The Catering in Slovenia: food & drink
Should we have a sit down dinner? What about a buffet or food stations?
The first step is to determine what meal you are serving. You will need to think about the time of the reception and your budget, taking into account any cultural expectations. In some religions and cultures, punch and cake in the church basement will suffice, but in other, it would be an affront to offer anything less than an abundant buffet.
While dinner is probably the most common meal, it’s also the prices. Shifting the meal to lunch can help you save significantly on both food and drink. You should also consider brunch, cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, afternoon tea, or a dessert reception. All of these variations on a traditional reception should be noted on the invitation so that guests can plan accordingly.
Once you’ve figured out whether you’re holding a lunch, dinner or desert reception, you will need to focus on the type of service; it affects your budget and also strongly influences the formality, the atmosphere, and the packing of your reception.
A formal reception almost always involves a sit-down meal, although you can certainly offer it at less formal events as well. A traditional sit down is exactly as it sounds – the time honored dinner served to guests at assigned tables. Typically, a meal choice is given with the wedding invitation and one theme or food flavor is followed from beginning to end. At the tables, you can either specify where everyone sits by putting place cards at each seat or let guests work it out for themselves.
Within the realm of sit-down meals, there are several different options for service.
- Plated service
- Russian service
- French or Table Side service
- Family style
Always ask catering contact to spell out the definition of each type of service, because they can have several meanings.
Food stations can literally be anything you want them to be – you can have an Asian food station next to an Italian food station, next to Spanish tapas. If only the world got along so well side by side.
The self-help, buffet style of service is a flexible option for difficult locations (such as catering in marquees) or for hosting a large number of guests. Formal or informal, they can be very elaborate cuisine affairs using premium produce, turned into a theme to suit your wedding in Slovenia style, or designed to suit budgetary considerations.
A buffet encourages guests to mix and mingle, and gives them more control over their food selection and quantity. Dishes can also be left on display so guests can ‘graze’ after the first serving. Compared to table service, the buffet-style service is also more ‘fluid’ and flexible for reception formalities. Precise timing is required for the kitchen to present meals at the tables at the same time, with a risk of the food service being interrupted by unexpectedly long speeches and other delays.
Over recent years, there has been a trend to mix and match the buffet and table service to fit both budget and reception style. For instance, you may opt to have the entrées served at the table and the mains and desserts served from a buffet.
Platters of canapés or nibbles have become very popular at weddings in Slovenia as an apetitiser/socialiser between the ceremony and reception, while guests are waiting for the bride and groom to arrive. Since your guests will be standing and chatting with drinks in their hands, choose bite-size, easy-to-eat items that won’t slip off onto clothes or the floor! Cost is calculated either per platter, per person, or per food item.
Licensed reception venues offer a choice of bar options. An ‘open bar’ functions just like a normal bar, but at no cost to your guests. Popular these days is the ‘limited bar’ where you pay for the wine, champagne, beer and non-alcoholic beverages, but your guests are charged for any spirits they choose. With any option, you can limit either the period that beverages are available or the amount you have budgeted for the bar, before your guests start paying for their own drinks.
In the past, it was considered inappropriate to expect guests to pay for any part of the wedding, but today cash bars at receptions are not uncommon. Guests purchasing their own alcohol also tend to drink less but, if you’re opting for a total cash bar, it’s important to mention this in your invitation to save any embarrassment. Remember to provide guests with plenty of non-alcoholic options.
Some venues will allow you to supply your own choice of wine and beverages, charging ‘corkage’ per bottle. If you decide on a non-licensed venue, you will have to supply your own beverages anyway. If you are supplying your own wine, start searching and purchasing in advance to take advantage of special deals that will save you a lot of money.
Whatever type of reception you choose- just relax and enjoy the day. The best weddings I’ve seen are with happy, relaxed brides and grooms. You know the type – the ones who keep the day in perspective – and celebrate the fact that they are marrying the love of their lives and are surrounded by all the people who matter to them.