Wedding refreshments

We are fortunate enough to be going to a wedding next month, and then another in January!I’m sure we will have a wonderful day on both occasional, celebrating the marriage of people we love.

In my 1930’s Modern practical Cookery I came across a section on wedding refreshments for home catering – and this is what’s suggested for twenty-five people:

ham, egg and cress

Cakes and Pastries
almond cake
cherry cake
cream buns.
iced Genoese sandwiches

Charlotte Russe (or fruit salad)
small peach moulds
orange soufflés

Wedding cake

Claret cup
tea and coffee

It seems quite modest to us these days, but surely more sensible? I can’t believe how much some receptions cost (and the weddings too!) I can’t help but think in  a miserly way that much of the expense could be put towards the home and what’s needed for a new life together.

The sandwiches – allow about six or eight small sandwiches per person – 3-4 sandwich loaves, 2 lbs butter, 1½ lbs ham, mustard, 12 eggs, 2 small baskets of cress, salt and pepper

The cakes – using 1 lb flour for each, (plus other ingredients of course) baked in square or oblong tins

The pastries – about 4 dozen altogether – it’s suggested they could be bought ready-made (shock!) to save time, and if home-made then make them small to make them daintier and to allow the mixture to go further

The cream buns should be dusted with icing sugar, not iced, and all the pastries should be made very small

Charlotte Russe – there should be three of them. There are five recipes in the book for fruit salad

Lemonade – 3 pints of water and 2 lemons… it doesn’t sound very lemonadey to me!

Claret cup – 2 bottles of claret, 2 wineglasses brandy, 2 pints soda water, 1 lemon, 2 pieces of cucumber (2-3 inches), borage, ice, ½lb lump sugar

There’s two pages of recipes, instructions and ingredients for the wedding cake – three tiers, almond paste, royal icing, decoration

Tea and coffee – the coffee ‘could quite well be made early and strained, then reheated as required. About ½lb each of tea leaves and coffee grounds, 3-4 pints of milk, 1 lb small lump sugar

This might seem so simple and not very special in our sophisticated and show-off world, but I’m sure there would be great pride in providing this celebratory refreshment for friends and family who have come to celebrate such a happy day.

I think my parents – their wedding photo is my featured image,  had their reception at the Dorothy café in Cambridge, as for my grandparents… I’m not sure but guess it would be in London

My grandparents’ wedding day, , 1916





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