Contributing author: Brandon Snooks
Owner/operator: The Wandering Dago Food Truck

For many couples, planning the wedding menu is often the highpoint or high stress of the wedding planning process.

Do you go with tradition or do you go crazy? Do you reach for formal opulence or keep it casual? Should “fun” be a part of the recipe or is safe and conservative the order of the day? Do you load the menu with tastes that you like or go the safe traditional route?

Whatever your choice, be it traditional or not, this is your big day and of course you want everything to be perfect. What is tradition anyway? It varies from person to person, family to family, and is tempered by culture. And what is perfect? Only you can decide that!

More and more Hudson Valley couples are opting for a mix of both tradition and fun in their wedding fare choices and catering services, and many are looking to the “Rogues” of the catering industry, the food trucks and trailers, to create it.

The Food Truck and trailer presence is rapidly expanding in the Hudson Valley and rolling foodies and food truck enthusiasts are taking their love for these mobile offerings from the road to the banquet table. And why not? Creativity, diversity, and skilled preparation are no less the priority with food truck chefs and operators than with traditional restaurateurs and caterers.

Brandon Snooks, owner and operator of the popular Wandering Dago food truck has some great insights into the wedding menu planning process:

“Imagine if you got a piece of paper that had one single question written on it.
The question said, “Write down what you consider traditional wedding fare.”

This is a question that I ask almost every couple we meet with – So far the answers are almost all different. Endless amounts of bad pasta is a popular answer, as is carved prime rib.
Most of these people have to stop and truly think about the question before answering.”

In the course of his many consultations with brides and grooms to be, Brandon has found that most couples seem to be extremely open to wedding menu options.

“Most have one or two “Musts” that need to make the menu in some capacity.
One major influence is parents and grandparents – I am told often that they need to have some traditional “______________.” – Insert the family favorite or ethnic staple.
For that reason alone, I am in love with wedding consultations and tastings.
Getting to know a couple is one of the best parts of this whole process.”

Today’s wedding menus have taken a considerable step to the left and are becoming much more personalized and much more diverse. Tradition has always had a place at the banquet table but more and more it is being seated alongside the untraditional. The wedding menu is becoming a personal statement and to a great degree has added fun and excitement to the wedding experience, as can be seen in Brandon’s observation:

“A great example – meeting a young couple that loves all styles of food and wants their favorites combined into a theme for the wedding menu actually makes my job much more fun.
Creating these menus from dishes they have tasted or even imagined often involves some classic cooking techniques paired with one or two genres of food. From these wedding consultations we are seeing all kinds of menu item ideas surface – take Prime Rib on a Build Your Own Taco Bar or even a smoked pork belly corndog appetizer.”

Whatever your preference in wedding fare and however you like your wedding structured, the following advice from Brandon is likely to be the best advice you will get:

“Make sure that you keep some tradition, no matter what that means to you, just remember to make the wedding menu all yours.”

The Sojourner