Charlotte Balbier
Brides Up North Wedding Fairs

the big debate: formal vs informal dining

March 18th, 2016 | Rachel Parry

Image found on Bridal Musings, Photograhy by Sarah Gawler Photography

Image found on Bridal Musings, photography by Sarah Gawler Photography

As brides and grooms continue to shake up their big day plans to reflect their individual tastes and personalities, we’re seeing plenty of new dishes appearing on the wedding menu.

During the traditional three-course wedding breakfast usually the only choice would be chicken or beef, but with dining styles becoming more relaxed and couples keen to eat the things that make them go “mmmm” on their special day, the options being brought to the table are certainly expanding.

So is the formal meal another classic wedding practise that’s in danger of extinction in place of more quirky options, or should the sophisticated sit-down meal still reign supreme in the land of ‘I dos’?

Here’s our thoughts…

Photography by Joielala Photography

Photography by Joielala Photography

rachel says: mix it up

When editing the real wedding features for the blog one area I’ve come to pay particular attention to is what couple chose to serve their guests during their big day. From the welcome drinks and canapés, to main meal and evening reception, I love to see if they’ve put their own twist on the menu or stuck with tradition. As a foodie I’m generally happy with either (as long as I’m fed a good meal to help absorb the prosecco), but I do think what’s served up can make a real difference to setting the wedding apart and adds personality to the proceedings.

Following the rise in outdoor weddings, we’ve certainly seen more inventive choices from brides and grooms: from afternoon teas and picnics served in wicker baskets, to open air barbecues and cool street food vendors, such as fish and chips, burger or taco specialists. These styles of dining can not only help reflect brides’ and grooms’ individual tastes, but it can also help to enhance their chosen theme, whether it be a country garden, summer fete or festival style celebration.

Furthermore, not everyone is comfortable with the thought of a sit down meal – not only for the fear of not knowing which knife and fork to use next, but also the awkwardness of being seated with strangers. While we’d all love our friends and family to mix well and get along, not everyone reacts well to forced situations. More informal styles of dining mean that guests can still mix, but in a freer fashion, choosing where to sit and whom to approach (or avoid).

For those however that are fixed on having a sit down meal, there is still the option to mix things up a little with sharing platter style foods or by having a dessert that’s served away from the table, such as ice cream from a traditional style van, so that guests aren’t confined to their seats for too long.

Image found on Style Me Pretty, Photography by Daniel J Photography

Image found on Style Me Pretty, Photography by Daniel J Photography

julia says: stick to the menu

Whilst I’m all for doing your big day your own way, there are some elements of a wedding day that I just wouldn’t mess with.  The formal dining part in particular: why on earth would you axe the best bit?!

As someone who has attended lots of weddings of all shapes and sizes, the sit down meal is one of the parts of the day that I most look forward to.  And whilst I love a surprising menu, I would advise you to keep the overall format on the traditional side.

If there’s one thing that you need to keep your guests happy during a long day – especially the oldest and the youngest ones – then that’s structure.  Your guests are expecting to be seated and be fed well in the middle of the day. A wedding can be a long affair and once the ceremony, drinks reception and photo calls are done, most people will be looking forward to a roast chicken dinner with all the trimmings.

Others will have equally important concerns: the sit down dinner is the chance to rest their Jimmy Choo weary feet, spend some time relaxing with the fellow guests that they know best and hey, let’s be honest here, finally get stuck into that table wine!

The wedding breakfast rests, refuels and adds a sense of tradition to the day.  It’s the perfect platform for toasts, speeches and (if that wine goes down well) dancing on the tables later.  A sit down dinner needn’t be boring either: why not add an element of fun by including table games, ‘guess the length of the speech’ betting slips, a designated ‘carver’ (complete with fancy apron) on each table or large sharing platters?

Serve them what you like, but I’d argue that your wedding day is the time to serve it on fine china, not out of a paper cone!

Image found on Etsy (2)

Image found on Etsy

what you said on facebook

Laura: “We are sticking with tradition. While I quite like the idea of paella and crepes I’m not sure that my grandparents would appreciate it.”

Sarah: “We’ve decided on an afternoon tea style meal as it suits our tepee wedding and is logistically easy to organise with having an outdoor wedding. Our choice means that we’ve kept costs down a little too as we have a lot of mouths to feed!”

Kelly: “We’re having the best of both worlds – a sophisticated sit down meal for the wedding breakfast, featuring our favourite dessert (sticky toffee pudding) and then a street food vendor in the evening who will be serving our favourite takeaway – fish and chips!”

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Food Glorious Food. Wedding Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner…

June 4th, 2014 | Rachel Parry

(c) 2014 - Dine - Wedding & Event Caterers

When it comes to your first meal as husband and wife, meat and veg in its simplest form will no longer suffice.  And quite rightly so: wedding breakfasts are not school dinners!  Brides Up North, it’s time to go gourmet!

Food is a very important part of the wedding day. Done right, it’s a celebrational centrepiece and a real treat for your nearest and dearest.  Think flavour, theatre and surprise to excite the senses and taste buds and get your guests talking.  Practically speaking, keeping them fed keeps them happy too – whilst hugely enjoyable, weddings can be long affairs so feeding guests a good meal or at regular intervals throughout the day is advisable. This way guests should remain alert through the ceremony, welcome drinks and speeches and still have enough energy to burn up the dance floor in the evening.

(c) 2014 - Dine - Wedding & Event Caterers

For couples who are thinking creatively, shunning the traditional soup – followed by chicken – followed by brandy snap basket and mixing up the menu with some more personal food choices will either evoke warm childhood memories or provide a truly memorable meal for guests.  Ask your chosen caterer or venue for their suggestions for an extraordinary wedding breakfast. 

So what’s top of the menu for couples currently planning their weddings?

With images kindly supplied by our friends at Dine, award winning outside caterers, wedding specialists, venue and event managers, who will be more than happy to discuss your culinary requirements for your big day.  Visit their website to see how they can make your event special.

(c) 2014 - Barnaby Aldrick For Dine - Wedding & Event Caterers

Brilliant Bowl Food

Canapés just got cool. Try creative concoctions served off iPad trays or yummy combinations of flavours that combine in a portable portion for more informal celebrations. 

(c) 2014 - Dine - Wedding & Event Caterers

Afternoon Tea

In true British fashion UK wedding couples are picking dainty finger sandwiches, scrummy scones and a wonderful array of cakes to serve their guests, whether as a stand alone meal or as part of a longer series of dining elements.  This is a particular popular option for those having summer ceremonies, outdoor weddings or vintage themed celebrations. It can also add a fun, personal touch as couples can invite guests to bring their own sweet treat recipes to the table in a Great British Bake Off style. Interesting savoury options can be served along with the sandwiches while the sweets that follow can include anything from macaroons and cupcakes to fruit tartlets and mini meringues.

(c) 2014 - Dine - Wedding & Event Caterers

Nostalgic Nosh

Whether it be bangers and mash or steak and kidney pie, comfort foods and dishes that bring back fond childhood memories are whetting couples’ appetites. This laid-back dining option brings a warm and informal atmosphere to the dining table that will help your guests relax. With the wedding breakfast rule book thrown well and truly out of the window, pretty much anything goes – stew and dumplings, cottage pie, posh fish and chips – although there’ll always be a place for a really good roast in our hearts. 

(c) 2014 - Dine - Wedding & Event Caterers

Banquet Barbecues

I’m pretty sure that after the Aussies it’s us Brits who love to fire up the barbie. Predominately an option for those tying the knot in spring and summer, a gourmet barbecue wedding breakfast offers so much more than chicken legs and hot dogs. Think locally sourced meat used to create marinated lamb and tiger prawn kebabs or unusual flavoured sausages and burgers such as caramelised onion, chilli, apple or sundried tomato and herbs. You could treat your guests to a succulent cut of steak or perhaps, for a lighter option, some delicious Rainbow trout, or walk on the wild side with Ostrich meat! On the side serve summery and imaginative salad, coleslaw and cous cous dishes.

(c) 2014 - Dine - Wedding & Event Caterers

Wedding Brunch

As it’s cheaper to get married in the morning, those getting hitched before lunch time can literally make their first meal as a married couple breakfast. A growing trend, which started in America, serving your guests breakfast is certainly one way to make your wedding meal memorable. But it’s not a case of laying out some Special K, toast and crumpets – instead think fun options such as pancakes, omelettes and waffles that allow guests to interact by picking their own toppings and fillings. Alternatively, for those wanting a posh brekkie, why not serve up scrambled eggs and smoked salmon or Eggs Benedict, accompanied by a Mimosa or a Bloody Mary.

(c) 2014 - Dine - Wedding & Event Caterers

And to drink?

Champagne will always be in fashion, but locally brewed beers, ales and ciders served straight from the keg are becoming increasingly popular and work particularly well for summer fete or festival style weddings. Cocktails remain popular, of course, but to shake things up a little couples are encouraged serve a signature cocktail created purely for their wedding, or hire a pop-up bar where professional mixologists entertain guests by rattling up drinks on request.

I’ll drink to that!

(c) 2014 - Dine - Wedding & Event Caterers

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2014 supplied by Dine

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Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier 

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Made With Love! Supplier Showcase: CurlyFarmer – PLUS An Exclusive 10% DISCOUNT For Wedding Blog Readers!

March 13th, 2012 | Julia Braime

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I hope you’ve had your Weetabix this morning ladies, because if not, you will soon be feeling peckish! 

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Whilst preparing to post this interview with Brides Up North Featured Supplier Kate of North East catering company CurlyFarmer, I had to keep nipping off the the fridge.  Sadly cold ham and canned soup are no match for Kate’s gorgeous canapés!  Let’s find out how she can keep your tummies from rumbling on your big day. 

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CurlyFarmer

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How did CurlyFarmer begin?

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CurlyFarmer are based on a three generation farm in Northumberland, a business developed from a small family run farm and catering business with over ten years’ experience in catering. CurlyFarmer has a growing reputation for delivering mouth-watering, modern menus using locally sourced produce and where possible, using many ingredients grown or reared on the farm.

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CurlyFarmer’s success has seen them land corporate contracts with Banks Group Construction, Honda UK, Catering for large charities such as COCO, as well as providing inspiring menus and first class catering solutions for weddings, christenings, dinner clubs and children’s parties.

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CurlyFarmer

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Why the name “CurlyFarmer”?

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Kate has very curly hair and is a farmer – simple!

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What services does CurlyFarmer provide?

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We are able to offer creative, high quality food for large corporate or private functions such as weddings, balls, charity dinners, afternoon teas and christenings, or smaller events such as dinner parties or office lunches., we can take the hassle out of entertaining – either for a larger function or in your own home.”
As part of their commitment to high quality service, CurlyFarmer offer a full catering service, from bespoke menu planning to the provision of all table linen, crockery and personally selected serving staff.

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What areas do you cover? Will you travel?

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CurlyFarmer will travel to anywhere within reason if a custom requires, anywhere outside a 20 mile radius there will be a small delivery charge. The furthest we have travelled is to Sheffield for a Hen party!
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CurlyFarmer

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Tell us about the ingredients you use and where they are sourced?

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During particular seasons we try to use what we can from our farm for example our own lamb, garden herbs, salads, tomatoes and some vegetables depending on the crop. All year round we are lucky enough to be able to use our own free range eggs from our own hens, you really can tell the difference.

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CurlyFarmer

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Tell us about the new Curly Kitchen that you have been tweeting about?

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We are currently moving into a new Curly Kitchen to accommodate the growing business, bigger and better!

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What is the CurlyFarmer Dinner Club?

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Dinner club seems to be getting more popular with today’s economic climate, staying in is the new going out! A group of friends get together every month, each person takes their turn to host the dinner club and each guests pays for themselves. Making it a cheap way to have a dinner party and socialise, without the stress of cooking a three course meal.

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CurlyFarmer

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Tell us about your wedding catering service?

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At CurlyFarmer we understand that you want your special day to be the stuff that dreams are made of, packed full of wonderful, personal moments. That’s why we treat every event – whether it’s an intimate affair or a sizeable soiree – as unique. We’ll work with you to create an inspiring, bespoke menu that best suits your taste and budget, as well as providing hand-picked serving staff and tasteful tableware, managing your catering from start to finish. And because we understand the journey from field to fork better than most, you can be sure you’re getting the finest quality, locally sourced produce, made with love.

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What sets you apart from other wedding caterers?
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We offer a bespoke catering service, whatever you want we will create.  We can cater for anything from 2 to 300 guests.

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CurlyFarmer

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Can you give Brides Up North an idea on price?

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A CurlyFarmer full wedding package begins from £24.50 per guest; however as we offer a bespoke service the price can vary with the client desires and their budget.

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Can you do a discount for Brides Up North readers?

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We would be happy to offer Brides Up North readers a 10% discount on our catering services.  Please mention Brides Up North when booking. 

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CurlyFarmer

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How can Brides Up North get in touch with you/ find out more?

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E-mail or mobile phone, both of these are attached to Kate at all times.

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kate@curlyfarmer.co.uk

07739 965 020
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CurlyFarmer

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  – Images © 2012 Curly Farmer

Curly Farmer is a Brides Up North Featured Supplier

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

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