Big weddings: brilliant for an unrivalled party vibe, the fact there’s never an empty dance floor and of course, celebrating with ALL of your loved ones (with no headache over who to leave off the guest list). But when it comes to wedding catering, it could feel like you’re feeding the five thousand rather than a few hundred – especially where the budget is concerned. Luckily Megan Coakley, from DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Sheffield Park, is on hand with some insider insight into wedding catering for large events.
“You might think that catering for a larger party limits the choice or quality of food, but that’s not the case,” says Megan. “Our most successful weddings have a very relaxed approach to dining. A formal sit-down meal is certainly possible when big numbers are involved, but casual dining can limit the logistical headaches of serving hot food to lots of people simultaneously. It will also encourage guests to mingle, with the added bonus is that you could even ditch the table plan! Here are a few ideas:
Get guests to serve themselves
“Food that can be prepped in advance and allows guests to eat when they’re hungry rather than at a set time is a popular choice.
“Another option for guests to help themselves to are ‘small plates’, where couples choose five or six ‘main meals’ laid out in smaller portions. Giving your guests chance to sample a few different dishes, eating as much or as little as they like; it’s a concept that’s been around for a while that’s currently having a bit of a renaissance.
Sharing is caring (and budget-friendly too)
“Sharing platters are a compromise for those swaying towards a sit-down meal. The food served can easily be taken from the buffet menu and presented as sharing platters to ease the pressure on catering staff.
“For maximum impact, why not upscale your platters to a ‘grazing table’ laden with tempting delights? With an abundance of seasonal produce piled high, this provides a focal point for guests to feast their eyes on as they enter the room. And it’s actually a really cost-effective way of catering for many guests.
“Any type of food can be incorporated - from huge cheeses to freshly made dips, seasonal fruits, artisan breads and cured meats. The secret is in the presentation - adding height to your display will add to the opulent effect as well as using greenery, fresh flowers and fresh herbs nestled amongst the food.”
Create your own foodie festival
“Space is often an issue with larger weddings, so why not think about joining the street food revolution. Served from designated stations with dishes such as our vegan menu and guests can sit on long tressle tables. It creates a real festival atmosphere and adds to the theatre of the day or consider a BBQ dinner served outside, if weather permits. Or you could even introduce a tipi tent for an even more relaxed dining experience.
“Whatever menu you decide upon, having a close relationship with your wedding coordinators will limit the stress of catering for a large guest list. Try to keep an open mind and discuss your ideas with your team to ensure you’re all on the same page. “
With a range of suites available – some with capacity for up to 500 guests – and luxury accommodation on site, Double Tree by Hilton Hotel Sheffield Park is a versatile venue ideally suited to larger weddings.