With its spectacular setting, sumptuous accommodation and highly experienced team, it’s easy to see why, year after year, The Lodge at Ashford Castle is a loved and trusted wedding venue. The hotel is famous for its wonderful food—with Wilde’s at The Lodge recently awarded Hotel Restaurant of the Year 2018 at Irish Hotel Awards—which is understandably a big draw for couples looking for the perfect place host their big day. Suitable for both intimate and large events, the Lodge’s spectacular Harbour Ballroom can accommodate up to 180 guests. From canapés to child-friendly food and seasonal ingredients, these expert wedding food tips will help you build a menu that’s seriously delicious and suitably celebratory.
Canapés are key
The key to a great wedding reception is a plentiful and appealing supply of canapés. The first step is deciding what kind of canapés you’d like and when and how they will be served. Many couples opt for mini individual portions, but sharing bowls can also be a nice touch. It’s also worth factoring in the amount of time between the reception and when the main meal will be served in order to work out an approximate idea of how many canapés you’ll require for each guest. Couples can work closely with chef to make sure there are a good variety of hot and cold options and meat, fish and vegetarian choices. The Lodge offers three tiers of canapés—bronze, silver and gold—and includes locally sourced morsels like Kelly’s Black Pudding Truffles with Fig Vinegar as well as Local Oysters with Pomegranate & Lime Pearls.
Choose your style
Whether you prefer a formal, three-course sit down meal, a buffet, a meal served family-style or a focus on more substantial hors d’oeuvres, our expert team will be able to offer assistance and guidance every step of the way. Don’t forget the obvious but crucial wedding food tip that the time of year that you choose to get married will also play a part in inspiring your menu. For winter weddings, The Lodge offers welcome drinks of mulled wine and hot whisky along with richer, heavier puddings of seasonal crumble with crème anglaise and frangipane ice cream, whilst lighter options are ideal for a high summer events. There are plenty of traditions you can incorporate into your meal, but it’s also worth leaving room for personal touches such as food that means something to you as a couple, or food that you both love.
Don’t forget dietary requirements and allergies
For couples expecting guests with food intolerances or specific dietary requirements—whether that’s vegans, gluten-intolerant or nut allergy sufferers—it’s sensible to plan in advance to avoid anyone going hungry. The same applies if you’re expecting any younger guests who might be fussy eaters; it’s your day but it’s also important to make sure that everyone is catered for. Ensuring there’s a good variety and plentiful supply of options throughout the day will keep everyone happy.
Opt for seasonal and local
Presided over by Executive Head Chef Jonathan Keane, The Lodge at Ashford Castle is known for its locally sourced and seasonally inspired approach. Jonathan is originally from Connemara and credits the ‘inspiring landscape, the finest ingredients and the magic of the sea’ as his culinary inspiration. Describing his style of cooking as ‘local food with imagination,’ the chef has an innate understand of the best Irish ingredients and what’s at its best when. The kitchen will work closely will each bride and groom to deliver a menu that works for them and masterfully incorporates the best local Irish ingredients available at that time of year, while also utilising the produce that can be found on the Ashford Estate.
A sweet finish
Depending on the duration of the day, a further wedding food tip worth considering is whether you’ll be serving late night food to keep revellers happy. The Lodge is happy to provide an evening buffet, which includes moreish spring rolls and pork sausage rolls along with mini cheeseburgers and pizza by the slice. It’s also worth deciding whether you’d like to provide both wedding cake and a dessert and, realistically, how much food you really need to provide for your guests. Whatever your choices, you can be sure that The Lodge’s highly knowledgeable team will be on hand to ensure that your day goes off without a hitch.
Specialists in bespoke weddings and available for exclusive use, The Lodge at Ashford Castle also has its own in-house wedding expert, who is there to support and advise couples throughout the process.