The culinary couple

The experts at the Landmark Hotel on how to have a foodie wedding

You’ve said ‘yes’, posted the obligatory we’re-getting-married selfie on social media and toasted with plenty of celebratory bubbles. But now that the engagement hysteria has calmed down, you find yourself left with the task of actually planning a wedding.

It’s at this point that a lot of couples can feel overwhelmed. After all, it’s not called ‘the big day’ for nothing. The pressure to realise all your dreams, while also pleasing friends and family, can sometimes feel a little overwhelming.

You want something unique, but not over-budget. Something that your friends will adore, but that older family members will also ‘get’. Try not to panic. To make organising your wedding as enjoyable and as stress-free as possible, just take one thing at a time.

The first – and arguably the most important – item to sort is the venue itself. Once you’ve locked the venue down for your chosen day you can start sending out save the dates and streamlining all the other details. Venue-wise, The Landmark Hotel is hard to beat.

Situated in Carrick-On-Shannon in Co. Leitrim, it offers spectacular waterside views and sumptuous interiors. Not only that, but the Landmark Hotel has been building on its reputation for its exceptional food and service. The cuisine you choose can be a really amazing way to make your nuptials stand out.

Think back to any wedding you attended and loved. Sure, you may have thought the beading on the dress was intricate or that the bouquets of flowers were heavenly, but if you’re honest it’s the food and drink that made the biggest impact, right?

You adored the summery welcome drinks and the unusual ‘slab of cheese’ wedding cake. Now that it’s your turn to tie the knot, why not offer your guests something equally memorable? For the most part, modern weddings are all about shirking antiquated traditions.

White isn’t the only colour brides wear, men aren’t the only ones to give speeches and one-day only celebrations are a thing of the past. This boundary-pushing, personality-displaying, originality-loving attitude extends to food too. The team at The Landmark Hotel has experienced this foodie revolution first-hand.

“Some people want more than just a glass of prosecco and standard canapes for a reception. They’re looking for something with a bit of X-factor, something different, whether it’s from our culinary team in the kitchen or a specialist provider,” says Matthew McDonagh, the Landmark’s General Manager.

So, how do you go about finding your foodie X-factor? While a lot of couples still love serving a five-course meal, this isn’t necessarily done in the usual beef-or-salmon way.

“Rather than having a standard three-course meal, or indeed, standard anything, couples are increasingly looking at ways to introduce something a bit different,” Matthew explains. “You may have your starter and dessert served, with a buffet-style main course, or a buffet dessert table.”

Buffets are not only a relaxed way to dine, they’re also wonderfully sociable as they encourage guests to mix and mingle between courses. As a wedding venue, The Landmark Hotel is committed to making your dream big day a reality.

Don’t be afraid to think outside the cookie-cutter wedding food mould. The team here have done it all before and can help to make anything – from the crazy to the cool to the downright ingenious – a gastronomic success.

“The only thing we can’t move is the walls – we work as hard as we possibly can to make each couple’s vision a reality. We had a wedding a few months ago in which the couple brought in hay bales and creamery cans to transform the space into a barn!"

And if The Landmark Hotel doesn’t have the expertise in-house, then they’re happy to facilitate you bringing in specialist providers; for example they have hosted very successful Halal weddings this way. They have also seen a rise in demand for specific dietary requirements such as gluten free, vegan and diabetic friendly, all of which are catered for in-house.

When deciding what dishes to include in your buffet or on your menu, look to what’s seasonal and what’s available locally. Matching the food you’re eating to the time of year can really contextualise the taste.

Rich foods like fillet of beef or potato dauphinoise tend to work better in the winter while lighter dishes like beetroot salad or seabass are complemented by warm, summery weather. Once you’ve fine-tuned the main dining option, it’s time to turn your attention to all the little extras.

According to Matthew, “there’s nothing that would be off the table. But sometimes the most difficult thing is trying to manage people’s expectations. Because there are so many add-ons they want to include, it can very quickly become too much. So yes, it is possible to do too much. Our advice would be to pick one or two unique add-ons and do them well, rather than five or six. Ultimately, the cost can very quickly grow with all of those additions.”

Here you can really let your imagination run wild. Think donut walls, pizzas, sweet carts, afternoon tea tables or street-food elements. But what add-on would give your day the greatest value? Guests tend to appreciate extra food most at the end of the night.

Fast-forward to 3am. Shoes have been discarded. Ties are undone. And all the guests merry and happily exhausted from hours of dancing. What they need is something to soak up the alcohol and send them – bleary-eyed but happy – to bed.

“Tayto sandwiches are hugely popular,” notes Matthew. “As are the 3am pizzas in our Resident’s Bar or traditional late-night snacks like goujons or chips. It’s exactly the kind of food you want to eat at that hour.”

We’re practically salivating at the thought of all those delicious banquets and tasty nibbles. But there is one important thing still to mention. It wouldn’t be an Irish wedding without fabulous drinks, now would it? Many couples are eschewing the welcome-reception champagne in favour of something with a little more sass.

Gin Carts, Martinis and Negronis are all proving popular choices at the moment. But if all of that seems a little too off-the-peg, The Landmark can also devise something jaw-droppingly bespoke.

“A lot of couples want their own signature cocktail made by our resident mixologist. It’s much more than just your standard mojito. It’s a drink to really encapsulate their personalities.”

Whatever your taste, The Landmark Hotel has all the ingredients to rustle up truly magical fare. This is crowd-pleasing food to see you from the night-before family dinner to the big day and the more relaxed day two after party. Say ‘I do’ to The Landmark Hotel and ‘I definitely do’ to fabulous dining.