When we think of wedding food, probably the first thing that comes to mind is “beef or chicken?” Happily, the trend these days is moving away from standard banquet hall fare into more appealing food for receptions. At the front of this trend is the comfort food movement, which brings us to soup. No matter season your wedding will be held in, serving soup at your reception is a great way to round out the menu.
Naturally, soup is most often associated with the cooler months of the year. However, don’t rule out a tasty chilled soup for a summer wedding. It can make an unexpected addition to the menu that your guests will really enjoy. For an early spring wedding, a fresh spring pea soup served chilled would be lovely. A small cup of it would be a nice way to start a formal seated dinner, or it can be offered passed on trays in tall shot glasses during the cocktail hour. Little “shots” of soup are one of the most chic ways to serve an old favorite in a fresh new way.
In the summer, nothing beats a refreshing cold fruit soup. A chilled strawberry and cream soup would be tasty and sweet on a summer afternoon. Many other fruits can be pureed into soup, such as cantaloupe, honeydew, or watermelon. They can be offered during cocktails on a hot summer day or served as a palette cleanser between courses at dinner, much like a sorbet.
As summer turns to fall, it is time to think about serving a warm soup for your wedding. There are many from which to choose, so think about featuring a soup that either has a connection with your wedding or one that is a favorite from your cultural background. For instance, if you were having a rustic autumn wedding, and wearing a simple dress with handmade wedding jewelry, a spiced pumpkin or squash soup would suit the occasion perfectly. On the other hand, if your wedding is going to be upscale, complete with an ornate handmade wedding gown and sparkling crystal jewelry, a more luxurious soup such as a fresh lobster bisque would be an impeccable addition to the wedding dinner.
A fantastic way to include soup in your wedding is to select one from your heritage. A bride whose parents hail from India might choose a mulligatawny. A rich lamb stew would make a hearty main course for the wedding of an Irish-American couple, complete with fresh baked Irish soda bread. And of course, a simple miso soup would make a light and pleasant accompaniment to the reception of a bride or groom with Japanese heritage. A variation on this idea is to have your caterer recreate an old family recipe to share with your guests, such as Grandma’s famous matzoh ball soup. Be sure to include a note in your menu to let everyone know the story behind any special dish that you are serving.
Presentation is everything for your wedding food, and soup is no exception. As mentioned before, a shot glass is one of the most hip ways to serve a small soup. Soup for a formal dinner belongs in a shallow bowl with a wide rim, and of course French onion should always be served in a crock. Whichever variety you choose, you can dress it up with appealing garnishes, such as a sprig of mint on a spring pea soup, a swirl of cream on a tomato bisque, or a crisp homemade crouton on almost any kind of warm soup. Hot or cold, earthy or elegant, your guests are sure to enjoy the surprise of a terrific fresh soup at your wedding reception.