How To Guide

How To Plan The Perfect Menu For Your Wedding Day

After you’ve booked your dry hire wedding venue, we recommend that you don’t procrastinate and immediately begin your search for your perfect wedding caterer, because just like the best venues, the best caterers get booked up around 18 to 24 months in advance.

Once you have chosen your preferred caterer, one that suits your wedding style, one that is knowledgeable, experienced at catering for a wedding of your size, is creative and has a great reputation for great tasting and beautifully presented food – for many couples, here begins the fun part: ‘Menu Planning and agreeing on ‘Your Timeline’ for your big day! However, for lots of couples, thinking about planning a wedding can present challenges.  But menu planning and planning the timeline are often cited as the most difficult aspects of arranging a wedding. Fortunately working with us, will make it easier than you think.  All it takes is some prep work thinking about your day, your guests etc, along with some creativity and over twenty-five years’ experience in weddings and event catering on our part.

What Is Wedding Menu Planning?

There was a time when planning your wedding menu might have involved working with the general manager from a local hotel to pick from a tied wedding package, that might have included a simple starter, a main of either fish, chicken or red meat and a traditional dessert. But this just isn’t the case anymore. Menu Planning is more complicated and involves deciding on what you will eat throughout your whole wedding day and how it integrates with your entertainment. It might typically include canapes during your drinks reception, your wedding breakfast, plus your evening food in order for it to become a cohesive day, whilst also considering your:

– venue style – for example, a barn, castle or mansion

– reception style; should it be a formal sit-down meal or informal?

– wedding date and which season it falls in

– theme, styling and vibe, for example, Boho, Classic, Eclectic, Festival, Glam, Industrial, Modern, Moho, Romantic, Rustic, Vintage etc

– cultural cuisine preferences and family traditions

– colour scheme

– guests’ allergies and or dietary requirements (as well as your own!)

– younger guests’ needs (if you plan on inviting children to your wedding)

– supplier contracts.

How Do We Cater To Every Guests’ Dietary Needs?

You may already have an idea of what food you want for your wedding menu but putting together a menu for a large party is different from developing a menu at home. And, whilst we believe that you should put yourselves first when choosing your wedding day food, to attain the perfect wedding day, (when everyone is happy), you should remember to also consider your guests’ food preferences.

However, at Touchays we totally understand that it is difficult to personally cater to every single guest’s tastes and requirements.  Which is why the sooner you tell us about your guests’ dietary needs, the more time it gives us to help you to choose a menu that works for all of your guests.

Which Wedding Reception Style Is Best For You Both?

Whether you’re planning an elegant and traditional wedding or a small, intimate gathering there are so many different menus that might suit your wedding. However, if you find ordering at a restaurant difficult enough, inevitably you will, therefore, find planning your wedding menu even harder.  So, before attending a food-tasting, here are some top considerations to help you plan your perfect wedding menu:

1. Make it personal

Your first food ‘task’ should be to let your imagination run wild by creating a wish-list of your favourite food – the kind that will keep you wishing you could get married every day? If you are crazy about one particular food, then it might be cool to base your wedding menu around the thing you love the most. If you can’t see your favourite dish on our menu, please talk to us and let’s see how it can be incorporated. Even if you think your food dream isn’t possible, just ask – as at Touchays we do love a foodie challenge!

2. Get inspired by the season your wedding falls in  

Drawing inspiration from the time of the year is a great starting point when considering the type of food to have at your wedding reception! Consider which month you’re getting married in and if you’d like your food to reflect the time of year and/or perhaps you want to go for what is plentiful and therefore help with your budgeting.  For example, An Afternoon Tea in August is perfectly paired with Pimms and fresh seasonal fruit that might include strawberries and cucumber. So, if you’re planning on hosting:

  • a summer wedding and want to max out on being outdoors, you could consider including cool puddings, ice cream, sorbet or cream along with more interactive food stations for your evening such as a BBQ or a traditional hog roast
  • an early autumn wedding when the long days are perfect for outdoor evening food, why not consider Festival Style Street Food
  • a winter wedding, why not welcome your guests with a glass of warm mulled cider and for your evening buffet what about considering a hot chocolate station?
  • a spring wedding, you could consider including an array of colourful salads or our new sharing fresh seafood platters.

3. Include your family’s culture, traditions and background

It can be fun to fuse a range of international flavours into your wedding menu. If your culture is important to you both, why not add dishes that reflect your distinct backgrounds?


With over 25 years’ experience of incorporating food from more than one country coupled with a diverse team of chefs with varying specialities, we can properly prepare authentic dishes (especially if you are prepared to share your family recipe!).  Or why not incorporate food or treats from a country or location where you have recently visited or even where your proposal took place? Decide if there is a place that is significant to you and your future spouse and consider the food options.  There are endless possibilities.  At Touchays we positively encourage you to show off your personalities through your food selection.  After all, that’s what helps to make the day unique to you.

4. Go local

Staying local is also a great way to give a nod to your wedding’s location. Just ask us about what will be available at the time of your wedding and for ideas to incorporate them into your menu.

5. Consider including choices?

Why not let your guests have a choice of food – this can include choosing in advance between three starters, three mains and three desserts.  However, this will require you to provide us with an easy to follow spreadsheet, adding their menu selection to your escort cards and a table plan.  Or as an alternative, you can now choose antipasto for the starters and a trio of desserts, leaving you to only collect your guests’ choices for their mains.

6. Consider your whole day

Sometimes your preferred day food can influence your evening food.  For instance, if you have always dreamed of a vintage Afternoon Tea then a traditional hog roast might be the perfect evening option.

7. Consider your wedding theme

If your wedding has a theme, why not create an array of food that is connected to that theme. For example, if you’re having a carnival-themed reception, go for the highly anticipated Festival Foods like Cotton Candy, Doughnuts and Popcorn. Or, if you’re having a European inspired event and want the food to have its own unique flair, try something unexpected like a crepe station and for a Mexican Vegan-themed event, why not try a Guacamole Station?

8. Consider your colour palette

Your food can also, in part, reflect your wedding colour palette. Those little splashes of colour will have your guests talking about how every last detail of your day was considered.

9. Think about interaction and choose a style of service

Think about what you want your guests to experience and what type of atmosphere you want to create at your wedding reception. Your preference might be for a formal, delicious Classic Three-course sit-down meal with all the trimmings.  Or you might prefer something more relaxed where everyone mingles when you might consider a sharing menu, for example, a Grazing ‘Board’ that keeps luring your guests back for more…

10. Think about presentation

If you have opted for sharing boards or platters then this will have a direct impact on the table layout, but there are other considerations under presentation that might include:

  • How you would like your napkins folded?
  • Where would you like your favours and name cards to be placed?
  • Will you hire in charger plates, glassware or cutlery?  (Before you, do please talk to us about our venue styling package and the wonderful community of suppliers we love working with).

11. Fix your budget

Your planning must consider your budget.  If after selecting your food options you find your finances are overstretched, please do speak to us about how we can help make your budget go further, as we can sometimes provide creative alternatives.

Once you have chosen your food, we can then work together on a timeline that will give structure to your day and allow time for those all-important photos; moments like cutting the cake and dancing.

Why Do I Need To Consider A Timeline?

As well as planning your menu it is just as important to consider the flow or timeline of your wedding day or event.  For instance:

– will you serve canapes and if so, how many and when?

– if you choose to serve canapes does this have any bearing on the food for the remainder of the day?

– how long should your drinks reception be?

– when should you seat your guests for dinner?

– how long should you seat your guest for (working around things like your speeches)

– when is it best to do the speeches and how long approximately should they take?

– what time should you feed your evening guests etc?

– don’t forget to consider the amount of available daylight – late autumn, winter and early spring weddings will require a different timeline to those taking place in the summer.

Why Attend A Food Tasting?

Attending a Food Tasting is one of the most exciting and important parts of planning your wedding.  At the Food Tasting, you both get to sample some of the food you are considering selecting for your day and to sit down with us, relax, chat and just let us know what your hearts desire.

Then we will work our ‘Menu Magic’ and draw up some meal suggestions that you will love and will make for a standout reception.  So, ideally, before you decide on your table décor and flowers, all you have to do is book Touchays, as your wedding or event caterer and let’s talk food!

At Touchays our philosophy is simple: this is your big day, so let’s work together to create the menu and timeline of your dreams.

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