With just one chance to get things perfect, your wedding breakfast is not just another meal. Here at Devon's Northcote Manor Hotel, we think it should be seasonal, local and more than a little special. A few surprises, some solid preparation and a sound running order are also a must, however. Here are some tips and ideas for getting your wedding food and drink just right:
With wedding breakfast menus, you very much have to consider the many rather than the few. In terms of dishes it is important to find a balance between interesting, tasty food and choices that won’t raise eyebrows for the wrong reasons. After all, you might enjoy chargrilled octopus; a good number of your guests won’t.
If you budget for just one main course, make it a crowd pleaser. It is probably no coincidence, for example, that dishes such Beef Wellington and Slow Roasted Free Range Chicken are always among the most popular options on our wedding menus.
Should you select two main choices, you could be a little more adventurous. Cod or salmon, for example, would make a wonderful alternative option; but perhaps not the main event simply because a fair proportion of people dislike fish.
It is a similar story with desserts too. If in doubt, you cannot go too far wrong with any dish based on chocolate such as our Hot Dark Chocolate Fondant with Poached Baby Pear. Empty plates quickly tell us from experience which are the most popular wedding breakfast dishes!
If your guests are travelling to Devon, or any other region for that matter, they are sure to enjoy something local rather than a generic dish. So why not treat them? In our case we insist on regional produce; it would be silly not to with so much wonderful food. A classic example here in Devon would be speciality local meat such as local fish, cheese or free range meats, which can be truly excellent. Take a look at our list of local suppliers for a flavour of what we offer.
Most wedding venues are fairly flexible when it comes to food and drink, within reason. Your wedding day is all about what is personal to you, so barring really odd requests why not ask about any ideas you have? Perhaps you want a particular dish or cocktail that tells a story about the happy couple? Perhaps you have family from overseas who would love a taste of home to enjoy with guests, or a particular favourite tipple to share? Whether it's a special selection of wedding canapés or petit fours, we can usually help.
Another key consideration when choosing your wedding food is to think of the time of year. Lamb is an excellent spring special in Devon, for example. Desserts can also vary greatly by season, depending on whether guests are likely to want something cool and light, or hearty and comforting. Tart Tatin with Clotted Cream is highly popular in the summer here at Northcote Manor. For obvious reasons though, Sticky Toffee Pudding is a fantastically popular comfort dish at winter weddings, which are becoming increasingly popular in Devon.
Just as important to picking the right food at your wedding reception is the running order of events. A toast and speeches are a must, for example, but should these come before or after the meal? Ask most speakers and they will prefer to deliver their words before the meal, simply because they can then relax and enjoy the food with no nerves.
Another key piece of advice is to have someone to provide some direction for your wedding, whether it is a dedicated master of ceremonies, or simply a well suited family member, friend or perhaps even your entertainer or DJ? if in any doubt, speak to your wedding planner or the venue directly, because they are sure to know the right person.
It might sound trivial, but some direction is good to signpost not only the essentials, but magic moments such as the cutting of the cake by bride and groom. Once guests have had a couple of drinks, they will simply keep rambling around and chatting away and so it helps to have someone to announce the important moments of the wedding.
They say that the course of true love seldom runs smooth… but the same is probably true of wedding breakfasts. In other words, timings can easily slip and overrun. This is no cause for alarm- but the most important thing is not so much to worry about rigid timings, but do keep to a sensible running order. If things are late, it does not matter provided you and the guests know what is happening.
Make your wedding day as stress free as possible by getting as many of the details worked out as possible in the early stages. With food and drink, think numbers and special requirements. Have you toted up vegetarian guests or those with special dietary needs? What about a head count of youngsters who will need smaller portions? Is your aunt from Newton Abbot still gluten, dairy and lactose intolerant? Factor these considerations into your wedding invites and get a handle on these figures to avoid awkward surprises later on.
For many couples, it still feels odd calling your first evening meal as a couple “breakfast” –but the term is down to tradition. In more religious times, the couple to be married would actually fast before they tied the knot, meaning that the wedding meal was not only the first of their married life but the first of the day (and our word breakfast is literally a conjugation of the words break+fast).
With bespoke service, a wonderful setting and the finest of food and drink for your wedding breakfast, Northcote Manor is one of Devon’s finest country house wedding venues. See our dedicated weddings section and sample menus for a closer look at what we can offer. You can also request a wedding brochure HERE or for viewings and any other queries you may have, just give our friendly weddings team a call on 01769 560501