Once upon a time, food at a wedding meant soggy, alternating chicken or beef.
Now, there are so many more options available – from casual cocktail canapes through to full blown, sit down dinners.
Lulu Powers, chef and wedding planner says that if cost is a concern, you should avoid going down the path of the buffet.
“Clients often think a buffet will be cheaper than a sit-down dinner, but that’s not the case. You have to order one-and-a-half to two times as much food for a buffet because guests will go for seconds.
“I love to do a “grazing” of heavy hors d’oeuvres instead of a plated meal. This saves on food and it’s fun.”
However, if you do go down the path of the traditional sit down meal, Powers says the golden rule is “any food prepared for a large group should taste good at room temperature because it’s just not that easy to serve 150 hot meals”.
Grace Liang (née Wong) recently got married at premier wedding venue Carousel in Melbourne.
Her and her husband chose the option of a series of cocktail canapes, followed by a traditional three course dinner – for just over 300 guests!
We spoke to her about what challenges she faced organising catering for so many people, and what her food highlights were from the special day.
Trading Plates: What were your main considerations when picking dishes?
Grace Liang: Firstly, we focused on our tastes and what kind of food we like. In saying this, we were always careful to pick safer choices and a variety of types of food. So, for example, if there was a lot of seafood during canapes and entrée, the main courses were more along the lines of red meat and poultry.
TP: Was there anything you wanted to avoid specifically?
GL: Yes, we wanted to avoid nuts because of allergies. And also pasta, because we felt like that is something you can get quite easily anywhere.
TP: What do you think worked well on the night?
GL: The variation of food worked well, as it was able to cover everyone’s’ tastes. I also liked adding side dishes on top of the mains, as it gave it an extra layer of flavour.
TP: What was your favourite dish?
GL: I am a seafood girl, so I loved the fresh oysters and the charred scallops we chose for the canapes. The pulled pork dish was also amazing!
TP: How do you think a wedding meal should differ from any other dinner?
GL: It should reflect the couple and what they feel is important. Of course, you still need to think about your guests, but do not put too much pressure on trying to please everyone – it will never happen!
The presentation of the food should also conform to the overall ambiance and theme of your wedding, as opposed to just a mix of things you like to eat.
TP: You went for roving dessert platters at your wedding. Are you glad you chose this style?
GL: Yes, because it was later in the evening, it gave guests the opportunity to eat dessert when they felt like it (and also to eat two portions if they felt like it!).
I love chocolate, so the roving desserts were different kinds of chocolate desserts (white chocolate raspberry slice and a chocolate crunch).