Between holiday treats and robust flavors, winter has a lot to offer when it comes to food – which makes it the ideal inspiration for a seasonal wedding menu.

“Couples today are really focusing on the details and bringing everything together to create a theme or consistency throughout their wedding day. Seasonally based menus really help tie everything together,” explains Wanda Croxton, wedding coordinator for Nelson’s Catering.

Plus, basing your reception menu around the season also allows you to guarantee the freshest, high-quality ingredients, adds Croxton.

If you’re hosting a winter wonderland wedding, here are a few tasty ideas for in-season ingredients and dishes to incorporate into each and every course.

Appetizers

Keep guests warm and cozy with miniature versions of their favorite winter comfort foods. Think shooters of tomato soup paired with tiny grilled cheeses; bite-sized puff pastries stuffed with brie and cranberry sauce; or mini cups of shrimp and grits.

The key is to keep the portions small so guests can indulge without feeling overstuffed before the main course – and hours of dancing – ahead.

Drinks

For an interactive element, Croxton suggests hosting an apple cider or hot cocoa bar and allowing guests to customize their drinks with add-ins like whipped cream, cinnamon and caramel.

If you’re looking to serve up beverages with a bit more booze, consider offering a traditional winter cocktail like mulled wine. Or, you can add a winter twist to your favorite drink like a cranberry mimosa, peppermint martini or blood orange margarita.

Entrees

The main course should be hearty, yet still elegant. “Our beef tenderloin with bourbon peppercorn is popular during winter months as well as the applewood smoked ham,” says Croxton. You can also go a bit gamier by serving up venison or pheasant.

Keep the non-meat eaters in the crowd satisfied as well with filling veggie-based options, such as butternut squash ravioli, cauliflower and chickpea curry or loaded sweet potatoes with beans and guacamole.

Side dishes

Another way to incorporate winter vegetables into your wedding menu: side dishes. Creamy mashed potatoes or collard greens are a classic pairing for meaty entrees. Or, you can add a bit of color to your guests’ plates with roasted root vegetables, like radishes, rainbow carrots and brussel sprouts.

Desserts

No matter the season, the star of every dinner is the dessert. There are endless options when it comes to winter cake flavors. Chocolate and hazelnut, for instance, are a timeless combination while spiced carrot or salted caramel are both unexpected crowd pleasers

Of course, there are also plenty of non-cake options to satisfy your sweet tooth. Warm apple crisp is a winter favorite among Nelson’s Catering clients according to Croxton, but you can also offer anything from donuts to miniature hand pies or tarts to top off your seasonal menu.

©CTW Features