Let’s be honest, when it comes to planning food you probably tap out on anything beyond a two-minute noodle meal, but you really have to ramp up the concentration when you’re planning a wedding and feeding all your wedding guests.
This is a time where you get to celebrate an epic moment with food, drinks and general feasting with the people most important to you. However, we cannot reiterate enough how little you will want to deal with food, drinks, furniture and staffing faffs on your wedding day. You want to be able to lap up the amazingness of being a fresh newlywed and leave the catering, service, furniture hire, bump in and pack down to the pros. Trust us, it’ll be the best investment in your sanity.
Which is why we’ve turned to the best in the business, Gallivant, to talk all things wedding catering, planning, hosting and all the little bits in-between that almost every couple forgets. This advice from Gallivant is GOLDEN, so lap it up. Plus, who wouldn’t want their wedding to look like a Gallivant wedding?!
How far in advance should you book your wedding catering?
“Anytime! Normally we work with 6-12 months in advance to ensure the date is locked in with us and then we work closely with the client in the months leading up to the wedding to fine tune the details. Of course, we can also work with last minute requests when needed! We love a deadline and have turned around some beautiful weddings in a few weeks! We’re a family-owned company with a strong core team with lots of experience, so we have the ability to cater to multiple weddings day.”
That being said, big, talented players like Gallivant get booked up really quickly, so if you have a particular date in mind for your wedding day – you’ll want to lock it in with the team ASAP to avoid disappointment.
Is it better from a catering perspective to host your wedding on the weekend or a weekday?
Ah, the age old question for brides and grooms: Do we go with the traditional Saturday wedding or save some pennies with a weekday wedding and risk cheesing off our stubborn relatives? Luckily for you epic catering companies like Gallivant can do both – so you can mull over that decision a little longer!
“We can work with either or! Of course a weekday will generally have more availabilities the weekends but Saturdays are always the most popular days fitting in with guests and the couple themselves. A weekday wedding is slightly more cost affective due to weekend staff penalty rates.”
But a hot tip from the Gallivant team is a sneaky Friday wedding (which are definitely growing in popularity across Australia). “Recently we have seen a lot of couples choose a Friday wedding allowing for a recovery lunch on the Saturday which is great for traveling interstate and guests travelling in for the wedding.”
What are the classic ‘packages’ available for wedding catering?
While packages can be catered (excuse the pun) to fit your guest list and menu style, Gallivant report that there is a clear favourite when it comes to their wedding bookings. “By far our most popular menu is a selection of canapés followed by a shared style sit down menu down the centre of the table in groups of 4-6 guests.” Think a grazing table of sorts, but with cutlery involved.
Looking for the catering hack that may save you some stress on the big day? Gallivant recommend extending the cocktail hour to allow time for extra photos and for guests to really enjoy their surroundings. Here’s what they have to say:
“Often it’s nice to extend the cocktail hour with a variety of canapés, finger food and substantial plates which can replace the seated entree. This allows guests to soak up a view and atmosphere enjoy a few extra drinks before they are seated. This is great because it allows for ample time for bridal party photos and still time to enjoy a drink and socialise before the seated dinner.” GENIUS.
Are there foods you should always avoid for your wedding catering?
When you’re selecting your wedding menu it’s easy to look at the list of food and simply salivate, rather than thinking about the actual wedding day. Are you having your wedding in the height of summer? Probably best not to serve a heavy roast dinner and piping hot, stodgy sides. Getting hitched mid-winter? Sorbet probably isn’t going to be a massive crowd-pleaser.
With Gallivant planning your catering, there’s a focus on the practical, the aesthetic and the personal. “We work closely with our couples to create a menu that is made up of dishes that they love and are special to them as well as ensuring all dietaries are covered. Lots of variety, colour and presentation is important when choosing a menu so that all guests can enjoy and celebrate your special day.” Using fresh, seasonal produce is a sneaky hack to guarantee that your menu reflects its own context (both geographically and seasonally).
Something to remember: There is a key thing to check when you’re scouting out your venue is to see whether they have a fridge on-site. Why? Because your wedding cake will 100% need refrigerating – especially if you’re not planning to cut it until late in the night.
How much should you be spending per-head on your wedding catering?
“Clients often get confused with what makes up the overall catering cost. They may have heard a per head cost from a friend or family member but this is just the food cost and not the whole cost. Wedding catering of course includes the food but it often overlooks key items such as staffing, equipment hire, beverages and in Gallivant’s case furniture hire, florals and styling.”
This means that a cost per-head rate isn’t always something to rely on, as it really is dependent on the hours of service, what facilities the venue has and then how many physical guests you have.
However, as everyone loves an average cost to base their budgeting on, Gallivant have provided their menu start costs as a helpful guide:
Shared Menus // Start from $70 per guest
Individually Plated Menus // Start from $75 per guest
Cocktail Menus // Start from $60 per guest
What are the key food elements you need to think about for your wedding day?
Gallivant beautifully states that the, “Most important thing is that guests feel that they are being looked after,” which in catering terms means wedding guests expect to be well fed and have the drinks flowing all evening!
There’s a familiar order of service to note with food service that wedding guests have come to expect and that includes canapés on arrival, dinner and dancing after – so we recommend if you’re deviating from that flow to notify your guests via their invite or order of service.
However, the most important food elements to prioritise have been laid out here:
1 // Our top priority at every wedding is to ensure that in the first few minutes of service, all guests are given/offered a drink and either offered food or can visually see food being served i.e grazing/food station. This instantly sets a relaxed tone for the rest of the day.
2 // Ensuring there is more than enough food throughout the entire day so guests feel like they are being looked after.
3 // A late night snack is always a good idea for those who may have been busy dancing or drinking while dinner was being served!
4 // From our experience weddings guests love to be well fed and have a drink in their hand at all times.
5 // We love to serve dessert roamed whilst guests are up mingling and dancing. We find it often goes to waste if served seated.
What are the things that couples always screw up when they’re organising their wedding catering?
#1 BOOZE BLOW OUT
“Often couples have a perception that buying their own alcohol will be cheaper. They forget that this can be a logistical nightmare for them as they need to carry lots of heavy boxes or get someone to deliver it to the venue.” This means organising the shipping, access to the venue before bump ion and some seriously hefty muscles available for unpacking. Outside of booze, Gallivant report that they, “find couples forget water, non-alcoholic drinks and ice,” when they’re organising their drinks. We don’t want to sound dramatic, but this catastrophic when you’re dealing with a wedding – because no one (we repeat, NO ONE) likes a luke warm cocktail.
How do you solve this: “We believe a beverage package is more cost effective and most importantly Gallivant takes care of everything, making sure nothing runs out during the night.”
The Gallivant team want to flag a f*ck up that often lands couples in hot water on their wedding day, and it’s all to do with timings.
“Often couples book the catering in with specific timings, for example, 6pm to 11pm, which means we will need to bump in from 3:30pm. But they then send a running schedule a week prior with the start time from 2pm and don’t realise that that means there is 4 hours more work for all staff and thus more money.”
To avoid this financial blunder, be sure to check with your caterer about the bump in times for your wedding. This can vary based on the menu and the size of your guest list, so make sure you nut out all the details before finalising your wedding run sheet!
The golden advice for couples planning their weddings:
“Our advice is to source great suppliers that you trust and then let them work their magic!”
A little bit more about Gallivant…
Gallivant begins with a catering offering which includes their hand picked team of waiters and bartenders, equipment hire and basic event management. Additionally they can also help with furniture, styling, florals or full concept and design and management. In short, they have the ability to do EVERYTHING for you – which not a lot of wedding suppliers can say!
If you want to chat to Gallivant about what exactly they can do for your wedding, be sure to grab a ticket to the One Fine Day Sydney Fair where you can talk to their team and try out some of their delicious canapés. Go on, you know you want to.