Week 9: A Masterclass In Reception Food & Drinks
Your reception will help fuel the dancing and partying that’s to come, so it has to be good!
This is another fun way to infuse personality and style into your celebration. From where you eat to what you eat, Follow our A, B, C guide to help you wine and dine your family and friends.
Many couples looking to offer alternative food options look towards outdoor cooking and especially during the spring and summer months will factor in a barbecue, hog roast or even an outdoor picnic-style food offering.
Should you give your guests a free bar? This one’s an entirely personal decision and depends on your budget priorities. Consider what alcohol you will serve on arrival, this can be a cocktail, some Pimms, Gin, or a glass of fizz, whatever suits the season and theme of your day.
There are so many gorgeous wedding cakes to choose from today, just make sure the one you choose complements the rest of the day. Remember, savoury cheese towers are great options for doubling up in your evening buffet. You could also consider a doughnut wall. This is just an extra sweet treat and also offers a decorative feature. While some guests can be afraid to ruin the display, once someone is brave enough to take the first one, it’s not long before they all start to go!
Will you have vegetarian options available and have you tried them yourselves? Make sure guests RSVP with any dietary requirements so your caterers know what they’re catering for.
Anything goes with weddings today, and that is especially true with food and drink. From the welcome drinks to the wedding breakfast and evening buffet you can offer quirkier options that will surprise your guests as well as tantalising their tastebuds. Whether a refined Champagne and oyster welcome or a rustic pizza oven in the evening, whatever suits your budget and style you can make it happen.
Cheese lovers will want to offer guests some of their favourite foods in the form of a cheese cake, a cheese table pre-or post meal or as an alternative or extra to a sweet dessert at the end of the wedding breakfast.
Enlist the help of your caterers to offer guests a gin inspired menu of reception drinks, or perhaps add a quirky feature bar at your evening do! One bride we spoke with served gin poured from teapots to her guests in vintage tea cups. A lovely, quirky finishing touch at the end of the meal!
Think popcorn carts, candy floss makers, ice cream bicycles, food and Prosecco vans!
Your food and drink will be a party for your palate, but are they a party for your eyes and photographer too? Make sure your food is served beautifully – whether you use pretty dishes, serve beer bottles in rustic buckets or have an attractively arranged dessert table.
Make sure to have plenty of soft drinks for guests, those who aren’t drinking and as a bit of a break for those who are! As well as the soft drinks available from the bar, it might be an idea to have jugs of water with ice and lemon, to refined elderflower cordials readily available and sitting out throughout the day.
If your wedding invites extend to little ones, don’t forget about them when choosing your menus. You can discuss a kids menu with your caterer and while the food may be the usual chicken nuggets and chips, you can have fun with its presentation. Jugs of cordial and pretty paper cups are a good idea and a candy cart will always be welcomed by the kids, just maybe not their parents!
Millennial brides and grooms love to showcase the location, with guests enjoying produce local to the area. For example, if by the sea then fish dishes or fruits and vegetable grown either at the venue or nearby. The couple might also like to celebrate where they’re from with food from their own country of origin if one half is not Irish by descent.
Our generation loves to eat and Instagram is testament to that! So, with such an emphasis food, today’s weddings are far more creative than the traditional ‘chicken or fish’ of old. For many couples, the food is the focus and they actively seek out venues renowned for serving excellent food that leaves a lasting memory with guests for all of the right reasons.
Your venue or caterers will need to know numbers, so ensure you get your RSVPs and menu choices (if relevant) back in plenty of time to let them know, then proudly display the food choices you made using one.
On The Table
Perhaps you want to offer some sharing platters or nibbles set out on the on the tables throughout the day to ensure your guests never have to go far in search for a bite to eat. For example, olives, tapenades, dipping oils, cold meats and breads would make the perfect snack throughout the day. You might also like to think about the drinks set out on the tables, again ensuring there is always something available for your guests.
Transform your favourite cocktails into ice pops; perfect for summer weddings. If you can’t find a supplier, you could easily buy moulds and ask friends and family to help make these to serve on the day. Remember to check with your venue or caterer on storage of these tipsy, icy treats!
If you are using food and drink vans or opting for a buffet, speak to your caterer about how this will work depending on the number of your guests. No one likes queuing for their food and drink, and if you have older or disabled guests you need to consider their needs too.
Raise A Toast
You need something fizzy for the speeches and, while Champagne is traditional, Prosecco and sparkling wine are other options. Or an alternative could be a shot – tequila anyone?
Whether your venue is going to be cooking up a storm or you’re bringing in your caterers of choice, be sure to sample the dishes beforehand to pick only the best. Some plates look great on paper but aren’t quite the favour you imagined, so always try them first.
The tradition of having tea and coffee after a meal is one that guests continue to enjoy, especially your older relatives. Whether served at the table after a sit down meal or at a self-service station, you can’t beat a good cuppa!
Opt for some unique food and drink stations like an after-dinner whiskey tasting area or create your own ice-cream station where guests can get creative and enjoy and sweet treat!
Your wedding venue and the season you are marrying will affect your food and drink choices. Your venue may place some restrictions that might affect the catering you have in mind for your wedding, so do check this at the time of booking.
Traditionally known as the wedding ‘breakfast’, the time you sit down to your wedding breakfast will depend upon the time of your ceremony. If your meal will be early afternoon, make sure you have a plan for evening catering too so no one goes hungry.
X Marks The Spot
Make sure all of your food stations, vans and carts are clearly identifiable to guests.
Whatever you serve, as long as it tastes good you’re onto a winner! While you want to keep your guests as happy as possible, ultimately this is your day, so choose the food that you find yummiest and that hopefully your guests will do too.
You will know you have chosen the right food and drink to serve when there is zero left at the end of your perfectly planned day!