Planning a unique and relaxed menu for a rustic themed summer wedding
When we first set out on a mission of launching a catering company in Autumn 2013 we had a very clear vision in mind. We wanted to serve relaxed, sharing style food to relaxed people looking to enjoy a casual meal with their friends. No fine dining in sight. For that reason, weddings were never at the fore front of our plans. We simply didn’t think that the style of food we were offering would appeal to the brides and grooms picturing their perfect day. Oh how wrong we were!
Within weeks of launching we were receiving enquiries from couples looking for a casual meal which they could serve to their guests. Most of them envisaged a relaxed day, often with no formal seating plan, with people simply mingling and helping themselves to a fresh, rustic meal. A “perfect summer party” was often used in the enquiries.
And so our adventure with rustic wedding catering began. We have worked at weddings with various settings and concepts since but there are certain tips which applied to all and are worth keeping in mind if a rustic wedding is what you want:
1) Food is for sharing
You want the food at your wedding to act as an ice breaker, a means to bring your guests together, start a conversation and keep the mingling going. The best way to achieve this is to put delicious looking dishes in front of your guests and ask them to share. Whether you do this as one big buffet table where guests can chat whilst queuing to help themselves to the food or serve pots on each table for the guests to serve and distribute, they are sure to chat and laugh whilst doing so. If you are looking for something a bit more quirky, why not surprise your guest with a picnic style party and serve the wedding breakfast in wicker hampers for each table to share?
2) Food should look like food
Fine dining chefs have the amazing talent of making a dish look like a piece of art with refined presentation and elaborate garnish. If you are aiming for a rustic wedding however, your want to allow your food to look like food. This is not to say that you don’t want it to look appealing. The appetizing factors should however come from the freshness and the vibrancy of used ingredients. Nothing can beat a beautiful summer salad made of fresh, colourful vegetables and decorated with jewels of pomegranate seeds!
3) Fresh, fresh, fresh
To follow on from the previous point, you want to be looking for all things fresh. Not just in your meal ingredients, but also in garnish and table decorations. We’re thinking fresh, wild flowers, bowls of fresh, seasonal fruit and jars of freshly picked herbs on the tables. This also applies to your wedding cake. And on that note….
4) ….forget the fondant!
Whilst a sophistically decorated, fondant covered fruit cake can be a beautiful centrepiece of a dessert table it will not complement your rustic theme. Why not replace it with a “naked” cake? This is essentially a freshly baked cake, in your chosen flavour, tiered and decorated with fresh fruit and flowers. It looks as impressive as an icing covered creation, and can be full of the seasonal goodness. As an alternative, why not substitute a wedding cake with a whole table of various cakes, summer bake-off style? You can also push the boat on the flavours to focus on seasonal ingredients. A slice of Rich Beetroot Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Cream anyone?
5) Mix Wooden planks, enamelware, earthenware and white crockery for the rustic country look
A beauty of a rustic, country style wedding is that you really can do it on a tight budget. You don’t even need matching tableware. Scour your family, friends and local charity shops for earthenware and enamelware serving dishes. Try to incorporate some wooden planks or serving boards – if you are a bit of a DIY wiz you can even make those yourself. Vintage apple crates and boxes bought from a reclaim yard will also look fantastic as serving trays.
Buy a load of hessian on eBay and use it as your tablecloth.
And if you don’t want to worry about washing up, go for biodegradable disposable palm leaf plates to complement the look.
6) And finally, take a deep breath: your theme is “relaxed” not “perfect”
No matter how much meticulous planning you put into your big day, things are bound to go wrong. Whether that’s a power cut in the middle of your first dance, a downpour whilst your harpist is playing a concert on the lawn or grandma Ruth crashing the dance floor after one too many glasses of sherry. The good news is, you are having a rustic themed wedding. No one is expecting this to be perfect. It may even be a bit rough around the edges. But boy is it fun and memorable!