- aunt pol
- 7 years ago
- Wedding: May 2011
Food & drink.
There’s a shocker! Seriously though, two weeks after our wedding, we’ve had loads of feedback from all kinds of guest, and everyone seems to have had a great time. The majority of the compliments related to food and drink.
We were generous with both.
We wanted a more relaxed wedding than is normal here: no huge gap before dinner, we didn’t have a starter in order to have more budget for dinner, ( and also to avoid people spending the whole evening queueing for food), we had a self serve dessert buffet, and we had an open bar – (commonplace to most of you, but unheard of here).
In order to stay within budget for all this, we were sensible with a few things.
We chose a local hotelier to do the catering: they have an excellent reputation, are usually booked out 18 months ahead for weddings, family run business. We knew we’d get excellent value for money from them. We didn’t want haute cuisine, and it’s not something that would be chosen by most of our guests. We chose a simple hot and cold served buffet: chicken a la king (creamy sauce) with boiled rice was the hot option. The cold was carved turkey and ham, salmon, and seven different salads, with an assortment of breads, followed by tea and coffee.
This spread cost us 20 euro per head – ca $24, I think – including four waitstaff, set up, service, and anything else I needed those staff to do while they were with us. The food was very tasty and there was plenty of it. The catering manager actually encouraged guests to return for second helpings.
As for dessert, I’d been so seduced by pretty pics here and on Style Me Pretty etc that nothing would suffice except a home made spread of cakes, pies and general yumminess. A friend who enjoys baking in an amateur but yummy capacity offered to do the entire thing as her gift to us. She made chocolate cakes, chocolate fudge brownies, carrot cupcakes, vanilla cupcakes, apple pies, fresh cream sponge. I made a lemon cake and a coconut cake. MIL made individual cheesecakes in ramekin dishes, and SIL made a huge fresh cream cake also. Altogether, we had about 165-170 portions of dessert to feed our crowd of 110 adults and 10 children. I reckon if I had asked our caterer to provide this, it would have cost ca 4 euro/ $5 per portion.
It was a huge success! The tables had been called in order for dinner, but we gave no such orders for dessert, figuring that there would be some, men usually, who would rather go to the bar than the desserts, meaning it might take ages to get through the tables and there was plenty anyway. There was a long queue straight away! I saw plenty of guests heading off with 3 different things on their plate, and many guests from the same tables paired up to strategise – each one taking three different items than her neighbour so they could both taste a wider variety. That really made me happy: I love dessert, and was in love with the idea of a table groaning under the weight of pretty creamy sugary lovelies.
The other savoury food provided was platters of sandwiches, delivered by the caterer at 11 pm. Seven varieties of sandwich, and plenty of them. 2.40/$3 ish per head.
In lieu of favours, kind of (they’re not a big deal here, many couples don’t bother) we used different types of candy as table numbers, and placed bowls of the appropriate candy at each table. Many people remarked on this after: they’d enjoyed the candy while waiting to be called to buffet!
We struggled with the Bar decision: nobody does open bar here, everyone thinks it’s going to cost an utter fortune, and guests simply don’t expect it. When I go to a wedding I know I need to bring money for drink, that I’ll have free water and wine with my dinner and it’s up to me after that.
Because we had a marquee at home, though, I really wanted to go open. No ATM, etc, guests coming to our home…. So we had to guesstimate how much drink to buy, like so many of you. This was one of the most stressful elements of planning: we nearly came to blows with DH’s sisters more than once, as they hounded us that there was no way we’d have enough drink, and that people ought to have the option of getting hammered if they wanted. WTF?! I never felt I owed anybody enough drink to get them hammered! Anyhoo, our wonderful caterer provided the ideal safety net. His brother owns the supermarket attached to their family hotel, so John ( the hotelier) offered to hold on to his shop keys for the night, and if we found ourselves running low on anything, he’d give it to us at shop prices. YAY!
We never needed that option. WE spent about 1000/$1250 ish on drink, averaging out about 8 drinks per head. It turns out our guests weren’t big drinkers. You just can’t tell. We had queues for cake, and our barman was idle half the night. We had covered the bases with the drinks, beers wines spirits, and actually only ran out of soft drinks. Those drinking vodka and coke simply transitioned to vodka and cranberry juice, though.
I’m sorry for such a long-winded post! I have some regrets about our day, mostly related to our seating-plan-gone-wrong and a lack of organisation re photos and generally, but I’m so so so glad we made the decisions we did re food and drink. We wanted a relaxed garden party so we didn’t need a fancy formal dinner, but our guests were well fed on yummy food, could drink pretty much as much as they wanted, were inside out of the rain and danced until after 3 am.
Given all of that, all I want to say is that any of you having budget difficulties, I sympathise totally. It’s horrible having to cut things you want and stretching each hundred til it snaps. You do have to work on those things important to you, but when it comes to your guests, fill their bellies and they’ll be happy out!