Let's be honest, there is a lot to organise and think about when you are planning your big day! The dress, the venue, the photographer, the flowers ..the list can go and on, but far far down the list is often the catering. And it's usually one of the biggies that your guests will remember from your day! This category in itself has much to think about and it can be helpful to talk to the experts on this one. Not only do you need to think about style, guest numbers and budget, there's also that small issue of remembering Aunty Sheryl who's gluten free and your hipster cousins who have recently become vegan. So here's a wee list to help you navigate through the foody part of the day..
First things first
What time of the day is your wedding and what will your guests be doing in the time between the ceremony and reception? Always, always try to provide refreshments post ceremony, even if it just beverages; bubbles, beer or even just a delicious thirst quenching punch. In the heat of a summer wedding the last thing anyone wants is to be standing around for potentially hours in the hot sun with not a drop to drink. Even iced water will be well received and is great for keeping your guests hydrated ready for a night of partying ahead! If you have planned for a large gap in between the ceremony and reception, it can be a good idea to organise some nibbles to see them through. This could be canapes, a grazing table or even a number of small picnic baskets for guests to share as they mingle and get to know each other.
Full dinner or Finger food?
Again, this can be related to the time of your reception. If you are having an early wedding you may choose to have a lighter reception offering. Light does not have to be boring. There are exciting canapes, trendy grazing tables, elegant afternoon tea stands, or intimate group picnic baskets. You could even meet in the middle a little and bring in professionals to provide wood-fired pizzas to be passed around or a hot bap bar with Chef cooked Beef sirloin or Champagne ham.
Depending on where you are holding your reception there may be restrictions on who you can use as caterers. Your venue may have their own catering or preferred caterers, or if it's your best friends dads farm then your options are many! Look for a company that can provide what you're after at your chosen venue (Keep in mind power/access/refrigeration etc – It may pay to ask your mobile vendors if they require any of these)
A beautifully plated full sit down meal may be exactly what you and your groom are after. If this is the case, ask to see menus, price up your options and don't forget to mention any dietary requirements that your guests may have; ie the Gluten frees, vegans and even any pregnant ladies. It's super easy for your caterer to provide options for this when they have time to plan, but can be very awkward on the night if this hasn't be organised and there are no alternatives available.
There is a massive trend towards relaxed eating at weddings this year. It adds a light, informal, and fun atmosphere to the reception. If this is more your style, there are so many fun options available. Get a variety of food trucks in for a festival feel, a rustic spit roast with beautiful salads and fresh breads, or the kiwi favourite, a (well executed!) Barbeque.
Although it can be tempting to save some dollars and self-cater this style, it can be incredibly stressful to try and do this particularly as whoever is nominated to carry this out on the day will spend that time preparing, cooking and cleaning, with very little time or energy left to enjoy the night. The easiest option is to bring in the professionals, it will save time, stress and a whole lot of cleanup the next day! Both you and your guests can relax, enjoy the festivities, and savor delicious food that also looks amazing, and not a burnt sausage in sight!
The price of bread
There are a lot of things to consider when deciding on your catering and sometimes it can be a bit like the horse before the carriage, with which factor decides what. Choosing your style of catering is often determined by your budget. If you have a smaller budget than what is required for a laid-on dinner spread, look into the lighter options of finger foods instead of full 3 course meals, or the great middle-ground of rustic food such as spit roast, bap bar, or an upscaled BBQ. Your budget can also influence the number of guests you have, and/or your style and amount of food you allow for. It's an interesting little melting pot, but if we can give you one piece of advice it's this – People remember your food!! There is a balancing act between quality and quantity so choose a reputable catering company that can work within your budget without having to compromise on standard. Have your friends and family raving about how great the food was on such a memorable night- not heading for bathrooms with sore bellies! You also don't want them having to stop in at a drive-through on the way home either, so try to have a realistic budget for the number of guests you are having. If it's not enough you may have to cut back numbers, stretch the pockets a little or talk really nicely to a generous family member ;)
At the end of the day your wedding is a celebration of love and should be the way you want, in the style you like, with the people you love. Often under-estimated, food is a huge part of the celebration and should bring people together, be enjoyed and be shared. Make it memorable.
[ Written by Love in a Box ]
All photo credits belong to Metal and Mirror Photography