An interview with | Stones Events
One of the things I love about my job is working alongside other great wedding suppliers and Stones Events is one of my faves.
Many of my couples will attest to their amazing food and service. They’re a bright shiny star and other industries could do with a Stones.
Ben (their Head Chef) and Rebecca (their Head of Events) were the masterminds behind the food and drinks for our ‘Floral Flourish’ editorial shoot.
And I can personally vouch for their Warwickshire Whizzer bangers and mash! mmm mmm!
Rebecca very kindly agreed to do an interview for us. Read on to find out what she did at one wedding when she realised, right before the speeches were about to start, that the champagne had been accidentally locked in the van .. with the keys!
Over to Rebecca…
How did you get into wedding catering?
I started my events life at a beautiful venue called Dodmoor House in Northamptonshire, where I fell in love with everything weddings! Following seven years there as a Wedding Planner, I started at Stones Events wanting to focus on the food element of the couple’s big day.
As an Event Planner, we were involved with all suppliers, and I had worked in food service with previous positions, which helped when shifting my career focus.
As Head of Events, I am now responsible for overseeing the planning elements of all of the events which we cater for, along with attending selected events to ensure they run smoothly.
What’s a typical wedding day like for you?
It starts the day before… setting up tables and the kitchen, ironing cloths, organising the bar and other suppliers… the day itself should go smoothly if you get that bit right!
Every wedding day is different, but each begins with meeting the chefs and staff at our unit in Leicester, ensuring everything – including food! – is packed on the van before we set off. As we are an external caterer we serve food to guests all over the country so it could begin with a bit of a journey before you’re then unloading the van, checking finishing touches in the meal room, chilling the drinks and making sure the kitchen is running on time.
Once guests arrive and the first trays of canapes and drinks are served I relax a little, it’s over to our great event managers, service staff and chefs from then on! My role is to ensure that the little details discussed prior to the day are not overlooked.
How do you come up with your menus?
Our Head Chef – Ben – writes menus on a seasonal basis with our Founder, Tom. We also celebrated our 10th-anniversary last year so we re-worked a number of our best-loved dishes which now form our VIP menus.
Having said this, we are totally flexible with our dishes.
We have been asked to create all sorts, from sharing menus with the couple’s favourite restaurants in mind, to ‘Alice in Wonderland’ themed feasts, to three-course menus which are lactose and gluten free for the entire wedding!
What do you love most about catering for weddings?
A couple of things…
We could be catering in a different venue each week, which is great because you get to work in lots of different places from client’s homes, castles, tipis and marquees or historical buildings! The experience of working at varying sites is really interesting – we have worked at some incredible places!
It’s also really exciting to know that you are involved in one the biggest days of a couple’s lives… they have picked your team to serve all of their family and close friends a meal that everyone will notoriously remember… no pressure! There is such a sense of achievement when everything goes smoothly and you get great feedback.
What’s the hardest thing about your job?
Last minute changes, which are generally dictated by the weather!
Obviously, we spend hours planning every single detail of the couple’s special day, however no one can control the weather so there always has to be an element of flexibility to our plans!
I remember planning a blessing for a couple a few months ago who were determined to have the seating and children’s activities outside. They had a beautiful garden (complete with amazing giraffe statues!) which was the perfect setting for this, however I had to tentatively float the idea that it might be a little drizzly so it may be an idea to have a plan B in the form of a marquee… Luckily they agreed as it did rain on the day, however the blessing marquee was kitted out with bunting, hay bales, a Pimp Your Prosecco stand, bar and strings of photos – it looked incredible and was perfect for their relaxed afternoon tea style celebration.
What’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to you at a wedding?
10 minutes before the speeches were due to begin, I went to our drinks van to get the champagne for the toast, only to find the key had been accidentally left in the ignition and the van had locked itself…
We frantically tried to break in using a long ruler, only to admit defeat and smash the window with a brick!
The drive home was a little draughty…
Is there a wedding you’ve worked on that really sticks out in your mind?
Last Christmas I was involved in the planning of a beautiful wedding at Althorp House.
The venue is already amazing but imagine it at Christmas with a huge Christmas tree in the Salon and the Picture Gallery dressed with amazing florals… Dreamy!
The couple didn’t want traditional round tables, so I designed a huge U shaped table plan which had never been done before… luckily, the tables fitted perfectly and the bride loved the design!
The menu was one of my favourites which we designed for the couple – they had a pea veloute and Colston Bassett Stilton amuse bouche, followed by venison and chicken, which was served on large wooden boards to the tables for the guests help themselves to. There was also a mini game pot pie each, bowls of seasonal greens, honey roasted roots and charred broccoli alongside dauphinoise potatoes and big jugs of jus.
Instead of dessert at the tables, they had family style cheese boards with crackers and quince, and then moved downstairs for a chocolate table… Coffee was served alongside a selection of truffles; dark chocolate, orange and caramel, white chocolate and honeycomb, milk chocolate and cherry and raspberry jelly and peanut butter – a personal favourite!
Whose wedding would you really like to do the food for; past, present or future?
We would love to cater for Harry and Meghan!
What do you usually do when you get home from a wedding?
Sit in my van for a quiet minute, chat with my husband Roger about how it went, possibly a gin and tonic and then bed!
If you could give a couple one piece of advice for their wedding food, what would it be?
Choose what you would like to eat on your wedding day – don’t try to please everyone.
Be honest with your planners about what you would like, but let them tailor this to your day/venue/number of guests with their chef team.
We love discussing menus with our clients and finding out what they would like to eat, and part of the challenge is ensuring we can deliver this to the highest of standards in any size/shape kitchen.
Are you looking for a wedding caterer?
You can find out more about Stones at the following links: