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Love, warmth and goodness
By Melissa Introne Local-I-Dos

When the temperatures plummet, steamy comfort food and drink are the perfect complement, and a cold-weather wedding opens up a variety of menu and beverage options.

Hearty soups, bold flavors and hot drinks will warm up guests and can offer unique alternatives to traditional wedding fare.

For example, setting up a hot drink bar upon arrival at the venue allows guests to wrap their hands around something warm after traveling through frigid weather.

"One thing that has been a hit for our weddings during the winter months is a hot-chocolate welcome station," said Ashley Roderick, event coordinator at Hillside Country Club in Rehoboth.

Roderick says couples can choose to pair the hot chocolate with cordials such as Bailey's Irish Cream or Jameson, and extras to make it an extra sweet introduction.

"There are also a variety of things you can add like fresh whipped cream, mini marshmallows, peppermint sticks, flavored syrups and wafers," Roderick said. "It's also a great complement to dessert as well."

A comforting bowl of soup is another warm treat. Soups can be crafted and presented to fit any wedding style - from small china demi-cups served as a starter during a formal reception, to hearty family-style self-serve bowls for more casual affairs.

The popularity of vegetarian options on catering menus has also exploded. Couples and guests are focusing on these healthy alternatives as a primary part of the menu, and not just as an afterthought. The variety of hearty winter vegetables opens up a world of flavorful possibilities like grilled portobello mushrooms, eggplant risotto, roasted acorn squash stuffed with rice and beans or pumpkin ravioli.