Everyone knows that the wedding breakfast and reception will eat up the biggest chunk of your wedding allowance. So how can you squeeze the most out of your budget, while still being bang on foodie trend?

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With more brides trying to feed their hungry guests for less, we asked John Hearn, the Executive Chef at catering company Tapenade, to reveal this year’s best budget-friendly food trends…

“Informal dining options such as buffets, bowl food and rustic platters are shaping up to be hot this year,” says John. “These all give guests the freedom to move around and enjoy proceedings, making for a more relaxed atmosphere. Remember, the key is to include a good mix of meat, fish and vegetarian options to accommodate all guests.”

John also thinks this is a great way of making your menu unique. “Offering canapés as a starter or dessert adds a fresh twist and provides a good talking point for guests. Think miniature steak and chips with a warm horseradish cream – lovely!”

Tasty trends

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Another huge trend this year will be reinventing classic dishes. “Pay homage to your childhood favourites, with a fresh twist,” says John. “Think pie and mash, mini sirloin hamburgers, bangers and mash, or fish and chips all made from local produce.” I particularly love the fish and chip option. If it’s not formal enough for the day time, it would definitely work for your evening guests, and it may work out cheaper than a buffet.

When it comes to desserts, the key is to think small! “Opt for dessert tables or platters with an array of miniatures,” adds John. “Smatterings of your favourites such as cupcakes, mini cheesecakes, dainty trifles, chocolate brownies or crumble will allow guests to tuck in. And with light portions they won’t be left feeling lethargic, meaning they can dance the night away!”

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One particularly lovely trend we’ve spotted in our real weddings recently is the ‘bring a cake’ dessert table. Brides are asking friends and family to bring their favourite homemade desserts – cakes, flans and more. It’s a cost-effective way to add a personal touch, guaranteed to get everyone talking.

For a novel menu idea, why not serve an actual ‘wedding breakfast’ a la Carrie and Big in Sex and the City? “A beautifully served full English with locally sourced produce, fresh orange juice or fruit to start and pancakes or waffles for dessert,” suggests John.

For more unique wedding food ideas that won’t blow the budget check out Tapenade.