The biggest day of your life also happens to be the biggest food day of your life. It’s unavoidable. When your closest friends and family gather for your wedding, there can be a lot of pressure to show them a good time—and to serve some delicious eats.
It’s terrifying and exhilarating. Knock the meal out of the park, and you’ve set the tempo for a great reception. Combine good food with good drinks, and everyone will remember not only the beauty of the actual ceremony, but the celebration that followed.
Luckily, for Maple Grove brides and grooms who want to stay local, several companies make it easy to create a beautiful wedding meal with great wine pairings.
The Maple Grove Players
Wouldn’t it be nice if there was one place you could go for all your wedding needs? That’s the theory behind Forever Bride. The Maple Grove company was founded by Charles Eide and Michael Danielson, with some urging from their wives, in 2011.
Forever Bride is an online resource. The team, led by Ashley Hawks, who runs most of the day-to-day work as vice president, connects with wedding vendors all over the Twin Cities. From caterers to honeymoon packages to dressmakers and everything in between, Forever Bride gives couples a chance to do all of their vendor shopping in one place.
“I love weddings,” says Hawks, who grew up working in a bridal shop owned by her mother. “I love the planning of them, I love the dresses and I love the romance.”
Hawks also loves finding the best vendors for brides. She knows that one of the most important parts of any wedding is the food, which is why Forever Bride works with local catering companies. All are based in the Twin Cities and one, Marna’s Catering, is based in Maple Grove.
Led by executive chef and Maple Grove mainstay Rolando Diaz, Marna’s offers full catering options for wedding receptions. As a seasoned chef, Diaz is able to help couples craft the perfect menu for their big day, paired with the perfect wines.
“It’s something you can’t screw up,” Diaz says of crafting wedding menus. “There isn’t going to be another wedding tomorrow.”
Creating the Perfect Menu
Most wedding couples want to offer their guests choices, and a conversation with a caterer should always include a list of entrée options—chicken, beef, fish, pork, veggie, and so on.
And while some brides and grooms like to give their caterers free reign, some have a firm idea of exactly what they want when it comes to both food and drink. Diaz estimates that about 30 percent of couples come to him looking for advice on how to plan the specifics and advice on how to choose good wines. The rest will have a general idea in their head and will just be looking to narrow down the specifics.
“We try to suggest certain wine or drinks that will complement the food,” Diaz says. For example, he likes to serve a rosé wine during the cocktail hour because there are usually a variety of appetizers, with a variety of flavors. A rosé pairs well with nearly any food, whether it’s spicy, acidic, salty or sweet.
For the meal itself, the wine really depends on food options. The simplest recommendation is to have one white wine and one red wine. “The simpler the better,” Diaz says. “When you try to pair a different wine with every food, it gets too complicated.”
The fact is, a lot of people don’t even think about pairing their food with a specific wine—so it makes a nice surprise for guests when the bride and groom have put a little thought into the vino selections.
Diaz offers up a sample of one of his favorite wedding menus, complete with perfectly paired wine.
- Citrus mignonette shrimp
- Italian sausage mushroom caps
- Crab cake bites with lemon dill aioli
- Chicken satay with Costa Rican style Lizano sauce
- Wine pairing: Chivite Gran Feudo Navarra Rosado Wine
- House salad with raspberry dressing: thinly sliced radish, mandarin oranges, cucumber, and toasted almonds.
- Wine pairing: Huber Hugo Grüner Veltliner from Austria or a Light Pinot Grigi
Option 1: Pan Seared Halibut with linguini orange pasta and fennel broth (pictured above)
Wine pairing: Callia Alta Shiraz Malbec from Argentina
Option 2: Garlic herb sirloin with Catalina vegetable blend, bacon, roasted garlic and fresh herbs; lizano demi-glace and Yukon gold arugula mash potatoes.
Wine pairing: Columbia Crest Cabernet Sauvignon
Option 3: Seared chicken topped with raspberry sweet jam, fresh raspberries, fresh herbs and toasted almonds, served with lemon asparagus and red roasted potatoes
Wine pairing: A light pinot grigio or sparkling wine
Kevin Lindee of Ganache Truffles and Confections suggests a raspberry pistachio entremet.