When guests start to arrive at your wedding, there are a few things they can expect to see. They’ll expect their jaws to hit the floor when they see you in your gorgeous gown for the first time, they’ll expect a glass of delicious bubbly when they get to your beautiful reception venue, they’ll expect to see a bunch of far-flung friends they haven’t seen since your last year at university and, at the top of the pile, they’ll expect to indulge in a sit down meal.
So why not surprise them with the unexpected and watch as their eyes light up, smiles widen and fists pump the air at the sight of something different. Yup. We’re talking about the sort of culinary delights they can enjoy without having to lose their groove to politely sit and eat a plated-meal.
It’s not that we’ve got anything against serving a traditional sit-down meal at a wedding because we absolutely don’t. We love them. They’re elegant and sophisticated and charming, especially when it comes to more formal affairs.
But traditional isn’t everyone’s style.
Nor does it work with every couple’s ’big day budget’ (it’s not just the grub you’re paying for, it’s the linens, the place settings, the menus, the chairs, the everything). That’s why we’ve done the noble thing of writing a blog about the alternatives to seated-dinners. But not just any alternatives. Oh no. The best alternatives ever.
So, without further ado, here are some amazingly creative catering options that will a) curb your foodie costs, b) satisfy every guest’s rumbling belly and c) impress the pants off them. Enjoy.
1. Casual-Free Cocktail-Style
If you’re the kind of couple that’s absolutely gagging for a formal(ish) bash but can’t quite stretch to a fancy sit-down supper, you want to throw caution to cocktail-style catering; an unexpectedly, stylish alternative. It’s this idea of having posh-nosh served to your guests, wherever they are. You might have waiters available to serve tray after tray of tasty tapas to your mingling guests, allowing their gurgling guts to be satisfied while they chit chat to friends new and old, or you might want to create exciting food stations that keep people moving around your venue. Just pop a chef at each stop-off and you’ll find your guests get a tasty treat and the chance to keep swanning about (we like to imagine guests swanning about, especially at formal weddings).
2. Smorgasbord Of Tasty Tidbits
If someone says tells you they don’t love a buffet, you can be pretty sure they’re fibbing because the wedding buffet is a thing of beauty. You get to celebrate more cuisines than you can shake a bouquet at, let guests eat at their own pace, keep things moving, let people pick and mix to their heart’s content, and give your extra-hungry (read: slightly tipsy) guests the chance to come back again. Trust us: you don’t want to have hungry or overly-drunk guests at your big day, so let people repeat offend with a wedding buffet. You could even have one banquet-style dinner table full of savory dishes and another full of delicious desserts. It’s cheap, it’s cheerful, and it has to be one of the tastiest ways to give your wedding the wow-factor.
3. Food Truck Feasting
There are so many amazing wedding trends popping up at the moment, but none offers the same pinch-yourself moment a couple of food trucks roll up outside your wedding venue (especially if they are decorated to the nines). Admittedly, not everyone is up for a fun, relaxed, free-flowing and bohemian-style wedding reception. But for those beautiful couples that love a little bit of boho-chic, this could be the cherry on top of the best day of your life. Sure, there is the issue of long queues forming now and again, but as long as the chitter-chatter is still flowing, the atmosphere is still buzzing and the party is still in full force, what’s a little queue outside a food truck? That said, you could always opt for a company that has more than one truck in its fleet and see that your guests get served a little quicker. The point is: for those wanting a relaxed wedding vibe, this could be the best way to get your graze on.
4. Beautiful Barbecue Bash
There is something magical about an impromptu backyard barbecue bash, so just imagine how sensational it could be to take this summertime staple and give it a wedding makeover. It’s that low-key affair that makes people smile from ear to ear. It’s that assault on the senses that makes people soooooo happy; the soft crackling of coals, the smell of food getting grilled and the thin white wisps of smoke curling into the air. Sure, it would be a brave call, but it could be that little detail that makes your wedding the party of the year. And just imagine the photographs at the end of it all. Yup. It could be time to grab some ketchup bottles, as much grill-grub as you can fit in your car, and employ a local chef to serve up an array of barbecue dishes for your fun, low-key and inexpensive wedding.
5. Homemade Is Heaven
Before you scoff at the idea of throwing a BYOD (Bring Your Own Dish) wedding bash, every single one of your guests knows just how expensive it can be to host a wedding, which is why they’ll lap up the chance to bring a dish with them, even if just to say thanks for the beautiful invite you popped through their letterbox. But it’s not just about pinching pennies or calling in favours (even though you’re probably owed an average of three favours by 50% of your guests). It’s about enjoying a potluck of different dishes. You’ll also get people begging other people for their macaroni cheese recipe or asking who made that marshmallow cookie dough and inspiring the kind of conversations that keep spirits high. The best weddings are the personal and intimate ones - the ones with that family-feeling - and what could celebrate that more than a smorgasbord of home-cooked surprises. Just make sure everyone writes down what went in their dishes so there are no allergic reactions - that would be a bit sucky.
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