Selecting the menu for your wedding reception can be a difficult process, so Emma Phillips speaks with Prestige Catering’s managing director and executive chef, Michael McCafferty, about popular dishes, how to create a menu to suit the style of your wedding, and what to look for in a catering company.
Choosing the menu for your wedding reception can be daunting – you need to consider dietary requirements and seasonal restrictions, and – most importantly – select meals that most guests will enjoy. However, enlisting a professional and experienced caterer will make the process much more enjoyable for you and your partner.
Before choosing a catering company, consider the style of your wedding. A five-course meal is ideal for a formal, sit-down reception, while food stalls or a gourmet barbecue might be better suited to a cocktail-style soiree.
An Honest Opinion
Firstly, sit down with your caterer and discuss the current plans for your wedding day. This will allow you to establish a good relationship with them, and will ensure they can meet your needs and requirements. “A caterer should be prepared to listen to, and work with, the couple to create a menu and service style [that is suited to their wedding day],” says McCafferty. “The most important thing is that you’re comfortable with the caterer.”
To ensure you receive high-quality and professional catering services, McCafferty recommends asking the catering company for referrals from previous clients. This will allow you to read honest reviews before committing to the company. You can also speak with vendors who the caterer has previously worked with to gain insight into the company’s level of professionalism and ability to adapt to changing environments.
Communication Is Key
McCafferty says communication is vital when building a strong and trustworthy relationship with your caterer. “It is important to communicate with your caterer to ensure both parties understand the expectations of how the day will work,” he says. “The more information the caterer has, the more prepared they will be.”
To ensure your caterer can provide the best experience for you and your partner, give them plenty of notice about guests’ dietary requirements or any venue restrictions. Last-minute adjustments to the menu are inevitable, but McCafferty ensures that a professional and experienced caterer will be able to accommodate changes with ease.
The atmosphere you and your partner would like to create on your wedding day will depend on the type of menu you choose. Ideal for lowmaintenance brides-to-be, casual weddings with grazing plates or picnics are currently in vogue. “Share plates are very popular at the moment, but we are also doing a lot of food stalls and gourmet barbecues,” says McCafferty. “Caterers will now work with couples to ensure everything suits the style of wedding that they want.”
If you prefer a formal sit-down wedding, hiring a professional caterer is vital; they’ll work with you to create a delectable menu that will certainly impress guests. “Good caterers will be able to provide good food, regardless of the style of service,” McCafferty says. “[It all] comes down to what the couple wants.”
When selecting your menu, you may need to consider what food items will be in season at the time of your wedding. A professional caterer can tailor dishes to suit your requirements, and will use fresh produce that complements the wedding style you’re after. “The weather and season [both] play a huge part in the [menu] selection and style of wedding,” McCafferty says. “It’s important to create a menu that suits the season to ensure produce is available and guests are comfortable; nobody wants to have heavy soups and meals in the peak of summer. With planning done well in advance, your caterer should advise you to select items that will be in season.”
To cater for people with food intolerances or allergies, make sure intolerant-friendly meal options are available. McCafferty recommends asking guests about their dietary needs during the RSVP process. This will ensure that no one misses out on a meal, and that the catering team will be prepared to offer items that are not on the menu. “Dietary requirements are so common now that most menus [can be adjusted to] accommodate them,” McCafferty says.
Traditional plate service is an elegant and timeless catering method for offering guests an unforgettable dining experience. McCafferty says some of this season’s most favourable dishes include masala tiger prawns with coriander risotto and spiced yoghurt for the entrée, sous-vide beef fillet for the main course, and gorgonzola parfait with toffee-walnut anglaise for dessert.
While plate service is still a popular catering option for weddings, McCafferty has seen a rise in bookings for relaxed dining. “Other dishes that are very popular at the moment include our smokedbrisket slider with slaw and chipotle mayo, gochujang-fried chicken bao with pickled carrot, and traditional Spanish seafood paella,” he says. “These work really well as food stalls or stations, and add the theatre of a chef cooking in front of the guests.”
A Lasting Impression
Hiring a caterer for your wedding day is a big commitment. You want to find someone who will meet your expectations and advise you on the best options available. McCafferty recommends contacting your preferred caterer in advance – there’s nothing worse than spending countless hours finding the perfect vendor, only to have them booked out on your wedding date.
Choosing the right caterer for your wedding can set the tone for your entire wedding day. By enlisting a company with which you’re comfortable, you’ll have a perfect menu that your guests will love. “Your wedding day is all about spending time with those nearest and dearest to you, not worrying about minor details that your suppliers can deal with,” McCafferty says. “Relax and enjoy your day, because it will be over before you know it.”
Image Credit: Prestige Catering