Last week I received an e-mail from the mother of a bride asking for help planning the menu for her daughter’s wedding reception. She wanted the meal to be one that everyone would enjoy but needed it to stay within a moderate budget. My suggestion is to create a theme that will be special to the occasion; serve dishes that are meaningful to the couple. Chances are they will be foods everyone likes and will not be very expensive. Serve the bride’s favorite food, the groom’s favorite food, what they ate on their first date, what they ate on the occasion of his proposal, the first thing they cooked together, and have little signs to explain it all. Or, each family could contribute recipes that have been in the family for generations; great-grandmother’s or great-grandfather’s, grandmother’s or grandfather’s, mother’s or father’s, aunts’ or uncles’ signature recipes. These too will probably be affordable and guests could find a little booklet containing the recipes at their places. People rarely remember what they were served at a wedding reception. These menus they will remember because they are truly a part of the occasion.