We asked award-winning caterers Caviar & Chips to give us their top 5 tips for planning your outdoor wedding catering… and boy, did they come through!
When it comes to planning your wedding there are a lot of things to organise. It can sometimes feel like you’ve got lists for lists! From flowers to favours and from cake to catering. Luckily we’ve teamed up with award-winning caterers Caviar & Chips to cover you on all things on your food and drink list!
Caviar & Chips are bespoke caterers who craft unique menus for couples planning their wedding day all over the UK. We really enjoy working with the team, so much so that they’re one of our recommended catering suppliers.
Caviar & Chips co-founder, Marc Hornby, gave us five of their top wedding planning tips for planning outdoor wedding catering to give you a head-start to creating your perfect day.
1. It’s exciting to work from a blank canvas
One of the things we get excited about when planning an outdoor wedding in a marquee is that you have a blank canvas to work from. All of our menus are bespoke and we create every dish and course the way our clients want them. Take this opportunity to step back and think about what you would like if you could have absolutely anything you wanted for your wedding breakfast. This is your special day and your first meal as a married couple. Your guests are with you to help celebrate and so bring some of your relationship into your plans. Think about meals you enjoy together, places you’ve been on holiday or dishes that if you had your own chef for a day you know what they’d make for you!
2. Timing isn’t everything, but it’s a good start
It’s always good to have an outline of timings and a format to your day. Giving your wedding day a shape and order can help you see what’s really important to you and ensure that you organise things accordingly. One thing to bear in mind though is that timings will rarely stay exactly on track. Always factor in things running over, but give yourself a couple of times in the day to aim for. For example aim for a time you’d like to start a drinks and canape reception, a time when everyone will sit down to eat and a time when your evening party will start.
When we craft menus with couples that we work with, we also run through timings of the day and this can help us plan out how and when we need to do our preparation. It can also help us see the points in the day that if things do over-run (whether it’s because table 11 broke into a sing-song or because the best man’s speech ran over with a few extra jokes) we can save time and bring things back on track.
Don’t get too hung up on timings though – the main thing is try to be present in the moment and enjoy every minute for being as special as it is.
3. Make the most of the space you have
Whether your Sailcloth tent, Petal Pole marquee or tipi is in a field or garden, during your wedding planning think about how you want the space to work from both a practical point of view and also from an order of the day. Start off with a sketch to see the space your marquee will take up and then start filling in the spaces with some of the key aspects of your day. From a catering point of view see where your catering tent will be positioned and check if this will be away from your guests, but with easy access for the catering team.
Look at where your guests will arrive, the space that your tables will take up and where you’ll position you bar. See if you can break up the Sailcloth tent into different areas so that you maximise the space and make the order of the day feel like a natural flow from starting with drinks and canapes on the lawn (weather permitting) through to the dance floor and party! If the weather isn’t great, see if you can factor in a space that your guests can still socialise under shelter and still be able to enjoy all of the plans that you have made.
If you’re having evening food after your wedding breakfast, consider having this in a different area so that it feels like a separate experience to your daytime meal. The more spaces you make use of, linking to different sections of your wedding day, then the more experiences you and your guests will have. Your day will feel like a journey or a story unfolding and how and when you serve your food and drink can help direct this for you.
4. A toast to the bride and groom
Serving your guests drinks for an outdoor wedding has a few more considerations than if you were in a permanent venue. Refrigeration and water are two key things. Your caterers should be able to help you with a refrigeration unit, whether that’s a van or mobile trailer, but having access to a water source will be important so see how this works when planning where the marquee will be situated. Your caterers should also be able to help with ice to still be able to serve cold drinks and make fantastic cocktails.
If you’re having drinks such as champagne, prosecco, sparkling wine and white wine then think about how you’ll keep these refrigerated. If your caterer is providing all of this for you, just check that they’ll have it served cold and ask how they’ll do this. Also consider storage for glassware as you’ll need quite a lot for a wedding breakfast and bar. Again if your wedding caterer is providing this for you, just check that you have everything you need – think about reception drinks, water glasses, white wine, red wine, toast glasses and then glasses for your evening bar. This can take a lot of space so if you’re hiring glasses yourself just think about storage or if your caterer is doing it for you, just check how much glassware they’ll be bringing
Most caterers will be able to provide a full-service bar for your daytime and evening drinks and the one thing to check here is just to ask how they keep things safe and clear. It’s so easy to lose glasses and bottles in fields and gardens or for glasses to get broken, so just ask how your caterer goes about looking after this to make sure your guests are safe.
5. You’re creating a restaurant in a field
Sailcloth and Petal Pole marquees make such beautiful backdrops to outdoor weddings and it’s amazing what you can achieve when you’re essentially bringing a pop-up restaurant into your garden or field.
You can get creative with table formats and go festival boho with long rustic tables and look at menus that involve sharing boards and sharing bowls. You can also keep things traditional and have elegant round tables with linen, charger plates and crystal glasses for a fine-dining experience. Both your menu and your styling can completely change the feel and vibe of your outdoor wedding.
Check with your caterers their power requirements and ask what equipment they’ll be bringing to build your outdoor kitchen. It’s always best to be on the safe side and make sure your caterer is experienced with outdoor weddings as they’re so different to catering in a venue with all of the facilities you need. Simple things like lighting at night time and how they collect and remove rubbish so your guests don’t feel like they’re on day four of a music festival make such a difference!
So there you have our five top wedding planning tips for planning your wedding catering with a little focus on the outdoors. The main thing is don’t feel you need to have all of the answers and all of the plans yourself. Do however ask all of your wedding suppliers lots of questions. This is your big day and you should really enjoy the wedding planning process as much as the day itself. Get your wedding suppliers involved, lean on their experience and guidance and you’ll be able to create your perfect day with a team of experts around you so you have a seamless and stress-free wedding.
If you’d like to see menu ideas and example weddings then head over to our menu pages. Alternatively, check out our social media pages on Instagram or Facebook. Better still just drop us a line or give us a call and we can get to work on what your sharing menu could look like.
0800 978 8221
For more information about Caviar & Chips visit www.caviarandchips.co.uk
@caviarandchips on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook and #thecandcexperience
Feel free to check out our dedicated Sailcloth (http://boutiquemarquees.co.uk/sailcloth-tents/) and Petal Pole (http://boutiquemarquees.co.uk/petal-pole-marquees/) pages for more info about your marquee and tent options!
Love, the Boutique Marquees team xxx