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If you’re at the point in wedding planning when you’ve made it to the catering, you’re probably in the thick of it.

Your wedding may be the first time you’ve worked with caterers or had to make any kind of formal arrangements ahead of time regarding the food and drink you’ll be serving at an event. With so many different ways to plan your food and beverage on your wedding day, it can become overwhelming.

That’s why we’ve put this blog together with our tips and tricks on catering to make your life easier. We’ve hosted weddings of all shapes and sizes over the years at our venue space, so we’re confident we know the do’s and don’ts of successful wedding catering.

We’ll cover these essential topics on our guide to catering for your wedding.

What Food Should You Serve At Your Wedding?

  1. Canapes & Grazing
  2. Sit Down Banquets & Individual Plates
  3. How To Choose The Right Catering Staff For Your Wedding
  4. Meeting Dietary Preferences Of Your Guests
  5. Less Is Not More
  6. Late Night Munchies

What Drinks Should You Serve At Your Wedding?

  1. Champagne
  2. Cocktails
  3. Shooting Your Shot: Maybe Not
  4. To B-YO Or Not To B-YO?

Event catering spread with a variety of appetizers

The Foods To Serve At Your Wedding

We advise thinking ahead about what kind of food you want at your wedding to narrow down your search when looking for catering companies. But here’s some of our tips and tricks on making that decision, as well as what to keep in mind when choosing what to serve.

wedding catering Casey & Basil

1. Canapes & Grazing

Grazing options such as buffets and roaming platters are an economical solution that also contribute to a less formal atmosphere for your wedding. If that’s what you’re going for, make sure you have a varied range of hot and cold bites (and plenty of them!). If you still want a sit-down dinner but like the idea of canapes, consider having them instead of a formal appetiser.

A plate of roasted carrots garnished with fresh cilantro, served with a spoon and fork on the side.

2. Sit Down Dinners & Individual Plates

You’ve probably seen and attended traditional wedding dinner set-ups of round or long tables, with three or four-course sit-down meals. Keep in mind that they can be one of the most expensive parts of a wedding, although it will make for a refined yet relaxed atmosphere that allows you some ‘down-time’, and a chance to make your way round the room to speak to all your guests.

If you’re opting for a sit down meal, you’re probably better off with a seating-plan, to make sure everyone with dietary requirements and allergies is given the correct meal. So keep in mind that you’ll have to spend some time figuring out where everyone is going to sit (and more importantly… who they’re going to sit next to).

roasted potatoes for wedding catering

3. How To Choose The Right Catering Staff For Your Wedding

Even if you’re hosting a small, relaxed affair, securing additional staff to focus on the catering for your wedding is a good idea. There’s so much to take care of in this veil of wedding planning, that you could easily spend your whole day fussing over food if you try to handle it yourselves.

When comparing quotes, look at the staff ratio (i.e. make sure you have adequate catering staff for your guest list). Do your due diligence — look at caterer reviews, research their experience and reputation, assess their responsiveness to your initial inquiry, and make sure they’re fully licensed.

Thankfully, Canvas House happens to have access to a wide network of reputable caterers across Melbourne, so let our team offer their support in your search.

Outdoor catering setup with food and floral arrangement

4. Meeting Dietary Preferences Of Your Guests

The very last thing you want at your wedding is for one of your guests to have a severe allergic reaction and go into anaphylactic shock. Ask guests to disclose any dietary restrictions, preferences or allergies when they confirm attendance to your wedding.

Whether you’re providing a sit-down meal or canapes and casual bites, you’ll need to make sure all your guests’ dietary needs are accommodated for. No one likes going hungry, and a wedding can go on for upwards of 6 hours.

Whilst you’re waiting for specific details, start considering vegetarian, vegan, celiac, kosher and halal options with your catering staff, as well as nut-free, dairy-free, and other alternatives or substitutes you could provide. This is another reason it’s important to pick catering staff with a good reputation: you don’t want to spend your big day worrying if your friends and families are being served the correct food.

Assorted desserts including macarons, cakes, and pastries on a tray

5. Less Is Not More

Whether you’re planning a minimalist wedding or want all the bells and whistles, catering is one area of wedding preparation that should not be skimped on. That means overestimating how much food you’ll need (including your dietary substitutions), and arranging to have more than enough for your reception. Having leftovers at the end of the night is much better than hungry guests.

6. Late Night Munchies

When you’ve been on the dancefloor all night long, it’s no surprise that some stomachs will be growling as the night draws to a close. Aside from that, guests may have found themselves too wrapped up in the emotion or adrenaline to have much of an appetite during the day (including you and your bridal party!)

Bring out some comfort food, whether it’s chips, cheese boards, chocolate or ice cream, and give your wedding party that little kicker of energy to keep the party going strong.

The Drinks To Serve At Your Wedding

Let’s not forget that food is only one half of catering. Our next batch of tips will prepare you on how, when and what drinks to serve during your wedding.

As a general rule, we suggest saving your drinks until the reception. Savour the moment during the exchange of vows, and give your caterers time to prepare, so that when you emerge from your formal ceremony into your wedding reception venue as newly-weds, you’ll have drinks nicely chilled and napkins waiting to be grabbed.

Champagne being poured into glasses

7. Champagne

Champagne and sparkling wine is the symbol of ultimate celebration – and a drink that most will enjoy a little tipple of. Champagne is a pretty costly beverage, but your guests don’t want to feel rationed.

We recommend moderately over-stocking on champagne to ensure you have enough for at least a few glasses per person. Most won’t stay drinking champagne all night, but for toasts, and other key moments in the night, it’s nice to have a slender glass of bubbles to raise up in celebration with everyone else. That way, you can also close the bar during speeches and the first dance to give your barteam a chance to re-set.

Bartender pouring a martini into a glass

8. Cocktails

Cocktails are decadent and fun. But they can also be time-consuming and complicated, especially if you have a large reception, or everyone ordering from the bar at the same time. Therefore, it can be worth having a selection of cocktails pre-batched. Alternatively, slim down your cocktail menu so bartenders aren’t working with a large variety of ingredients. This will speed up the process; and if your guests don’t like the cocktails on offer, they’ll still have beer, wine and spirits available.

A buffet table featuring roasted carrots garnished with cilantro, green bean and couscous salad, and roasted cauliflower, set up with serving utensils.

9. Shooting Your Shot: Maybe Not

Shots can turn a tipsy guest into an intoxicated one very quickly. Your friends and family have a lot to celebrate at your wedding, so it can be easy to get carried away. This can cause problems for you and the venue staff, who may be obliged to refuse service and escort them from the property. Refrain from providing shots at your reception; or limit your wedding party to one round of group shots to toast your new marriage.

wedding catering plates casey & basil

10. To B-YO Or Not To B-YO?

The BYO (or bring your own drinks) concept is great for most parties. Everyone gets to drink what they want, and you don’t have to worry about stocking your guests’ beverages. But – a wedding isn’t just any party, and unfortunately it is one of those costs that you’re probably better off covering yourself. You can end up with far too much (or far too little) liquor and quickly start feeling out of control.

If you’re set on a BYO or hosting your ceremony in a non-licensed venue, discuss with both your supplier and your venue about requirements and legislations. Check what you’re able to serve at the venue, whether there’s restrictions on the quantity or time of alcohol that can be served – and make sure you have enough glasses!

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With these tips and tricks from the expert party planners at Canvas House, you should hopefully now feel more confident about parting the sea that is catering for your wedding.

Whether you’re still tossing up between a sit-down meal or roving canapes, or you have your food and drinks menus down to a T, our team is here to help you host a wedding that looks (and tastes) exactly the way you want it to.

If you’re seeking a beautiful space for your wedding, contact us today to inquire about hosting your wedding in our stunning Melbourne venue. With our commercial size kitchen, you can rest assured we’ll cook up the tastiest memories for your big day.

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