A guest post from Kemp and Kemp Catering
In the last ten years (maybe a bit more) the wedding [reception] industry has changed beyond recognition.
Old Wedding Trends
It used to be that after the marriage ceremony you all went to a hotel where they looked after your every need [keeping you well away from the ‘other bride’ whose wedding was also taking place at the same venue] and served you [mostly] mass-produced rather un-inspiring food [choosing from Menu A or Menu B]; sold you their drinks [with a nice mark-up thank you]; organised the cake knife [even if you didn’t have a cake] and then their favourite ‘DJ’ comes along about 8 and runs a rather tired disco until mid-night when you are out on the street.
So apart from the car and the dress, you might be able to choose your florist and perhaps your chair covers, but that’s as much personality as most places would allow you to bring to the party.
What’s The Alternative To These Outdated Wedding Trends?
In the same way as the internet has revolutionised travel and holidays (with poor old Thomas Cook in our minds) weddings [esp the reception] have too been transformed, with choice being the by-word.
As people began to realise how easy it was to research flexible venues that allowed you to choose your own caterer and make your own rules, the idea really caught on. As it did, so too new caterers appeared that understood this ethos and set out to provide choice, personality and amazing variety.
As the ‘independent wedding market’ grew, venues of all shapes and sizes came on stream, allowing you to do amazing things such as ‘rent’ a barn, or rent a field for your marquee or rent a tipi in a field with natural assets (Elmbridge is a great example with its fishing lake, previously enjoyed by a few damp fishermen on a weekend) and then literally do EVERYTHING yourself.
Kemp & Kemp Catering was born early on  in this world [and arguably helped shape it], with their starting point as ‘maximum flexibility’. The key was [and still is] “we make it, so there is NO LIMIT to what you can eat”. No corkage on the part of the caterer also means you can drink all your own wines, all you have to do it rent a giant fridge trailer and find some nice glasses and you’re motoring.
With no rules and few restrictions (and often a three day hire), the opportunity for personality to shine was unlimited. Your preferences, ethnicity, character and foibles could for example, all be reflected in the menu, the decor, the table plan, the music, the drink, the timescale, the cake (or lack thereof), the formality (or lack thereof), the speeches and their timing (split, on the hoof, formal, video-based), the entertainment (cartoonists, singing waters, video booths, magicians).