Weddings can range from intimate to fun to elegant to grand. But the good news is that they don’t have to be expensive. And they don’t have to be a dinner party.
Intimate for 20 to 40 people
A garden wedding always is a delight. Your friends will gather and visit with each other while wine or punch is offered and trays of canapés are passed.
If you have a short wedding service, seating is not necessary. Make your entrance and have your family and friends gather around you.
After the service, offer a sparkling wine and toast the occasion. With 40 guests, have five tables of eight set up ready for the buffet lunch with music playing the background to set the atmosphere.
Have great food. That’s where you spend the money! You might have platters of cold grilled chicken, a baked ham and beef with a carver slicing both on demand, a variety of interesting salads, perhaps platters of appetizing open-face sandwiches and a bowl of iced shrimp along with interesting breads, assorted cheeses, fresh seasonal cold vegetables and dip. A separate table might have coffee, tea, and assorted desserts or wedding cake. Drinks might be several types of ades, soft drinks, beer, wine and perhaps a martini bar.
Casual for 20 to 80 people
This is for a fun wedding, with joyous celebrations and hearty appetites. If you plan to have it in a public park, reserve the space and obey all the conditions that relate to noise and garbage. You will be expected to pay for cleanup after the party if it is a public location.
Have rental chairs and perhaps tables delivered and set up in the morning and picked up as soon as the party ends.
Plan on one barbecue for every 10 guests. Instead of having traditional attendants, your best friends can man the barbecues.
As people gather you might offer a starter of, for instance, pita with feta and olive spread.
Traditional hearty food, of course, is hamburgers, steaks, chicken or ribs with fresh cold veggies, salads, bowls of fruit and platters of different cheeses.
If you want something original for the occasion, you might grill lamb burgers with tzaziki, crab burgers, trout (or any other fish) or a mixed grill.
Instead of a wedding cake, but to acknowledge the spirit of a wedding, you might have cupcakes.
Serve beer, wine, punch (plain and spiked) and don’t forget contemporary, upbeat music.
Traditional for 20 to 100 people
English high tea is a lovely option following a mid-afternoon wedding. Many major hotels offer this and will make available a private room. They will do all the work, but at a fraction of the cost of an evening dinner.
If you are having it in a site at which you will provide your own menu, here are some great ideas: cucumber & goat’s cheese finger sandwiches, apple and cheddar tea sandwiches, smoked salmon and caper cream cheese tea sandwiches, curried asparagus rolls, banana bread & gingered cream cheese open-face sandwich and warm currant or lemon scones with Devon cream and raspberry jam.
The second course would be your wedding cake or an assortment of sweets, such as meringue tarts with marmalade and chocolate truffle squares and more.
Fragrant teas might include classic orange Pekoe, English breakfast, berry teas, Earl Grey, peppermint, chamomile, orange blossoms and allspice.
Sparkling wine could be served for toasts.
Sophisticated for 20 to 100 people
Depending on numbers, an appropriate place would be a private home, a heritage house, or an art gallery.
The wedding would be scheduled for 3:30 or 4 p.m. Before the service, canapés could be passed along with wine, punch and liquor options.
The bride can make her entrance and friends gather around for the service. Then trays with terrific food options get passed.
Some ideas: Caviar on toast points, miniature lobster tartlets, portobella mushrooms stuffed with blue cheese, carmelized figs with mascarpone cheese, small, open-faced sandwiches topped with savory mixtures, chicken and mango tartlets, filo parcels with tzaziki dip, mini seafood gratin spoons with chive gremolata, blinis with hot-smoked salmon and crème fraîche.