The AOW A-Z of Getting Married – F is for Food (The How-To)


The AOW A-Z of Getting Married is a resource for brides (and grooms) to be.  It’s a welcome piece of sanity in an industry-saturated world where people are bombarded with what weddings they should have, what they should act like, and how a bride should feel.  Created by the team behind Any Other Woman, this A-Z is the first collaboration of its kind, bringing together posts from readers across the AOW community filled with advice, wisdom and experience from sane, smart, real women, many of whom have been there.  From wedding planning to family trials to breaking taboos, no topic is out of bounds.  We are honoured and excited to run each and every post, and we learn from each and every one of our readers.

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F is for Food (The How-To) by Erin

To say that food is important to me would be an understatement. I live to eat. Food makes me happy. Salty starters, sweet temptations, aromatic concoctions, all of the above make me weak at the knees.

So when it came to planning our wedding, food was a priority for me, more so than it should have been. I wasn’t too fussed about the colour scheme, music mix or table plan, but I wanted the food to be right. Not fancy necessarily, but something that the people I loved would enjoy, as we all came together to celebrate this happy day.


The first three and final images in this post are from the deliciously delightful Lucy Stendall.


All of the weddings I’ve been to have featured food. It’s a given that once you have your guests together, you’ll at some point be feeding them. And although I’ve been to weddings in all sorts of beautiful venues, the food itself hasn’t always hit the spot. I think sometimes venues can get a bit lazy in what they offer, and we are so used to the ‘Chicken or Beef?’ option, that we forget it doesn’t have to always be the solution.

For me, it’s important that the food on offer tastes good (duh!), suits the season, suits the venue, and also isn’t too rich or stodgy. You’ll be wearing a gorgeous dress, looking your best, and your guests will also have zipped and buttoned themselves into clothes not necessarily built for comfort. There is nothing worse than feeling bloated after a meal, especially when you’re then expected to hit the dance floor…

Think about where you’ll be, what the season is, and what you like. This year we went to a gorgeous wedding in Morocco and the food was perfect – after the heat of the day we enjoyed salads glowing with herbs and pulses and spicy tagines with couscous. The food tasted of Morocco, and it was served in the centre of the table for sharing – a lovely way to help guests around a table to get to know each other.

When my best friend got married last year in the middle of winter to her lovely man, who happens to be a former chef, it was only fitting that they chose a fine dining menu showcasing local seasonal produce. The food was the show stopper, just as it always is at their house – even if you’ve just popped over for an ‘oh, I just threw this together’ last-minute lunch.


Mr H is English and I’m Australian, and we happened to be living in Sydney when we got married, so opted for something outdoors and by the sea. Nothing over the top – a simple outdoor ceremony in our favourite park, followed by a reception at the local surf club.

Given the warm weather and seaside setting, I wanted food to match. In the end we opted for a ‘gourmet BBQ’ menu offered by the club – a selection of quality meats: steak, fish and chicken, chargrilled to perfection and served with fresh seasonal salads and rustic bread rolls. It sounds simple, and it was, but it really suited.

I know many brides say they were too excited/nervous/happy/distracted on the day to eat anything, but I made a point of sitting down and enjoying the meal in full with my new husband at my side. It was delicious, and we both clinked our glasses as we shared our first meal together as a married couple (eeek!).

Before we decided on our venue, I looked at all sorts of other options. At one point I was even considering a ‘pot luck’ type approach, where guests were invited to bring a plate of food with them to contribute, as so many of my friends and family share my love of cooking. But in the end the logistics just wouldn’t have worked, seeing as we had guests travelling from all over Australia and the other side of the world.

If the venue allows it, there’s no reason you can’t get creative. Love sushi? Why not serve a Japanese inspired menu? Or perhaps a selection of tapas style dishes in the middle of each table? Or if you’re having a winter wedding, then a large warming dish like moussaka or large bowls of pasta served with garlic bread and salad is simple, tasty and effective. You could even lay out each table with gingham checked table cloth, and top it with a ‘picnic’ for guests to devour of all your favourite things.

And what about dessert? The most simple solution is to choose a wedding cake which doubles as dessert for your guests. This is especially easy when you’ve chosen something rich like mud cake, which the kitchen can dish up with a few strawberries and a dollop of double cream to make it into a stylish pudding.

We had a three-tier traditional fruit cake for our wedding, made with love by my Dad and Grandma.  It was especially wonderful, as it was the same recipe my Grandma had made for my parent’s wedding 35 years earlier. My Grandma was 93 when I got married, so needed my Dad’s help in weighing out the ingredients and stirring the mixture. Dad was her hands.

Decorated by my friend’s mother and topped with fresh hydrangeas, the cake was exactly what I wanted. But it wasn’t really right for dessert.

The venue offered a few options, but they were very expensive and didn’t sound great. Then my Mum suggested a cake from Lindt – their cafe makes cakes for events, and it worked out much cheaper than sourcing dessert from the venue, even after they’d added their ‘cakeage’ fee. It was just right – layers of chocolate decadence, but still quite light as it was made up of mousse and soft sponge.

The fruit cake was served with tea and coffee at the end of the night, along with cheese platters. Cheese is one of my favourite things, so I needed to incorporate it somewhere. Some couples these days even opt for a ‘cheese cake’ – each tier formed by a wheel of cheese. These sure look impressive, and are the perfect option if you don’t want something sweet.

My friend Kate recently featured a ‘cake buffet’ at her wedding, provided by her friends who love baking, and this went down a treat as well I’m told. We couldn’t be there in person, but the photos of the cake display are the stuff of dreams. Simple and effective, and what a lovely way for your friends to feel part of your special day.

Categories: A-Z of Getting Married, Food, Wedding Planning
6 interesting thoughts on this


  1. Katie
    Posted September 28, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    Finally, a post on food. It is never usually covered in blogs or wedding magazines, but for a great party, it’s at the top. Much more important than the dress, entertainment, flowers, photographer in my opinion.

    I personally would choose a venue, solely on the food provided. I’d happily walk away from booking a beautiful country house, if the food was poor.

    Erin this is brilliantly written, and making me hungry. I love the idea of a gourmet BBQ wedding breakfast.


  2. Posted September 28, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    ‘Dad was her hands’ That melts my heart.

    I love the idea of a gourmet BBQ in a surf club. I so wish I’d known you then, Erin!

    We don’t often photograph food at weddings, it can be tricky. Do make sure you ask if you really want photos of the food. It does (albeit briefly) disrupt the service from the kitchens so most caterers will grumble because it can throw out timings, but it’s easier to ruffle a few feathers if we can say ‘the bride and groom specifically want this shot, let’s make it happen’.

  3. Posted September 28, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    We are struggling with food, we had our tasting last weekend and although the food was really tasty it was also very rich and heavy so we need to go back for another tasting with some different options. We looked into the gourmet bbq as well and if we were in a different country thats what we would have gone for but in the end my family were too nervous about the Scottish Weather.

    Great post thanks xox

  4. Abi Cowley
    Posted September 28, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    I had a gourmet BBQ and it was amaze. Only issue was British Summertime and they had to grill rather than BBQ but it was still delicious! So much so that one of the bridesmaids emailed the catering company for the recipe for the stuffed potatoes….ooooh getting hungry thinking about it ;-)

  5. Posted October 3, 2012 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

    Great article Erin! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – most photogenic couple ever!

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  • By Two reasons why today rocks. | Florence&Belle on November 7, 2012 at 9:27 am

    [...] of thoughtful words from clever ladies (and gents) about love and life. You can read my posts on food and hen dos as part of their Any Other Woman A – Z of getting [...]

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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