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Warning: don’t read this blog when hungry!

I’m thrilled to be handing my blog space today to the simply wonderful Georgie Chenery and the team of Surrey-based foodies and kitchen heroes at Caper & Berry.

Wedding Advice | Caper and Berry Wedding Tips | Kelly Chandler

These guys are a joy to work with every time and know their stuff inside out when it comes to delivering a gastronomic feast. Here are their Top Wedding Must-Haves and No-No’s when it comes to planning your wedding catering:

Caper & Berry’s Top 5 Must Haves:

1) Food – Lots of it
2) Cocktails – Get the party started
3) Short canape reception
4) Set a clear budget for food
5) Something naughty at midnight

Caper & Berrys Top 5 No No’s:

1) Coffee at the table
2) Cheap linen
3) Messy food
4) Long speeches
5) Late finishes

Must Haves and No-No’s When Planning Your Wedding Catering

1) Always start with a clear budget

Sit down with a blank page of paper and set out what you need to spend. Decide what is most important to you; the dress? The flowers? The band? At Caper & Berry, we definitely attract foodies and our client’s passion for food is clear from the moment we answer the phone at the initial contact. If you can let your caterer know what budget you’re looking to spend, they’ll help suggest menus and drinks packages to fit with this.

Wedding Advice | Caper and Berry Wedding Tips | Kelly Chandler

2) Food

From a caterer’s point of view, I would always say, my ultimate must-have is food. And lots of it! I’m sure everyone will agree, the worst thing at a wedding is rumbling tummies and guests wondering when or what the next bit of food will be.  From the moment guests arrive back from the ceremony, to the sparkler decent at the end of the evening, make sure your guests are well-fed. For the main wedding breakfast, decide on the style of catering you would like to move towards. Whether it be a formal three course sit down or a BBQ sharing platter at the centre of the tables. It’s important everyone has a great hearty meal and the ingredients should be seasonal to get the most flavor and colour from the dishes.

Wedding Advice | Caper and Berry Wedding Tips | Kelly Chandler

Wedding Advice | Caper and Berry Wedding Tips | Kelly Chandler

3) Short and Sweet – Canape & Drinks Reception

Imagine that your guests are milling in the gardens with a nice cold glass of something sparkly, canapes are flowing and the wedding party are having a few family photos with the photographer. No matter the time of day, the drinks reception is the first chance your guests will get to eat and drink after the ceremony. Canapes are little bits of deliciousness and the time spent having a few sips of champagne is a great introduction to the style and level of food you’re going to experience throughout the rest of the day. Don’t go on too long though, a short and sweet drinks reception is a must if you want to keep the day flowing at a good pace without anyone getting bored!

Wedding Advice | Caper and Berry Wedding Tips | Kelly ChandlerWedding Advice | Caper and Berry Wedding Tips | Kelly Chandler

4) Cocktails – The Evening Bar

Caper & Berry love a cocktail! They are such a fun idea for your evening bar and definitely set the tone for an evening full of partying. Having a ‘His & Hers’ is a great way to limit the bar offering, whilst also allowing you to put in an extra personal touch. A C&B must have!

Wedding Advice | Caper and Berry Wedding Tips | Kelly ChandlerWedding Advice | Caper and Berry Wedding Tips | Kelly Chandler

5) Something Naughty at Midnight

There’s nothing better than a cheeky treat at midnight (or around about then!). Go with something to soak up a little bit of the booze. Simple and stodgy – you can’t go wrong.  We find cheese and bacon toasties to be extremely popular and oh so simple!

Wedding Advice | Caper and Berry Wedding Tips | Kelly Chandler

Our Pizza Defender has also been a huge hit this year. The smell of melted cheese, fresh basil oil and the fire wood burning is totally irresistible. We slice the pizza up and serve it to your guests on metre long wooden boards whilst its piping hot.

Wedding Advice | Caper and Berry Wedding Tips | Kelly Chandler

And onto the ‘No No’s’

1) Serving coffee at the table

Serving coffee at the table can seem like a lovely idea, but when you’re pushed for time, a coffee station in a separate area or room is a fabulous idea! It gets people up out of their seats, so the room can either be transformed or cleared away from all of the unnecessary glassware on the tables.  It also gives your guests a chance to mingle after being seated for a long while. The bride and groom have the opportunity to get a few extra shots at the venue and freshen up before the evening guests arrive. Most importantly, offering coffee to the table only prolongs the time that could be spent on the dancefloor!

2) Cheap Linen

A table cloth is the canvas for your table decorations and if you start with a beautiful texture and colour, your stunning centerpieces will look even better. Whilst a white cloth can be a great base, a softer and muted tone will keep it from looking too bright. We recommend Just4Linen, Urbane Chalk or White Indian Cotton. Hessian cloths are great if you’re going for a rustic and bohemian feel, sometimes a runner is just enough to change a clinical looking tablecloth into a relaxed dining table. If you’re opting for neutral flowers, why not bring in some colour with your napkins too? So long as the quality is high, the table cloth is round and touches the floor (not two squares crossing), your wedding will scream luxury before you have even chosen your flowers!

Wedding Advice | Caper and Berry Wedding Tips | Kelly Chandler

3) Messy Food

Ladies in beautiful dresses + messy food = C&B #3 No No!

Keep your canapes small and easy to eat. Avoid anything with a spoon or skewer, there’s nowhere to put them once you’ve eaten. Definitely mix up the textures, but avoid canapes with liquid centres, or loose dipping sauces. The last thing the bride wants is to get some unwanted food on her beautiful gown! The same rule applies for the wedding breakfast so we would give a big no no to soup!

Wedding Advice | Caper and Berry Wedding Tips | Kelly ChandlerWedding Advice | Caper and Berry Wedding Tips | Kelly Chandler

4) Long Speeches

When it comes to the duration of a successful wedding speech, moderation is the key – too short and it looks like you didn’t put enough effort and too long almost always means too boring. Ideally, you should not go over the 10 minute mark. Speeches should be happy, well paced and never too long, an absolute no no!

Wedding Advice | Caper and Berry Wedding Tips | Kelly Chandler

5) Late Finishes

A wedding is a really, really long day, so make sure you set a time for carriages and the bride and grooms departure. Let your guests leave on a high and wanting more, they will remember what a fantastic party it was, rather than remembering the horrific hangover the next day!

Wedding Advice | Caper and Berry Wedding Tips | Kelly Chandler

I hope you found Georgie’s tips useful. Now all I need is to find a way to convince the Caper & Berry team to cook for me in the office every day!

Happy Planning!

Click here to download my top 7 tips for wedding success.

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