Celebratory feasts are now all about being bespoke, interactive and truly reflective of the honoured couple. While the doughnut wall, sprawling grazing tables and literal “cheese” cakes may be having a moment: we want to take you further and inspire you with the most delicious ideas for your wedding day whether your hearts are set on a seated banquet or a stand-up soiree.
It’s just not a real party until you hear that iconic “pop!” Instead of a simple tray of bubbles on arrival, invest in a grand Champagne tower or a roving drinks cart with service that comes to the table.
You could even hire someone to demonstrate sabrage; the art of opening a bottle with ceremonial sword. Better yet, have the mother of the bride/groom or another special guest, give it a shot (under professional supervision) for a memorable photo opp.
To take cocktail hour up a notch: make it immersive. Set up a DIY cocktail bar. This could be as simple as allowing guests to mix and match a range of spritz or G&T garnishes. How about a Bloody Mary bar with different vegetable and fruit juices and condiments plus a choice of white spirits for a brunch reception?
Take it further by inviting an expert mixologist from your favourite bar to teach guests how to make a classic cocktail. Or guide them through flights of your favourite craft spirit. A caviar and vodka matching workshop is always divine.
Keep it simple idea: That bar you went to on your first date? Ask them to create a signature cocktail just for you and bottle it for bonbonniere.
A little dinner theatre
For weddings unafraid to veer into fantastical; did you know you can hire wait-staff that are really like more like performers? Part of their costumes are specially designed “ball gowns”, the tiers of which hold and serve drinks in flutes and canapés as they roam through the guests. It’s quite a spectacle.
Working equally well for a winter themed or summer wedding is a Nitro dessert station. Bonus points if the station itself is carved from a large block of ice. Chefs serve up liquid ice-creams that are instantly frozen before guests’ eyes with nitrogen; the resulting misty clouds are eye-catching and atmospheric.
Dessert is the perfect time to create that finale moment. For a fairytale themed or festive season wedding in particular, desserts (non-melting styles, at least) could be served in baubles hung from the branches of trees that guests then have to “pick” from its boughs. Alternatively they could be strung from a chandelier or other floral or art installation that slowly descends upon the reception room at the proper time.
If you have the luxury of space at your stand-up reception, consider reserving some for a miniature pop-up restaurant (perhaps an ode to where the proposal was accepted?) Complete with maître d' at the entrance, smaller groups of guests can make “reservations” at the restaurant at different points of the night for an express seated degustation. Otherwise, if you’re heading overseas for your honeymoon, you can give a nod to the destination. For example, a mini izakaya or tiny tapas bar that only seats a few guests at time - hidden behind a rolling screen or partition - is another surprising option.
Keep it simple idea: have some element of what your chefs are up to on display. Whether they are publicly carving the main meal in front of guests or creating a show stopping dessert. Flashes of fire, flame and movement always add that desired food-focussed drama to an event.
For weddings that combine brides’ and grooms’ of different cultural backgrounds; choose an ingredient or dish that’s weird, wild or beloved from each of your respective cultures. Give your guests a taste with expert commentary from yourselves, the producer or the chef.
Honour your heritage by choosing that one comfort food your mum, dad or gran was “famous” in the family for making. Ask the chef to secretly create a haute cuisine twist on the recipe and remember to tell the story behind it. Tears guaranteed.
Keep it simple idea: On arrival, have tiny terracotta pots of raw bread dough stationed around the room or at each place-setting along with a variety of toppings: think seeds, nuts, woody herbs, citrus peel, spices, even gold leaf. Ask guests to garnish their own loaf as they wish and then have them wood-fired or baked to accompany the main meal later. It’s a way to make two families breaking bread together even more meaningful.
Late night bites
Know in the industry as the “soak” menu (as in soaks up alcohol), the last snacks you serve your guests don’t have to be relegated to all things soggy and deep-fried. It’s all in the details. Consider tiny gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches atop dainty teacups full of heirloom tomato soup. Or what about some delicious wood fire pizza with the couple’s favourite toppings? If you do stick to that old-faithful – hot chips - think about serving them with a choice of bespoke salts - black, pink, truffle – in monogrammed French fry bags.
A hot chocolate bar is guaranteed to be popular with guests both young and old. Offer the full plethora of real chocolate, different milks and garnishes from gourmet marshmallows to syrups inspired by the bridal couples favourite sweet treats to freshly ground spices. The non-designated drivers may even want to make theirs a night cap.
Tea sommeliers now exist. They can ask guests their favourite flavours and blend a custom tea or tisane to sip right there and then. Otherwise guest may take their personal tea home in a monogrammed box.
Keep it simple idea: invite your favourite food truck, ice-cream van or bicycle espresso cart to park outside the venue at the end of the night as one final tasty surprise.