Scottish caterers say how coronavirus might affect your wedding food

From opulent at-home dining to innovative presentation of individual portions, Scotland’s wedding caterers are stepping up to the plate, pandemic or no pandemic…

Even in the midst of a global crisis, people will always want to celebrate good times with good friends and, importantly, good food. Although events of the past few months have been devastating for our nation’s wedding industry, the fact is that love is always going to find its way into our lives, and we’re always going to want to honour it by breaking bread with our nearest and dearest.

Platter & Pop wedding grazing tray
Keep the grazing-table dream alive with Platter & Pop’s individual trays (Photo: Daniella Flores Photography)

We have heard of so many couples who have gotten engaged over lockdown, and started planning their big day in a less-than-ideal climate – a fact that has been observed by a whole host of catering companies, who have had no choice but to adapt.

“As we saw an increase in bookings and re-bookings for next year and beyond, we created our wedding breakfast taster boxes with simple reheat instructions and recorded tasting notes,” reveals Lucy Fleming, founder and director of Glasgow’s Busy Bee Catering, which has temporarily pivoted towards at-home dining and ready-to-heat meals in the face of the pandemic. “This way, new clients can sample their meal in their own home while still having an experience as special as one of our in-house tasting sessions.” The message is clear: weddings are going nowhere, so what will nosh at nuptials look like in the future?

Busy Bees Catering wedding food brioche sliders
These sliders from Busy Bee Catering are still an option – they just might need to be served in a different way

Modified sharing

In recent years, we’ve seen a boom in one particular type of catering: family-style, where each table of guests help themselves from a large platter. Could such an approach still work in corona times?

“Grazing is a lot of what we do,” says Susannah Nixon of Perthshire-based Platter & Pop. “We don’t feel that the virus should prohibit this as long as it’s a family group or bubble that’s sharing a table and platter. We’ve also been adapting our process to create smaller, modular boards for households, and individually packaged grazing boxes to replace the traditional canapé. There may, however, be limitations on buffets where the entire party would eat from the same selection.”

Platter & Pop wedding hot chocolate and marshmallows in tent; Stag Bites the Hog wedding food truck
Left: It’s hot chocolate but not as you know it over at Platter & Pop – well, those smores ain’t gonna eat themselves! Right: Stag Bites The Hog makes it easy to maintain social distancing from its first-rate food truck

The rise of food trucks

One form of catering which is currently seeing a bump in bookings is the humble food truck. Liam Davies of Stag Bites The Hog, which serves up such delights as mac ’n’ cheese fritters with patatas bravas, tells us why: “Our van is great when it comes to social distancing – it can be parked outside, and we’re high up and away from the public; however, we have also installed perspex shields as a precaution, and we always have hand sanitiser available. We wear masks and gloves when operating and have a queuing system for placing and receiving orders.”

Liam also predicts that staggered serving times will become the norm, with food units being placed throughout an open space.

wedding private dining set up at home by Platter and Pop
Planning an at-home celebration whenever restrictions allow? Doesn’t mean it can’t be opulent – just ask Platter and Pop (Photo: Wonderful and Strange)

Luxury with smaller numbers

“We believe small, family-oriented weddings will be key for the near future,” Susannah at Platter and Pop says. “It’s also likely that couples will want a more luxurious spread as part of their offering, as reduced guest lists allow for more budget for catering.”

“It looks as though our couples are going back to what really matters: valuing family, friends and good grub,” agrees Lucy at Busy Bee Catering.

And one thing’s for sure – whatever celebration you find yourself planning in the coming months, you’ll certainly be able to find a caterer to make you forget about the world’s woes with a bite of its delectable fare.