What it is: The classic option, this one never goes out of style. A plated, formal dinner adds a touch of class to any occasion: keep it traditional with an entrée, main and dessert, or go grand with an all-out banquet.
Why we like it: First-off, your guests will know the drill. Everyone eats at the same time, everyone gets their share, and everybody sticks to the schedule. For guests travelling a long way, a beautifully presented plate of fine food is a sure fire winner. And don’t underestimate the ease that it gives to the planning of the day – spreading out toasts between courses keeps your guests engaged and entertained. Not to mention the fun that you can have with a seating plan...
Best bites: In Yorkshire, we’re spoiled by a generous helping of fantastic wedding venues known for their fine-dining credentials as well as first-class independent catering companies. For a classic country wedding, Swinton Park near Ripon do gourmet weddings including a six-course Chef’s Table with a selection of wines to complement each course. For something a little different, Leeds-based Dine Events serve up bespoke menus cooked by chefs from some of the UK’s top kitchens.
What it is: If you want to hark back to a golden era of glamour, chivalry and high teas, then scones and jam are the way to go. Typically served between 2pm and 5pm, think elegant finger sandwiches, delicate scones and moreish petits fours. Mismatched china, vintage cake stands and Pimm’s a-plenty keep this classic tradition bang up to date.
Why we like it: Who can resist a miniature macaron? There are few things in life more pleasing than sipping fine tea (or something a little stronger) whilst tucking into a plate of bite-sized sweets. What’s more, it’ll save you time and money – getting the food out of the way early means plenty of time on the dance floor later.
Best bites: For out-and-out elegance, The Grand Hotel and Spa in York have nailed afternoon tea. Ornate porcelain, delicately bite-sized scones and flutes of fizz make for a grand affair. For something a little off-piste, Cobble Kitchen’s kooky mobile van can park up at your wedding and serve hot drinks and tasty bakes.
What it is: Relaxed and informal, the buffet is a wedding staple for a reason. With long tables bearing a feast of different dishes, this one keeps your options open. Opt to employ servers behind the buffet to keep things traditional, or go casual and let guests serve themselves.
Why we like it: An easy and cost-effective way to go big on choice, a buffet does its best to keep your guests happy. Food allergies and dietary restrictions can easily be catered for with extra plates and stations, whilst the service style will get your guests mingling.
Best bites: If you want the organisation off your plate, stick to a specialist caterer or choose a foodie venue. Stay savvy by opting for a venue that offers in-house catering: The CB Inn near Richmond keeps things gourmet with everything from fillet of pork Parisienne with tagliatelle to coq au vin. If you’re looking to find your own venue, Blue Sky Event Hire Solutions offer a hire service for cooking, catering and serving equipment – meaning you can do-it-yourself like a professional.
What it is: There’s no need to feel pressured into an elaborate food spread – cocktail-style receptions are all the rage. This up-and-coming trend swaps a formal dinner for hors d’oeuvres, creating a chic party vibe that gets guests on their feet. If you’re getting wed late in the day and want to max out mingling time, this option reaps big rewards.
Why we like it: Worried that a formal meal isn’t your style? This is guaranteed to keep the party ticking along nicely. It works especially well for very large wedding parties, and with food available all night, guests can tuck in whenever they please.
Best bites: Harrogate-based bespoke caterers The Dusty Miller can put together a full menu of canapés for your wedding– made with local produce and tailored to your tastes. If you want your venue to sort if for you, Judges Country House Hotel at Yarm serve up gourmet bites: think smoked salmon and crème fraîche blinis and vegetable and wasabi sushi with seaweed caviar.