The home of UK weddings

09 June 2014

Alternative Catering: Wedding Picnics, BBQ's and More

Once the pre-nuptial nerves have resided post-ceremony, your previously butterfly-filled tummy will be more than ready for some food. Unless you were born into it, fine cuisine is probably not your thing. Not to fear though, as more and more newlyweds are integrating alternative catering options into their wedding day and you can also do just that! Here are a selection of "trending" catering options for you and your guests to enjoy.

In the main

1. BBQ/Hog Roast

Outdoor catering businesses appearing more and more freqeuntly in the wedding planning directories these days and there's a good reason for it: their food is TASTY! These companies will work with you and your spouse to help tailor your barbecue/hog roast menu to your requirements, with typical items including locally-made sausages; unique recipe burgers; or even a whole pig to be roasted and carved over an open fire. Most outdoor-catering companies will also be able to offer vegetarian options to your guests, such as jacket potatoes, along with a selection of salads and sides to boot. Whichever option you choose, it will be more memorable to you and your guests over the food on offer will be way more unforgettable than a sit-down meal or finger buffet. Be sure to check that your chosen venue accepts outdoor caterers on the premises before making your booking, though.

Wedding BBQ Wedding BBQ

2.  Themed food

If you or your spouse's origins lay overseas, you may want to recognise it within your wedding day. The best way to do this is put on location specific food, such as tapas if you hail from Spain; pasta dishes if you grew up in Italy; or bratwurst if you have German roots. You could also choose to take inspiration from your favourite book, movie or video game, and offer a fiction-inspired menu. For example, your menu could include Butter Beer from the Harry Potter series, or an imitation "Big Kahuna" burger as famed in Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction. Imitation recipes are widely available on the net, so get browsing!

Spanish Wedding Food

3.  Food stations

Following on from the idea of themed food, you could combine multiple food types into an intercontinental/inter-fiction buffet by offering a selection of "food stations". At one you could have a variety of Mexican dishes, another could specialise in pizza, whilst the final option could be a selection of foods mentioned in Game of Thrones. By offering three or four stations, your guests get to eat whatever they feel like on the day and are not limited to one type of spread which they may not like. Furthermore you also get to have all of your favourite foods as a part of your wedding, thus making it more personal.

Wedding Food Stations

4.  Pot-luck dinner

A pot luck dinner is the ultimate money saver, as you invite each of your guests to contribute their signature dish to your wedding menu. As a result, and much like the food stations, your guests get a variety of food to choose from whilst you get a unique, unexpected wedding menu at the same time! It may be worth confirming with your guests which dishes they are bringing so as not to end up with a full table of Spaghetti Bolognese, for example.

Pot Luck Wedding Dinner

5.  Fairground food/Street food

Along with the idea of open-fire outdoor catering is the option of fairground food/street food. Think back to your childhood and remember the funfair being in town: can you remember the food? Yes, this idea suggests that you hire a burger van as your wedding catering option. Specialising in burgers, hot dogs and fries, this option will give your wedding the scent of your childhood and make all of your older guests cast their minds back a few decades. Instead, you could step ahead into the future and hire a modern street food truck. These contemporary trucks serve all manner of food from Thai rice dishes, tacos, and even aromatic Chinese food. Cooked by native citizens, these trailers are ideal to hire if you want something a little above a greasy-spoon trailer but still with the nostalgic edge.

Wedding Street Food

6.  Picnic

If you're a fan of the outdoors, then why not embrace it on your special day? Ask your venue if it would be possible to place a selection of picnic blankets on the grassy areas of its surrounding grounds, and have a catering company fill a number of picnic hampers/baskets with tasty sandwiches, snacks, and desserts. Give each group of 10-20 people a hamper to share, and let everyone chow down as they did in their childhood.

Wedding Picnic Bench

Now for the sweet stuff:

7.  Candy buffet

There are an increasing number of online stores specialising in the sales of retro sweets, from cherry drops to flying saucers to opal fruits. As such, what better way than to revive even more childhood memories than with a candy buffet. You could display the sweets in jars just like the corner shop did in the 80s; make up 50p mixes for the little ones; and order a selection of sweet trees for a Willy Wonka-esque table spread.

Candy Buffet

8.  Ice-cream van

Another memory-reviving style of catering. Hire out a local ice-cream truck to serve all manner of frozen treats to your reception guests, from the classic 99 cone to wrapped favourites such as the Twister lolly. This is a great way to provide a timeless dessert for your invitees regardless of their age, and will spark a lot more discussion post-wedding than a boring lemon sorbet served by the venue.

Wedding Ice Cream Van

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