Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Delicious Wedding Food in the Cumbrian Hills, and a Wedding Party on Wheels

Last week, I helped prepare the wedding reception menu for two dear friends’ wedding in the Cumbrian Lake District. Beautiful bride-to-be, Michala, lives in Edinburgh with her beau Andy, but hails from a farm in the Southern Lake District. For two days at the family farmhouse, surrounded by the beautiful green and grey landscape, we prepared a wedding lunch and dinner for eighty people plus. It was all hands on deck.

I arrived at the farm on Thursday morning to huge boxes of organic fruit and vegetables, bouquets of herbs, homemade pickles and jams, bags of spices from (Scottish) corner shops, slabs of cheese, bottles of pressed oils and aromatic  vinegars. 

I certainly had flashbacks from my restaurant days: surrounded by mountains of fresh ingredients with a huge menu to prepare, but never had I seen such an organised operation as this and it ran like clockwork over the next two days. I am not sure whether this was down to the bride and groom’s meticulous planning, or that everyone just got on with the tasks (and each other) – it was probably both.

Marje, bride Michala, and me 

There is something to be said for Cumbrian families – although, I’m not sure if it’s the ‘Cumbrian’ element or just this family in particular, but they were so warm, deliciously close and light-hearted - that nothing was too hard or tiresome. I know from experience how stressful weddings - and catering kitchens - can be, but I didn’t once detect an edge, frazzled nerves or sharp words.

Instead I was surrounded by family and friends working away and cracking jokes, serving up rounds of tea and sandwiches, while we chopped piles of vegetables, greeted friends who brought bags of garden-grown vegetables, pounded aromatic mixtures to marinate the meats, rolled citrusey butters, pressed piles of lemons for homemade lemonade and whisked fragrant dressings. 

It didn’t stop there, the bride’s sister, Donna, was baking several types of bread and a huge ham; homemade elderflower champagne was on its way down from Scotland to be served alongside the barrels of Cumbrian ale, and the groom’s mother was making her way across from Yorkshire with twenty different homemade desserts in her car. It was going to be a wedding feast like no other.

The Smiling Bride and Groom on their tandem bicycle  

The bride and groom were married on the Saturday at Ulverston Town Hall and crowned by the guests in petals. The ceremony was poignant, joyful and beautiful. Then, twenty members of the wedding entourage mounted their pushbikes, while the bride and groom got on their tandem bicycle, and they cycled the rolling  hills for seven miles to the wedding party venue at Ashlack Cottages. I kicked off my heels and followed in our campervan, amazed that the bride and groom did not appear once to break into a sweat, and they never stopped smiling.

I would love to hear about your own unusual wedding experiences and feasts!

My eBook novel containing magical food writing is The First Sense 


  1. Hi Nisha,

    Lovely blog and yes..... the food was GREAT! Margo x

  2. Thanks Margo - lovely to see you there! x