wedding caterers manchester
Wedding Caterers Manchester
We know that choosing the food for your wedding can create a bit of a headache. Whilst it’s important to choose food you will both love, you may also need to take into consideration the likes and dislikes of wedding guests. That’s why we take a flexible approach with our brides and grooms. It’s not about telling them what they can and can’t have, it’s about finding a way to make what they want possible. In that sense, we’d like to think we’re a little bit different to your average wedding caterers.
Manchester, Cheshire, Lancashire, Yorkshire – we’ve travelled far and wide to cater for weddings! We have also catered in many different styles of venues – from tepees to village halls, barns to back gardens, and even the odd museum! It doesn’t matter if your wedding venue doesn’t have kitchen facilities – we are able to hire in equipment to ensure everything runs smoothly and you get the wedding of your dreams.
From vintage themed to outdoors-y, formal to festival themed, rustic to whimsical, pulling everything together to form your ideal wedding is so much fun and the food is an integral part of it. Whatever style of wedding you’re looking to create, we can come up with a food menu to match. Sometimes brides and grooms will come to us with a precise idea of what they’re looking for or other times, they will be unsure and need us to guide them in the right direction. Once we have spoken to and met with a couple, finding out more about what they’re looking to achieve, it usually becomes apparent quite quickly what style of food would suit their wedding day. Then it’s just a case of finalising the details and making sure there are options on the menu to suit the couple and their guests. Et voila – all part of the service from Thyme Outside wedding caterers!
Here are a few examples of recent Manchester-based weddings we have catered for and an idea of the menus we created…
Caribbean flavours at Gorton Monastery
Gaz and Nick had their hearts set on their favourite dish of jerk chicken for their main wedding meal and contacted us after being let down by their original caterer. With two of our catering chefs being of different Caribbean origins, it became a battle of the recipes – Costa Rica vs Jamaica! In the end, the best elements of both recipes were combined to create the most mouth-watering chicken you’ve tasted. Beef Bourguignon with mushroom, carrot, pancetta and red wine. To keep the other guests happy, the couple also chose two additional dishes to serve at the hot buffet – beef bourguignon with mushroom, carrot, pancetta and red wine and topped with puff pastry and wild mushroom risotto with Cep and Porcini dust and grilled Portobellos.
After the wedding the couple sent us a lovely message saying: “We just wanted to say thank you so much for the catering at our wedding at The Monastery. The food was amazing and everyone really enjoyed it.”
Barbeque at the Old Parsonage
Neil and Suzanne wanted to keep their caterers local so contacted us about their wedding, to be held in August 2016 at the Old Parsonage in Didsbury. With a lovely outdoor courtyard at the venue, it was agreed that the main meal would be based around a barbeque theme. The couple chose lamb burgers, stacked beef burgers, vegetarian halloumi burgers, lamb kofta kebabs, jumbo bratwurst hotdogs and Tandoori chicken skewers, served alongside grilled corn on the cob with chilli butter, fries, sweet potato fries, Cajun mango coleslaw and potato aioli salad.
For dessert there was a decadent chocolate brownie tower served with hot chocolate sauce, cream, or ice cream served from our vintage ice cream bike.
In the evening we provided a cold finger food buffet with selections including garden salad, sunblushed pasta salad, spicy rice salad, home roast meats platter, pork pies and fresh rolls with butter.
Mezze Style at Victoria Baths
Tom and Anna came to us as customers of our café, Thyme Out in West Didsbury. They’d been visiting us for lunches and brunch for a while and wanted to find out if we could work with them to cater for their wedding day. Tom and Anna had 100 guests of a variety of ages and with varying tastes coming to their wedding, to take place in July 2016 at Victoria Baths just outside Manchester city centre. Although they wanted food to be served to tables, they didn’t want the restrictions of a set three course dinner. As such, we discussed a mezze style menu, with platters served to each table. The choices we agreed on were flatbreads and homemade dips served ‘sharing style’ to start, followed by a main course of feta, spinach and pine nut strudels, chargrilled halloumi chargrilled limes, chicken, lemon and oregano skewers, lamb koftas, calamari with aioli dip, garlic mushrooms, quinoa salad, Greek salad and rosemary and garlic sautéed potatoes. Following the sharing theme, we then served a chocolate brownie tower per table for dessert, accompanied by bowls of macerated berries baileys cream.
For evening food, the couple settled on a selection of cheeses, pork pies in a variety of flavours and goats cheese tomato caramelised red onion tarts served alongside grapes, celery, chutneys, breads and crackers.
Advice on choosing your wedding day menu
Although lots of fun, planning a wedding can also be quite stressful. Obviously we don’t want choosing your food to fall into this trap and will aim to make the process as simple and painless as possible. Most people enjoy talking about food so we tend to find that couples enjoy planning their wedding catering with us!
Having said this, there are occasions when it can get tricky. For example, it may be that you feel under pressure to tailor your menu to suit the likes and dislikes of a certain family member or close relative. Or else your family have a ‘traditional’ expectation about what a wedding meal should be and you would prefer something much more modern and informal. Having done the wedding catering at over a hundred weddings now, we would always advise couples to follow what it is that they want rather than trying to please others. Obviously you will want to include options so everyone can enjoy their meal on the day. However, go for the ‘style’ of catering you’d prefer – or else you might regret it! We have found in the past that when it comes to the wedding day, family members are usually enjoying themselves so much that any worries about the style of catering simply disappear. In fact, we’d go so far as to say we have always managed to turn these situations around and those family members who had had concerns have always loved the food in the end!
If you really feel the need to cater to particularly fussy eaters, simply bolt a couple of options on to your main choices. So long as they go with the general style of food/catering, this is often a good way to ‘play it safe’ and avoid an argument!
Wedding day catering – things to consider
- Timing your meal
The timing of your meal will usually be dictated by the time of your ceremony, travel time between ceremony venue and reception venue (if any) and any other things that need to be allowed for – such as photography. If your ceremony is taking place in the afternoon, you might aim for a late afternoon/early evening wedding breakfast. In some cases this would eliminate the need to provide a full evening meal as well. However, the most popular time for a wedding breakfast is usually between 3 and 4 pm – providing enough time between the ceremony for you and your guests to enjoy yourselves without leaving everyone to go hungry!
- Pre-meal nibbles
Depending on the time we decide your main meal will be served, you may like to consider serving some pre-meal nibbles. Canapés are the most popular option – and we have a list of canape ideas here. Alternatives may also include bread and olives, sharing boards (such as charcuterie and cheese platters) or something like homemade nachos. As a sweet option, we have also served ice creams to gusts from our vintage ice cream bike after the ceremony and before the meal. This is a great option – loved by small and big kids alike.
- Don’t forget to think about evening food
Even if you have given your guests a decent main wedding breakfast meal (something that is almost always guaranteed by Thyme Outside – scrimping on portions isn’t something we’re known for!), by the time it gets to 8 or 9 pm, the day might be taking its toll on some guests and you’ll want to perk them up with some evening food. If you are having additional gusts join the party in the evening, this is certainly something you will want to organise. Evening food is almost always informal in nature – sometimes served in the form of a buffet station or even just platters of food left around for guests to help themselves to. Individual pizzas for guests to order are a great option and our piping hot pizzas cooked and served straight from our wood fired pizza ovens are always a real winner. Other popular choices are burgers, piled high and served straight from the barbeque and mini fish and chip cones, which we usually can’t plate up quick enough!
- Don’t overlook the details
Although the main decision you’ll need to consider will be based around your food choices, don’t get carried away and forget to think about the smaller details! For example, does your venue have adequate facilities for food preparation? If not, we may need to hire in additional equipment such as ovens and warming cupboards. Whilst this isn’t a problem, it needs to be discussed and costed for. It is also worth pointing out things such as cutlery, crockery, glass wear, table linen, and staff requirements. Whilst there’s no need to panic as we will discuss all of these items with you, it is worth noting that all of these need to be accounted for and can add to the base price of the food.
The process – booking your wedding with Thyme Outside wedding caterers
Manchester and the surrounding areas are busy places for weddings and as you can appreciate, we do get booked up for weddings quite a few months in advance. Normally we would anticipate a bride and groom to make initial contact with us approximately 9 – 12 months before their wedding. Often, a couple will look to get their venue organised first and then get in contact with us shortly after. By this point, it is likely you will have a date set and we can confirm our availability as a starting point.
Once we have confirmed we would be free to cater your wedding, the next step is to start to think about menus. We would usually advise you to take a look at our sample wedding menus firth to get some idea of the type and style of food you would like. From here, we will arrange a meeting with you to get to know a bit more about you as a couple, your wedding day plans so far and your food likes/dislikes. It is also useful to have an idea of budget in mind as this may influence the type/style of food we can provide.
At that meeting, which will take place either at Thyme Out in West Didsbury or our dedicated catering unit, we’ll talk to you more about what you’re looking for and come up with a couple of shortlisted ideas to work on further. It will help if both of you are on the same page with your wedding catering ideas – although we appreciate this won’t always be the case!! We will also talk to you about other things we can provide that you might not have realised – such as evening food (including pizzas) and our vintage ice cream bike.
After the initial meeting we’ll go away and put together a quote/quotes based on what we discussed. Hopefully you will love what we come up with, but most of the time, there will be a few tweaks to be made. Once a final menu has been agreed, we will take a deposit from you to secure the date.
When it gets a little bit closer to the time, we will think about the logistics of catering your wedding in more detail. We will confirm final numbers with you and answer any last minute queries you may have. If we haven’t catered at a venue before we will usually undertake a site up to a week in advance of the big day visit to check we have everything we need in place.
Then it’s just a case of paying the balance and enjoying the day!
Contact Thyme Outside – wedding caterers, Manchester
For inspiration of the types of food we can provide for weddings, please view our wedding menus. Once you have an idea of wat you’re after, we’d love to discuss your plans with you. Please bear in mind that we do get booked up for dates – especially Saturdays in summer. Should you like the look of our food and wish to book Thyme Outside as your wedding caterers, we would advise getting in touch as soon as possible.