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How To Plan The Perfect Wedding Food Experience

  |  By Alison McGill
All photography courtesy of White Table Catering Co. Photo by The Apartment Photo.

The foundation of every great party is amazing food and your wedding day is an incredible opportunity to get creative with menus, serving styles, cocktail and drink offerings. Just like every part of your wedding, your menu should be personal and reflect things your love. A close working relationship with your caterer is essential for an inspired wedding food experience. We spoke to Carlyanne Pruger, creative director of White Table Catering Co. in Vancouver to share the secrets to creating a killer food experience at your wedding—one you must not forget to have beautifully captured in your wedding photography!

Photo by Teak and Thyme.

Food has become SO important at a wedding... why has it become such a huge part of the party? “Today’s culture is all about the food. We photograph and style our own food, we pay to go to nice restaurants and are selective about our coffee shops. We don't mind going longer distances across the city just to try that Instagram-worthy dish and we spend thousands of dollars to travel and experience different cuisines across the world. It’s not the just food that people want, it’s the full experience. The restaurant decor, the Instagramable wall and the way it’s presented.  Today we live for experiences and we see this as a constant trend in the wedding industry as well. Because great food culture is so accessible, being a foodie is no longer niche. When brides and grooms share their vision with us, it often includes food as a part of their relational identity. They want to include their own food memories together as a couple with their guests at their wedding as a part of sharing a story of who they are, what makes them happy and celebrating their unique relationship with them. Because of that, catering has changed in its contribution to a wedding—it's now integrated into the total experience of a curated event. It's woven into the main theme of the entire experience. This is what we are hearing from our clients. They want the food to be one of the main focuses of their wedding. They want it presented beautifully. They want it to be customized and represent them as a couple. They want it to be so good people talk about it and they actually want to eat it!!”

Photo by Hera Studio Inc

What are you seeing as the big trends for 2019 weddings? “Because it’s all about the experience, family style continues to be a huge trend this year along with interactive chef and guest food stations like building your own taco or a His and Hers ice cream sundae bar. The idea is for your guests to experience food and not just taste it! Whether it’s having servers pouring a sauce on each plate at the table to create that dramatic effect at a plated dinner, or having guests plate their own food at a station. This also extends into drink where various garnishes are available at cocktail bars. Another growing trend is tasting many different things and flavours in mini portions. For example if a couple enjoys poke we serve poke in mini to-go boxes even with enough variety to become the main meal. This is also a great way to infuse ethnic food cultures together to represent both sides of the couple.”

Presentation is of course key with great food. What are some ways couples are getting creative with their food and drink presentation? “Plating food on unique china or stylized glassware at the bar really changes the way food is presented and received. This creates new opportunities to build on a consistent feel throughout the evening. With food being one of the highest costs of a wedding, it is often hidden and not incorporated into the main event decor, creating a separation between the two. Tying it into the decor and making the food displays unique and interesting will showcase the food you have chosen for your guests as well as create a fuller experience for your event. Food doesn't just have to placed in the corner on a table with a linen; incorporating bar carts, food carts, bar table tops for food stations and thinking outside the box for food presentation are all ways to highlight food in the event.”

Photo by Brooklyn D Photography.

Often beautiful food is not properly photographed as part of wedding coverage. What should a couple share with their photographer to ensure the culinary greatness is captured? “Ask your photographer to include food photos in the photo timeline prior to guests eating. Often, the photographer has a schedule for photos that doesn't include the food prior to guests eating or there is a photo timeline conflict. So when the food is ready for service and beautifully displayed, the photographer may be shooting another item. When food first comes out it always looks the best. This is similar to getting photos of decor before guests take their seat.”

How can a photographer and caterer work together to capture gorgeous food photos? “Because the lighting or the backdrop may not always be best for close up food photos at a reception, we have found bringing a light box or even a marble slab and placing it onto something mobile helps. This way we can move it into the light with a featured plate and get great shots. Getting broader pictures of food stations, buffets, servers bringing plated or family style platters and food appetizer settings are great ways to capture the overall guest experience.”

This article was originally published on Feb 21, 2019

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