Feeding your guests is a very important part of your big day – how you decide to do it is up to you. With so many options available, planning your wedding catering can be a minefield. Ross & Ross have catered numerous nuptials across Oxfordshire and the Cotswolds, and have put together a handy guide of points to consider when planning your wedding feast.

Congratulations on your upcoming wedding! There are a million and one things to consider in the run up to your big day, but one of the most important ones – particularly for your guests – is what you’ll be serving up to your hungry guests. It’s important to choose an option that suits you, your venue, your guests and your purse. Ross & Ross have helped keep the crowds well fed at countless weddings across the Cotswolds and have learned a thing or two about how to decide what’s on the menu for your big day.

A traditional wedding table setting

The traditional sit-down meal

A formal three-course meal is a spectacular celebration and gives your guests the chance to relax over a fancy meal and enjoy the flow of your day. You’ll typically have to formulate a seating plan for your guests and work with your caterers to come up with a menu for the day.

Depending on the capacity of your caterers, there is likely to be limited choices for each course and this could upset some guests. It is perhaps the most expensive option for providing food as well, so might not be a possibility if you are expecting a large gathering.

A rustic wedding buffet

Race you to the buffet!

Choosing a buffet for your wedding catering allows you to offer your guests a wider selection of dishes. You can combine hot and cold dishes as well as vegetarian and vegan options if required. Your guests will have to fend for themselves collecting their meals, which cuts down on the price of waiting staff as well. Bear in mind that cross contamination will be an issue, so if you have guests with very serious dietary issues, they may have to be catered for separately.

A cold buffet that is kept replenished throughout the evening is an ideal solution to night time nibbles as well.

DIY buffets can be a great way of cutting down on your wedding spending. If you’re having a small gathering of close friends, why not ask them all to bring a dish? If that seems like too much of an ask, or you’re afraid that 100 guests will end up sharing whatever you can grab last minute from the nearest garage, maybe a DIY dessert buffet is a safer option?

Bowls of wedding food

Beautiful bowl food

Bowl food is the emerging trend that sits somewhere between a buffet and canapés at cocktail hour. Your waiting staff will circulate amongst your guests offering taster sized bowls of hot dishes, allowing people to sample anything that takes their fancy. This can work really well if your wedding catering is restricted by space – it takes up far less space than a buffet, so it’s ideal for smaller city venues.

Not everyone is crazy about standing up for meals though… consider if this will suit your guests.

Plan your perfect picnic

If you’re having a summer wedding, why not put some faith in the weather and plan a picnic wedding breakfast? Guests can collect their picnic baskets and blankets and set out their feasts. It might involve a bit of elbow grease the day before, but this is a catering option that you could put together yourselves. A versatile wedding caterer should also be able to put this together for you. Make sure you have an alternative plan just in case the heavens open!

A rustic wedding buffet

Think outside the box!

We’ve covered most of the traditional wedding catering options above, but why let tradition stop you? There are loads of alternative ideas for you to consider.

Catering vans and street food are continuing to rise in popularity and can offer a fun and funky food option for your wedding. Fancy authentic fish and chips fried in the grounds of your venue? Or perhaps you’d like the kebab van where you first shared a tipsy takeaway? This can also be a very cost effective choice, as the price per head should come in far less than an exclusive wedding caterer.

Hog roasts are always a real crowd pleaser, but be aware that your average roast piggy will serve well over 100 people. If you’re planning a smaller, more intimate soiree, a barbecue might be a better option.

Another trend that is making its way across the pond from the USA is a selection of food stations. A team of chefs will prepare delicious custom dishes for your guests, eliminating the problem of picky eaters. Omelettes, pasta and Asian dishes work especially well.

Wedding canapés

What’s your budget?

Ok, so it’s not the fun part, but your wedding catering options are likely to be controlled by your budget. Experts suggest allowing 25-30% of your wedding budget for food, depending on how long of a day you have planned. If you’re having extra guests for the evening who haven’t joined you for the main event, they’ll be expecting something to soak up the celebratory drinks as well!

Some venues will offer a price inclusive of food for your chosen number of guests, usually at a lower price than using an outside caterer. It limits your food options, but it can be an effective way to bring down costs.

Whatever you decide on, 100% of our clients have agreed that full tummies are an essential part of ensuring that their wedding day runs smoothly!