Post-nuptials, it is tradition to serve a wedding breakfast. In the past, it was traditional to get married in the morning and to serve wedding guests a slap-up sit-down lunch afterwards. However, these days arrangements can be much more flexible.
Both the style of wedding you choose and the size of the wedding budget will dictate the way in which you might entertain your guests. The formal, sit-down option is still a possibility, but there are plenty of other options popping up. Find a caterer that can provide what it is that you are searching for, and work with them to create a bespoke meal.
Your wedding catering should reflect the style of celebration you have decided upon. If budget is no problem and you prefer the formal approach, the sit-down three course meal is probably the way to go.
Alternatively, if you are more comfortable in a relaxed setting, go for the buffet solution, or perhaps a rustic hog-roast.
On the other hand, if you prefer an unusual approach to the formal breakfast that will make your wedding stand out from the crowd, then mouthwatering scones and cakes served in the afternoon as high tea provides an interesting alternative way to refresh and entertain your wedding guests.
Take a look at what we would serve at each of these wedding breakfasts, and take note.
Traditional: a three course sit-down meal
With beautiful white tablecloths and immaculate place settings, this option will make the entire wedding party feel like lords and ladies for the day. Simple but elegant food, beautifully presented and impeccably served, rounds off any wedding celebration perfectly. With attentive waiters and waitresses to attend to your guests’ every need, turn your formal wedding breakfast into a really special event.
Imagine going to a restaurant for your wedding; this is the feel you will get if you book a sit-down meal. You can pick out what dishes you want to be served and often get invited to menu tastings. Some companies allow you to list several options for your guests to choose from, whilst others ask for you to pick one item for each course.
For starters, start light with a tomato salad or a luxurious soup, or put crab cakes and terrines on your menu.
For your main course you can offer a delicate fillet of delicious fish, a roasted duck breast, or an exuberant pasta dish. There are no limits.
Some caterers can offer a small sorbet course to cleanse the palette before moving on to dessert, where you can feast on a rich, traditional English pudding, or enjoy a gourmet trio of smaller sweets.
Remember, of course, to cut your tiered white wedding cake!
Informal: a serve-yourself buffet
If you would prefer your wedding to be a more relaxed affair and wish to give your guests more choices with regard to the food they have on their plates, a varied self-serve buffet may well be a better way to go.
Both hot and cold food can be attractively presented and served in this manner. The atmosphere is generally more informal than a table-service sit-down meal, though of course you can retain table plans if you wish. This type of presentation also reduces the catering budget, as less staff will be required in order to serve the food.
Many caterers now offer themed buffet menus, for example a Mediterranean or Middle Eastern spread. Think of your own local Chinese buffet for reference. This could work especially well if you have a theme or are from another country. Serving these dishes as a buffet can ensure fussy eaters will find something to suit their palette.
Imagine harissa lamb or honey roasted pork with a variety of quiches and cheese. You needn’t worry about dishes that are best served cold but keep hot dishes warm with hotplates or smaller servings. Of course, needing the plates topping up frequently would require more wait staff, but you are still spending less than on a full serving team.
Country: a medieval-style hog roast
If you have opted for a country-style wedding in a beautiful tithe barn, a medieval-style hog roast might well fit the bill.
Available for wedding celebrations in idyllic rural settings, a barbecue or hog roast would enhance the party spirit, especially on a warm summer afternoon.
Served with interesting and varied salads, jacket potatoes or crisp, freshly-baked baps, this is an excellent food option in keeping with the rural style of the event. Likewise, don’t forget to provide a vegetarian alternative for those who don’t eat meat.
Moreover, for those of you turning your nose up at the idea of simple salads, imagine instead salted herby new potatoes, a naked Asian coleslaw, or chargrilled spiced cauliflower. These are no ordinary salads, but instead novel takes on what you may consider tired favourites.
Unusual: old-fashioned, formal afternoon tea
If you’ve opted for a vintage wedding theme, a beautifully prepared high tea may just fit the ticket. Presented on silver cake-stands with lace-trimmed tablecloths and glorious vintage bone china crockery, an afternoon tea is an interesting alternative way of feeding your guests.
What could be nicer than scrummy cakes, scones with jam and cream, wonderfully presented with authentic vintage accessories and memorabilia that will give the event a real “Downton Abbey” vibe? You could even round the event off with a good old-fashioned afternoon tea-dance!
Serve tea and coffee alongside the usual Champagne and Prosecco – perfect for the teetotal guest. Furthermore, consider experimenting with tipples like tea gin or fruity Kir Royale. Who doesn’t want to be treated like royalty?
Above all, this method of catering can be served in the middle of each table. Importantly, this both cuts down the need for as many servers and also encourages conversation between nearby guests. Instead of spending money on centrepieces, your food will take centre stage and become the decoration and the talking point.
Whichever cuisine and style of wedding breakfast you go for, we hope that you and all of your guests dig in. Double check if guests have any dietary needs to prevent anyone starving (or being ill) on your special day. However, remember that it is your day and your meal, and put your own priorities first and foremost. Bon appétit!