The Menu: To DIY or Not to DIY?

Even if you’re the most domestic of goddesses, there are certain big-day menu tasks that can best be left to the pros.

  • Story by Photo Amanda Thomas

Even if you’re the most domestic of goddesses, there are certain big-day menu tasks that can best be left to the pros.

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What to do:

Design a dessert table that would do Nigella proud. Choose a selection of your favourite sweet treats and divide the task of making them between you and a few trusted family members – pay special attention to presentation, and remember that a dessert table’s looks can make just as big an impact as its taste. ‘When it’s beautifully styled, a dessert table can stay in peoples’ minds for quite some time,’ says Sondra Vicelich of Sweet Bites Cakes.

Match your sweets to the occasion – if it’s a cocktail party, opt for bite-sized, easy-to-devour treats – and add visual impact by making them in harmonious colour combinations. For extra effect, display the offerings at varying heights: multi-tiered cupcake stands, stacked tree-stump slices, or in cardboard boxes wrapped in a matte paper that matches your colour theme. Beautifully shaped vessels also add dimension to the table – think apothecary jars, bright-coloured glassware and a suit of vintage milk bottles.

Why DIY:

Many desserts can be made at least a day in advance, do not have to be served warm and are easy to transport, so you can finish preparations well before ‘I do’.

When to go pro

Banish from your mind the idea of making any major part of the menu tht can’t be at least partially prepped well ahead of time. ‘What people forget is that the final 48 hours ahead of your wedding can be a stressful time, and catering for a large party is a labour-intensive undertaking,’ says Sue Fleischl from The Great Catering Company.

The week before your wedding will be filled with people arriving from overseas, rehearsal dinners, people wanting to catch up for coffee- it’s best to keep your diary as free as possible.’

Set up a meeting with your caterer to discuss your vision and preferences well in advance and work the chef to design a menu that includes your favourite cuisines. No matter how many successful dinner parties you’ve thrown, there’s a big difference between cooking for 20 and 200. ‘Professionals have the people power, the resources and the experience to cater for large groups,’ says Sue. ‘We can control quality on a large scale and have perfected recipes through testing them multiple times.’

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