Zombies, Wu-Tang Clan, & Lasting Joy – Tips from a Wedding Caterer
— By Esther Dawson
26 August 2015
Tim, from Good Chemistry Catering, has seen a lot of weddings and has some great advice, coupled with two awesome wedding stories, to help brides and grooms-to-be create a truly unforgettable wedding. As a caterer and venue owner, Tim has a unique approach to helping each couple as their wedding date draws near and they realise that “the days before will be sleepless ones”. In the lead up Tim likes to remember – and remind the client – that “we’re not all wedding planners”. He applies his company’s sharing, thoughtful attitude towards the food and drink to the matter at hand. Then he rolls up his sleeves and quietly pitches in: “I like to tick off contacts for the couple – so I get the band in for a look at the stage, talk with the florist, get the MC’s phone number and meet with them beforehand to find out what they’re going to say and do.”
One thing Tim’s learned is that it’s the moments of pure personal touch that elevate a wedding from the mundane to an event that will be well-remembered. Here are two of his favourites:
A Wedding to Die For
Jennifer knew that her idea of the perfect wedding was non-traditional. She chose one of Good Chemistry Catering’s venues, Milk and Honey, because its location on the Victoria University Kelburn campus meant that it overlooked the city and harbour, but more importantly, it boasted a glimpse of the historic Mount Street cemetery. She checked out Good Chemistry on her wedding planner’s recommendation, and chose them for their approach to the wedding menu – “We wanted beautiful, hearty, shared food that people would actually want to eat – but not so fancy that no-one likes it, especially when there are a lot of specific diets to think about”. The chemistry obviously worked, because when talking details with the catering team, Jenn mentioned that she wanted a candy buffet and instead of one wedding cake, she wanted a stack of cupcakes, with her daughters’ choice of decoration – including spiders and flies. With Jenn’s approval, the team ran with the theme and suggested that the wait staff could join in and dress up… as zombies. The guests were surprised and delighted by the ghouls (and boys) that looked after them on the big day, and the staff’s aesthetic struck just the right chord with the design-focused couple. Jenn had three outfit changes, moving from traditional Chinese dress to an off-white formal gown – but no zombie attire! – and was serenaded by a friend on violin and a nephew on guitar. In this wedding’s case, all of the unusual, personal elements added up to the best possible celebration of a quirky couple. …and zombies.
When in Doubt, Rap It Out
Dan and Tessa chose The Hunter Lounge for their wedding venue – an architecturally designed building opposite Milk and Honey on the Vic campus. At first glance their wedding may have seemed like a very traditional, family affair. Their resourceful and talented family and friends all helped out with the planning, decorations and even the flowers. Tessa’s mum and sisters turned up early on the day of the wedding with overflowing vases full of soft pink roses and also pinned balloons to mark the pathway from the ceremony site to the party in the Hunter building next door. The Travelling Photobooth team were on hand to capture the guests throughout the night, and an old friend travelled from the UK to be a charming and witty MC. Dinner was served to each table as a whole, with dishes shared between guests, family-style. As you can imagine with a creative crowd, the speeches were eloquent, and more than one member of the party found themselves dabbing their eyes while Tessa voiced a powerful tribute to her family and her new husband. How do you top that when you’re the groom? Well, if you’re Dan, you throw down a Wu-Tang song, without missing a single rhyme, and then lead everyone onto the dance floor.
Helping to personalise your wedding is the most important thing that a wedding caterer (or florist, or planner, or venue) can offer you and your partner. Be wary of ‘out of the box’ wedding schemes, which may seem cost-effective at first, but could leave you wanting more (and paying for it). The best events are those where a team, led by you, create something unique. It can be done on a budget and it can be magic.
“I always reassure (the couple) that when they wake up in the morning they won’t think about any of the little stressful things because they’ll be enveloped by this incredible aura of joy and happiness!” Tim pauses sheepishly, then says “You’d better not write that, it may be too cheesy”. But is it true? “It really is!”