Between securing a venue, booking a photographer and designing invitations, it can be easy to forget about the finer details involved in catering for a wedding. Managing the provisions at such a big event entails much more than just selecting starters, mains and desserts off a pre-planned menu. You have to consider budget, quantity, dietary restrictions and logistics, too.
Needless to say, if you fail to bear these factors in mind, you could easily land up making a few critical catering blunders – and trust us, your client’s guests will notice; after all, a menu can make or break an event. To ensure success and satisfaction all round, be sure to avoid these five common wedding food mistakes.
Don't make these 5 wedding catering blunders
1. Skimping on the after-ceremony snacks
Guests might not remember that you topped the seared scallops with sweet chilli sauce, but they will remember if they were left hungry on the big day. These days, weddings often stretch over many, many hours, so it’s important to provide more than just one main meal. When the bridal party heads off for photos following the nuptials (as is customary), it’s a good idea to treat guests to after-ceremony snacks, and make sure they’re hearty and substantial – if you just serve carrot and cucumber sticks, you’re bound to end up with a grumpy (and rather tipsy) group. Think options like burger sliders, chicken skewers, mini doughnuts, sweet potato fries and cheese and crackers, and keep it coming until the bride and groom return.
2. Failing to consider the setting and season
The food you serve should suit both the type of venue and the time of the year. This is not just a nice-to-have, but is important for logistical reasons, too. If you’re organising an outdoor wedding in the middle of summer, you’ll want to stay away from dishes that could easily melt (ice cream cake, for example) or that are reliant on electricity and heating. Fresh, light, classic dishes work best under these conditions. Similarly, if it’s a winter wedding, you’ll want to serve warm, nourishing meals, and if it’s an indoor event with cooling, remember to make sure hot meals aren’t directly under the air-conditioning, where they’ll quickly dry out and lose heat.
3. Ignoring Aesthetics
Why spend months planning every detail of the venue’s look and feel, only to serve dull, poorly plated food. The way a dish is presented impacts how it’s experienced as a whole by guests, and since a wedding is a special occasion, you ideally want the food to feel special, too. That doesn’t mean you need to create culinary art. Just ensure that canapés and meals are tastefully and decoratively displayed, and that the ingredients you choose introduce an interesting variety of colours and textures to the plate – you don’t want dishes that look too brown or too green, for example.
4. Going too generic or too niche
Finding the right middle ground is key to creating a memorable food experience. Weddings are once-in-a-lifetime occasions for couples, so food that’s too commonplace – chicken and vegetables, or spaghetti bolognaise, for example – doesn’t feel appropriate. That said, you probably also want to stay away from ingredients that are highly seasonal, hard to source or an acquired taste (rabbit or oysters, for instance) – these tend to drive expenses up and aren’t widely enjoyed anyway.
5. Caring too much, or too little, about guests' restrictions and preferences
Again, it’s all about balance. This is, first and foremost, the bride and groom’s day, so don’t obsess so much about that one guest who is vegan or lactose-intolerant that you end up adapting the whole menu to suit just him or her. That doesn’t mean you should ignore attendants’ dietary requirements, though. If there are a few guests who are, for example, kosher or vegetarian, consider opting for a serving style that allows you to cater for them and the rest of the party at the same time – separate interactive food stations work well for this purpose, for example.
The easiest way to ensure you avoid making classic wedding food mistakes? Work with a details-orientated custom catering company that has enough experience and expertise to guarantee you don’t fall into any common traps. At Food Matters, we specialise in quality cuisine, flawless presentation and sophisticated service and aim to ensure that all the meal-related aspects of an event are handled with absolute precision.