Wedding food can be very generic. Photo: Casey Chae

How you can get great food at your wedding

When it comes to weddings, every detail matters, from the flowers adorning the aisle to the vows exchanged at the altar.

However, one aspect often stands out as a highlight of the celebration: the food. Or so it should.

Over the years, I had the privilege to be invited to quite a few weddings and I can count on one hand the times I actually enjoyed the food.

Common pitfalls of bad wedding food can be poor execution, overly early preparation which results in overcooked food and lack of imagination – the latter is my main complaint when it comes to wedding food.

Through my observations over the years, I've come to realize that the greater the size of the hotel or venue, the higher the likelihood that the food may lack excitement. The few times I actually enjoyed the food, the wedding party was small and intimate and the couple worked closely with the chef to create a lasting impression.

Also, it appears that greater care and attention are given when the chef is the owner of the venue. Far too often, couples opt for generic menu options that lack imagination and fail to excite the taste buds.

When choosing a menu, most couples are selecting from set options by the hotel – these options are based on costing not on taste. This is to ensure that the venue can create a healthy profit.

Nothing wrong with that but I refuse to believe that an exciting cost-efficient menu can’t be created.

When working with hotels that belonged to a group in the past, I noticed that a central department did all the buying.

This might be cost-efficient but doesn't allow for creativity in the creation of the wedding menu. I often receive inquiries about recommended wedding venues, and I must say, the only one I would have chosen for my own wedding here in Cork was Flemings (now closed).

It was at Flemings where I celebrated the marriage of my friends Caz & Jan and found myself returning for seconds.

Another memorable experience was at a small country restaurant near Tallow in Waterford - regrettably, I can't recall the name, but the food left a lasting impression. In both instances, the wedding parties were intimate, and the chef also served as the proprietor.

To ensure that their wedding feast is remembered for all the right reasons, couples should take proactive steps.

Firstly, engage directly with the chef rather than solely relying on the wedding coordinator. Discuss your vision with them and inquire about their personal recommendations for the menu.

After all, it's your special day, and your preferences should take centre stage.

You might be wondering what was the worst experience I had at weddings? It was in Germany where the couple opted for a buffet and staff placed the horseradish sauce next to the apple crumble and people thought it was cream!

I still laugh about the thought of a ‘hot’ apple crumble.

Here in Ireland it was a well-known wedding venue where I just tasted a bite of each course and had to stop at the chipper on the way home as I was starving.

And in case you are wondering what the food was like when I married the wonderful Mr T – we went simply for a pizza and a pint and we truly enjoyed it.