Spring is a celebration of new life, vibrant colours and the great outdoors. And, wedding catering therefore tends to focus on crisp and fruity dishes, using plenty of fresh herbs to reflect that seasonal feel. Think cucumber gazpacho and fresh salads as mouth-watering appetisers, followed by fish, chicken or lamb paired with seasonal vegetables as mains and a delectable berry sorbet to cleanse the pallet.
Spring really does lend the opportunity to let your imagination run wild and experiment with ingredients like seasonal fruit, colourful flowers, tangy marinades, micro herbs and juicy meats. The difference will be whether you go for the good old home-toss arrangements, or a chef-style inspired spread and that of course will mostly depend on your budget.
Catering a la elaborate
The quality and variety of food and drinks will be one of the most important features and a main talking point at your wedding reception. If you decide to go the extra mile, being elaborate is all about extending beyond what is required with all your trimmings.
To make your reception food stand out, a simple trick is to focus on everyone’s best friend – dessert. Designer dessert buffets, offering a variety of mouth-watering, bite-sized offerings such as macaroons, handmade cookies, fudge, shot glass cheesecakes and cake pops are very popular and showcase that extra little care and thought. Not only do they taste amazing but they look incredible as well.
Another fabulous example of showing that you’ve gone above and beyond with your catering is your choice of beverages. Because it’s spring, think outside the traditional staples of beer and wine and add fresh and fruity to the menu. Diane says a fancy cocktail bar, offering differently flavoured and coloured drinks served from large glass jars or champagne flutes for example, will make an attractive feature, as well as providing fun and entertainment for your guests. “Old fashioned cool-aides and iced teas, using different colours and flavours such as citrus fruits, melons, mint and other herbs are simply divine,” says Diane.
Whether you are having a seated or cocktail-style wedding, your guests will notice if your menu features ingredients that are wholesomely fresh, seasonal, locally sourced and organic. As much as possible serve a variety of courses catering to different tastes, because showing that extra bit of attention to detail means having a vegetarian/vegan or gluten-free option available, even if your guests have not specifically asked for it. And finally, keep in mind that elegance is often achieved with simplicity and in portion sizing.
Ways to save money
Your reception catering can chew up a significant chunk of your wedding budget and if you are trying to cut down on costs use the wedding cake as dessert and replace the entrée with canapés. Or, bring a sweet touch to your reception with a self-help dessert/snack bar instead of serving cake, sweet treats and canapés separately.
Having a stand-up or cocktail-style wedding can be a good budget option and will give you the opportunity to serve a wide array of different foods, catering to every diet and taste. However, while cocktail menus are popular, it can mean serving too many fried food portions. Be mindful and consider the nutritional value as well as taste and practicality when opting for this catering style.
To save on dessert, why not follow the current trend towards macaroons as the new wedding cupcakes? They are a budget friendly option and can be home baked and served in brilliant colours and flavours. Try blackberry, caramel and lime flavours for example. Serving can be traditional or set on coloured sticks or straws as lollypop style. And for that extra saving factor consider giving them as favours wrapped in nice paper or coloured cellophane.
Although it might sound like a lot of work, DIY wedding catering is becoming a big trend and is of course a fantastic option when you have to stick to a tight budget. If you decide to make the food yourself, keep in mind that this is not a time to experiment and stick with recipes you already know and do well. Think buffets and barbeques. Fruit and savoury platters, followed by a spread of delicious salads, steamed vegetables and juicy meats will go a long way with your guests. For this catering option simplicity showcased in style is best – and don’t hesitate to ask for help, plan ahead and learn to cook in bulk.
Finally, whether you go with elaborate or budget-style, when it comes to your wedding and reception catering, remember that it is a long day not only for yourself but also for your wedding guests. Plenty of food and drinks are what will keep them happy and see the celebrations continue in full swing late into the night.