Scrummy food ideas for wedding arrival dinners, hen parties, post-wedding brunches and BBQs, and wedding grazing boards

Can we have more? Olivia Simpson fills her boots with advice from the experts on how they keep guests sated either side of the wedding, from arrival dinners to next-day brunches

ruby chocolate dome with a chocolate and pistachio crumb
For a swanky welcome meal, Kate’s Bespoke Catering suggests a tasting menu, featuring elegant options like this ruby chocolate dome with a chocolate and pistachio crumb (Photo: facebook.com/UgliFruitMedia)

For those looking for a major celebration, a ‘standard’ 12pm-12am wedding just won’t cut it. These days, it’s all about the multi-day event, with couples inviting friends and family to spend the whole weekend with them at exclusive-use venues. Perhaps after two years of cancelled plans and various degrees of isolation, all we want is to be with loved ones for as long as possible? However, I think it’s much simpler than that: us Scots love a party and will jump on any excuse to keep one going.

So, what do these weekend-long revelries entail? Often, they’ll start with a welcome dinner on a Friday and end with a chilled-out brunch on Sunday morning to help guests regain their strength after the excitements and excesses of the night before. From tasting menus to barbecued brownies (yes, really) we asked Scottish caterers what they’d be serving up across the weekend.

Welcome meal

If your guests have travelled far and wide to reach your venue, it’s only right to treat them to a slap-up spread on arrival, but the first meal serves another purpose too: setting the tone for what’s to come. “Some couples like a more elaborate meal for a handful of people; tasting menus are popular in that regard,” Kate McKenna from Kate’s Bespoke Catering tells us. “However, most opt for simple fare such as drop-off family meals or street-food options served from our converted vintage horse trailer.”

If your weekend is a chilled-out affair in the country, a barbecue could be the way to go. Field Fire Fork’s offerings of exceptional-quality meat paired with Middle Eastern sides would put a smile on any weary traveller’s face, but it’s the barbecued chocolate brownies that really have us drooling. Adding to temptation is the fact that the company offers discounted rates for secondary meals if they have been booked for the wedding itself. “Prices vary depending on the dishes (some dishes take 10 hours to cook), but I will create a menu to suit each budget,” the company’s Pete Gayford assures us.

dishes from Field Fire Fork
Just some of the delicious dishes Field Fire Fork has on its grill

The morning after the night before

A chilled-out meal with you guests is the perfect excuse to debrief about the reception’s shenanigans and help those in a sorry state recover. “Couples typically request more casual styles of food such as hog roasts and barbecues for a post-wedding event,” says Kate. “Street food such as toasties, fish tacos and mac and cheese are also popular.”
If guests are facing long journeys home, a morning spread may be a better option and can be just as scrumptious. “Our brunch buffets, featuring breakfast items like Scottish smoked salmon bagels, are a real hit with guests,” says Kate.

For a fun take on standard brunch fare, Pete has some ideas: “A barbecue breakfast is a fantastic option – huevos ranchos and reverse-seared bavette steak with fresh salsa is particularly restorative for those not feeling their best.”

Kate’s Bespoke Catering barbecue food
Our summer BBQs are messy affairs – clearly we should be leaving it to experts like Kate’s Bespoke Catering whose delights look as good as they taste (Photo: brancoprata.com)

Hen and stag

Planning a simpler, single-day event and feeling left out? Don’t worry: both Pete and Kate can cater for hen and stag parties, giving you another opportunity to sample their fabulous menus. “A more formal hen or stag meal can create a real sense of occasion, but this obviously isn’t appropriate for every event,” Kate says. “We have seen an increase in intimate hen or stag parties, with the bride or groom often hiring out a country house and having us cater tasting menus combined with whisky or gin tastings.” Can we get an invite please?

Grazing boards for pre-wedding celebrations or the morning of

The Olive Boardz is Scotland’s first dine-in grazing restaurant in Shawlands in Glasgow’s southside. “We offer grazing boards, tapas and afternoon tea to sit-in,” introduces owner Matt Poole. “We’ve become known for the beautiful presentations of our boards; they make perfect centrepieces that have proven to be real talking points, so it was a no-brainier to progress into weddings.”

Grazing boards by the Olive Boardz
Left: The Olive Boardz’s owner, Matt Poole, always dreamed of working for himself and “after lots of research, practice and leaving a previous job with British Airways, The Olive Boardz was born four years ago! Right: The Olive Boardz uses the highest-quality produce to create its grazing boards and displays, meaning customers get the best value for money

The company now provides brunches, bridal- and hen-party food, nibbles for the evening reception, stunning table centrepieces and more, all available for collection or home delivery around Glasgow (further afield considered for larger events). “We work with renowned local companies, including cheese from George Mewes Cheese, baked goods from Freedom Bakery and bagels from Brawsome Bagels,” continues Matt.

“We have an in-depth consultation prior to accepting a booking, covering all key points, like allergies, number of guests and what the client imagines the end goal to look like – we’ve never had a disappointed customer yet!” Looking at the boards, we can see why!