Catering, Wedding Breakfast
Food: The Basics
Good food, appealing presentation and helpful service are important factors in making the day a resounding success. The best policy is to keep food simple, seasonal and of the highest quality that the budget will allow. The hosts should choose a menu that will suit a range of tastes, not just what they enjoy eating.
Choosing a Caterer
As always, personal recommendation is the best option. The bride and groom should talk to a number of different caterers and get a range of menus, ideas and quotes. The caterer will also be able to advise on presentation of the food, timings, table settings and so on. Local companies are the most cost effective, as travel costs for the caterer and all the staff will be charged. It is usually essential to do a tasting before booking.
The bride and groom should ask caterers a number of questions: When will they arrive? When will the tables be laid? At what point will the staff clear away? What happens to leftovers? Will they pack up on the day or come back the next morning? Will waiting staff need to be tipped? Does the quote include the hire of crockery, glassware and cutlery? Does the quote include VAT?
It is essential that there are enough staff on the day. At the very minimum, there should be one waiter/waitress per 15 guests for the sit-down catering. Many couples also check what the front of house staff will be wearing and provide alternatives, such as different coloured shirts.
There are generally three options for the food at the reception: canapés only, a buffet, or a sit-down lunch or dinner. These vary in price and style.
Alternatives such as hot dog or fish and chip vans can be innovative talking points. There are a number of other less formal options, such as a hog roast or a barbecue table, where guests can help themselves to food buffet-style.
Late Night Food
If a long day of partying is planned, having some food available later on in the evening is advisable; something simple like bacon butties or kedgeree will be well received in the small hours after a night of dancing.
Cheese boards are also a good option. They can be set out on tables later in the evening, and hungry guests can help themselves.
- Ensure that the caterer has made extra vegetarian dishes in case any guests have forgotten to inform the host. Inform the caterer of any more specific dietary requirements (nut allergies, for example) beforehand.
- Food should be provided for the photographer and the band or DJ.
- Food should also be provided for anyone else working on site, such as the car park attendant.
Food: Beginning to End
Although canapés can be expensive, bear in mind that guests may have missed breakfast or lunch in the rush to get to the ceremony and will not want to drink for over an hour on an empty stomach. Allow at least six canapés per person pre-lunch or dinner and 14 or more per person for a drinks and canapés-only reception.
A good combination is 50 per cent hot, 50 per cent cold, ensuring that at least 30 per cent are vegetarian. Only one type of canapé should be presented on each serving plate, and staff should be briefed to inform the guests what they are. Avoid messy canapés that are hard to eat, or likely to spill on to wedding finery.