Make sure that your wedding day menu is memorable for all the right reasons. With a quality caterer, nasty surprises like these possible wedding food disasters should never, ever be an issue!
1. Allergic Reactions
Always ask your guests to specify their dietary needs in their RSVP, and relay them word for word to your caterer. Allergies, food hypersensitivities and intolerances are incredibly varied, but all should be taken seriously.
Good caterers will always inform their waiting team of the ingredients, but there is always a risk and (sadly) very few kitchens can guarantee to be allergen free. Should the worst happen on the day, personal experience has taught me to adopt a ‘do not hesitate’ attitude to calling an ambulance. Read more about Catering for Dietary Requirements.
2. Ice Cream Soup
Never serve ice cream in a marquee or a venue that does not have a permanent freezer. Your guests and their posh frocks will thank you for it.
3. Sudden Food Price Hikes
In my 25 years as a caterer, I have only once had to make a significant change to a menu at the last minute. This was because the cost of one key ingredient became astronomical. Food costs can also rise slowly over time according to harvests, so be prepared to be flexible, especially if you are planning your wedding more than a year ahead.
4. A Sudden Outbreak of Vegetarianism (or Carnivorism!)
A caterer’s nightmare; guests changing their minds on the day! It’s not just contrary guests – sometimes a media frenzy can drive a mind change (the horse meat scandal springs to mind).
Guests changing their minds might not sound serious, but caterers will only prepare for your specified numbers, and if all your guests suddenly change their mind it could cause disaster.
There are three ways to help avoid it:
- Firstly, get your numbers exact. If you can, contact guests one month before the wedding to remind them of their choices and check if their dietary needs have changed.
- Secondly, avoid ‘buyer’s remorse’ by ensuring your caterer has made all options look equally as gorgeous and sumptuous, especially the vegetarian options (taste both options at your tasting).
- Finally, find a caterer with speedy service that serves everyone quickly and efficiently.
5. Power Cuts
Touch wood this has never happened to me – gosh I can barely write that line for fear of jinxing my luck – but it’s important to accept that there are some things you really cannot plan for.
If the lights and electricity go out the best advice is to ‘keep calm and carry on’. Wedding insurance will often reimburse money for this, but only you can save the atmosphere on the night by remaining calm and happy.
The silver lining is that no one will forget your wedding! Keep your temper and composure, and have some fun.
6. Shortage of a Key Ingredient
Unlikely, yet possible, especially for caterers who use very fresh ingredients or have particularly demanding clients. This is rare for most items but possible if you have any unusual, very specific or localised items. For example, a specific fruit, fish or cheese from a specific supplier. Be prepared to be flexible.
7. Food Poisoning
This is the easiest disaster to avoid. Firstly, only employ a caterer who has a 5 Star Food Hygiene certificate. Beyond that, be sensible with your menu choice. Crab in a marquee with limited refrigeration? No! Sushi in summer heat? No! An unshaded outdoor buffet? No!
8. A Stinking Wedding Cake
If you choose fresh cream or a dairy based cake, remember that it is NOT meant to stand for long; it will spoil. You can say the same of the increasingly popular cheese stack cakes. I’ve written a whole separate article with tips on What Types of Wedding Cake to Serve When.
Display a fresh cake no more than 30 minutes before you are going to cut it and request that the caterers remove it straight away to serve.
9. Running Out of Food
Check, check and double check your guest numbers right up until the day to ensure that your caterer’s quantities will be sufficient to sustain them all.
Never try to ‘cheat’ your caterer by giving them a lower guest number (yes, this really does happen). If your guest numbers have increased beyond your budget, be honest with your caterer and work together to find a more cost-efficient way of feeding your hungry guests.
10. “Eeek! That’s not my menu…”
What happens if the food served on your wedding day is not the food you ordered? I can imagine this would be a complete nightmare (gladly another one on this list I have not suffered).
It’s important to be specific all the way through your planning to ensure that your food expectations match your orders; a menu tasting is a great platform for this. There is a big difference between ‘not as we thought’ and ‘nothing like what we ordered’.
On the day, if you are served food you are not happy with, remain calm. There is very little anyone will be able to do and, as long as the food is plentiful and good quality, it is unlikely many of your guests will notice unless you make a fuss. Mention the issue with the event manager on the night (calmly), then as soon as you can, contact the company formerly in writing with exact details of your issue.
I promise you that any decent caterer will be mortified with this sort of mistake and will want to investigate what happened, why, and how they can make it up to you.
Guest post by Julie Gray of Bovingdons
Ice Cream: Flickr by jo-h
Cream Cake: Pexels