Food, glorious food – that’s what weddings are all about, right?
Navigating the choppy and confusing waters of wedding planning is fraught with peril, and never more so than when it comes to organising how to feed and water the guests. When you host a dinner party, it’s rare for your guests to bombard you with their strong (read: unreasonable) opinions on your chosen menu, wine and seating plan for the weeks leading up to the event. Sadly, mere mentions of the word ‘wedding’ get people very het up indeed, and planning the wedding breakfast quickly goes from a pleasant chat about your favourite grub to an all-out battle as you try to please 100 or so other people ahead of yourselves. My advice – don’t. Choose what you love, and people will hopefully get behind it on the big day, with only minor grumbling.
A lot of couples are able to opt out of these traumatising deliberations because of their venue, as many wedding packages don’t allow outside catering. To those couples, bravo – you’re in for a smooth and most likely delicious ride. More and more couples are choosing to eschew tradition, though, instead opting for a more DIY approach or choosing wedding venues with more flexibility over suppliers. For foodies, this is a great thing, as caterers are having to up their game considerably – au revoir, over-cooked chicken in a mysterious, flavourless sauce, hello yummy feast.
The wedding breakfast is the first meal served to the bride and groom as a married couple. It is not, as my poor fiancé confusedly thought, breakfast the day after the wedding. Let’s get that out of the way before we start our run-down of delightful dining options for the modern-day couple.
Take back the name, get rid of any confusion and serve breakfast food for your wedding breakfast. Think stacks of pancakes with lashings of syrup and a mountain of berries, or omelettes and eggs made to order – who doesn’t love brunch?
For fast, fun, flavourful food, look to Mexico for inspiration. Sharing starters of nachos and jalapeño poppers will get everyone in the mood, then you can unveil the burrito bar or fajita station, complete with colourful, tasty toppings and all the trimmings for a veritable feast – just make sure to include some mild options for grannies.
Oh I Do Like to be Beside the Seaside
Planning a seaside wedding? Then it’s got to be fish and chips. You can either serve them as canapés or evening food in little cones, or go all-out for your wedding breakfast. Print out some personalised newspaper to wrap it up in, and adorn your tables with fancy pots of condiments. Most fish and chips caterers can serve up tasty halloumi as a vegetarian option, too.
Thanks to a recently discovered worldwide appreciation for street food, the UK’s on-the-go dining scene is no longer monopolised by kebab vans; now, you can find pad Thai worthy of a spot in Bangkok’s busiest market, as well as awesome curries, gourmet burgers and wood-fired pizzas served from a lovely food truck or stall. Turn your wedding into Wedfest and book your favourite vendor to rock up in the evening. This is spot-on for a chilled-out, hipster wedding day, with yurts, hay bales and fabulous music.
Paella is fresh, hearty and best made in bulk. More and more caterers are starting to realise that it’s therefore wedding breakfast gold. At an outdoor venue, set up serving tables outside with baskets of freshly baked bread, and colourful, fresh salad alongside your paella pan.
For the ultimate relaxed summertime wedding at an outdoor venue, picnics are just lovely. Put out a crate full of picnic blankets alongside hampers designed for groups to share, and let them find their own perfect spot for lunch. Alternatively, you can glam it all up by setting formal place-settings on low tables around the venue. You can even have a picnic lunch inside a marquee or barn, if the British weather is threatening to do its worst. However you choose to do it, make sure you include fresh bread, cheese, strawberries and Champers, and it’s sure to be a success.
Pie Love You
Pie and mash, a British favourite, for reasons I certainly shouldn’t have to explain. This has become somewhat of a celebrity favourite of late, and there’s every reason that you should be considering it for your big day too – it’s so simple and easy to organise, you can include delicious vegetarian options and really, who doesn’t like pie and mash? Add in the fact that for autumn and winter weddings, it’s the perfect way to get everyone toasty warm, and you’ve got yourself one heck of a wedding breakfast.
Now you’ve hopefully got plenty of ideas for the main meal, it’s time to start thinking, as we at Fed Up & Drunk often find ourselves doing, about cake. For some of the sweetest ways to start married life, check out our run-down of fabulous alternative wedding cakes too.