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Wedding food (you can never have too much!)

Once upon a time, long, long ago (well, pre-2000), wedding food was still very much a formal sit down, top tables, seating plan, traditional speeches, and an evening buffet piled high with vol-au-vents, slices of traditional fruit cake, and triangle sandwiches and sausage rolls. But just writing that makes me realise that that was a different time. However, I won’t hear a word against the vol-au-vent.

 

There are still traditional food options for any wedding venue, but these days, you can have what you want, how you want it, and how you want it. Whether that’s trestle tables under the stars (or, given our weather, yurts), with street food vibes and the option to eat as and when you and your guests are hungry, or a grazing spread groaning with delicious produce, the rules are far less rigid, and you really can have the food that you want.

 


It is a truth universally acknowledged that you cannot always please all the people. There will always be voices of dissent, poo-pooing the notion that anything but a three-course sit-down meal followed by coffee and mint chocolates is somehow risqué, but these voices are (mercifully) few and far between. You see, the thing about weddings is that the day is long. Really long. Often, there are drives to get to a venue; if you live in Jersey, you might have even had to throw in a flight to the mainland, where you’ve driven the night before and had a bad night’s sleep in a hotel near the venue. And that’s just as a guest! If it’s your wedding, then you might be too nervous for food, or have a small matter of a dress to wear. With so many weddings around 1pm, do you have breakfast or brunch? And early lunch, or wait until the reception? It is a conundrum.

 

When once there was a strict limit of three canapés per person, with one glass of fizz while you waited to be called through to dinner, weddings have become a lot more celebratory, a lot more laid-back, and a whole lot less rigid regarding food, wine, and all the fun stuff in between.

 

So, whilst we still love a traditional wedding breakfast and applaud anyone who takes the time to create a seating plan to slot those awkward family members into a table where they’ll be looked after but comfortably out of earshot from you, we’re here to celebrate the less formal, the freestyle, and the notion of putting food at the centre of the celebration, but for it to not take the headlines. You eat with your eyes, so colourful, interactive, wonderful and intriguing displays that you can also eat, with height, beautiful dressing, and an effortless vibe.

 

For seating, think hay bales strewn artfully around a field or marquee (with rugs on… hay bales look lovely but do prickle). People can sit where they want, with whoever they want, whenever they need a break from the party or at long trestle tables. Make a point of popping up signs saying to sit where you want, and let people meet over, and enjoy your day over your food choices.

 


Trends & inspiration

 



The dramatic centrepiece

If you have an outside area that you know you'll be able to cook in no matter what the lovely, dependable weather does, then why not go dramatic and cook outside? Hog roasts are always a huge success, are delicious, and can feed a small army. Alternatively, paellas cooked in an oversized pan can give more options for veggie and vegan guests.



Food stalls and stations

Street food is another trend that’s been hitting big for years. It goes back to the notion of catering to lots of different tastes. Whether it’s an oyster stall, delicious Middle Eastern wraps, or wood-fired pizza, the key is to be diverse if you’re going for more than one option. Imagine it’s your own mini music festival; you want them all to have similar-length queues.

 

Even if you have a more structured main meal, bringing in street food and van caterers for the evening party is always an amazing talking point and ensures that your guests have plenty of energy to dance the night away celebrating with you.

 

Grazing

Grazing is not going anywhere. The food trends set by Australasia years before we got wind after smashing avocados onto toast and drinking Flat Whites have gone mainstream this last decade. Luxe but informal grazing tables are now all the rage for a laid-back style of catering that has people going back for plate after plate of delicious options.

 

Achieving this vibe is all about piling high, punctuating with foliage, and adding height. For true ease, use disposable bamboo plates and let people eat throughout the day when they want to. To start the day, tables groaning with the most amazing fresh produce, charcuterie, fruits, amazing breads and cheeses – a sociable, gorgeous feast for people to meet over. The best thing is to add plenty of bread, honey, nuts, and fruits, which are pretty and filling.

 

The table can be topped up throughout the day, and desserts and cakes are slowly introduced. It’s easy to integrate vegetarian and vegan options - just make sure it’s all clearly marked!

 


Don’t forget the kids (the grown-up ones too!)

It’s rogue but brilliant: an ice cream van. There’s not a person alive who won’t get giddy at the thought of a 99 with sprinkles and strawberry sauce, and it’s 100% going to be a more enjoyable and less expensive option than a catered pudding of profiteroles.

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