Still, these catering services have little on the international Hong Kong McDonald’s. The McWedding package began there January 1st and is scheduled to host about 10 weddings per month. It offers full Big Mac catering, a wedding cake made out of (packaged) apple pies, and kiddy toys for guests. There’s even a special twist on the kissing game; the bride and groom nibble on each end of a French fry and meet, like a gluttonous Benjamin Button, in the middle. Just don’t expect a champagne toast—since it’s a family establishment, only soft drinks are served. Which is all well and good as the minimum $1,000 price tag tends to appeal to couples who are young, or younger, at heart.
While some people are lovin’ the McWedding, others are less enthusiastic. “I think it’s a disaster,” says Tutera. “I think it’s a terrible idea, and if someone suggested it on my show it would be the first thing I’d tell them to change.” He suggests wowing wedding attendees with food through subtler means such as color coordinating it with the wedding shades. He recently planned a wedding with entirely pink food—salmon lollipops, a pomegranate and pink citrus baby spinach salad with apricot dressing, and handmade pink ravioli in fire-roasted red pepper sauce. Mr. Tutera goes on to note that, when planning a food-centric wedding, it is important to make sure that the food remains accessible to the guests, even if they’re not foodies.
Tutera isn’t the only who frowns on kiddie menu food. At one five-star hotel, the staff was less than amused by the bride’s request for chicken fingers and French fries, sniffing that their kitchen was “based on a culinary foundation.” Perhaps the hotel might have felt more warmly if, like the bride and groom in North Dakota, the couple had shared a weekly plate of French fries in the casino.
Planner Mindy Weiss welcomes whimsy (if not McNuggets). She fondly recalls couples who have added carefree touches to their weddings by catering hot dogs at a black tie affair, or flying in the Miami food fetish, Joe’s stone crabs. There are also wonderful opportunities to present specialty foods from couples’ homelands or to choose menus to suit dietary preferences.
When questioned about the menu, the standby response at most wedding locales is “continental cuisine”—enough to strike fear into any foodie’s heart when he recalls Calvin Trillin’s memorable retort “that continent is Antarctica.” Couples who aren’t brave enough to veer away from that continent run the risk of having their food choices—and identity as a couple—labeled “generic.” Terror of being remembered as “that couple that served soggy tuna steaks” may incentivize you to spend a literal fortune on food.
If you’re so inclined, The Wynn in Las Vegas is able to accommodate. They recently planned a Persian Wedding party where the food cost more than 1 million dollars for a mere 125 guests. How do you run up that total? According to the Wynn’s Katie Conway, “The chefs had to order over 100 pounds of authentic Persian cucumbers for this 3-part kosher soiree,” but that was the least of the extravagance. The event also featured 1 kilo of Russian Osetra Caviar (at $6,000 per kilo) and 2 kilos of Red Kosher Caviar (at $625 per kilo), as well as 125 terrines of foie gras, Oxtail Consomme with Black Truffles En Croute, 125 Truffles Arancini and an endless variety of other delicacies. Lest it all seem a little too rich, there was also a chocolate fountain where guests could dip Oreos.
So—buffet or 10 courses? Foie gras or chicken fingers? Modestly priced or budget blowing? The more subtle and subdued among us will find it easy to question those who want a jewel-covered cake or to French kiss via a fry. The outrageous isn’t for everyone. But the remarkable thing is that those people—the couples who see themselves in a wedding cake that looks just like them—found a partner whose tastes run so closely to their own. The idea of finding someone who will embrace your McDonald’s fixation or who will agree that Ghostbusters must be a centerpiece at your wedding, well, perhaps that is what makes some people go together like pink ravioli and salmon pops. For some couples, food itself is the food of love. And if it is unusual food and unorthodox cakes that define their identity and outlook on the world? Well, then play on.