The Wedding Feast
published April 18th, 2014
What’s a wedding day celebration without food? Well, it’s a bit of a damp squib. Can you imagine turning up for a wedding reception only to find no meal? Not so much as a finger buffet? That would be a pretty sorry affair, which would involve half the guests departing for the nearest McDonald’s to fill their stomachs.
Your wedding day is in the premier league of celebrations, so it calls for a feast fit for a king (and queen). Catering for your wedding is not the sort of thing that can be thrown together at the last minute so it’s important to start drawing up plans right at the start. Literally as soon as your partner pops the question you should be thinking about the food.
There’s so many themes and flavours and special diets to take into consideration, it can seem like a rather daunting task, but with the right amount of planning and preparation you can ensure your guests are truly satisfied on the day!
There’s a good chance that your venue will provide catering, but it’s something you really need to investigate. They usually cover the catering as part of the package or an additional add-on cost. If they don’t then you need to find a quality caterer, and ideally one with good reviews and experience of catering for weddings.
Give plenty of thought to the type of food that you’d like served and convey this to your caterer. There’s various options, such as buffet, outdoor finger food, six course sit-down meal. It all depends on what works best for you and your guests. Once you’ve established what you require your caterer can quote you for their services.
You’ll need to set aside an ample budget for your catering as feeding guests can prove to be an expensive affair. Well, unless you take the cheaper option and follow the example of a British couple who celebrated their wedding with a £150 feast for 33 guests… at McDonald’s. So if all else fails you have an alternative back-up plan, right? Probably not Plan A, or even Plan B, but possibly Plan M.
Prior to hiring your caterers you should arrange some taste testings with the candidates on your short-list. Ensure that you’re happy with the taste, texture, presentation and smell of the food before committing yourself.
Try not to leave it too long before booking your caterer of choice as they tend to book up fast, so once you make a decision you should pay them a deposit to guarantee their services. If your caterer is off-site it’s probably best to check your venue’s policies about extra fees like corkage and cake cutting. Your reception probably wouldn’t be the first where the bride and groom have come to cut the cake and find… no knife! Sometimes it’s the small, seemingly obvious things that slip our mind… and chaos ensues.
Around six months before your wedding you should be thinking about finalising the menu and reaching an agreement on the final price. Don’t just scan the contract before signing, make sure you read the small print and see that all your requirements are fulfilled. Is everything you need provided for? Chair covers, linens, glassware, cutlery - these are all things that need to be taken into consideration.
In an ideal world you should receive all your RSVPs a month before your wedding, but it may be worth sending out a friendly reminder to all your guests. People have been known to forget these small details and just turn up on the day expecting to be fed. So make it clear that if they don’t reply by a set date then they’ll be left out in the cold on the day. It’s harsh, but fair.
About a week before your wedding you may wish to assign a wedding party member to collect the leftovers on the day and distribute them wherever you see fit. Friends houses, homeless shelters, local dogs home.
When the big day arrives don’t forget to eat! It sounds rather obvious but sometimes the bride and groom are so busy people-pleasing that they miss out on all the glorious food that’s been prepared in their honour. Be sure to tuck in, and enjoy!
Finally, don’t forget to assign someone to pay the caterers. Ideally the Best Man or someone who isn’t prone to absentmindedness. Caterers can get pretty uptight if you dash off on honeymoon without paying the bill. Who’d have thought?