When I was a small boy I used to love weddings.
All the people dressed up; fabulous churches full to the last pew sometimes; little churches in the middle of nowhere; vast cathedrals to keep you in awe of your surroundings during the boring old ceremonial bits and all the women crying (I was never sure why at the time), or, occasionally, some odd ceremony I did not understand because it was foreign. This bit of the day, to a youngster, was the penance one had to pay to get to the good bit.
All these weddings had one thing in common for a six or seven year old. There was always good grub after them, particularly for a youngster like myself whose maiden aunts needed a surrogate child to spoil for the day, leaving my parents to have a good time too.
I was therefore introduced at a pretty early age to the fine art of the caterer, purely because loads of my relatives, and my parents’ friends’ relatives, suddenly decided to get married at about the same time.
Every other weekend for a whole English ‘summer’ we would go up or down to Uncle George’s (near London) or my favourite Rev.Uncle Stanley’s in the English Cotswolds, Auntie Winnie, the greyhound trainer’s on the Yorkshire Moors or Auntie Ethel’s equine establishment in Devon.
We even went to both Cornwall and Scotland that summer. Not quite Land’s End to Wick, but I was rapidly getting an aversion to the car journeys, whilst looking forward to the wedding catering I would experience when we eventually arrived..
And so it was that I fell in love with wedding caterers. There was always someone there to look after you. There were various matronly ladies, either of the catering variety or of the family, to ensure you eat as much as you possibly could. I probably would have put on 4 or 5 kilos that summer due to the vast amount of food I had eaten had I not also been busy.
I learned to fish for sea-trout and salmon whilst my teachers tried to perfect my trout fishing; make a horse jump when I told it to; shoot a rifle very well indeed; use a 20 bore shotgun with some precision, walk-out greyhounds at a rattling pace, take out a pack of beagles (50) all at the same time, climb cliffs and mountains, and because I was too young to drink alcohol, did somewhat better than my various mentors on some days, particularly after, rather than before, the wedding festivities.
There is no secret about catering for a wedding. Good food. Good wine. Good, and particular, staff that enjoy the fun of the day with their infectious laughter and their ever-caring attitude and wonderful service. Everyone should be happy with this combination. (Even, perhaps, the “in-laws!”).
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