From vintage vans doling out delicious sweets to slick silver American Airstream trailers serving gourmet bites, there’s a fare for any taste and style when it comes to making your Big Day a feast for foodies. Food trucks for hire are popping up everywhere and the options are pretty much endless for those wanting to put their mouths where their money is on their Big Day. Even if it’s far from Breakfast Burritos yee were reared there’s no denying that along with entertainment, for guests the food can make or break a wedding day.
Pig spits, hog roasts, rotisserie chicken and BBQ prawns served al fresco with mountains of special salads may have been confined to ‘day after’ fare, but are now taking centre stage for the Big Day itself. Of course the one thing about our fair green Isle is that we can’t guarantee the sun, but we do have some incredible wedding suppliers who can sort you out with cool tipi tents and gorgeous marquees so your food festival won’t be a washout.
Couples are also really putting in the effort for the vegetarians, vegans and the Paleo peeps among their party by serving up quinoa and chia seed salads, pulled everything and dairy free desserts – it seems we’re only short of serving protein balls as a mid-ceremony pick-me-up! The fact is the Irish are becoming a nation of foodies, and it’s beginning to reflect in our big celebrations as much as our day-to-day lunch boxes. Hotels and other wedding venues countrywide are putting a massive emphasis on wedding menus by using seasonal, locally sourced and fully traceable organic produce in place of the traditional carvery style wedding food we’ve all become accustomed to. The result is food has become central to the wedding celebration, and we’re certainly not complaining.
Master the Menu
Whether you’re having a buffet, BBQ or a sit down meal, it all starts with your menu. It’s widely known that Irish caterers are well used to working with their clients to devise something unique and personal for their celebration, however many hotels and other wedding venues are now open to collaborating with couples on a wedding menu that reflects their own tastes and style. At your tasting, ask the chef where their food is sourced, and what the seasonal and vegetarian options are so you know exactly what you’ll be getting on the day, even if it’s a few months out. Not only is what’s on the menu important but the way it’s displayed can also be a factor in creating a foodie feel to the day. We love the informality of a chalk board for BBQs and buffets, but getting a menu card printed in your theme can also be a beautiful way to make your food a focal point of the day.
Top Tips for Choosing your Wedding Menu
Contemporise your Canapés
Think outside the box for canapés and serve something surprising at your drinks reception (if you’re having one!) Displaying your canapés in individual mason jars is a great way to mix it up and will definitely give your guests something to talk about. For the food itself, think mixed bean salads, light and fresh vegetable wraps, sushi or mini burger bites. If it’s earlier in the day go for fruit cups, bite sized frittata pieces or individual granola bars to give a nice brunch feel to proceedings.
Go Full-On Food Festival
For those opting for a festival feel to their Big Day, it all starts with the food! If you’ve the budget, why not go for an al fresco feel with a mix of a pig spit, hot dog van, burger bar and taco stand and let your guests run wild in a super informal setting. Another option is to centre your food festival on a theme such as ‘By the Seaside’ where you can serve prawns and Prosecco or oysters and Guinness, or add a Retro Theme with a stunning vintage American Airstream trailer serving up impressive gourmet treats and really wow your guests.
One to Watch; We’re seeing a massive interest in food trucks specialising in the unique street food found in Vietnam, India, Morocco and Burma lately, and imagine it’s not long before the trend hits Big Day celebrations – how amazing would it be to serve delicious Vietnamese Banh Mis as your evening food for something different?! – watch this space.
Add Post-Ceremony Noms
The hour or two after the ceremony can often be a bit of a lull at weddings – whether it’s down to travel time between church and venue, the room being converted from ceremony to reception or the bride and groom spending a bit of time with the photographer – so why not take advantage of the lull and make it a highlight? A food truck serving light treats like ice cream or crepes would be a great surprise for guests as they make their way from ceremony to reception and will really tie the day together. Here’s a few of our faves:
Ice Cream; Adare Farm‘s Luxury Homemade Ice Cream is made using fresh milk and cream from the pedigree Friesian dairy herd; Smith’s Ice Cream Vans operate their colourful ice cream vans nationwide and serve up nostalic 99s, Slush Puppies and candy floss; Rockfield Ice Cream based in Kilkenny travel to weddings all around Ireland delivering delicious treats from their vintage fleet of vans, bicycles and carts (pictured).
Crepes; The Dingle Crepe Van (pictured) is ideal for foodies who want something a little different on the day. Their freshly made crepes are made with locally sourced ingredients from Kerry and the finest (gluten free!) Belgian chocolate. See their weddingsonline profile page for more!
Consult the Chefs – The Catering Option
With the rise of the ‘at home’ wedding and the popularity of some of Ireland’s finest venues for hire couples now have the chance to work with a talented chef to create a personal menu for their wedding day. The tailored wedding food experience is one for the true foodies out there and can come in several forms from classic silver service to a bespoke rustic feast. Andrew Holmes Catering recently catered weddingsonline Editor Pamela’s Big Day and his passion for food and flair for details really shone through. Andrew prides himself on only using high quality local ingredients to accommodate all tastes and sizes of celebrations – he even goes as far as to guarantee that your day is top priority by only catering for one wedding a week. Can’t say fairer than that.
Get Creative with Craft Beers
It seems everyone’s gone crazy for craft beers lately and we have to say we’re a little bit happy to see them on the wedding agenda for fans. Whisky or craft beer tasting can be a great bit of entertainment for guests, and can introduce those unfamiliar with hop-counting to some really delicious drinks. If you’re opting to serve unusual beers on the day, you could display them in a fun and rustic way – a free standing bath or wheelbarrow are just some of the ways we’ve seen couples opt for on the day. Make sure to also serve some gorgeous non-alcoholic options too – go for a nice non-alcoholic ale or really add some flair with virgin cocktails made up in jars. Just get creative!
In part 2 we’ll be discussing foodie favours, evening feasts, fine wines and next day dishes. Stay tuned!
Photos: 1. DKPHOTO via weddingsonline | 2. Moat Hill Photography via weddingsonline | 3. Monica Hadarean Photography via weddingsonline | 4. Michelle Prunty Photography via weddingsonline | 5. Courtesy of Hog Island Oysters | 6. McMahon Studios via weddingsonline | 7. Rockfield Ice Cream | 8. The Dingle Crepe Van | 9 & 10 courtesy of Andrew Holmes Catering | 11. McMahon Studios via weddingsonline 12. Photo via Bayside Bride
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Former editor, current contributor, (she just can't let go!) Karen enjoys writing fashion but is known to dabble in decor from time to time. Her favourite section on the site is the Real Wedding section, followed closely by the Health & Fitness forums.