When it comes to the catering for our wedding, we have been very lucky. With our chosen venue, we have the opportunity to select from four gourmet catering companies. Having the venue provide us with their partnered caterers means we know they have worked at the venue before and therefore know the kitchen specs, table layouts and everything else that comes with it – along with being endorsed by the venue itself.
Having a completely flexible venue in terms of who you choose to do your food is great if you have someone specific in mind or want to do it yourself, but if you don’t it could mean hours of researching to find what you’re looking for – if you even know what that is at this stage. If your venue has in-house catering, then the decision is out of your hands and that’s one less thing to worry about – but could you be missing out on something better? Even though it means having to make additional choices, I would not give up being able to select our caterer from a specified list. As I’m sure it is for everyone else as well, the food at our wedding is so important to us and we see it as one of the focal points of our day. Getting it right is paramount, and unfortunately we are having to taste a three-course meal with canapés at every one…
At the first tasting, we didn’t really know what we wanted, but as we near the final one, we have nailed down our ideas and are dictating them to the last few. We obviously want it to be a really special meal, but that doesn’t mean it has to be a prim and proper affair – that just wouldn’t reflect us. We want guests to feel relaxed yet indulged, without overdoing the amount of food and hiking up the price of our invoice. When would you normally consume a selection of canapés followed by a three-course meal and topped off with tea and cake with a finale of evening food? How will guests enjoy the evening if they are only able to roll around on the floor due to the sheer amount of food provided? We decided it was time to sack off a course, at least. Dessert followed by cake seemed crazy to us, and we were liking the starters more – so it was bye bye dessert. We decided that canapés were a must – hoping that it would help guests line their stomachs throughout the drinks reception. Each caterer enables us to bring our own drinks, and yes, there will be plenty.
Another perk of being able to choose between four catering companies, and them knowing that you are doing so, is that it creates a healthy competition. They seem to be open to changes and different ideas (and possibly price cuts), especially if you say, ‘well that’s not what the other caterers are offering…’
Food should have a personal touch, and selecting off a menu means that the meal won’t always incorporate everything you like. That’s why it’s important that your caterer is flexible and doesn’t have restrictions. Some seem to be fussy about food you may want to bring yourself, like your own petit fours or treats to go alongside the evening food, but others see it as a welcome addition to the food they offer. Having the option to create your own drinks station, sweet cart or even the ability to offer hard-to-please kids or grandparents something different from your chosen menu, make for a better experience if you want to be more involved and don’t want to be tied down. We would like our guests to be relaxed while keeping the atmosphere a bit informal – we certainly don’t want a standard wedding menu. The idea of allowing guests to help themselves to sharing platters, without actually having to get out of their seats, really appealed to us as it felt more friendly.
But at the end of it all, as long as everyone is being fed there really isn’t anything to worry about.
All photographs are my own