You know those really flawless weddings where everything just flows? Everything feels so perfect, but not in an over-thought uncomfortable way, more the kinds of weddings that ooze authenticity, that feel a total reflection of both the couple and the setting? There's a 'naturalness' that permeates every detail, that's hard to put your finger on…if you're nodding we're betting that each detail, down to the food you enjoyed and the drinks you sipped, perfectly flowed as an extension of the celebration itself.
Just the same way you think about your dress and ultimately the best corresponding hair and makeup, or the thought you give to flowers cohesively working in the space of your venue, all too often the menu and food styling are treated as an afterthought, or mere practicalities (focussed more on the logistics of vegetarians & gluten free requirements, seating charts, how much food to serve and when?).
But as one of the key sensory components of your wedding, rich with flavours and layers of complexity, from the first sip of cocktail to the last slice of cake, your menu and the caterers you engage with have the ability to transport your guests to another place entirely, or seamlessly blend as an exquisite extension of setting. Because just as florists and dress designers each have a signature style and unique area of expertise, so too do caterers. If classically trained, they will be able to re-create most flavours and cuisines, however the best match will always prove finding someone beautifully aligned to (and passionate about) the specific mood you're trying to create.
Consider not only flavours, but aesthetics. Recently when engaging with Anise catering for our LANE Lunch by the Sea, we put together mood boards, imagery, colour palettes and styling cues just as we would for a fashion editorial. We talked flatware, crockery, shapes and colours, seasonality, table styling and the kinds of flavours we imagined. Then we left it in their capable hands. Taking attention to detail to a level that completely blew us away (think separate meetings with the plate creators to perfectly match dish with bowl shapes!) the magic they made on the day was extraordinary, and resulted in a flawless extension of overall styling.
For us, and for this particular event, it meant a colour palette and edible elements representative of the sea. Micro herbs and greenery, snowy sandy textures and sensory layers, to subtly evoking at oceanic origins and moods. Some were literal (like fish and crustaceans), while others were more conceptual. All were very clever though, and considered. And it's that consideration that we encourage brides not to overlook.
Applying this same logic to any setting or theme, consider the food you present to guests as the most interactive part of the styling from the day. If you wish to create a mood of botanical garden whimsy, look for caterers that specialise in this area, offering a farm to table approach and who do incredible work with vegetables. Similarly, for seaside weddings, if you're dreaming of raw bars and oysters, be sure to find caterers who will beautifully execute this, and who share this passion.
Ask questions, enquire about the types of flavours and ingredients they'll draw upon to create your menu. What sort of platters will they be serving it on and what kinds of garnishes? Can they cater to special dietary requirements and what accompanying cocktails would they suggest? Be sure to discuss each of theses things upfront, and any other details that are important to you. Bring pictures (just as you would to a make up trial or dress consultation) to talk about what you love and how they might interpret this inspiration.
By going in search of a caterer whose food you love and whose styling resonates, they'll create the perfect extension of your theme, for a beautifully cohesive event, as delicious as it is photogenic.