You've settled on the perfect big-day backdrop, now you have to decide your menu. Make the day unforgettable for your guests by making sure your meal complements your venue. Vineyards are a gorgeous setting, and most can accommodate guests all year round. Whether your budget is big or small, wow your guests with our expert advice.
Vineyards can be charming, casual settings but there are also more sophisticated venues around, so tailor the menu to match the surroundings. Shared platters are suitable for a more rustic location – make the food the star of the table and avoid unnecessary clutter as it may make guests uncomfortable and hesitant to reach out to help themselves. ‘If it’s a small wedding, consider a long lunch, with five to six courses which you roll out every 45 minutes or so, says Nicky Gomes-Luis of Lavish Events.
Vineyards, with their grapevines, olive trees and lavender bushes, lend themselves to European-style menus. At Poderi Crisci on Waiheke Island, for example, shared plates of Italian delicacies like fried zucchini with basil, garlic and mint, chargrilled artichoke hearts and Neopolitan meatballs are served at a leisurely pace over the course of an afternoon.
With its award-winning lakeside Glass House, sculptures, waterlily-filled lakes and towering native trees, Matakana’s Brick Bay Wines is the ultimate venue if you’re planning a grand celebration.
Sue Fleishl from The Great Catering Co says this elaborate venue cries out for little embellishment. ‘You’re surrounded by nature all round so we keep everything else as simple a possible – we even seat people on transparent Ghost chairs.’ As far as the food is concerned, going back to natural basics is the key. ‘People prefer pure, clean flavours rather than fussy foams and fancy presentations,’ Sue says. ‘Good old-fashioned cuts of meat are making a comeback – you don’t necessarily need to serve eye fillet or salmon anymore.’
Surfs up! Tomorrow we look at what you can offer your guests if your venue of choice involves hitting the beach!