Wedding photography by Katherine Ashdown
Being massive foodies ourselves Rob and I knew instantly that we wanted to make our wedding a food-filled occasion – a feast for the eyes and the bellies. We wanted the day to be a really treat for our guests and ensure they were well fed and watered all day long with delicious, homemade savouries and treats. We felt it was another way to inject our own personality into our special day so once again decided to do all the catering during the day ourselves. With Rob being a chef and his mum running her own catering company, I knew we were in good hands and the two of them worked tirelessly throughout the run up to the wedding and made me so proud with the most sumptuous spread of food I have ever seen.
We both knew we wanted to treat our guests to drinks and canapés the moment they entered the field following our wedding ceremony so we made our own pink lemonade and bottled it up in schweppes bottle with our own wedding label – “First Kiss Fizz” stuck to the bottle. These were handed out with stripy straws and were a huge hit to refresh our guests on a very hot, sunny day. We then had trays of Pimms in jam jars and a huge tin bath filled with ice and bottled drinks for the guests to help themselves to throughout the reception. Because we knew it was going to be hot and didn’t want anyone getting too tipsy before the afternoon tea was served we had three large Kilner drinks dispensers filled up with soft drinks which the children loved to loiter around and serve themselves. We made up a variety of cordials such as ginger & lemongrass and pomegranate & elderflower as well as an iced mint and lime water to keep everyone hydrated. There is nothing worse than being at a wedding reception and having to make your one glass of prosecco last for two hours! As Rob and I are both vegetarians we opted for a completely vegetarian food theme throughout the day from the homemade canapés through to the vegetarian buffet in the afternoon. For the canapés we made a selection of tasty morsels such as watermelon and halloumi, fruit skewers, black olive and feta scones and polenta with red onion chutney and goats cheese. Delicious! Rob also surprised me with the entrance of trays of ice lollies made up for all our guests which was so sweet and a wonderful talking point for all our guests. He made orange & lemon, strawberries & cream and pistachio nut & rose water.
For the sit down meal we were really keen to keep the atmosphere casual and relaxed and didn’t want to serve three courses of hot food on a balmy Summer’s day and have everyone sitting down for longer than was necessary. We skipped a lot of the traditional aspects and didn’t have a head table but opted for our own lovers’ table for two which was honestly one of the loveliest things as we were able to just talk to each other and take in the whole day and look out together on all our favourite family and friends. We wanted to keep it light and breezy and encourage people to get up and mingle throughout the meal so therefore we served a vegetarian buffet and encouraged all our guests to go up for seconds (and thirds in some cases) whilst the waitresses kept the tables topped up with cold water and chilled rose. Our vegetarian dishes were heavily influenced by the delicious food that Ottolenghi makes and we also made sure we catered for a few of our vegan friends too. We served a selection of salads – the butternut squash and pomegranate being one of my favourites, homemade hummus, asparagus and roasted vegetable quiches, figs with roasted pistachios and honey, quinoa salads with a selection of homemade chilli and rosemary oils to season to taste. For our place names we decided to order some homemade garlic and rosemary breads baked in mini terracotta pots which we then stuck planter sticks into with each of our guests names written on.
Next up was the most exciting course – the afternoon tea which arrived on our gorgeous vintage cake stands with the delicate vintage tea cups to match. We hired our vintage china from a local company to us called Vintage Flair and loved the elegant, pretty feel they gave to the tables. Rob’s mum did an incredible job creating the perfect assortment of cakes and treats with everything from scones, jam and cream to Bakewell tarts and blondies on offer. It was a lovely way to get all the guests interacting with each other as they passed the cake stands around and we ensured there was lashings of tea and freshly brewed coffee to wash it all down with.
Our wedding cake was the ultimate naked cake which I had had my heart set on from the very beginning. Considering Victoria sponge is my absolute favourite and I cannot stand fruit cake or marzipan, it was an obvious choice and yet again Rob’s mum brought my Pinterest dreams to reality. Three tiers of soft vanilla sponge with homemade strawberry & rose jam and cream sandwiched within, dressed with fresh fruit and flowers to finish. Perfect!
And now onto the evening food, the pièce de résistance of our wedding culinary journey, our very own pizza van which rocked up to make and serve up fresh pizzas to our guests all night long! Pizza is our favourite food ever, you only need to glance at my instagram to know that pizza features heavily on a weekly basis so we knew that we wanted to celebrate our first night as Mr and Mrs with a slice of authentic Italy. We hired The WoodBox pizza van – a converted vintage 1969 Citroen H horse box van which serves up traditional sourdough street pizzas, freshly made in front of their customers in the wood fired oven. From the moment they arrived to late on into the evening, the boys worked tirelessly to satiate the appetites of our guests and we heard nothing but praise from our little corner of Italy nestled in the heart of the English countryside. From the very beginning we had this vision of hanging out with all our friends with a glass of sparkling in one hand and a slice of pizza in the other, perched on a hay bale watching the sun set over our wedding field, and that is exactly what we got. It was perfect!