Why a wedding grazing table is a perfect fit for your kiwi wedding?
It’s hard not to notice the rise in popularity of a good grazing table, they have made their way into the wedding scene as a favorable catering option. More couples are becoming confident to move away from old wedding traditions and showcase their tastes and styles.
Here are a few reasons why grazing tables are perfect for your wedding.
Grazing Table—Great Way to Cater Your Wedding Day
What is a grazing table?
As the name implies, it is a table for grazing! It’s similar to a buffet, but it is arranged to make it look appealing and easy for guests to have a bite and pick at food.
It’s mostly a table, but it can indeed be a large platter, wooden board, counter, or any large and plain surface.
Food items aren’t always placed on plates or bowls, but organized artfully in piles that spill, overlap, and tangle into each other, so it doesn’t just taste appetizing, it looks tasty.
The critical idea to keep in mind is an arranged messiness. It works well for a wide range of corporate affairs, guests, themes, financial plans, and most importantly a wedding reception; it is always sure to meet successful outcomes.
What’s the difference between a grazing table and a buffet?
To put it in simple words, a buffet is all about filling your belly with mostly hot food.
A grazing table on the other hand is often packed with a portion of finger food, making it accessible for guests to blend and nibble at the same time. The food tends to be suited for room temperature serving, for apparent reasons of being laid out on a table or platter.
A grazing table can be arranged on a wooden board, counter, or any large and flat surface. Charcuterie boards, cheese, fruit, and platters are common foods found on grazing tables, but depending on your budget and theme, you can have any type of food possible. Pieces of bread, dips, breadsticks, crackers, raw veggies, condiments, bite-sized finger sandwiches, sweet treats, pretzels, fresh and dried fruit, nuts, olives!
The options are limitless.
Why should you pick a grazing table as the right catering for your wedding?
Here are 5 reasons why you should pick a wedding grazing table as a catering option.
1. Low maintenance to set up
One of the best aspects of a grazing table is the low maintenance setup. Once the table is set, there is no waiting staff. It’s all about helping yourself, and guests always love the idea to pick and choose as desired.
2. Can spend more time with your guest
Grazing tables allow you and your guests to explore different foods together, creating a unique dining experience. You will also spend more time mingling with your guests, instead of worrying about topping up a chafing dish.
3. Provides an all-round eating experience
Grazing tables leave with endless pairings that will surely delight every palette and a fantastic way to serve food to celebrate any occasion. It’s a great way to get guests to meld as they wait while your wedding photos are taken. It is an excellent opportunity for your guests to socialize around a central table of yummy and fresh food.
4. Allows your guests to taste a bit of everything while taking a break
The idea is that guests get involved, grab their favorite delicacies, and enjoy. Grazing tables are also perfect evening food options – guests can take a break from the dance floor whenever they like to fill a plate with all their favorite foods.
5. Let you be creative and innovative with your grazing table.
What makes grazing tables unique is that they look so amazing. There’s an abundance of goodies for your guests to choose from, and when they’re set up well, they become part food indulgence, part decorative installation. A great grazing table is positively groaning with fab foods, so you and your guests can pile on the platters for a real sharing feast!
How much does a Wedding grazing table cost?
The grazing tables’ prices depend on their size. Prices start at $340 for a 1-meter grazing table (serves up to 30 people) and go above $4,029 for 12 meters (serves up to 360 people).
Below are the grazing table prices according to their sizes:
- 1 meter (approximately for 30 people) $340
- 1.5 meters (approximately for 45 people) $508
- 2 meters (approximately for 60 people) $676
- 3 meters (approximately for 90 people) $1,011
- 4 meters (approximately for 120 people) $1,347
A typical New Zealand wedding has around 100 guests, so a 4 meters grazing table would be plenty. Please remember, these values are only a guideline.
The cost can vary widely depending on what you want to put on the grazing table. For example, supermarket pate is $3-4 per container, while an artesian spread could start at $10. A standard salami stick is $7, while an organic European stick can cost twice as much. Decide on a budget and stick to it.
DIY or use a Professional Service?
A grazing table is not a substitute for the main meal, so it is not a cost-cutting exercise. Its primary purpose is to provide your guests with some refreshments, an opportunity to mingle, and just a cool experience to help them remember your big day even more.
So a DIY (Do It Yourself) grazing table setup can surely be friendly to your wallet, but if your goal is to cut costs, make sure you still provide plenty of food for the number of guests you may have. Remember, you still want your guests to enjoy your catering skills, have plenty to eat, and have plenty of choices.
Setting up a grazing table does take time. You want to designate this task to someone or a group of volunteer guests, so you have the time to enjoy your day. You also need to prepare the food, store them, and quickly set it up at some point in the day. It does add some stress, but at the same time, some fun activities for the people involved.
A professional catering company, or someone who just specialized in grazing tables, can take all the hassle away for you.
How to DIY Grazing Table for Weddings
Top 4 grazing table essentials
1. Pick a theme
There’s no boundary to the number of choices here! You can easily prepare grazing tables based on your wedding theme. Or else, a typical theme is rustic and messy. If you want to include seasonal or local produce at your wedding, grazing tables let you do this with ease. Local bread, cheeses, cold meats, and even chutneys and honey can make it all work.
Theme ideas to try:
- Whimsical – prepare all the grazing table food favorites by picking fresh flowers, candles in jars, and greenery. Indeed a beautiful snack wonderland.
- Tasty sweet treats – why not change your dessert table into a beautiful sweet treat grazing table. With pastries, cupcakes, stacked beside glass jars filled with treats and slices.
- The casual rustic setting – is excellent with chunky loaves of bread and wheels of cheese on wooden log slices and lots of green foliage.
- Gold accents and dark colors – its moody ambiance amps up the luxury factor. This theme can be obtained by adding chocolate pretzels, candies, and other sweet nibbles that make for a decadent grazing table of desserts.
- Tropical flair setting – Adding palm frond accents and pineapple-inspired centerpieces give this grazing table a tropical flair.
- Barbecue-inspired setting – a common southern wedding dreams are made of. We’ll get in line for corn on the cob and chicken wings any day.
- Winter-inspired setting – Thinking of a grazing table for a winter wedding? A bed of evergreens on a bare wooden table creates that perfect forest feels. We love how this setting threw in king protea for an unexpected touch.
2. Have ample props and crockery
Consider using neutral-colored plates, bowls, platters, and boards, serving trays that will work well for any motif. You can always add an assortment of boards, and cake stands, decorative serving platters, tiered stands and cake domes to add a highlight to your grazing table.
Don’t forget to prepare adequate serving wares on the table. Disposable bowls, utensils, and plenty of napkins are a must. Hand sanitizer is recommended, as well.
3. Fresh flowers and greenery
Herbs and greenery will contribute texture and visible interest to your grazing table. Besides, make it appear good enough to serve! Did you know that you can add edible flowers as well? Make sure you do let people so the guests can indulge.
4. Food, glorious food
Use fresh, local produce, seasonal, and ensure your grazing table has a balance of ingredients, colors, and textures. Choose artisan cheese wheels, seasonal fruit, baskets of assorted bread rolls, platters of prosciutto and salamis, char-grilled veggies, and more.
Foods to include:
- Shaved meats and cheeses
- Fresh fruits
- Crackers, fresh bread, and other dippable items
- Dips and spreads
- Olives and pickles
- Sweet treats (chocolate, mini pastries, tarts)
Putting your grazing table together
When creating your grazing table, there are no hard and fast rules, but below are some tips to remember.
1. Your table or grazing surface
In New Zealand, most grazing tables are wooden. Some do spread the food directly onto the wooden surface, and some do put on some sort of mat, plastic sheet just to be extra clean. Professional caterers tend to opt for the mat or plastic sheet option as hygiene is always important. Whatever the size of the table that you use, make sure you have enough food to make it look delicious and appealing. A grazing table is not like a 5-star restaurant presentation, where you have a big white dish with a tiny portion of food. The grazing table is about abundance and choices.
2. Create height
Height will add a three-dimensional feel to your table and make it more visibly appealing. You don’t want it to look empty. Get artistic with cake stands, boxes, metal baskets, crates, wooden boards, and tiered stands to make different heights to show your food.
You can even display wheels of cheese to look like a cake and figs, garnish honeycomb, and herbs. Who can resist a slice of that?
3. Setting out the table
Stick to a single motif. Make interest using height and use different sizes and shapes of serving-ware. Keep your serving ware plain if you want the food to attract attention and be the main scene.
Don’t over-do the table. It should appear arty but still attainable. You want your guests to eat – they shouldn’t be scared to touch the food—Scatter crackers, fruit, herbs, nuts, and on the table.
Don’t be scared to shatter food on the table – not everything needs to be placed on a platter.
4. The star of the show is your food
The food you pick should fit your theme and event. Either it’s a breakfast grazing table menu or Halloween themed afternoon tea, the options are boundless.
Don’t add any food that’s too big or dirty to eat. Your visitors should be able to eat a piece of everything from your grazing table menu. The food should be bite-sized small – I suggest keeping food items to one or two bites max.
Guests shouldn’t have to slice anything with a knife once it’s put on the table. Separate a slice from a loaf of fresh bread sliced a bit from the whole cheese wheel, or crush off some cheese to make them available to tuck into.
Don’t forget to write which element. Use mini flashcards, flags, or slates to let guests know what they are taking.
9 Extra Tips for a Wedding Grazing Table That Will Make Your Party Successful
The abundance of color, variety of food, fingers size, and the overall presentation that would make anyone feel hungry, grazing tables are here to stay. Excited to find out a bit more about grazing table catering, we went straight to the experts.
Let’s take a look at some of these fantastic grazing tables ideas.
1. Use fresh and in-seasoned ingredients
Unless it is your theme or your intention to create a particular look and feel, using fresh and in-seasoned ingredients will cut costs significantly.
2. Tailored to fit your tastes
The art of a grazing board is its adaptability – got a sweet tooth? Add in some sweet treats. Love seafood? Add them in too! Wedding grazing tables cater to a variety of tastes and styles, and you can add and match without worrying that something may look weird.
3. Have hand sanitizer and plenty of napkins
Preparing a grazing table is way safer and cleaner when you add lots of hand sanitizer and napkins for your guest.
4. A rubbish bin is an absolute must
To maintain cleanliness, you should also need to put rubbish bins for waste or garbage that are required to be thrown out.
Ensure it is placed far away, but not too far from the grazing table.
5. Don’t stress about making the grazing table to fit your theme
Grazing tables are incredibly versatile. There are, however, a few simple ideas that are already mentioned above that you might want to take into consideration. With no rules, recipes, or last-minute grocery trips, grazing tables make any gathering fun and stress-free.
6. Have plenty of colors
This can be achieved with food and decorations, such as colorful fruits with their dried counterparts. Arranged Mess is the theme, so don’t stress out too much about making sure the colors, the props, and the food complement each other. As long as the grazing table looks colorful, abundant, and festive, you are well on your way.
7. Clean and finger-size food
Setting up for a display such as a grazing table is all about making the food look effortlessly beautiful. Nothing should look too precise. If your food is too big, cut it down. Don’t have messy food on your grazing table.
8. Have fun with the layout.
There is only one rule, and that is, there is no rule. Just make sure you have someone in charge to maintain it and to keep it looking good and presentable.
9. Be allergy aware
When talking about wedding grazing platters, lots of different foods mix to bring that ‘Wow’ factor but make sure you are informed of any food allergies amongst your guests. Some guests may be highly allergic to even a little amount of contamination from specific foods. Find out by including a section on your RSVP card for guests to answer. Take time to check if anyone has particular food allergies and let your caterers know – it could just mean creating a couple of smaller grazing boards, rather than one large.
Having signs’ to let everyone know the foods that are on the table, as well as allergy warnings, is always a good idea.
Now, the traditional wedding reception buffet has been upgraded. Saying goodbye to chafing dishes and saying hello to the grazing table.
We know that food brings people together, and these gorgeous spreads are sure to spark conversation as your guests pick which bites to graze on. Not only grazing tables are perfect ideas for serving a large number of guests, but the food also serves as a visual feast if arranged and prepared well.
Your wedding is all about you, and your partner, and your unique love story. Try these ideas to create a grazing table that is just as artistic and unique as you are.
And whatever idea you choose, your grazing table is sure to be perfect for your wedding day and provide plenty of talking points among your families and friends.