The Hard Hat Bride: Feeding the Masses

February 24th, 2011
By Maggie

Locally sourced and in-season food is important to us. We wanted these elements to be translated into the food we would serve on the big day without being snooty, without it being a “theme.” We started our caterer search with this in mind but weren’t quite “clicking” with the caterers. While seated at dinner at our favorite restaurant, Old Inn on the Green, we started telling James, our friend and the host, of our troubles. He simply replied, “Why don’t we do it for you?” We met with Peter Platt, the proprietor and chef, and immediately knew he and his team would create and execute a meal people would not only enjoy but be wowed by.

I cannot stress enough how important it is to feel comfortable with your caterer; in most cases you are feeding over 100 people and food is a huge component to your overall budget. Food also plays a role in the overall feel of your day; we wanted a natural menu that would fit perfectly into our overall image. As mentioned, we got married in a field and had to assemble an entire kitchen tent. Crucial dialogue between Peter and Jess had to take place in order to execute our menu.

In terms of menu and selecting a caterer, here are a few of my pointers:

1. Stay away from off-putting foods. You may love foie gras but chances are your guests don’t. You are serving a crowd of differing palettes, offering high-end or “adventurous” food may come off as elitist and not be enjoyed.

2. Go for it during cocktail hour. Take some of your adventurous tendencies towards food and minimize them into bite-size portions. Peter suggested deviled quail eggs and by far they were a huge hit with our guests. You can also use cocktail hour as an opportunity to serve food too costly if plated for each guest, like lobster tail.

3. Get creative with serving trays and accessories. Peter and Jess understood our mix of old world traditions with more modern elements; i.e. the long wooden canoe tray and the classic silver platters as shown below. Peter presented the canapés wonderfully, for instance the Maine mussel salad served right in their shells.

4. Bring yourselves into the menu. That is, without going too crazy (see #1). Within the Chesterwood courtyard is an old well that had been capped. Immediately I knew that I wanted this area to be 100% dedicated to cheese, our favorite food ever.

5. This isn’t an all-you-can-eat buffet at Ihop. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should offer chicken, steak, veal, fish, etc. Allow your caterers to concentrate on two dishes (one non-meat) and ask their opinion. Peter knew that the execution of a fish dish in the middle of an open field would not be spectacular so a menu was crafted that allowed him to execute his best.

6. Consider the time it takes to eat. After a lively cocktail hour people do not want to sit and eat for hours. We opted for a sit-down meal with two courses broken up by speeches and later in the evening served dessert. If you opt for more courses, break these up with dancing- you don’t have to play Lady Gaga between your chilled soup trio and your pasta course, you can opt for more classic music that still get people moving while not initiating a full-on dance party (yet).

7. Sit-down? Buffet? Family Style? Talk to your caterer about which service they prefer for your menu. Some say that family style and buffet options are less costly, yet your caterer may have a different opinion. Keep in mind family style dinners require more serving trays and utensils and as do buffets as well as more tables and overall area inside your tent or event space.

8. Service, service, service. Be sure to talk to your caterer about how many servers they intend to have. You don’t want one side of the reception to be finishing their entree while the other side hasn’t even gotten their salad. The servers should know the food they are serving; someone with food allergies has to ask whether or not some ingredients are present in the food.

Photo Credits: Eric Limon Photography

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Category: celebrations, Planning Tools, The Hard Hat Bride, weddings

Leave a Comment (5 comments so far)

  • Ariel 02.25.11

    I am salivating thinking about quail eggs.


  • Laura 02.25.11

    yummm…can we go back and do it again??

  • Kirsten 02.24.11

    These are all really great tips! I wish I was getting married again- but I will certainly forward this blog over to the people I know who are in the planning stages. This information is super-helpful!

  • Catie 02.24.11

    Another amazing post. Loved the idea of different serving platters and the gorgeous cheese display.

  • louise silverman 02.24.11

    this looks like amazing food…………peter platt wins!