Weddings for Food Lovers

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The complete Menu guide to making your wedding the most delicious day of your life…

Weddings are all about celebrating a couple’s love. But all too often they forget to celebrate a couple and their friends and families’ love for great food and drink. We’ve all sat politely and struggled with mediocre dishes as regrettable as a 1980s bridesmaid’s dress.
It doesn’t have to be that way. Good hotels and caterers are now helping put food at the centre of your big day and creating wedding feasts that will live long in the memories of your guests. Say “I do” to deliciousness as we inspire you with great venues and food, clink wine glasses and cut the cake…

 

The Bridge House Hotel

Take it to the Bridge for old world charm with fresh, local food…

Located in the heart of Thomas Hardy’s Wessex, this 600 year old building used to be home to the priests who married you in medieval times but now hosts its own intimate weddings with a mix of rustic charm and relaxed comfort. The award-winning restaurant can cater for 80 and there’s space for up to 50 guests for wedding ceremonies. In summer, the beautiful walled garden and alfresco dining area come into their own. In winter, you can cosy up by the inglenook fireplaces.

The Bridge House has long had a great reputation for the quality of its food which doesn’t compromise on being fresh, local and seasonal. Head Chef Geraldine Gay makes as much in-house as possible, and has helped the hotel secure 2 AA Rosettes and three Taste of The West Gold Awards. It’s a destination for food lovers and a great place to treat guests to the best Dorset ingredients, expertly cooked.

bridgehouse

Speak to the Chef
Head Chef Geraldine Gay talks weddings…

Q. What advice would you give couples when planning their wedding?
A. To consider the types of food both they and their guests enjoy. There’s nothing worse than worrying about other people being happy on your special day!

Q. Why should food lovers choose you for their wedding?
A. We have a real passion for food and try to be as seasonal with our produce as possible. We can tailor-make menus so that you can have exactly what you like! From a formal wedding breakfast to a casual summer barbecue.

Q. What’s been your most successful wedding in terms of the food you served?
A. A wedding we did at the end of April this year. Every guest enjoyed their meal, from starters of venison scotch eggs and beetroot cured salmon to the finishing sorbet of cucumber and lime made by request of the bride and groom. There was even a cocktail bar in the evening, a very enjoyable day from start to finish.

Q. What would you most like to serve at a wedding that you haven’t been able to yet?
A. I enjoy the individuality of every wedding we do at the Bridge House, so there’s nothing I have a burning desire to do. We have a vegetarian wedding coming up this month, which was great to plan menus for. Some of the guests are dairy free, but would like a chocolate dessert, so a vegan chocolate tart and raspberry sorbet is on the menu along with coconut, lime and kaffir arancini for the main.

The Bridge House Hotel
Beaminster, Dorset DT8 3AY,
Tel: 01308 862200
www.bridge-house.co.uk

 

Athelhampton House

Getting married in the manor you’re probably not accustomed to…

Getting married at one of the country’s finest manor houses wasn’t an option for peasants like us for most of Athelhampton’s 500 year history but this handsome, historic venue and its beautiful gardens now make for quintessentially English weddings.
They can cater for anywhere between 20 and 80 guests for a ceremony or 150 for a cocktail reception in the manor house, complete with Jacobean antique furnishings, heraldic stained glass and oak panelled walls.
When it comes to the food, they pride themselves on creating bespoke menus based on local, seasonal produce. Guests can order from a menu of seasonal dishes on the day rather than having to decide months in advance. In this way, guest’s individual wishes and diets can be catered for. Whatever they pick, it will be created with fresh Dorset produce and classically presented to let the quality shine through.

athelhampton

Speak to the Chef
Owen Smith from Athelhampton House tells all

Q. What advice would you give couples when planning their wedding food?
A. Our advice to our couples is to plan the meal around themselves, the food they love the most. You can’t please all the guests all of the time, and even if you try you end up compromising your happiness. With our wedding breakfast you have choices so let us take the pressure of pleasing everyone.

Q. Why should food lovers choose you for their wedding?
A. We serve great local, seasonal and fresh food. Our chef team is ready for a challenge so we are always more than happy to create a menu to very specific wishes.

Q. What are the big trends in wedding food to look out for at the moment?
A. The big trend in weddings at the moment is for some really relaxed dining, and while many couples’ budgets are under pressure, we are serving afternoon tea and champagne as a wedding breakfast.

Our home-made cakes and scones, with great local fresh fruit to follow really hits the spot, and then in the evening one of our in-house hog roasts and barbecues.

Q. What would you most like to serve at a wedding that you haven’t yet?
A. I have been at Athelhampton for 20 years created hundreds of bespoke menus, and really do think I have served everything I can imagine, though the one thing I have not been asked for is actually quite basic… What I would love to do is a huge paella for an evening buffet in our delightful gardens.

Athelhampton House & Gardens
Dorchester, Dorset. DT2 7LG
Tel: 01305 848363
www.athelhampton.co.uk

 

The Cumberland Hotel

Design your day – and your menu – to experience boutique bliss in Bournemouth…

“No two weddings should ever be the same” according to The Cumberland. This opulent, stylish art deco hotel is positioned dramatically on Bournemouth’s East Cliff and encourage couples to work with their planners to ensure every big day is unique.
You can design your own food and drink package with menus taking in classics and contemporary favourites, using fresh local produce to be expertly cooked by their executive chefs.
Their Oceana Room can accommodate a ceremony for up to 120 guests, under a massive free span dome and chandelier that can match the colour theme of your wedding. Outside, the Lido Deck offers a palms and poolside al fresco space that can bring a touch of Miami to your wedding for barbecues, canapes and drinks receptions.

cumberland

Speak to the Chef
The Cumberland’s Executive Chef on their weddings

Q. What advice would you give couples when planning their wedding food?
A. You know your family. Give us the requirements and we will put together a well-balanced menu to please your guests.

Q. Why should food lovers choose you for their wedding?
A. I understand this is your special day and will go out of my way to deliver excellence and lasting memories. All our produce is local, high quality and the well trained team offer professional, friendly service.

Q. What’s been your most successful wedding in terms of the food you served?
A. All of my weddings are special in their own unique way. We have had some great themed weddings: seaside, 1920s , barbecues, even Halloween.

Q. What are the big trends in wedding food to look out for at the moment?
A. Couples are going for quality, presentation, taste. We offer menu tasting so the Bride & Groom can tweak and customise their menu with our direction. I think this bespoke ability is important in an age where diners are ‘food savvy’ and know what they like.

Q. What would you most like to serve at a wedding that you haven’t been able to yet?
A. A full on Indian style wedding with all the flowers and attire. Vast selection of curries and side dishes. Bollywood Style!

The Cumberland Hotel,
East Overcliff Drive,
Seafront, Bournemouth, Dorset, BH1 3AF
01202 290722
www.oceanahotels.co.uk

 

Signature Catering


Sign up these caterers for a smooth day full of great local food…

Positioned in the perfect spot for produce on the Dorset-Hampshire border, next to the New Forest, Signature Catering puts the region’s finest, freshest ingredients at its professional chef’s fingertips. The bride will probably do more miles to reach the reception than much of their menu.

They pride themselves on serving sustainable food of the highest quality. They carefully select the meat and fish they serve from ethical farms and fisheries and you can sample the quality at their restaurants; Seventh Wave at Durlston Castle and Seasons restaurant at Moor Valley Country Park. Their event management team, professionally trained waiting staff and chefs will reduce the host’s stress so they can enjoy the day with their guests. Hospitality, flexibility and personal touches are at the heart of this acclaimed caterer’s operations and will make any wedding day feel special while running smoothly.

signature

Speak to the Chef
Meet Signature’s Head Chef, Ryan…

Q. What advice would you give couples when planning their wedding?
A. As a chef I enjoy giving people food they will love, therefore I always suggest clients pick food they really enjoy and reflects them as a couple… At the end of the day it is their special occasion, don’t choose a menu because you think you should.

Q. Why should food lovers choose you for their wedding?
A. As a team and a group of chefs we are constantly pushing the boundaries and hunting for new ideas, we always recommend that couples shop around because you never know what’s out there. However, we are not a company that hides away from a challenge and we are constantly writing new menus for couples seeking new ideas.

Q. What’s been your most successful wedding in terms of the food?
A. Two come to mind recently… both of which were at the beautiful Sopley Mill. The first was a very specific three course wedding breakfast which allowed us to really showcase our quality and standards as a team that we work to. Secondly, a three course afternoon tea which sounded straight forward as a concept, but required high levels of concentration and exceptional attention to detail

Q. What are the big trends in wedding food to look out for at the moment?
A. There seems to be two trends at the moment… Firstly, couples going more rustic such as a ploughman’s style banquet. Secondly I would say sharing, tapas style menus. Couples are looking to get everyone involved throughout the breakfast.

Signature Catering
Moors Valley Country Park,
Horton Road, Ashley Heath,
Ringwood. BH24 2ET.
01425 477665
www.signaturecateringco.co.uk

 

The Cottonwood Boutique Hotel


Make this romantic hotel your own Edwardian house for your big day…

This has to be one of the most romantic places for a hotel in Dorset. Perched on Bournemouth’s East Cliff with a stunning view of miles of golden sandy beaches below, it’s not just hearts that are lifted by this lofty spot, your photos will look great too. Originally an Edwardian villa, with its opulent function rooms, ornate chandeliers and elegant bar, it’s now perfectly suited for an intimate wedding with friends and family for anywhere between 10 and 150 guests. Or you could even make it your own private Edwardian house with exclusive use of The Cottonwood’s 30 individually styled bedrooms for you and your guests. This gives you the run of the hotel and gardens with dedicated staff.

Food comes from an award-winning Head Chef and can take in everything from vintage afternoon tea parties to finger buffets, barbecues and a more traditional, locally sourced wedding breakfast menu. Whatever you decide, lovers of good food and stunning locations will be happy.

cottonwood

Speak to the Chef
The Cottonwood Boutique’s Executive Chef, Brad Instance, speaks…

Q. What advice would you give couples when planning their wedding?
A. Firstly, find a mixed balance of choices that your guests will like without over complicating flavours and tastes. We have taster sessions so that couples can sample their choice of menu and discuss it with me.

Q. Why should food lovers choose you for their wedding?
A. I enjoy making a couple’s dream wedding come true and will tailor a menu to any tastes and requirements. All my team love the buzz that weddings create and it’s always a great joy to see everyone at a wedding really enjoy the special day.

Q. What’s been your most successful wedding in terms of the food?
A. It’s always great to do a really good classic dish at a wedding and a few weeks ago we prepared herb crusted rack of lamb with rösti potatoes and a red currant jus. It was superb, even if I do say so myself!

Q. What are the big trends in wedding food to look out for at the moment?
A. Locally sourced produce is a big favourite at the moment. We order fresh, seasonal and local produce at every opportunity. Having great ingredients is the key to great dishes.

Q. What would you most like to serve at a wedding that you haven’t yet?
A. Tiger prawns marinated in ginger, chilli and garlic and then barbecued on hot coals would be a great starter. Followed by pan roasted duck breast with a cassis jus and potato gratin and then for dessert, a fresh summer fruit tart with clotted cream and dark chocolate ribbon curl.

The Cottonwood Boutique Hotel
East Overcliff Drive,
Bournemouth, Dorset, BH1 3AP
01202 553183
www.thecottonwoodboutique.co.uk

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