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One of our special features in the new issue looks at wedding day catering every step of the way from the drinks reception through to evening revelries. We got some fantastic advice from Kent's catering suppliers, one of which is Chives Caterers. Here, Debra Green takes us through her suggestions for a delicious wedding day menu...
"Choosing what to eat and how much can be one of the hardest choices – worrying about choosing a menu to suit everyone, dietary requirements and, of course, budget. In our 21 years looking after weddings we know what creates the right ambience for your day so here are a few golden tips to make the process easier.
CANAPES OR NOT?
"The simple answer is: always. Unless your ceremony is at 4pm, guests are very unlikely to have eaten much more than a slice of toast whilst fighting for the shower, so by the time the ceremony is over or they have driven from the church to the reception, they will be starving. The first thing you give them on an empty stomach? Alcohol! Guests will just be thinking about when they're going to sit down instead of enjoying mingling and photographs. Ensure a good mix of fish, meat and vegetarian canapes in a balance of colours, textures and flavours. We always ask our couples to choose eight varieties allowing six pieces per person, covering more personal preferences. Always ask your caterer to keep a full selection for yourselves in case you missed any during your photographs. We always give our couples 15 minutes alone-time once their guests are seated when we serve them their canapes.
THE WEDDING BREAKFAST
"So called as your first married meal together but, of course, there are so many options. The majority of couples now are looking for a more informal service with sharing platters and salads in the summer as opposed to the traditional three course sit down. So, give it some serious thought, don’t think you have to be traditional after all it's your day so make it all about you – the style of food you like to eat. Last summer we created a Lebanese and Spanish inspired menu and this year we have some amazing fusion menus.
"You'll still want your food to have the wow factor, remembered for all the right reasons. Listen to your caterer and if you have some ideas that they know just won’t work together then trust them and work on a menu that will make you and your guests smile. At a recent meeting a couple told us their favourite food is pasta, so we have suggested they go with Italian sharing bowls of pasta dishes, porchetta and salads. Imagine a table laden with slow cooked herby pork, fabulous colours and steaming bowls of pasta – I can already see the smiling faces around the table!
"We make incredible desserts and after our tasting days couples find it hard to narrow it down, so we create dessert buffets, for example baked cheesecakes, butterscotch and pecan tart, bowls of Eton mess, mini lemon posset bowls and our famous chocolate mud balls. We also suggest that the wedding cake be the centrepiece,served along with the desserts. It's an effective way to ensure there's not much cake left over. Wedding flowers can be added in to decorate the table and guests can graze at leisure. Couples sometimes ask that they use their wedding cake as their dessert, but that would usually mean at least six tiers so already a very expensive cake with added costs for crockery, staff and garnish.
"This serves two purposes, to look after your evening guests and provide a little blotting paper for evening drinking when day guests get peckish. The amount required depends on your timings and whether you have evening guests.
Whatever you provide make it fun.
"We're always working on new ideas such as our food stations when more food is required, i.e. an early wedding breakfast and/or evening guests. These range from Morrocan tagines and sides, burrito boxes and slider stations. However, if only a small amount of food is needed then we serve hot bites such as our very tasty mini pies, including kangaroo, beef and local ales, rabbit and mustard, and butternut squash and spinach. Alternatively, you could try our mini barbecue-style food: jerk pork, Thai chicken skewers, lamb kofte and cauliflower and bean burger sliders.
"We always offer the wedding cake around on platters after any hot food is served so it doesn’t get left on the table and ensures the sweet toothed guests are looked after too.
"Above all enjoy the tastings and planning and have a fabulous wedding."
Check out www.chivescaterers.co.uk
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