When you think about a wedding, you think of elegance and beauty – a perfect occasion, but these events are never as effortless as they often look.
To truly create a ‘wow’ factor for your ideal wedding reception, in aesthetics as well as the food provided, a vast amount of preparation and planning must go ahead behind the scenes. Catering for a large crowd, such as will be attending a wedding, or indeed any other large event, is also in itself a huge undertaking, bigger than picking out what to wear. This is when planning, planning and more planning are needed.
This blog will look at how caterers can make sure they’re as prepared as the bride for the big day.
Catering equipment for large events
When you’re thinking of catering for a large event, whether it’s a wedding, significant birthday or anniversary celebration or even a retirement, you need to carefully consider the equipment you’ll need to simultaneously serve a large crowd of hungry people. The equipment needs to be selected for ease of use so that your hosting team can operate it without issues and ensure everything can also be cleaned without difficulties.
Before you can work out the catering equipment that you’ll need, you need to fix the menu and variety of foods that you’ll be offering, as this will directly impact the type and size of equipment needed. You will also need to know the number of people to be catered for as well as the style of the event – is it a formal sit-down three-course meal or a less formal self-serve, buffet-style event? And what time will guests want the food to be served? Once these details have been fixed then you can start to plan the equipment that you’ll need to create the perfect wedding breakfast meal for the guests.
An essential part of the equation for your wedding catering is in having enough of the right staff to serve your guests. You will need a professional catering team who will be working their magic behind the scenes to produce mouth-wateringly delicious foods, but also a capable team to serve front-of-house, making sure that guests are served their meals at the right times and temperatures and clearing away used and dirty plates and cutlery at the relevant moments – giving your honoured guests the seemingly effortless event that they expect. Too few catering staff behind the scenes, and the food will be slow to appear and leave guests feeling irritable and hungry, whereas hiring the right number of staff both behind and in front of the scenes will ensure that all the food and drinks are served smoothly and promptly – keeping hosts and guests happy.
Front-of-house is where the food is presented, served and eaten, whereas back-of-house is the place where the food is prepared and cooked. If it’s not included in the venue hire, you may have to consider table and chair hire as well as tablecloths and decorations.
Front-of-house equipment will include place settings of cutlery, plates, side dishes, bowls and glassware that guests will eat and drink from – but also includes serving dishes, trays and cutlery which are needed to transport the food from the back-of-house area to the guests’ tables for consumption. If the meal being served is a less formal, buffet-style one – then buffet equipment, serving food and tongs as well as stands and displays will be needed to keep food warm and looking attractive.
While it may look effortless out in front of the guests, there is often a lot happening behind the scenes to keep everything ticking over. The back-of-house equipment needed will, obviously, depend hugely on the menu being served and the number of guests. Generally, however, basic equipment such as ovens, stoves and refrigeration will be needed along with containers and storage. Pots, pans, baking trays and kitchen utensils, such as knives, spoons and spatulas amongst other items enable the cooking and preparation of the delicious foods you want to serve to your guests.
Depending on the menu, you may need additional cooking equipment – like mixers, hot water urns and fryers or grills, and many items can be hired for large events, saving the larger costs involved in purchasing. Not only will there need to be all the relevant equipment and supplies for preparing, cooking and serving the food to the guests, but also cleaning supplies will be needed to maintain cleanliness and hygiene during and after the event.
Alternative catering options
Possibly you’re looking to have your wedding reception in a less conventional situation – rather than a hotel or restaurant that is already equipped with all the relevant catering equipment and staff. A romantic outdoor location, perhaps a private beach, a field or just a large garden with a marquee won’t have a commercial kitchen on hand and so you will need to figure out the catering for a large party of hungry guests. Here are a few ideas for alternative catering solutions:
- A large hog roast or BBQ cookout will provide a unique and memorable alternative way to feed your guests that is different to a traditional sit-down meal at a wedding.
- Order in your favourite takeaway food for everyone to enjoy, why not serve everyone fish and chips? They’ll not forget that wedding in a hurry!
- Food trucks are a new trendy option, where the caterer brings their own truck onsite with their serving teams and can provide the menu options that you’re looking for from their own facilities within their catering van.
Another option could be a outdoor kitchen pod. If you want to have the facilities of a catering kitchen on site, then a catering pod could be the answer. Installed in a matter of days, and requiring only supplies of water and electricity, these nifty, temporary units can contain the equipment that you would need for you to cater to your large guest list with ease. If you’re considering turning an empty field or barn into a business opportunity to be rented out as a wedding or events venue, then installing a catering pod with commercial-grade catering equipment will be a great selling point for anyone looking to rent your premises for their wedding. Their catering team will have, ready to hand, all that they need to supply your guests with food.
Abraxas has been designing and installing commercial catering kitchen equipment for decades and can advise you on all that you might need to know regarding catering equipment for your wedding or any large event.
Get in touch today for friendly and impartial advice.
areas we cover
We are a company with proud roots in Worcestershire and we provide our service, maintenance and gas safe services throughout the Midlands. Our design, installation and project services are provided across the whole of the UK, take a look at the map to see just a few of the projects we have completed.
Abraxas specialise in commercial kitchen and servery counter design and the supply of commercial catering and foodservice equipment. We are a family run business based in Kidderminster, Worcestershire and employ our own engineers. We take a genuine pride in the services and products we provide to all our clients from a County Council to a small café.
We design kitchens that are efficient, well organised and cost effective, tailor-made to your needs.
Kitchen extraction is imperative for employee & customer safety and is a legal requirement.
Every installation fully project managed ensuring your kitchen complies with all necessary regulations.
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Bespoke servery counters, working to your exact requirements and specifications.
Servicing & Maintenance
We can service, repair and maintain your catering equipment to ensure your kitchen runs efficiently.
We understand the meaning of a Gas Safe Kitchen & can make sure you meet all the necessary regulations.