Hiring a catering company in Sydney for wedding catering is essential and can be a big-ticket item… So, how do you choose between your wedding catering options?

Ask any wedding guest what makes a good wedding, and their mind goes straight to catering – it’s the wealth of food options your caterer serves that they’re really looking forward to – next to being in the presence of their favourite couple in the world.

Weddings are all about enjoying food and good company, be it a formal sit-down, a cost-effective canapé service, or a joyful champagne and cake celebration. It’s also a big decision to get right. It takes a huge portion of your wedding day budget, and it’s that thread that ties all of your wedding elements. Take a moment, grab your wedding planner book, and jot down your thoughts to help you navigate through the many wedding catering options available.

Wedding Catering Options

The extensive range of wedding catering options available in Sydney may seem overwhelming at first. However, you’ll probably find that your choices become simpler and more straightforward once you factor in the selection of the venue, the level of formality, and the allocated budget.

We’ve curated a diverse range of wedding catering options like styles and menus, encompassing everything from relaxed buffets and sizzling barbecues to refined multi-course plated meals. You’ll also find here some invaluable tips for selecting a wedding catering style that complements your preferences and ensures a delightful experience for your guests.

In this blog post, we’ll explain:

  • Food serving options
  • Catering budget
  • Things to consider
  • Questions to ask your caterer

Seated reception dinner with plated table service

A sit-down plated reception dinner adds an air of sophistication to your wedding celebration. Typically, it features a two or three-course plated meal with multiple options for the main course. Attentive waitstaff serves each dish at the guests’ tables, making it one of Sydney’s most traditional wedding catering options.

This table service style is most suitable for formal weddings and evening receptions in which guests can enjoy their dinner and listen to speeches while comfortably seated for a couple of hours. If, however, you envision a particularly festive or lively wedding atmosphere with guests wanting to mingle, dance, and engage with others beyond their designated tables, this wedding catering option might not be the wisest choice.

It’s important to note that a sit-down plated meal incurs higher costs due to the number of servers needed to attend to guests – especially if wine is being poured. That said, there are some cost-saving benefits in terms of the quantity of food needed since it’s generally a lot less when compared to a buffet setup. Therefore, you can invest in higher quantity dishes. Plus, the “alternate drop” serving style minimises food wastage, while serving wine at the table often results in guests consuming less.

The “alternate drop” method involves preparing two different meals, such as chicken and beef, and serving one option to half of the guests and the other option to the remaining half. While guests have the flexibility to swap their meals with their neighbours if they prefer the other option, they don’t have the choice to individually select their preferred meal.

Once you select a plated reception dinner, you still have several food options to consider. Since the food is pre-plated, it’s crucial to take into account dietary requirements and choose menu options that can universally appeal to guests. On the other hand, with buffet, banquet, or canape styles offering more freedom for bold and exotic choices, guests can pick and choose their preferred dishes.

Shared banquet-style wedding catering for a relaxed feast

A shared banquet-style menu presents somewhat of a less formal alternative to plated menus. Each platter is thoughtfully portioned to ensure every guest gets a taste, which makes it an ideal food option for accommodating dietary requirements and catering to selective eaters who can choose their favourite options.

One thing to keep in mind when choosing the shared banquet style is the space it occupies on the tables. Since the platters take up significant room, it’s best to reduce the use of centrepieces or excessive foliage in the centre of the table. In some situations, you may even have to remove certain glassware to have ample space.

This wedding catering option is exceptional for offering guests a variety of food options. It eliminates the need for specific gluten-free or vegetarian meals as long as there’s a wide range of selections available to accommodate diverse preferences. It’s a fantastic solution for catering to selective eaters!

Buffet catering menus for abundant wedding catering options of food

Got a large number of guests attending your wedding? Perhaps you prefer a less formal dining setup where guests can eat at their convenience? An ideal choice would be a self-service buffet. Buffet dinners rank as the second most popular food option for evening receptions.

Buffet dinners can accommodate a larger guest count, but it’s important to take into account the potential formation of queues or lines. So, how do you go about this? Well, you could plan for guests to approach the buffet table in an organised manner: either by coordinating table by table or by setting up multiple buffet stations.

The question, then, becomes: Is a buffet wedding a more economical wedding catering option? Many couples assume that buffets are more affordable. They’re not. Although seated dinners may seem more expensive due to the large service staff required, buffets often result in more food being served and, unfortunately, wasted. As a consequence, the overall cost will be influenced by the style and quality of the food you choose.

Remember, guests tend to go for seconds or even thirds at a buffet; this asks for larger food quantities to accommodate their preferences. To fully grasp the actual price difference between buffets and seated dinners, give us a call or send us an email, and we’ll help you out.

Before opting for a buffet catering service as your wedding catering option of choice, make sure that your Sydney catering company has an adequate number of staff members to promptly handle tasks, such as removing dirty dishes, replenishing the buffet on time, and attending to the needs of your guests. It’s also important to inquire more about the shelf-life of food items on the buffet to abide by food safety standards and maintain the quality of the meals you serve.

Buffet wedding catering is particularly popular in Australia within Sydney and Melbourne communities, as it aligns with the traditional serving style, which originated in June 1916 when Chief Justice Sir William Cullen inaugurated a unique buffet near the St Mary’s Road entrance to the domain.

Adding a sweet note with a dessert buffet

Another of your most popular wedding catering options is the inclusion of a Dessert Buffet instead of a plated dessert. This delightful setup can feature various treats such as cake, finger foods, macarons, and fresh fruits.

Cocktail/Canapé Wedding: An Unconventional Wedding Catering Option

For a non-traditional option that works well for afternoon weddings, a cocktail/canapé reception is one of the best wedding catering options. During this style of wedding catering, waitstaff serves delicious canapés either at tables for guests to enjoy or by circulating the venue with trays. Wedding catering options like this offer convenience and prove to be more budget-friendly than buffet stations.

It’s important to communicate in advance to your guests that the reception will follow a cocktail/canapé style, ensuring they don’t expect a full dinner. The timing of the wedding reception, such as an afternoon-only event or one starting at 7 or 8 pm, can also indicate the style of the meal.

Lunch or Brunch Wedding for a Refreshing Twist

Modern wedding catering options are breaking away from traditional constraints, and it’s becoming increasingly common for couples to host morning receptions followed by brunch or lunch. Brunch-style food is perfect for buffet-style service. They feature such items as fruit platters, muffins, and a variety of omelettes. Do you find this wedding catering option intriguing? We recommend checking out the complete article on hosting a brunch wedding—it even includes tips on serving coffee and doughnuts!

Important questions to ask your Sydney wedding caterer

When choosing a Sydney-based wedding caterer, gather as much information as possible. Here are some important questions to ask:

  1. Do they offer tastings? If not, be sure to check reviews from previous clients.
  2. How many staff members will be available, and will they handle tasks such as pouring drinks, washing dishes, and serving the wedding cake, in addition to the main fare?
  3. What crockery, cutlery, glassware, and other essentials are included in the catering service?
  4. Will tea and coffee be provided?
  5. What will the staff wear, and does their attire align with the formality of your wedding?
  6. Will there be enough food to provide a small meal for your photographers?
  7. Will children be served the same food as adults?
  8. What’s the protocol for leftover food, especially after a buffet?
  9. Can they accommodate various dietary requirements?
  10. When do they require final numbers and dietary requirements? Ensure you note this date in your diary.
  11. Will the staff perform a complete cleanup after the event?
  12. What amount of space is needed for food preparation?
  13. How much table space should be allocated for the chosen style of service?

Let Boardwalk Catering, your reliable wedding catering company, handle your Sydney wedding

Relax and enjoy your wedding day as Boardwalk Catering, your reliable Sydney-based catering company, handles every aspect of your wedding event. Our prestigious gold license status ensures that we offer premium catering services that go above and beyond your expectations. Plus, as a catering company holding this esteemed status, we have exclusive access to a range of state-of-the-art venues that are reserved solely for caterers of our calibre.

Our team uses fresh, seasonal produce to ensure high-quality meals for your guests. What sets us apart is our attention to detail, customer focus, and the implementation of 24-hour monitors for fridge and freezer temperatures. 

Trust Boardwalk Catering to deliver a premium, one-of-a-kind wedding catering experience so that you can savour every moment of your wedding days.