Catering For A Summer Wedding

Summer weddings are popular. Catering can be challenging when faced with hot temperatures, hazardous foods which sit out for too long and guests who would like to bring their own food. Also, there are all the allergic individuals who may change their minds at the last minute or require a particular food which the caterer hasn’t anticipated. A year ago, I attended a wedding in Verona, Italy where my friend’s daughter got married in an ancient villa called Villa Zambonina. The wedding was lovely and held outside in the courtyard. A tent and platform for the dinner party was set up near the pool at the back of the villa. H’ors d’oeuvres were served which includes mozzarella balls and octopus. The dinner seating was nicely decorated and used lemons as name card holders! The catering company was busy in the background providing the food but the outside temperature was 34 C and higher which was challenging. The appetizers included a salad and parmesan cheese bowl with pasta. The main course was beef though fish could be requested. The cake was not the traditional fruitcake. It was a large circular chocolate cake which the guests raved about. Afterwards, the tables were removed and guests danced to a DJ. The caterer was thanked for the fabulous job she and her staff did in working under very hot conditions. This wedding was very fortunate as an outbreak which occurred in New York last year showed what can go wrong. Thirty-five guests were sickened after a wedding reception in Brewerton, fifteen miles north of Syracuse. Nine of the guests were taken via ambulance to local hospitals and subsequently released. The reception was held at Arrowhead Lodge at Oneida Shores Park, This facility was rented so food can be brought in. Usually, food provided at weddings by certified staff such as caterers has a risk of food poisoning. However, the greatest risk involves bringing food in from outside sources where food preparation times and temperatures are unknown. Perhaps the Arrowhead Lodge wedding outbreak was related to an outside food source. When serving a large party of guests, it’s best to go with a certified caterer as they have experience dealing with large groups. Preparing food at various homes to bring in and decrease the wedding cost actually increases the risk of foodborne illness which may be the cause of this recent outbreak.

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ENVIRO-FOOD CONSULTING is a foodservice consulting business run by Sally de la Rue Browne, Certified Public Health Inspector and Food Safety Specialist.

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