When it comes to organising your big day, there are many decisions to be made about all sorts of areas, including food. It can be argued that the meal is the centre piece of your wedding, as it is the time when guests are encouraged to interact with each other and the odds are you won’t be given the chance to do anything like this again.
For many people, getting the menu right is one of the most stressful parts of organising a wedding. It is important to remember, while you want your guests to be happy, it is ultimately your own decision and you should opt for what you feel is best.
There is no rule book that says you must have a traditional wedding meal, nor is it set in stone that you must have a particular type of menu. Here are some alternatives to a traditional sit down meal that is normally served at a wedding breakfast:
A picnic inspired menu would feature elements such as cold meats, breads, cheese, finger food like sausage rolls and crisps as well as cupcakes. This would result in a less formal meal, which might be exactly what your after, especially if you have a lot of younger guests. It can also encourage your older guests to mingle and chat with each other, as it doesn’t feel as stiff and proper as a sit down meal.
This style is even something you might think about doing yourself, without the need to call in the professionals, saving the need for a caterer for other important elements such as drinks. The only thing that is difficult to ensure is for this style of menu you would need some sunny weather, which can be rare in the UK. However, if you wedding is in June or July, you can usually get a clear day.
2. Hog Roasts and Barbecues
Hog roasts and large barbecues are another relatively cheap form of catering that encourages a welcoming and sharing atmosphere as well as meaning that there is no need for a formal sit down meal. There are other alternatives to red meat, such as prawns and paella and these can be served with sides of corn on the cob, breads and cheeses. Again, if you envision this as an outdoor method of catering, you will need to have the weather on your side.
It is becoming increasingly popular these days to have a hog roast as either a main course dish or even for a later meal, almost like a midnight snack, after the main part of the wedding reception. It is key to be completely confident in the abilities of your hog roast provider as cooking a hog roast is much more complex than it seems. The meat in the middle of the hog must be cooked thoroughly without burning the outside to a crisp, which is incredibly difficult to achieve unless you are used to cooking this type of meat.
3. Fast Food
Although this is quite an unusual choice, some couple prefer to order fast food for their wedding meals as it is cheap, quick and the chances of things going wrong are relativity slim.
However, it may be best to consider this as a late night snack, rather than the main course; once your guests are full of drink, the chances are some hot fresh pizaas would be more than welcome!
Obviously, this option is best suited to an informal event, so bare in mind the overall style of the wedding.
A Note On Informal Catering
It is important to remember, as great as these informal alternatives are, you might have guests, particularity older family members, who fully expect a formal sit down meal and the idea of a barbecue or a picnic style buffet is something they would consider to be horrifying. Remember that your meal should be tailored to suit your guests, as well as yourselves.
As a cheap and easy snack between the ceremony and your reception, fruit can be a god send. IT can also fill in between courses, as it isn’t overfilling and there is always the option of including cheese as well if you want a fuller snack range. You could even opt for this as a desert option, instead of a sickly sweet pudding, if it works for your occasion.
5. Local Restaurants, Butchers Or Delis
It might be where you went on your first date or it could be where you go to buy a special treat every once in a while, but there is no harm in asking your favourite local resutrant, butchers or deli if they offer any catering services.
It can make your day just a little bit more personal to you two, which is easy to loose in the madness, and they tend to provide buffet services. One of our favourites is the range offered by Bexleys, which can be extended to suit your requirements. Just keep in mind that you will need to find out about extras like linen, cutlery and dishes.
6. Homemade Cakes
If you want to try and save some of your budget, you can always ask your close friends and family to bake a cake for your special day. It could even be the case that your Auntie Denise makes an amazing treacle tart or some of the best cupcakes you’ve tasted and you could serve these as snacks throughout the day.
The chance are, you will decide to go for a professionally made wedding cake, so this extra personal touch can be just what some people are looking for. It can be especially nice to include certain guests in your big day in this small way, without having the need to ask them to cater the entire event.