It’s time to (finally!) share one of the most interesting and exciting parts of our wedding, at least according to me: the food! When planning and booking our wedding, our order of priority went something like this: venue, food, photography…everything else. And venue was at the top of that list simply because you can’t have a wedding if you don’t have somewhere to host it, otherwise food would have been the front runner!
As you can probably tell, food is a big part of mine and Ben’s lives. He already loved cooking when we met, and he had to teach me how to cook – we won’t bring up that cracker I burned in the microwave that time again… As such, it’s one of the foundations of our relationship, and we love time spent together in the kitchen creating new meals or going out to new restaurants to try their food. So, of course, we wanted it to be a big part of our wedding day.
We knew straight away that we didn’t want the standard sit-down Sunday lunch type meal. We do both love a good roast, but it wasn’t the style we wanted for the day. Neither did we want fussy fine dining with a set menu. Again, it wasn’t the right feel. The choice of venue actually also ended up falling a little bit due to how we wanted it catering too – we didn’t want an all-in-one type venue where the food was included, we wanted to do it separately to make it as unique to us as possible.
Since we decided to go for a relaxed garden party kind of style for our wedding, with touches of everything we love thrown in here and there, it quickly became obvious to us what kind of food we wanted: the kind everyone could get stuck into and really enjoy. And for this, we decided an American-style barbecue was going to work perfectly.
Choosing our caterers was a very serious business; we looked at everything from food vans to full scale catering companies. I trawled the internet searching for reviews on as many local caterers as possible, ones that offered hog roast, barbecues, wood-fired pizzas and more.
The caterers we went with were local company, Harrogate Food & Drink Co. They operate smaller catering and food/drink brands under a couple of different names for each style of cuisine, including Truffle Hunters (which was how we were introduced to them – this is their hog roast and barbecue side), HFD (the main food side) and their bar, 10 Devonshire Place, which is located in Harrogate.
After getting some sample menus and a quote on pricing from them, we met the owner at their bar to talk through the ideas we had. While the style and quality of food was our priority, pricing also played a big part, as it was only when I was contacting lots of companies for quotes that we realised just how quickly the prices stacked up. Fortunately we found HFD very reasonable in terms of the pricing for what they were offering and their flexibility. They were very willing to incorporate whatever dishes we wanted, including a dish of sweet potato fries just for the top table…ie. me! On top of that, they were super friendly and had a team of staff that worked together like a family – possibly because some of these were in fact family!
What we especially loved about HFD was that they were not only able to include the catering for the meal, they also did the canapes, the evening food, all the drinks, providing their own bar hire free of charge, and provided all the crockery, cutlery, glasses and set up. While we didn’t want an all-in-one package on the venue, this saved us so much hassle and brought together a very reasonable pricing quote for us where they could repurpose staff throughout the day and evening.
So the big question – what did we eat?! Well, pretty much ALL THE FOOD. The canapes during the drinks reception included mini Yorkshire puddings with roast beef (we couldn’t not do this!), a mini portion of fish and chips, belly pork and a vegetarian sev puri. They also arranged and provided the drinks here which were little bottles of beer and glasses of Pimms.
We decided that the canapes would act as our starters, so we didn’t serve a specific starter at the tables, but we did have bread on each table to nibble at. My dad actually provided these baguettes from Thomas the Baker – we couldn’t have someone else’s bread at our own wedding! – but HFD were happy to set this up for us with olive oil. Like I said, they were very flexible to accommodate exactly what we wanted and we never felt like we were being awkward at all in making these type of requests.
And the main event…the barbecue boards! This also wasn’t a standard option on the caterer’s menus, but they were more than happy to build these for us based on the ideas we had, and they came out exactly as we’d imagined – if not better! We had BBQ ribs, giant sausages, lemon and thyme chicken and corn on the cob on huge wooden boards served to each table, so guests could just dig in and serve themselves off these. They were accompanied by various sauces and salads – including a tomato one and a green one – and new potatoes, plus, of course, the sweet potato fries for the top table! These were all absolutely wonderful and I’m so happy they came out exactly as we’d envisioned them. We had so many compliments on how it was the best wedding food people had ever had!
This was followed up with a dessert of chocolate tart with fresh raspberries and cream which was SO good. Again, people are still commenting on how good these were now.
When the evening guests arrived, we served pulled pork sandwiches – and here is my biggest, and only, regret of the whole wedding day: I didn’t try one! I was so busy enjoying the festivities – and admittedly still full from the main course – that I didn’t think to go and get one. It was only later on, when I was eating crisps in the hotel room half out of my wedding dress, that I realised I should have got one! Apparently these were super tasty, just like everything else.
But wait, there’s still more! In addition to all this food (plus the candy bar we had to one side too), there was another main event: the wedding cake…or perhaps I should say, cakes!
Again, because of the whole family bakery thing, we were very lucky to get our wedding cakes provided by the family. And can you believe that this honestly astounding creation was made entirely by my sister?!
I didn’t have any specific ideas on how I wanted our wedding cake to be, but I started a Pinterest board that I shared with her, pinning cakes that I liked the look of. It wasn’t until our family’s next door neighbour offered us the use of the cake stand he’d made for his daughter’s wedding that the whole idea started to come together. This cake stand is made from the stump and roots of a tree that used to sit in their garden – somewhere I spent a lot of my childhood – so has a bit of a special meaning to me. The cake stand is also HUGE. We knew it would make a wonderful addition to the decor of our marquee which brought the outside in, so we gratefully accepted their offer to use it.
And so began the process of the cake planning! Since the cake stand had 5 separate platforms for cakes, we knew it needed to be something big and spectacular. Rather than a simple tiered cake, we decided to go for several different cakes.
It became apparent from my Pinterest board that naked cakes were what appealed to me most, so Beth chose this as the centrepiece one with two tiers, in a Victoria sponge decorated with fresh fruit, flower petals and greenery in the form of rosemary. I left the rest entirely up to her, just giving our cake flavour preferences which were lemon, chocolate orange, fruit cake and vanilla.
Beth is an artist, both by nature and by qualification, so she ended up actually designing our wedding cakes with a watercolour painting that I’m planning to get framed. She claims it’s nothing special, but I beg to differ! On this, she outlined what each cake would be, where it would be placed and a vague idea of the marbled icing decoration. What she left out, however, was how the cakes would be decorated – this was to be a surprise for us on the wedding day, and what a surprise it was!
Not only had she ordered a custom Disney-inpsired cake topper with our initials on a laser cut “Happily Ever After” quote, she’d individually decorated each cake with carefully moulded Mickey ears, foam roses to match the colour scheme of each cake, and Disney pins! But wait, there’s more! It wasn’t just that the overall cake was vaguely Disney inspired – no! In fact, she’d themed each cake to each of the Walt Disney World theme parks, with a colour scheme and pin to match! Pink was Magic Kingdom, with Cinderella Castle floating away on the balloons from Up! (which was a vague wedding theme for us if you remember our ceremony entry music); purple was Epcot, with a Figment pin representing Journey Into Imagination; yellow was Hollywood Studios, with a Tower of Terror uniform Mickey pin; and green was Animal Kingdom, with Minnie and the Tree of Life.
The first time we saw the cake was walking into the marquee after our ceremony and we were honestly just astounded both the overall effect of the cake and all the tiny details that had gone into it – truly a Disney wedding cake to be proud of! On top of that, it also tasted amazing. I’d say particularly the chocolate orange cake, but Ben disagrees and says the lemon was best – everyone had a favourite and kept going back for me, so fortunately there was plenty of it! We actually ended up with some to take back home, some of which came out for a family party recently and there are a couple of slices still in our freezer!
And there you have it – an essay simply about our wedding food, drink and cake! There’s only one more post left to go about the wedding – I know, I’m dragging these out! – and then we’ll be done!