Last week I had the fabulous Annabelle interning with Mrs T Weddings. She has such a love of weddings and couldn’t wait to get started! Annabelle took this opportunity with us, to really deep dive into the world of food at weddings, which is pretty vast. Over to you Annabelle to guide us through your findings.
Mrs T x
When it comes to weddings or other large events, figuring out how you are going to feed such a large quantity of guests can often feel super overwhelming – there are so many options to choose from regarding both the food you choose, as well as the way that it is served to your guests. So today, I am going to guide you through the most common ways that you can ensure that none of your guests starve (be it through bowl food or buffets), as well as hopefully give you some fun ideas to make your big day stand out from the crowd.
THE CLASSIC CATERING OPTIONS
Before I delve into my views on which catering styles suit particular weddings best, I feel it will be helpful to define the most common catering formats available:
Set menu: individual plates are brought out to the guests at their tables – guests will normally select an option from a limited list prior to the wedding to avoid confusion.
Family sharing: a selection of dishes are brought out to each table, where guests serve themselves (almost as if there were a mini buffet on each individual table).
Buffet: a selection of dishes are provided in a general area and guests fill their plates before returning to their tables.
Bowl food: small, ready-to-eat bowls of food (normally around a quarter of the size of a main course) are distributed amongst the guests as if they were canapés.
Street food: various food stalls are scattered across the venue, allowing guests to grab food whenever they desire.
FINDING A FORMAT THAT SUITS YOU
When selecting a catering format, it is very important to consider the budget, venue, season and formality of the event. Let’s see how each format fits into these categories:
Formality: set menus tend to be more formal, whereas buffets, family sharing, bowl food and street food tend to be more informal. Family sharing in particular is a great way to encourage guests to interact with others on their tables (passing dishes around etc).
Budget: set menus and bowl food tend to be more expensive, whereas buffets, street food and family sharing are often a little cheaper. This is partly due to the higher relative time spent on preparing individual plates of food rather than sharing platters.
Arrangement: set menus, buffets and family sharing work better with seated receptions, whereas bowl food and street food are better suited to standing receptions as they are small and easy to carry, allowing guests to mingle effortlessly.
Season: set menus, buffets, family sharing and bowl food are very flexible as they may be utilised both indoors and outdoors, however, street food can usually only be used for summer weddings as you do not want guests to be rained on while grabbing food (provided that you use food trucks rather than food stalls which can be set up indoors as well).
When wedding planning, couples usually work hard to ensure that aspects such as decorations and activities are super personalised and memorable, however, many couples forget to do the same with food. Due to this, wedding cuisine can sometimes feel quite repetitive to guests (especially during peak wedding season). Here are some fun food suggestions to add extra character to your wedding and make sure that it is a day you and your partner (as well as all of your guests) will never forget!
For those with a savoury palate
A great option for feeding a large group of people, a hog roast offers a twist on the classic roast and is perfect for weddings held in the warmer seasons (especially those held at outdoor venues). My step-sister had one at her wedding and it was a big hit with all of the guests.
An oyster station is the perfect complement to a sophisticated (albeit high budget) wedding. It not only provides a decorative touch, but also adds a unique touch to your wedding. Oysters are available to eat all year, however, they are at their best in the months September-April.
A perfect option for indecisive or picky guests, a charcuterie board will almost always have something that everyone can get behind. Gorgeous to look at and even better to eat, they are the perfect addition to any event (especially summer weddings).
Cheese Wedding Cake
A fabulous spin on the traditional wedding cake, a cheese wedding cake is the perfect option for a couple more drawn to the savoury end of the food spectrum. They can be decorated beautifully and will always provide a stand-out piece for your event.
For those with a sweet tooth
The perfect mesh of decoration and sugary heaven, a doughnut wall will always be a major hit with your guests. For a fun twist, you could decorate the doughnuts according to the theme / colour scheme of your wedding, or even personalise them with the couple’s names for an added personal touch.
Ice Cream Bar
An ice cream stand will forever be a great option when looking to add a bit of fun to your wedding. Perfect for outdoor summer weddings, ice cream will revive your guests on a hot day. You could create your own names for specific flavours / combinations for added fun.
Super easy to set up and run, popcorn stations provide the perfect snack for guests in need of a little something to nibble on. You could make the popcorn plain and provide a multitude of seasonings to keep things interesting for your guests.
A fool proof throwback to your childhood, a s’mores station provides an additional element of youth and fun to your wedding and will almost certainly be a hit will all your guests. Perfect for an outdoor summer wedding, s’mores will always go down a storm.
Hopefully these options will provide some inspiration for the wedding food of your dreams. Most importantly, remember to choose the food that YOU want to eat – don’t feel pressured to conform to trends just to seem ‘in vogue’ (they are not always suitable for your big day and hardly ever last that long anyway). Your wedding day should be all about you and the things that make you happy – food included!
Which catering style and food idea would you choose? Tag @mrs_t_weddings on Instagram with your favourites or any other ideas.