In one of our latest blog posts, we have invited one of our friends and fabulous caterers, Justin, from Catered by Justin
Summer 2015 – Rob and Laura had a sneaky wedding at the register office in Sunny Surrey, but then came the full-on blessing in a farmer’s field 15 miles away where we held a marquee for ninety-eight guests.
It’s 10am and another day begins for the Catered by Justin team. The chefs have to get to the farm early as we always cook the meat slow and low from scratch on site. It’s better that way, of course.
At noon the first of the ‘front of house’ crew turn up to chill down the wines, put up and decorate the tables, lay out the glassware and set up the bar. We always have this done in plenty of time so you would never know. The marquee was put up by JF a couple of days prior but we have to wait so nothing gets dusty.
At 2pm Rob and his best man arrive at the farm; the rest of the guests trickle in over the next hour and Laura arrives just after 3 o’clock (late, of course). They were all greeted by the mouth-watering aroma of the Dedham Vale beef cooking in our special outdoor oven, attended to by one of our brigade of chefs. Just a little sensory tease of what will be in store for the rest of the day.
As the service draws near, the guests make their way to their seats – bales of straw that blend with the picturesque backdrop of a countryside field here in beautiful Surrey.
It’s approaching 4 o’clock, the service has just ended – short but very sweet. Now all the guests gather outside the marquee for a glass of Sipsmith gin and rose lemonade (a fantastic long drink for a summer’s day) and an exquisite selection of canapés, while the newlyweds have a few photographs taken around the venue. The happy couple then join their guests for a quick chat before the meal (with a difference) is served.
At 5pm the best man boisterously requests that everyone make their way inside the marquee. It takes a good quarter of an hour to get all the guests to their places.
The sharing deli platters are already on the tables (two large dishes on each table of 10 guests) filling the room with colour. Such delectable fare invites the guests to simply tuck in and share; there are no awkward silences when it comes to sharing food.
At quarter to six the starters have been cleared and the bar team quickly top up everybody’s glasses ready for the speeches to begin. Laura decides to do things this way as her dad was really nervous about his speech; once they are all out of the way everybody can relax, enjoy the main course and the rest of the evening.
By half past six Rob and Laura have been suitably toasted and the main course is served – a beautiful gourmet BBQ accompanied by foreribs of succulent beef, sautéed new potatoes with honey and big bowls of seasonal salads, homemade sauces, and some sriracha chili for the more audacious guest. It’s a magnificent spread with a great point of difference to your average wedding offering.
A fine selection of red and white wine is served (approx. three glasses per person), which was provided by Rob and Laura. We did all the chilling down and sorted the glassware for them and, no, we didn’t charge them corkage, by the way.
At 7:30pm it’s time to cut the cake. We provide a lovely log end and sword for this and everybody takes lots of pics. As soon as this is done the cake is taken to the kitchen tent and cut up. On this occasion Rob and Laura opt to use the cake as the dessert, saving themselves quite a bit of cash. The Catered by Justin team just provide the plates, forks and cream.
The freshly-brewed coffee, tea and infusions table is also ready at this point. We keep this available all night so people can pop by at any point for a pick-me-up and chill.
It’s now half past eight and time to gather everyone back into the marquee for the first dance… (Not exactly a YouTube sensation on this occasion). The music is provided by a local band called The Modern Apes, whom we actually recommended from a previous wedding. They had to learn the first dance song as it was a lesser-known hit by Blur which was not in their portfolio. Undeterred, they nailed it…
The bar is also now in full swing with a nice draught lager and a cask of ale from the new Wimbledon Brewery. They also have a choice selection of spirits, mixers and softies. The newlyweds provided much of the booze (apart from the lager and ale which we supplied), while the Catered by Justin crew came with all the glassware and ice. The bar itself was also provided by us. Rob also had a couple of bottles of special whiskey and a box of fine cigars to enjoy on the pop-up smoking terrace – a really nice, sophisticated touch.
It’s 11:30pm and people are starting to feel a little peckish after a considerable amount of dancing and the odd tipple. As if by magic a big tray or two of cheese toasties appear – they didn’t last very long…
It’s gone a quarter past midnight, last orders are announced and the music slows down a touch. Shortly after, the bar has closed and the band has played their encore. The taxis have been called. After-party, anyone?
One o’clock, the Catered by Justin team has cleared everything and tidied the marquee from top to bottom. We have loaded all the rubbish and empty bottles into our vans and prepare to leave the farm… Until our next soirée…