Look after your guests by choosing the right food and drink, at the right time, and you’ll have an energetic, sensibly merry gaggle all contributing to your perfect day

Words: Damien Gabet

SquareMeal 2017 Weddings magazine Catering trends

‘People get very excitable at weddings. They drink quicker, with greater abandon, when they’re in this sort of mood,’ says Adam McVay, creative director of drinks supplier Holy Water, who takes into account the psychology of a typical wedding guest when drawing up a plan for his clients.

He’s adamant that you can’t avoid fizz at this point in proceedings – but suggests lowering the alcohol content by making something summery such as a bellini (half prosecco, half peach purée).

SquareMeal 2017 Weddings magazine Catering trends

Mocktails are another way of keeping a lid on things. Staying hydrated on what is likely to be a summer’s day also helps minimise drowsiness. Mocktails must look the same as their boozy equivalents, he says, so non-drinkers don’t feel left out or worried that they’re giving off the ‘AA vibe’. A good one, suggests McVay, is elderflower, apple, ginger and soda. Just add gin for the leaded version.

Making sure your guests have plenty of ballast to soak up the drink helps hugely too. Boulevard Events director Dan Maher looks back to his own wedding: ‘I wanted to enjoy the reception over a proper period of time, so it was important to have more food there.’ One of Boulevard’s packages now offers couples the chance to ditch the starter at the wedding breakfast in favour of a substantial delivery of canapés and bowl food.

Eden Caterers - salmon

When Eden Caterers provides bowl food at receptions, director Nick Mead makes sure his staff circulate among guests, actively offering food out. 'Until they’ve had a drink, people tend not to be as adventurous – they don’t know anyone, they’re out of their comfort zone.’ So a little encouragement can help: you don’t want all that tactical food going to waste because guests feel inhibited about going over to the food station.

Dan Maher also suggests to his clients that they fill their guests in on the order of the day, so that everyone can make an informed decision about how much to eat, and when. ‘People will say to themselves, “I’m not going to eat for a few hours, so I’ll have another bowl or go easy on the wine.”’

Now find out what to serve for the wedding breakfast and after eights.

Looking for a venue for your big day? Find the very best in London here, and around the UK here.

This article was first published in SquareMeal Weddings 2017