From sit-down dinners to al fresco picnics, the decision is yours!
Image courtesy of the London Golf Club
There is no right menu for a wedding meal. You can have anything you like from a light breakfast to an elaborate dinner. After initial discussions and a briefing from you, a good wedding caterer will suggest sample menus and help you with your decision. In the meantime, here are a few ideas to get you thinking!
A formal, sit-down dinner is the most traditional reception fare, but it can also be the most expensive. As well as organising table settings for all your guests, you are likely to serve them three courses, along with coffee and wedding cake, and of course wine and champagne! Along with a well-planned menu, a sit-down dinner requires a number of waiting staff.
Of course there are many benefits of sitting down to a lovely dinner. First, all your guests will have a set place to sit, so people who don’t know many others won’t feel left out. And, if you’re having a large number of guests, a sit-down, silver service dinner can be significantly less chaotic than a buffet.
The fork buffet
Somewhere in between a formal, silver-service dinner, and a finger buffet is a fork buffet. This basically allows guests to help themselves to a variety of hot and/or cold food from a buffet, and then sit at a formal table setting to eat. It’s a great idea – allowing guests to have more of a decision in what they eat, but still retaining the formality of beautifully set tables and a seating plan.
Instead of a single buffet area, how about having various ‘food stalls’? Each of these could serve a different course, or a different type of food. If you’re a fan of Pan Asian food, for example, you might have an Indian food stall, a Japanese food stall, a Thai food stall…
The finger buffet
With a finger buffet, guests don’t require cutlery and are free to mingle and eat at the same time. The food might include things like tasty canapés, delicate sandwiches, individual pastries and dips. This is a less expensive option, but there are certain things to consider. If you are having a relatively long day, it’s not ideal to expect people to stand for the duration. Some people, especially more elderly guests, will want to sit while they eat, regardless of whether the food requires cutlery or not. A well-organised reception with a finger buffet should still offer some seating around tables for those who wish to rest their legs!
A slightly more glamorous way of wording this type of reception is to call it a cocktail and canapé party! If you do choose to serve only delicious canapés, make sure you have excellent caterers who pride themselves in stylish presentation and tasty bites, and that you serve a substantial amount of food.
There’s really nothing to stop you serving whatever you like – it’s your wedding after all. Barbecues, picnics, afternoon tea and brunch are all great for weddings.
Whatever menu you choose, there are certain things that must always be taken into consideration. Firstly, your guests. If you’re inviting a lot of children or elderly guests, it’s probably not the time to experiment with a spicy Thai menu. You should always ask guests to let you know of any dietary requirements, from vegetarian to nut allergies, and be sure to cater for them.
The most important thing? How something is cooked is significantly more important than your choice of menu. Choose a caterer you trust to create a beautifully cooked menu – even if you stick to pasta and salad.