Posted by Mackenzie on Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Periodically Xochitl (pronounced so-cheel), our resident wediquette expert and owner of Always a Bridesmaid Wedding Consulting, answers an etiquette question submitted* by one of our readers. So, (without further ado):
Q: I know that this is pre-mature, since I won't be getting married for another 2 years, but my wedding has to be Kosher, and I cannot find any sites about who to go to and what needs to be done for a Kosher wedding. My mother and I are both clueless since she is Christian and I am reform (Jewish), and had never planned on having a Kosher wedding, but because of my groom, it has to be done.
I know that the meal will be Kosher, but what about the cake? So, do you have any advice?
A: The Kosher issue is tricky, but it's not as hard as you would imagine. Depending on where you are located and if you have a venue selected already or not, your process will differ slightly. This also assumes you are having a Saturday evening wedding.
Generally here is how it works: Either you are working with a space that is open to outside caterers or a venue with on-site catering. If you know in advance that you are going to need Kosher, you should start looking for venues that allow off-site caterers in. I think it works out more economically and often affords you more choice in WHO your Kosher caterer is.
If you have your reception facility booked already, you should start by asking your location for their recommendation/required kosher vendor. You should ask for the menu offered at your particular venue and move from there. Typically venues will have a preferred or required Kosher caterer and often they have a set menu that mirrors the menu offered at your venue.
If you are booking a space and then looking for an outside Kosher Caterer, then the world is your oyster, because you can design a menu around the season and your tastes, just as you would with any other kind of catering (with Kosher Provisions in mind).
Kosher food has a reputation for being bad, but it simply depends on HOW the caterer works and what you serve. Certain cuts of beef just simply aren't as good, because they are imitations of the "real" cut, and a good caterer will steer you clear of those and make recommendations that are really quite delicious. Additionally, nothing on the wedding can START until after sundown, so keep that in mind as you are planning. So often BAD kosher catering is prepared on a Friday afternoon and re-heated after sundown on Saturday. Thus the reputation for overcooked items. One of the things you should ask is WHEN they cook most of their food. Prep is fine the day prior, but cooking should happen that evening.
If you are in the New York area, I strongly suggest Foremost Caterers. Not only do they provide a Kosher meal, it is absolutely some of the BEST off premise food that I've ever tasted. It is imaginative, hip, pretty and the service is wonderful.
In terms of the cake, anything that you ask your caterer to serve (including wines and champagnes) must be Kosher. This means that the cake must be Pareve. A lot of people don't like Pareve baked goods, (I personally LOVE them). Discuss the option of serving another tasty dessert (a fruit tart, etc) as an alternative for those guests who aren't such big fans of Pareve.--Xochitl of Always a Bridesmaid
*If you've got a question for our expert, submit it by clicking "submit your question" in the right hand column, under "wediquette".