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Planning Advice, Wedding Planning Guides

What To Consider When Choosing Your Wedding Caterer

So here it is! The next in the series of my mini Wedding Planning Guides and this has to be one of my favourites! Why? Because it’s all about the tastiest part of your wedding, your wedding catering!

You might not know but before I created Hannah Rachael Weddings I was a Senior Event Manager for a Yorkshire based wedding caterer. So, this is definitely a topic which is very close to my heart and one I know a great deal about.

And believe me this really is something you want to get right!

The food served at your wedding is likely to be one of the biggest investments after your venue, so why take any risks?! I’m here to give you my 3 top tips on what to consider when choosing your wedding caterer. As well as my 5 MUST ASK questions.

Top Tip 1

Taste the food before you commit to your caterer. This is so important! Just because everything looks amazing on Instagram unfortunately doesn’t mean it is in real life. Make sure you arrange an initial consultation and where possible a tasting before putting down your deposit. Your wedding catering is likely to be the biggest investment after your venue, so make sure it compliments you and your day.

Top Tip 2

Be true to yourselves. Food is such a big part of your day and you cannot please everyone so honestly don’t try to. It’s your day. Use it as the best excuse to have what you want, whether that be a five-course tasting menu or a dirty burger and fries. Eat the food you truly love.

Top Tip 3

Canapés are so important! They bridge the gap between your ceremony and wedding breakfast stopping guests getting hangry (which you definitely don’t want). Guests get peckish, especially if your wedding ceremony falls over lunchtime & they’ve had a few champagnes. Believe me, your guests will remember feeling hungry, so do not let that be the lasting impression of your day.

Now on to my 5 MUST ASK questions. My new Wedding Catering Guide is full of them, but these are my top 5. The 5 you need to ask in your initial consultation in order to get to know the caterer and to understand if they are the right fit for you!

Must Ask Questions

  1. How would you describe your catering style?
  2. What menus do you offer? (plated, BBQ, sharing, buffet etc.)
  3. Can you create a bespoke menu for our wedding?*
  4. Have you worked at our venue before and what do you require from our venue?
  5. Do you offer a menu tasting before we book and is there a charge for this?

*Not everyone will require a bespoke menu for their wedding, however if you are looking for a specific dish or themed menu, you must ask this at your initial consultation. Some caterers do not specialise or offer certain cuisines or variations from their set menus.

I could honestly talk about this ALL DAY LONG. Not just because I love food, but because it is such a pivotal part of your day. There is just so much to talk about from menu styles, service and presentation to how to use your food to tell a story.

But what I really want you to take away from this is; the food served at your wedding is what brings your guests together. It’s what gets everyone talking and will be what everyone talks about, good or bad, long after your wedding. As well as showcasing who you are as a couple.

You spend so much of your wedding day eating, so make sure it truly represents you and is something that you’re excited about. You only get one shot at this, so make sure your caterers are the best fit for you and your unique day.

Now this really is just a quick sneak peek into the world of wedding catering. Everything you need to know, including all my must ask questions can be found in my free Wedding Catering Guide. To get hold of your copy all you need to do is click the button below!

Use my Wedding Catering Guide as a tool to help you hunt out the most delicious menus you can possibly find.

My Wedding Planning Guides are designed for couples looking to create a day which is unique, exquisitely planned and full of detail. Why risk missing any detail when you can have your own mini wedding planner with you every step of the way? Keeping you on track and up to date with everything you need to know.

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Image Credits – Freya Raby Photography / The Outside Kitchen / Ponden Mill / Kelly Hanks Hair Design / Natasha Jane Makeup / Jessica Steele Jewellery / Haworth Menswear / The Aisle Ilkley / Emma Cox Floristry / Hannah Rachael Weddings

Planning Advice

What Is A Micro Wedding & Why Might You Have One?

So what is a micro wedding I hear you ask!

A micro wedding is typically a wedding which contains 50 guests or less and is not to be confused with a small wedding or elopement.

Well, what’s the difference between a micro wedding, a small wedding and an elopement then?

A very good question!

Now the difference between a small wedding and a micro wedding does seem to vary depending on who you talk to! Not at all helpful, I know.

A micro wedding traditionally involves no more than 50 guests, where as a small or intimate wedding is based around an even smaller guest count (20 or less). A small wedding might also follow less traditions or formalities (however this is not always the case). For instance, couples may veto a cake cut and first dance. Or opt for a less formal sit down wedding breakfast and instead have a family style bbq. Some would suggest a small wedding is all about the ceremony and marriage commitment rather than the ‘extra’ details.

Whereas the definition of an elopement wedding is “to run away secretly in order to get married”. A marriage which consists of the two of you, plus a select few witnesses, these may be people very close to you or people you’ve never even met before. Most couples who elope tend to pick a location away from their family home, somewhere meaningful to them as a couple. An elopement can be seen as a ‘hassle free’ way to tie the knot, without the pressures and expectations from family and friends.

5 Reasons You Might Consider Having A Micro Wedding

Micro weddings are definitely not to be seen as micro in any way other than the guest count. They often contain the same fundamentals and traditions as a larger wedding. With some arguing that micro weddings allow you to tailor and personalise your wedding to your guests, providing a more bespoke day. This is mostly due to couples allocating a similar budget for a wedding of 100 to their wedding of 50. This results in a larger budget to spend on elements such as personalised decor, fine dining and luxury drink offerings. 

1. Share your special day with your nearest & dearest only!

As you have decided to focus on a smaller guest list it’s important that the people you do invite are your most nearest & dearest only.

Don’t get sucked into the whirlpool of plus ones, work colleagues and family friends. Having a micro wedding is all about spending the most personal and special day of your lives with your favourite people.

Make it clear from the outset that you intend on having a micro wedding so hopefully no one will be left confused as to why they haven’t been invited.

2. Get creative

A whole host of different venues will become available due to your reduced guest list.

This may even include places which feel more personal to you as a couple, such as your favourite restaurant, art gallery or museum or even your own back garden!

See this as the perfect opportunity to go off piste. Select a venue which may not traditionally be seen as a wedding venue or one others may have to rule out due to guest numbers. It’s another way to create a day truly unique to you, your partner and your lovely guests.

3. Lets talk food & drink

A lot of couples who decide to opt for a micro wedding do so, so they can spoil their guests (and themselves). Think about it, it is the perfect opportunity to go all out and select the finest quality food and drink possible.

With more money to spend per head, as well as more time to spend with your guests, what better way to do so than sipping your favourite cocktails or tucking into a delicious 5 course taster menu?

Why not look to allocate a greater proportion of time to your drinks reception and wedding breakfast. This will create a more relaxed atmosphere, allowing you and your guests to enjoy the day rather than feeling as though you are rushing from one thing straight to the next.

You could opt for a specialist bar offering a bespoke cocktail and champagne menu. You could look into creating a tasting menu with wine pairing, prepared by your own Michelin starred chef. Whatever it might be, make sure it adds a ‘wow’ and excitement to your day. Make it a talking point for all of your guests. It’s the perfect opportunity to create something you might not find at a larger scale wedding.

Top Tip

Whatever you do though, don’t forget about the importance of ambience!

Your luxury dining experience won’t feel so luxury when there’s no background music. Music helps to set the tone, so think about what you’re trying to achieve and make sure your choice in musician or band reflects this.

Do also make sure to think about how your entertainment will transition from day to evening. Do you want something more lively in the evening to get guests up partying? Or are your guests the type to sit and chat all evening long? As you’ve only invited your very nearest and dearest you know them well, so pitch your entertainment at what you know they’ll enjoy.

4. It’s all about the details

Go all out with the finer details and personal touches. Source suppliers who focus on creating bespoke and personalised items, rather than mass produced ones.

Do something different with your favours. Instead of offering guests a foil wrapped chocolate, why not have a local chocolatier make each guest a box of beautiful hand painted chocolates.

Alternatively, why not look to have each of your guest’s names hand embroidered on each napkin. Not only will this add a beautiful finish to your place settings, but it will be a lovely keepsake for each of your guest.

Don’t underestimate the importance of these little touches, your guests will really appreciate the extra effort and time you have gone to.

Things To Consider

Why not go one step further and hire items such as charger plates, coloured glassware and luxe table linens. Decorative details when combined make one hell of a statement.

5. Quality time

For some, larger scales weddings can almost feel overwhelming. Some couples see it as a way to celebrate in the company of everyone they know and love, whereas others find the concept completely stressful.

For couples worrying about how much quality time they will be able to spend with their guests and each other, a micro wedding might just be the answer.

A micro wedding means fewer guests, so in theory more time to spend with each one. Time to chat, grab a drink and to take a moment out just the two of you. As a result, you could argue that you spend less time entertaining and more time celebrating. Sounds like the perfect solution to me.

Top Tip

Whatever you do, don’t forget to hire a photographer to capture your day.

You’ve gone to every effort to create a highly personalised and meaningful wedding, filled to the brim with love, happiness and your favourite people.

So make sure you have these special moments documented for you and your guests to look back on for many years to come.

Hopefully, that helps to eliminate the confusion around what a micro wedding is and provides some interesting pointers on why it may just be the best idea for you and your unique day.

However, as you can see, reducing your guest count doesn’t necessarily reduce the amount of thought, effort or planning that goes into organising a micro wedding.

For more tips and advice on how to create your perfect day then do get in touch.

Image Credits – Phoebe Jane Photography / Wynn Davies Photography / Ivy Alice Stationery / Charlotte’s Floral Design / The Whimsical Cake Company / Denton Hall / The Beverley Barn / Hannah Rachael Weddings

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