If you are having an informal wedding, or if you have had a formal reception, but are having an informal party in the evening, you may want to put on a buffet to sustain your guests. There are many advantages to a buffet: people can move around as they eat, so children and other easily bored people are happier, you can offer more variety, you don’t need as many waiting staff and it’s more flexible: you can arrange to have food available for as long as the room is yours, so people can graze as they wish.
It doesn’t have to be vol au vents and sandwiches, but there is something to be said for simple food that people know and love. Rather than sandwiches, provide a selection of different sorts of bread, including wraps, and with a variety of cooked meats and dressings, people can make their own sandwiches, if they like. It doesn’t all have to be cold food, either. You can ask to have waiting staff bring in pizza slices, hot chicken drumsticks, sausages, potato wedges and fries. You could even incorporate a barbecue for part of the event. There should be a choice of salads, made interesting by including sprouted seeds and fresh herbs, but for those who feel that raw green stuff is for gerbils, you could have crudités and a pot of hot ratatouille. Make a fruit salad, or just make chunks of fruit available.
You could have a theme, for example a Greek buffet. The Greeks are brilliant at informal entertaining. Think of dolmades, tzatziki, tiny light feta and spinach pies, taramasalata, hummus and of course, olives, sundried tomatoes and stuffed chillies. They do wonderful lemon potatoes and potatoes in tomato sauce: everything easy to serve and easy to eat, and great for vegetarians. Baklava and halva make delicious desserts that would slot in very well with more traditional buffet items.
A sushi buffet would make an elegant choice, but include some chicken sushi as well as fish. Unless all your guests like sushi, it would probably be best to include some other types of food on the buffet.
Indian snacks have become very popular in Britain. Samosas and pakoras have become almost standard, as has Bombay mix and similar crispy mixtures.
Of course, no buffet would be complete without cheese and here is your opportunity to really spoil your guests with good quality and an extensive range from all around the world. Manchego, Gorgonzola, Brie, camembert, Saint Paulin, Gouda, and some British blue cheeses. To accompany the cheese, some biscuits and maybe some antipasti, olives and dates.
A small selection of desserts will be enough. With sweet treats, people’s eyes are often bigger than their bellies. Tiny cakes, macaroons, miniature doughnuts and cheesecakes are better than a big, gooey cake that needs to be sliced. If the facilities are available, what about ice cream chocolates? For a summer wedding, put out a huge bowl of cherries, because your life from now on is going to be a bowl of cherries