If you’re currently faced with a wedding catering dilemma of ‘chicken or fish’, we’re just going to stop you right there. Your wedding is the perfect time to express your personality, whether it’s with an unusual wedding theme or your favourite food for the wedding breakfast.
We’ve come up with some unusual wedding catering ideas to inspire you.
Want to get everyone talking at your wedding reception tables? As well as printing out our awesome wedding table ice breakers, what about serving up sharing platters?
Charlotte Reilly from White Radish Wedding and Event Caterers explains why they’re a great choice: “Sharing style menus are a great way to get your friends and family interacting on your wedding day. With a more relaxed, family style service, it’s the perfect alternative to the more traditional and formal wedding reception.”
Laidback couples will love this idea – the sharing menus at White Radish are truly mouth-watering too. Italian antipasto platters, ploughman’s inspired boards and a Cornish seafood platter are just some of the options, followed by large mains like suckling pig and Moroccan tagine, which everyone can dip into, served by a guest of honour on each table or a member of the White Radish team (if pre-arranged).
Why not let your guests’ graze on whatever food takes their fancy? Wedding venue The George in Rye have recently launched Gourmet Grazing Stations so couples can set up a few different things so there’s something for everyone.
“More than ever we’re seeing couples come to us with a really strong vision of what they want for their day and in particular, wanting to create a catering display that wows their guests. The Champagne & Oyster Bar is simply stunning – a treat for the eyes as much as the palette. Similarly the Doughnut Deli, a sugary wall of joy, is a popular choice for late night munchies,” reveals Alex Clarke, the owner of The George in Rye.
Image credits: Photography: Wookie Photography, Location: The George in Rye, Stylist: The Pink Pumpkin, Food Styling: Styling by Jen
Who doesn’t love seeing a huge pan of paella? Buen Apetito will come to your wedding and whip up an authentic Spanish paella right in front of your guests.
“Paella is a great spectacle, the huge sizzling paellas, the mouth-watering aromas that fill the air, and the guests love to watch it being cooked from start to finish,” Andy Todd from Buen Apetito explains, “We keep our prices realistic and offer freshly cooked, locally sought produce at affordable prices. Our motto is fresh, tasty and inexpensive!”
An outdoor paella feast would be perfect at a summer wedding venue – it’s also a great option for unusual evening food if you want a more traditional main.
Vintage Style Afternoon Tea
If you’re looking for vintage wedding ideas, why not serve up a traditional afternoon tea for your guests? Sandwiches, scones and cakes are very filling and are often a more affordable option than a full on wedding breakfast.
Events Manager at Connexions Cuisine, Ellen Costello, thinks it’s ideal for couples who want to give their wedding a classic British feel: “For a truly British wedding breakfast, why not consider an exquisite afternoon tea served on fine vintage china. The delicate and colourful china and cake stands will brighten the tables and the mood is relaxed yet elegant. This is a substantial alternative to a traditional three course wedding breakfast and works perfectly with an evening barbeque or hog roast. We would recommend serving the savoury selection first with either Prosecco or Champagne, followed by the sweet selection, served on three tiered cake stands, with tea and coffee. There’s guaranteed to be something for everyone!”
Experimental Wedding Catering
Why not go all out on your wedding catering and treat your guests to an unforgettable culinary experience?
“Your wedding is your day. Many would be wedded couples sprinkle their likes, loves and personalities through the décor, the speeches and the music choices; though rarely do people go to town on the meal – which let’s be honest is the main thing after the event itself! At Gingerline, we’ve been experimenting with story-telling and food for many years, honing our craft in London’s underground dining scene. Making performance, sound, set design and creative menus collide to create immersive experiences,” reveals Suz Mountfort, the founder of Gingerline.
Talk to your wedding caterers about your wild ideas and see what can be achieved. We love Gingerline’s delicious ideas, such as the below: white bean and truffle dip with baby vegetables, rye crumb and porcini branches, a roulette wheel of seasonal appetisers served with dips and bread, a picnic basket of savoury surprises: salmon and mustard ice-creams with pickled dill, caramelised onion muffin with thyme icing and spiced popcorn and finally soft shell crab in a brioche bun with winter slaw.
Can’t resist Mexican food? Who can? You can have Mission Burrito’s ‘Burrito Wagon’ set up at your wedding. “It’s a brilliant option for more informal weddings as it’s a hand held food that guests can take with them as they mingle,” Sharon, from Mission Burrito, divulges, “We think burritos work particularly well for weddings as it gives guest more options than a traditional wedding breakfast. We always have at least two different meats in addition to a vegetarian option and a range of salsas. We offer salads and rice boxes too meaning that there are a range of options for guests who follow a gluten free diet, or are vegetarian or vegan.”
Barbecue Wedding Breakfast
Planning an outdoor wedding in the midst of summer? A barbecue wedding breakfast could be the perfect option. We asked George Zaayman from Nyama Catering why barbecues are a great choice when it comes to wedding food: “Barbecue wedding catering is a tasty, relaxed and affordable way to cater for larger scale weddings. The food becomes the showcase – a whole lamb or pig can slow roast on a spit whilst the guests enjoy nibbles.
“At Nyama we now also supply what we call Table Top BBQs where we provide trays of meaty (and veggie!) goodness straight from the wood fired barbecue to your tables, which is a more formal option. We also provide weirdly wonderful themed barbecue options from Argentine Asados, South African Braais and even Portuguese Churrasco.”
Themed Wedding Catering
Did the idea of having a theme to your wedding catering make you feel inspired? Scott at The Squires recommends giving your wedding food a theme: “There are two reasons why a themed wedding catering option works – one, it takes away the stress of choosing from a large and complicated menu and two, it’s fun! It’s that simple – it’s different and if the food is fun the rest of the day will follow suit.”
Wood Fired Pizza
There are few things in life that are better than a wood-fired pizza. Delight your guests with pizzas for your wedding breakfast – if you hire Ruff Wood Pizza your guests can even choose their own toppings before enjoying their meal a minute and a half later: “There is nothing like watching a freshly made, deliciously wood-fired pizza being cooked in a 500 degree oven in 90 seconds,” says Steve from Ruff Wood Pizzas, “We believe in not only making great tasting pizzas but also adding a bit of theatre to the art of wood-fired catering – the visual aspect is equally as important as the taste.”
Wagyu beef is the latest buzzword in the foodie world. Show your guests you’re ahead of the curve by hiring the Wonders of Wagyu (WOW) Wagon from The Yorkshire Wagyu Co and serve up the world’s finest beef: “Your guests will love the range of Wagyu beef treats that our team create in our state of the art catering trailer.
“Depending on the event, your guests can collect their gourmet food from the counter, or let our team of waiting staff deliver it to your tables. Either way, we guarantee that they will be impressed with the taste and succulence of Wagyu and once they have tried Yorkshire Wagyu, they won't want anything else!”
And to Drink
It’s not just your wedding catering you can think outside the box with – what about your drinks? Pick some unique wedding cocktails and your guests will be talking about the details at your day for months to come.
Serving Prosecco instead of champagne is a great wedding budget hack, and the team at Waitrose Cellar have some amazing ideas to jazz it up, such as mixing it with fresh passion fruit juice and orange liqueur for a tropical Bellini, or adding grapefruit juice, fresh root ginger and caster sugar for a sharp twist.
The Dessert Menu
Dessert is the most fun part of your meal, right? So make sure it’s fun for your guests by hiring something a little unusual for pudding.
The Tricicle will turn up at your wedding and serve up mind-blowing flavours picked to coordinate with your wedding meal: “Our ice creams are multi-award winning. We'll match flavours as follow-ons to your main course and can supply sorbets or non-dairy alternatives to delight all your guests. The Tricicle is stylish and can be placed virtually anywhere at your event - outside the church for photos or beside the dance floor - there's always the perfect time for ice cream. We can help cover those downtime moments deliciously,” explains Jon from The Tricicle.
The mouth-watering flavours include chocolate orange, mascarpone and fig and spiced orange and cranberry! If you love the idea of ice cream, you’ll also love artisanal gelato maker Amorino, who make bouquets out of ice cream, which you can dole out to your guests.
Finally, if you prefer your desserts to warm you up rather than cool you down, what about a churros and chocolate van? La Flamenca serve up award winning Spanish churros and melted chocolate, freshly prepared to order. They’ll go down a treat with your guests – but mind your white dress with that chocolate!
If you want more fun, foodie ideas, check out our edit of 31 creative wedding canapé ideas.