serve warm.

Check it Out:

-Wedding Day Disasters on the Intimate Weddings Blog: Scroll down to the story, “On Her Knees,” the tale of Grace and Michael’s wedding disaster which was averted with a great deal of hard work on the part of the the couple and their friends and family.

-The food this couple created for their at-home wedding sounds delicious! Check out Becky and Bob’s “Cater it Yourself Wedding.”

-Ten worst wedding disasters: check out the entry titled, “Yuck – The Food is Horrible!”

~Mandy

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