What do you remember from every wedding you have been to? We always talk about the food. Was there enough? Too much (never)? How about that gooey cheese on the grazing table? Did you have third helpings of cake like me? All the important things.
As a couple, you want the take-home from your guests to be that they were super well looked after and didn’t need to stalk the staff for a feed. No kidding, the catering at your wedding really does have a significant part to play in how happy (and not hangry) your guests will be.
To answer some FAQs around wedding catering, we sat down for a chat with incredibly talented team behind Fig Tree Catering in Byron Bay.
Featured image: Fig Tree Catering by Beck Rocchi Photography.
Q. Do you use mostly local produce?
A. The Byron Shire is the most amazing larder of seafood, meat, fruit and vegetables. Everything is caught, grown, raised and harvested here. We absolutely pride ourselves on supporting local businesses.
Q. Can you work to a budget with your catering?
A. Yes, we have a minimum spend (which ensures quality and quantity) and then a number of sample menus for our couples to peruse. We also have personalised menu options to choose from or you can talk directly with our chefs about your vision for your day.
Q. Do you recommend couples do tastings?
A. With every wedding we are a part of, we always include a complimentary wedding tasting. This is so important as it allows couples to not only taste the food but enjoy the whole experience – from the styling to the service, the flavours and presentation. We know this is a highlight for couples in their planning process and important for them to feel confident that they’re booking an experience their guests will enjoy too.
Q. What are your ‘go-to’ menu items or service style for a wedding?
A. As we evolve the menu seasonally and annually, we are constantly adjusting our dishes. In saying this, most couples always include one of the following; a locally caught fish; whether that’s snapper, jewfish or kingfish, a Bangalow sweet pork or a Byron hinterland aged beef. Service style-wise, most of our couples like to go for cocktails and canapes on arrival followed by a shared platter main, as well as a roaming dessert or a dessert table. We find this allows for a great flow and nice, warm bellies.
Q. Do you provide wait staff, plates and cutlery or do I hire that separately?
A. As part of our wedding day service, Figtree Catering provides the couple with an on-the-day coordinator, wait and bar staff. We have found this allows us to provide a consistency of service across the table to the bar and works beautifully for the guest experience. As for the cutlery and crockery, we work in with the team at The Wedding Shed for all of our hire and style items.
Q. How important is it to match food with wine? Would you make suggestions to couples based on their food choices?
A. The drinks so often are an afterthought so we definitely take the opportunity to advise our couples. We always recommend starting the event off with a signature cocktail made from local spirits and fruits/herbs, then moving onto locally brewed beers. With regards to wine, we suggest you choose your menu first then speak to one of our local wine merchants that we recommend to personalise your BYO selection. Most do sale and return too.
Q. Any key questions couples should ask their caterer or chef?
A. We would suggest talking with your chef about your food passions and memories. We get couples to think about the food that gives them the feels – food traditions, their first meal together, favourite family dishes such as something your grandparents cooked for you etc. Bringing some of these elements into your wedding menu can really add to the emotions of the night and make for the most memorable of times.
Q. What do we do if our venue doesn’t have a kitchen?
A. Based on the couple’s menu selection, we will advise you of everything we need in a venue without a kitchen or if we find ourselves in a paddock! We may be required to hire some equipment such as hot boxes or BBQs. We will require some shelter such as a small marquee, power, light and running water.
Q. How do caterers feel about dietary requirements?
A. We love hearing about what couples and their guests need and are so happy to cater for dietary requirements. We want everyone to enjoy their meal. For guests that may have more detailed dietary exclusions, we often find that it is actually easier for them to let us know what they can eat rather than what they cannot. We’re always happy for couples to have this conversation with us.
Q. How far in advance should we book in our caterer?
A. In order to get the date you want it is important to get in touch with all suppliers as soon as you can. 12 months is very typical, however, with a team the size of ours, we can pull together a wedding pretty swiftly and do take bookings at the 6 month mark and have even had some book within weeks of their date.
Q. When do you need final details?
A. We recommend finalising your menu a month out to allow time for printing. Two weeks out, we will need your final numbers, floor plan, dietary requirements and final payment is required then as well. This is when we allocate staff and order the food and cement in the details.