When you have your wedding at a venue featuring beautiful landscapes, it only makes sense to incorporate as much fresh air and outdoor fun into your celebration as possible.
One of the best ways to do that? Have a country barbecue!
It’s something many of the couples at East Lynn Farm have opted to do for their wedding reception, but there are a few key things to consider when making sure that your country barbecue feast will be a huge hit.
We chatted with Chris Scharrer, founder of Smokin’ Willy, about what you need to know before hiring a caterer to host the ultimate country BBQ for your big day. Let’s jump right in!
East Lynn Farm: What makes barbecue a great option for couples getting married in the countryside?
Chris: For a bride that’s looking for a plated dinner, barbecue may not be the best option, but for couples who want a more casual, family-style meal where your guests really get to be a part of the experience, we’re going to be a good fit.
East Lynn Farm: How do you ensure that couples and their guests have a memorable experience?
Chris: Well, when considering any caterer for a country barbecue reception, you’ll want to make sure they cook on site. We do this for our catering customers and it really makes for an exciting display and helps create the overall atmosphere at a wedding.
You’ve got the smells in the air, you can see the people working, your guests can come in to our tent and point to exactly what they want on the grill. All those things come together to create a unique, interactive experience.
East Lynn Farm: What’s a common misconception about hosting a country barbecue for weddings?
Chris: A lot of people think of barbecue solely as chicken and ribs. While those can definitely be a part of your menu, it’s also nice to know that your caterer can do more with the barbecue and think outside the box.
For example, we can make a great brisket and boneless chicken for a traditional barbecue if that’s what a couple wants. But we also grill up steaks, carne asada, and seafood like salmon, Mahi, tuna, and shrimp skewers. Having a large selection is key, there’s no need to feel limited to common barbecue menu items.
And the same goes for sides. Potato salad is a common barbecue item, but it might not make for the best wedding fare. Grilled veggies are a nice way to get creative with a barbecue reception and elevate the menu.
East Lynn Farm: So what advice do you have for couples who are looking for that caterer to think outside the box and create a custom menu?
Chris: Most caterers have a list of what they’re able to make, so don’t take custom menu to mean they can put together everything, even if they claim they can make anything you want. Look at their offerings and pull your menu together from there.
Caterers have a menu of offerings because that’s what they’re good at. Stray too much from those offerings and you might be getting a less-than-stellar experience because the caterer is operating too far from their wheelhouse.
East Lynn Farm: Anything else you think is critical for couples to consider when thinking about a country BBQ reception?
Chris: When it comes to a venue like East Lynn Farm, cooking on-site is ideal because that’s how you’re going to get the freshest food. Think about it. If you go with a big caterer in the city who’s used to backing up their truck at the hotel, they’re going to prepare their food really far in advance to make it out to a farm venue. At that point, your food might be 2-3 hours old by the time it’s getting delivered and eaten.
I’d also recommend making sure your caterer is well-equipped to handle the needs of a wedding party. Do they have bar staff and waitstaff? Do they have experience cutting a cake, passing hors-d’oeuvres, or passing champagne? Look for a caterer that hasn’t just done events, but [specifically] weddings.
East Lynn Farm:
Thank you so much to Chris for giving us these expert insights! Want to learn more about what Smokin’ Willy can do for your wedding day? Check out what they offer on their catering page.
You can also ask questions and see if Smokin’ Willy is the caterer for you at our Spring Open House on Sunday, March 13, 2016, from 12-6 p.m. We’ll see you there!