Are you planning your wedding catering and in the process of deciding on menus and looking at all the different options for food types and the style of service?
As experienced wedding caterers we have catered many different menus and styles of service to suit couples and their guests.
Below, we have summarised some different kinds of menu ideas along with styles of service that match them and their pros and cons…
1. The traditional three course wedding breakfast
We very much run our business based on the way that we would like to be treated, so we are happy to offer a choice menu which we charge no extra for.
This would be a selection of three starters, for example, a homemade pate and soup and a fresh seasonal salad. Next the main course of two meats and a vegetarian dish or a fish dish and a meat option along with a tasty vegetarian filo strudel.
Finally desserts, again a homemade selection of three choices, a heavy sticky toffee pudding, a lemon cheesecake with fresh raspberries and a creme brulee, for example.
Some people love the idea of being able to offer their guests a choice, however this does entail work compiling each guest’s food choices. Also a menu card will have to be put in with your invitations and clearly written so that each guest can make their choices clearly.
Finally on each guest’s place card a code of the food orders will need to be written as no one can remember what they ordered three months before, us included! And a table plan would have to be created as letting your guests decide for themselves where to sit on the day is not really an option.
This method does add quite a bit of work, but for your guests they can enjoy their chosen meal and we as the caterer can serve it proficiently as we know what everyone is eating and where they are sitting. This style of service is seamless and does not create awkward moments between guests when being asked to pass foods if the person next to them is a complete stranger from a sharing menu. Keep an eye out for our next blog that will explain the code system and your guests food choices in more detail.
2. Canapés and a two course meal
Most people have been to a wedding and experienced waiting for the photos to be taken with rumbling stomachs, then sitting down to a three course meal and not being able to dance later on as they are still so full.
So, what are the alternatives?
What about having a selection of homemade canapés served to your guests while you make the most of getting the perfect photos. All your guests will be happy with some delicious bites of food that both give the WOW factor and soak up some of the alcohol that they will be drinking.
For the Wedding Breakfast that comes after, serve two courses: straight into a main course and then a selection of desserts, with a choice so all your guests can choose their dish. Or serve a trio of desserts or a sharing selection to add a different style.
This option does work really well, if you are worried about your guests being hungry, serve a good selection of canapés to act as a starter.
3. Worried about taking a pre order?
If you want to serve a meal like we have suggested above in 1 or 2, but are worried about taking a pre order for all of your guests, we have many options available that can help you with this. For example we can serve a trio of desserts to each guest, therefore eliminating the pre order for desserts.
We have other tricks as well that can help…. Which leads us into number 4, SHARING PLATTERS, which is extremely popular.
The traditional three course meal has changed and we are seeing more and more sharing ideas, well we were before the pandemic hit! We have many menus that we have combined into sharing formats and these can be re arranged so there is something for everyone.
Each guest is given a plate, the sharing platters are then placed in the centre of each table for your guests to help themselves. This can work brilliantly with all your guests diving in and passing the platters around.
If you want to serve the wedding breakfast like this, think about your guests and if they know each other well enough to share and enjoy this style of meal and are not going to feel awkward about asking other guests to pass the seafood platter!
So, some ideas of sharing menus:
A starter for this format can be an antipasto platter of meats, olives, breads and sun dried tomatoes or a fresh seafood platter with a fresh dill dressing again with plenty of fresh, artisan breads.
Main course, we can serve a roast joint for your guests to carve or a sliced joint or a whole Creedy Carver chicken. How about a curry? Yes we have served chicken korma before! However one couple were worried about their grandparents so along side the curry we served a rich beef casserole with root vegetables, so everyone was happy. We have also seen a real shift to barbecue sharing platters being served with fresh, tasty salads – on a beautiful day what can be better?
Desserts can be offered in a sharing format too, for example, a selection of miniature desserts served in the middle of the table or an afternoon tea style of miniature cakes and scones on vintage tiers. Both styles always create a massive WOW from the guests as generally they have four tastes of homemade sweet delights.
Again with a sharing menu you can have a two or a three course menu, the one thing to remember with this style are small table centres as we really do need quite a lot of space for all the different dishes.
5. Buffet and Festival Stations
From a service point of view these two ideas are very similar, the foods are served to the side of the main dining area and guests stand to choose and collect their foods before returning to their seats to enjoy. The difference between the two….
Stations can be a selection of different foods, for example foods from different countries, so you may have a Chinese Station with stir frys, an American station with burgers and an Australian barbecue with fresh seafood and chicken kebabs. Guests are free to walk between stations and have some foods from each.
While a buffet is more of a continuation where guests come to a buffet table and collect all their main course, for example, a selection of cold meats, salads, potatoes and condiments, then return to their seats. We always offer seconds, so for any guests that are still feeling peckish they can return again.
For this style of dining, it really creates a relaxed atmosphere where guests can mingle and chat, you would not have to collate a pre order of dishes for your guests. The down side is that some guests do like to be waited on at a special occasion, and prefer not to queue up, even if it is one table at a time!
6. Mix and match menus
So, after reading all of the above information we hope you are not more confused about what to offer your guests. However, if you like a couple of the ideas why not mix and match them?
For example, we can serve a selection of canapés, followed by a antipasto platter for the starter. The main course can be a pre order of three dishes such as rack of lamb, a chicken breast and a vegetarian option all served with a selection of potatoes and vegetables for the guests to help themselves. Finally a trio of desserts, so all the guests have the same, plated and placed in front of them. This way you are giving your guests a good choice of foods and having a slightly more formal wedding breakfast and you only have to collate a pre order for the main course, limiting your work load.
Before we finish there are a couple more things to be aware of:
When choosing any menu for guests always remember that you are catering for a wide selection of tastes, ages and sometimes cultures so serving chilli, spicy dishes because these are your favourite may not be the best idea to please all your guests.
Finally, there are no restrictions with food choices so if you have a love for pies and this is what you would love for your day, then yes have them! Nowadays you can really have any foods served in any style.
The message we would like you to take away is that there are a huge number of options for you to choose from, each with their own advantages and disadvantages, but there is also a huge flexibility to create a menu and service style that will be best for you, your guests and your budget.
For more information on this, or if you would just like to pick our brains, call us now on 01837 55841, we would be happy to help.
We have a lot of experience helping guests plan their perfect wedding catering options – if you would like to talk through ideas about what would work best for you, please don’t hesitate to call!