After the proposal and engagement party is done, taking the first steps to planning your wedding can be daunting. The world of weddings seems full of endless possibilities. You have so many ideas for your wedding reception in a beautiful forest, or maybe you’ll have an extraordinary disco, a big white wedding in a giant hall, or a princess wedding with ball gowns and tuxedos. If you’re thinking of adventure, you may wear your wedding jumpsuits and after saying your “I do's”, jump off a plane and parachute to the ground!
These ideas may sound fun and truly unforgettable, but then, you sit down with your bride or groom to be and actually start planning your wedding. All the endless wedding possibilities becomes an endless circle of decision making. Where do you start? How can you afford your wedding? How many guests will you have? What about the food and drinks?
There are many checklists that you can print out to keep up with your wedding preparations. To get you started thinking about the different aspects that make up a wedding, we’ve included the most basic and the most important things that you need to prepare for the big day. Let’s begin.
Set A Budget for Catering, Venue, Decor, Photographers
Setting a budget will get everything rolling. You need to allot your budget for dresses/suits, wedding theme decorations, the wedding and reception venues, food and drinks, flowers, wedding photographers and videographers, entertainment and the audio visual setup.
Make Your Guest List
This is one of the first wedding logistics you should think about after setting the budget. When you know how much money you have to spend, you’ll know roughly how many people you can accommodate for. This may change so don’t make any promises to work acquaintances or distant 3rd cousins who want a wedding invite.
The number of guests will also depend on the season your wedding date falls into and how far guests will have to travel to the wedding venue or reception venue. Once you have a rough number this will give you an idea of how much food and drink needs to be prepared and possible venues that are suitable.
Find your Perfect Sydney Wedding Venue
There are so many wedding venues in Sydney that will fit your budget and still come out as a romantic and memorable place for your wedding and reception party. Some good wedding venues include:
- The Australian National Maritime Museum
- Harbor 220
- Prince Henry Centre
- Barangaroo Reserve
- State Library of New South Wales
- The Island
- Cell Block Theatre
- Wylies baths
- The University of Sydney
- Coogee Surf Club
- Hyde Park Barracks
- The Royal Botanical Gardens
- White Bay Cruise Terminal
- The Venue
- Chinese Gardens
- The Freedom Hub
- La Porte Space
Click here to read the full details about these venues.
Choosing The Wedding Reception Style - Your Sydney Catering Options
Whether you’re thinking of an elegant or traditional wedding or a small and intimate gathering with your family and friends, there will be a style that fits your taste. Here are some examples our staff have seen first hand:
#1 Plated Dinner
This is a sit-down dinner, which is considered the most traditional and most formal since each guest is individually served a plated meal. Usually three courses are served; the entrée, main and dessert. The caterer will usually give guests a choice of two entrees which are selected beforehand or guests can swap with each other to get the meal they will most enjoy.
With this style, every guest will get their food at the same time and the caterer will know how much food will need to be purchased since the menu is pre-selected. Catering this way can mean that costs are lower as compared to a buffet or family-style meal.
Food buffets are usually set up on long tables and guests can walk along and serve themselves. Servers can also be stationed behind the buffet table to serve the guests. This style is considered one of the most casual styles of meal service, but it’s also efficient.
This style requires fewer servers, thus you may save money on catering staff charges. Buffets are also a cost effective way of providing guests with a variety of food choices and promotes interaction among guests.
#3 Food Stations
This is similar to a buffet but the food is usually spread out across the venue at different stations. One area may be a carving station for meats, one for desserts, a sushi bar, a tapas station and a beverage station. Portions are served in a food station style, meaning they are on the smaller side which usually takes just about three bites to finish.
Just like a buffet, your guests will be pleased with the wide variety of food and drinks being served. Guest won’t have to wait in line since every station is spread all over the reception and people have different tastes. This also promotes a lot of interaction and mingling among the guests.
#4 Family Style Service
Just like a sit down dinner, guests are assigned specific dinner tables and the servers bring large portions of food to the dinner table on serving platters where guests can fill their own plates, just like they would at home.
#5 Cocktail Style
This style features hors d’oeuvres and other bite size offerings served all evening in contrast to a sit down meal. The hors d’oeuvres are usually one or two bite sized portions and can be a combination of hot and cold food options. The bite-sized foods can be served by waiters or they can be at stations for guests to get themselves. This is a good choice for a more casual atmosphere and gives the most opportunity for guests to mingle, meet and talk to each other.
Planning the Drinks
Choosing the drinks can also be a daunting task, but you don’t have to worry. Below are some examples of drinks that you can have on your wedding day.
Good ol’ bubbly as a celebratory drink never gets old. You can have a little before your wedding to calm your nerves and celebrate the union by popping up another bottle. Bubblies vary in flavor, so if you can, do some tastings before you decide what bottle to get. Champagne can cost you $12 for a decent bottle and about $60-$250 for the best and top of the line champagnes.
When choosing wines for your wedding, consider the time of the year and the wedding location. Summer weddings and lunches are best suited for whites, lighter-style reds and rose like pinot noir or cabernet franc. Winter weddings on the other hand are suited for robust merlots and bordeaux. The menu will also play a part in choosing your wine. Your chosen caterer will help you with pairing a great wine.
#3 Beer and Non-alcoholic Drinks
Serving good beer is an easy option and can be great for rain, hail or shine. Also since, you’re a responsible host, there should be also plenty of non-alcoholic drinks like juice, non-alcoholic cocktails, punch, sparkling mineral water and sodas.
Incorporate an Audio-visual System
The size and equipment will depend on how big the venue is. Hotels and other large venues provide their own AV system which is usually included in the package whenever you rent one of their ballroom or event spaces. If not, consider hiring only the essentials. Maybe you want some lights to hit the dancefloor?
Find Wedding Entertainment
You can hire a DJ or a band to provide entertainment for your wedding party. Most live performers will bring their own equipment to the venue. But mostly all the other PA systems like speakers and microphones will be provided by the venue or you can also hire a 3rd party sound system company if the equipment provided by the venue is not adequate.
As always, it’s best to prepare early so that all the details can be ironed out before the event and everything will go according to plan. Good luck.