Making the most of the food at your wedding As a wedding photographer, I see a lot of food pass in front of me, and it is inspiring to see the range of creativity and options available to the modern bride and groom. Good food can make the difference between a lovely wedding and an incredible one. More and more of us are fond of fine food nowadays food is now much more of a focus, providing an amazing culinary experience for your guests at your wedding is now a big thing. This is one area where you can really push the boat out and make your wedding stand out from the crowd. Food can be one of the biggest spends on a wedding day, as you are feeding a large group of people. But by moving away from the 3 course wedding breakfast, it is possible to make that budget go much further, whilst also allowing the day to flow much better and keep guests well fed, and therefore happy. Rather than worrying too much about the latest trends and whether they may be out of fashion when your day actually arrives, I feel it is more important to follow some basic and timeless principles, and choose food which serves your day perfectly Get sociable Gone are the days of a stuffy and long meal, where guests have to sit for 3 hours, making awkward conversation. People love to be more sociable and move around, so make the food work for you in this way by making it mobile, and interactive. A reception should be about fun and laughter, and meeting everyone, not a time where everyone stands around waiting for the meal, whilst dreading having their photographs taken. Weddings can often reak havoc with guests eating habits, with food served at unusual times. If you have a lunchtime wedding, then it is possible guests won’t have eaten since breakfast. Canapes are a great way to get food in to your guests straight away, and keep them happy. How about some freshly shucked oysters? Another great choice is to upgrade the canapes to ‘manapes’, making them bite size starters. This way guests can eat while they socialise, and if you follow with a sit down meal this only needs to be 2 courses, rather than three, reducing that long sit down considerably, and allowing guests to converse with a larger range of people. Try soup shots, or asparagus with dipping eggs for example. Afternoon Tea Another great way to make the most of summer, is afternoon tea. It is certainly very trendy, but then it is has been around for years, and is never going to go out of fashion. This can be as informal or elaborate as you like, inside or out, and it can be served with the speeches, as a real celebratory affair. It can also be much more cost effective that a 3 course meal. Beautiful china can be hired, and get creative on the cakes. You could even ask guests to contribute their favourite bakes as great way of making savings. Street style food Street food is a great way of making the most of the evening in style, rather than the old fashioned buffet. Wood-fired Pizza vans cooked to order are hugely popular, as is street food, or the classic fish and chip van, cooked to order by vendors who really know and love their craft. Evening and day guests alike can get creative and make their own, and enjoy as much or as little as they need. This can add a real festival feel to the day, and street food is simply delicious! Serving ice creams from a van can be great fun, and much more cost effective than a served dessert Get interactive Whilst still opting for a sit down meal, sharing platters and family style dining work really well in place of individual courses. Less fussy and guests have more interaction, which makes the meal much more relaxed and fun. Nominate servers on each table, and add a sense of fellowship. Self service bars and food stations Champagne served on trays has led into signature cocktails and now we are seeing drinks stations, either DIY or staffed. A lemonade bar is super popular currently, and great for children, as are Prosecco bars, infused waters and cocktails. A great way to have fun with the reception drinks. Sweet tables are hugely popular too. Robin Goodlad is an award winning wedding photographer and food photographer from Dorset. He was winner of Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year 2016.