Harvest Tables (aka Farmers Tables or a Charcuterie Board) are fashionable and all the rage but then comes the questions, eg: “Do I then need a Starter Course?”, “My mum says canapés are the way to go.” So here are my thoughts!

If you choose a Harvest Table, no starter is required. If you choose a Canapé Selection, then I’d stick with a Starter as well. A Harvest Table looks very impressive and is best suited to weddings wanting that informal rustic sort of look and feel! It is served during Cocktail Hour, groaning with an assortment of Cold Continental Meats, Cheeses and Breads and is very filling, so once your guests have helped themselves to all their favourite items, they are likely to be as full as the proverbial “tick.” So they will be quite happy to move onto Mains and Dessert.

If you are wanting to serve a Starter then it is a far better option to serve a small selection of Hot Canapés during Cocktail Hour, the portion sizes and presentation add a touch of formality. By keeping the selection simple (three or four Canapes per person if serving as a snack), the guests will have their hunger pangs appeased but will enjoy that Starter at the beginning of the reception.

PS: Don’t forget to ask your Caterer to pack a small selection from the Harvest Table or from the Canapés selection into a basket for you to enjoy during the Creative Photo Shoot otherwise you’ll all go hungry whilst your guest enjoy your hospitality!

With 35 years experience, here are our 5 top catering tips:

1. When comparing one caterer with another, make sure you are comparing “apples with apples”. We recommend that you ask the caterer to stipulate on the quote exactly what is included in the price per head. Many caterers will not include waitrons, crockery, and cutlery, linen, and transport in the per head price so although the food price will look impressive, when you add on all these extras you may be in for a surprise and you will want to factor these costs in right from the beginning.

2. Always remember when compiling your menu to choose foods to which your guests are accustomed. Just because you love sushi doesn’t mean everybody else does as well. Simple “rustic” foods and dishes are all the rage now so remember to keep your menu uncomplicated.

3. We recommend that you check whether any of your guests with specific dietary requirements such as diabetics, vegans, lactose intolerant, gluten-free etc. so that you can make sure your caterer is aware and can plan with you accordingly. You want them to feel as important as all the other guests so don’t be afraid to ask your guests beforehand.

4. When compiling your menu, consider adding a vegetarian option as part of your menu. There are inevitably those who will forget to advise you of their dietary requirements and this option gives your caterer some flexibility.

5. Finally, when choosing your caterer, we recommend you find out as much information as you can about them (testimonials should be available as well) and that you make sure that whatever you discuss is noted.