By Nancy Mattia

While star billing at a wedding naturally goes to the bride and groom, their winning co-star is the reception menu. Think about it: Guests will probably forget the color of your bridesmaids' dresses, but they'll retain fond memories of the smoked-tomato bruschetta or butternut squash ravioli. We've rounded up some of Houston's most talked-about caterers to get you started on the tasty adventure of picking some tasty morsels.

A Fare Extraordinaire

Houston brides have been raving for decades about this full-service caterer known for its customized haute cuisine. "The food at your wedding should not only meet the needs of your eclectic guests," says the company's Rachael Volz, "but also signify the unique personalities of you and your partner." Some of its innovative offerings: pumpkin and pistachio chicken satays, braised short ribs with candied beets and truffle mac and cheese. Besides the menu, the staff gets creative with décor, flowers, linens, lighting and entertainment.

Catering By Culinaire

With Houston being one of the foodie capitals of the nation, "couples want to share a culinary experience with their family and friends that is restaurant-quality but still reflective of their personalities," says Culinaire's Barbara McKnight. Dishes such as roast beef tenderloin with shiitake dumplings and jumbo lump crab cakes with roasted corn salsa show off the caterer's light and seasonal style. Culinaire believes in being accommodating: When a bride asked about serving ice cream sandwiches, Culinaire agreed to install a freezer at the venue! "That is the most important thing to her, and we are making it happen."

Catering By George

A vital ingredient in a wedding menu created by Catering By George? Listening to what the customer wants. Whether a bride is interested in traditional or modern cuisine, the George team can devise a spot-on menu. A typical buffet features bacon-wrapped grilled scallops, cilantro chicken with honey jalapeño dipping sauce and feta cheese and sun-dried tomato torta.

City Kitchen Catering

Since 2002, this full-service caterer has been getting high marks for its exceptional food presentation, hands-on approach to working with brides and imaginative, high-quality cuisine including lobster bisque with sherry and avocado salsa, grilled veal chop with wild mushroom ragout and venison with pear-ginger chutney.

Cordúa Catering

When customers started asking the Cordúa restaurant to cater their wedding receptions, a thriving side business was born. Today, Cordúa Catering cooks up paella, short ribs and garlic shrimp for all kinds of weddings, from backyard BBQs to seated dinners for 500. "If you dream it, we create it," says Cordúa's Heather Roy. "We love catering weddings-there is something magical about being a part of such memorable day."

Goode Co. Catering

This family-owned company knows how to keep a menu real, with authentic Texas cuisine, including mesquite-smoked prime rib, chicken fajitas and pecan pie. "Food can set the tone for a wedding, reveal something about the couple's heritage and make their special day even more memorable," says Goode's April Zaharis. "We're often the first taste of Lone Star cuisine for out-of-town visitors." The company is proud that their barbecue pits haven't stopped smoking since they first opened their doors in 1977!

Jackson and Company

Focusing on local purveyors and sustainable food resources, this caterer spotlights classic American Heartland, Gulf Coast/Creole and Asian dishes. "We are dedicated to superb ingredients and careful suggestions for your wedding based upon where, when and how it will occur," says the company's Kelly Biggs. "There are foods that work in high-rise buildings that do not work in a Texas Hill Country meadow under a tent!"

Mélange Catering & Special Events

With innovative offerings such as crab Louis on spoons, lemon grass chicken with jasmine rice and a strawberry lemonade station, it's no wonder Mélange has been successfully doing weddings for more than 25 years. They'll work with you to customize a package that fits your style and budget. Need help finding a venue, florist, photographer or DJ? Just ask.

Swift & Co.

This caterer brings sophisticated tastes to parties of any size and style on the Houston social scene, from intimate garden brunch buffets to lavish formal dinners. The company boasts that when it comes to entertaining, if you can think of it, Swift can do it! It now offers tables, chairs, china, tents and other party rentals.

Regardless of style or cuisine, you're sure to find the perfect caterer to suit your taste in our catering directory.