He asked you to marry him and you said yes. Congratulations! You have such an exciting time ahead of you: it is going to be a whirlwind of engagement parties, champagne tasting, dress fittings, venue selection and most importantly picking the perfect wedding breakfast. In the past people have tended to get married close to home, have small receptions and wedding catering has been done by family and friends. But now with ease of travel, a tendency to have 100+ guests and the fact you can quite literally get married anywhere, wedding catering is more tricky. Sure if you get married in a place you know, wedding caterers will most likely come via word of mouth, but if that isn’t the case for you, how do establish what type of wedding catering you want for your wedding breakfast? Where do you even begin looking? Fear not, read on to find out exactly what you need to know about wedding catering.
Companies Catering was set up with you in mind. After years of struggling to find the right wedding caterers for events that we were organising we thought how simple it would be to have as many wedding caterers, from as many different parts of the country as we could find, in one easy to compare place. All of the wedding caterers on Companies Catering are peer-reviewed and anyone who doesn’t cut the mustard, doesn’t make it onto the website. We have done the hard work so you don’t have to: just sit back and enjoy the tasting!
If you think you can do without providing some food at your wedding, you have clearly never been to a wedding before. Weddings are long days with lots of energy and excitement (and dancing), you and your guests are going to require sustenance at some point.
Wedding catering is going to be one of the biggest costs in your wedding budget and you want the food to be memorable for all the right reasons. To read more about wedding catering prices follow the link.
If you have more than 20 guests, don’t even consider doing the wedding catering yourself, it is not worth the hassle.
You will want to start your search at least 9 months before your big day and talk to at least 3 wedding catering companies. You want to find someone who gives you a warm fuzzy feeling that you will get exactly what you want, for the budget you can afford.
Take your ideal wedding catering into consideration when choosing a venue as many locations have in house caterers, and you may have no choice in using them. With in-house wedding catering, the only choices you are likely to have will be picking from their menus and choosing the wine they offer. Always ask your venue though if they allow outside caterers, as you never know, you might get lucky. You have so much more flexibility if your wedding reception is going to be held in a stand alone venue. I say more flexibility, the world will quite literally be your oyster – the only limiting factor to your wedding breakfast will be your imagination (and your budget).
There are so many different wedding breakfast ideas you can choose from, you don’t have to go with a traditional 3 course sit down if it isn’t your style (check out our section below on wedding breakfast theme ideas). Ask your wedding caterer their opinion – they might be making something at the moment they really enjoy and which is hugely popular. Listen to your caterer about what will and won’t work. If you have an idea of what you want, but the wedding caterer is reluctant to do it, make sure you fully understand why they don’t want to do it before you look for someone else.
If you are having a marquee reception consider using a wedding catering company who specialise in marquee catering as they will have the all the equipment necessary to provide the wedding breakfast (hopefully saving you money because you won’t need to pay extra to hire in ovens etc).
You want your wedding to run smoothly from start to finish so ensure you have sufficient waiting staff. Work on a rule of approximately 1 waiter for every 10 guests at a sit down dinner and a lot less for a buffet style one.
If you are having extra evening guests arriving after the wedding breakfast do consider providing them with some refreshment. If you don’t like them enough to provide them with a bacon roll after a hard night’s partying, why are they at your wedding at all?
The ideas below are by no means an exhaustive list of wedding breakfast ideas. Also please don’t think that you can’t have a 3 course sit down meal. Just be aware of all your options when deciding on your type of wedding catering, this is your day and you want it to be as unique as you two are.
Vintage. A 1940s inspired tea party complete with mismatched china (seek out cute cups and saucers from a local charity shop). Have platters of sandwiches, glass saucers overflowing with champagne, cakes and biscuits.
Barbecue. A hog roast is a real crowd pleaser and a great way for your guests to relax and mingle. Plus you can organise (cheaply) bowls of salads and accoutrements to go with it - the best thing will be when you have danced your socks off, there should be enough hog left over to fill a bread roll or two! Some of the UK’s most prestigious wedding venues have a hog roast on their menu - don’t think it is off limits because you aren’t having your reception in a field in Devon!
Street Food. Find local street food vendors and ask them to provide your wedding catering. Ensure you have a few to choose from and that overall they will provide enough food to feed your guests.
Sharing Platters. If you want a sit down meal, but want a variation on the formal 3-course meal, consider sharing platters instead. Big plates of antipasti, cheese and bowls of artisanal bread are all great ideas for your wedding catering. Nothing breaks the ice like having to share food.
Dessert Bar. A whole table dedicated to little mouthfuls of delicious puddings. Why have just one pudding when you can have a plethora of little treats to explore?
You are looking for a wedding caterer who gets how enormous this day will be for you both. You want someone who is going to provide you with the wedding breakfast of your dreams: it has to be both presentationally perfect and a taste sensation. A great wedding caterer should understand what you want your day to be like and they should supplement it, not alter it to suit them. Below are some questions that you will want answers to in order to find the right person for the job. Don’t hire the first person you talk to (well you can, but at least talk to some others to make sure you are getting the best your money can buy).
Are you available on (insert wedding date)?
Are you able to cater for (insert number of guests)?
Are you able to provide us with (insert level of hospitality required)?
Are you able to do all of the above for (insert your budget per person)?
Have you catered an event at our venue before?
Are you flexible on menus?
Do you offer vegetarian alternatives?
Can you accommodate special dietary requirements?
Can you cater for children?
Can we set up a tasting as soon as possible?
What are the portion sizes?
How will you style the food on the plates?
Do you provide canapés?
Can you provide food for our evening guests?
How is the food prepared for the wedding? Prior to the day or onsite?
Are all of your ingredients locally sourced?
What kind of facilities do you require to provide all of the above?
Do you have everything you need or will you have to hire additional equipment in?
Can you work creatively within my budget, or are you very limited with what you can do?
Do you provide staff - both waiting and chefs?
What is the ratio of staff to guests?
Are staff included in the quote?
What will the staff wear?
Will your staff provide a wine service? Will they refresh table water?
When do I need to get exact guest numbers to you?
Can you provide me with a recent client as a reference or at least point me in the direction of your social media profile?
Do you provide all cutlery, crockery and glassware?
If all cutlery, crockery and glassware is rented who is responsible for cleaning and returning it?
Will you supply the wedding cake stand and knife?
Do you provide a tea and coffee service?
Can you confirm all of this in writing?
Can you provide an exact breakdown on your invoice: food costs, drink (if they’re providing it), corkage (if they charge it), waiting staff (if they are providing them), delivery, travel expenses, equipment hire (any additional equipment they might need), service charges.
Will I have the same point of contact leading up to and on the day?
Do you have valid and appropriate insurance cover? Can you send me a copy?
What is your cancellation policy?
How much deposit is required and when do you require the final balance?
Is VAT included in the quote?
My husband proposed to me on Christmas Day 2014. It was a cold, crisp day, with clear blue skies and a biting wind. We were at my mother’s house for Christmas and we had a few hours to kill before lunch. He suggested taking the dogs for a walk to get some fresh air - little did I know… Anyway, half way round the fields behind my mother’s house he dropped to his knee and presented me with the most stunning engagement ring. I cried. He cried. Christmas was amazing.
We decided to get married the following September in Norfolk, where I had grown up. We also decided that we would organise it all ourselves. I was tasked with finding the wedding catering and I wish I had known about Companies Catering at the time. I googled wedding caterers and approached each of them in turn. It was a long and painful process and I have yet to hear from some years later. In the end it was a toss up between one who was significantly cheaper and one who I giggled with on the phone for about two hours whilst we discussed canapé options. It wasn’t a hard choice ultimately. My heart told me to go for Julia as she understood from the word go what it was that we were after. She got how important food was to us and how high up our priority list wedding catering was. She instinctively knew what kind of environment we were aiming for and the vibe we were hoping to create.
She came to us for a tasting 6 weeks before the big day and in hindsight that was a ballsy shout, but I was so taken with her I trusted her. She arrived with boxes and bags of food for us to try and she talked us through how she would present it, how she would prepare it, even how we would deal with the clean up. The one thing I didn’t fully grasp at the time was the extra cost involved with ordering all the crockery, cutlery and glassware, I had assumed she would provide it all and she didn’t. In the end it wasn’t too expensive an oversight and she helped provide items where she could.
She and her team arrived the day before we married to drop everything off and on the day of, whilst we were having a wonderful time getting ready in the house, they set up the tippees (small wedding tents) and dressed the tables for us. I took 5 minutes before heading over to the church to walk through the tippees in my wedding dress, shoes and makeup and admire how much hard work had gone into making our venue look magical, and how important the wedding catering had been to this whole process. We had the most amazing day and people still talk about the food that we served, I’m just sad I didn’t get the photographer to take pictures of it, maybe next time…
Starter. Sharing platters of antipasto on each table. Included artisanal breads, oil and vinegar dipping bowls, locally cured meats, capers, cornichons, stuffed peppers, tomato and basil salad, garlic mushrooms, artichokes.
Main. Roast shoulder of lamb placed on each table for a designated server (one guest per table) to carve up. Bowls of hot, buttered new potatoes, green salad (undressed with dressing on the side), ratatouille.
Cheese. Strong local cheddar, local crumbly blue, local brie with biscuits and quince jelly.
We hope you enjoyed our article on wedding catering. We aim to be nothing less that the home of wedding catering in the UK. To begin your search for wedding caterers, simply enter the location you’d like to search in into the bar above. You will then be presented with a list of wedding caterers in your area, and your search can begin from there!