New year and some new dishes

Hampshire Tunworth cheese canape

Hampshire Tunworth cheese canape

smoked fish mousse in waffle cones

waffle cones with a selection of fillings

light tempura squid

Light and crisp tempura squid with a soy, ginger and honey dipping sauce


I met the most patient and creative food photographer at Leiths food styling cookery course just before Christmas, so naturally Stuart was my first choice to take some photos of our food for the coming season.


Here I have taken the highly acclaimed and locally produced Tunworth cheese (Even Raymond Blanc raves about it!) and spiked it with some sprigs of fresh thyme and a splash of calvados, warmed it up and popped it into a scooped out loaf, with crusty croutons to dunk you can imagine how hard it is to only have one, crostini not cheese!!

I love the tempura squid, we reduce soy sauce down until we get a syrup, add honey, grated fresh ginger and toasted sesame seeds – Yum!

These waffle cones are a fun carrier for a variety of fillings, here I have used some local smoked river Itchen trout in one, sundried tomato with an antipasta filling and also a light Hampshire goat’s cheese topped with caramelised red onion.






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Some words from Susie and Alexis

the wedding at Avington park of Susie and Alexis

The wonderful wedding at Avington Park of Susie and Alexis


“Dear Kaye,

Thank you so much for everything you did for our wedding.  You made everything run so smoothly on the day and we are incredibly grateful.

The food was delicious from start to finish, the drinks were amazing and all your staff were so kind and helpful.  You were so helpful from our initial meetings to the food tastings, to the day itself – suggesting ideas and saying yes to everything we asked for!

On the day we were so impressed at how you organised everything so well, to cope with that heat and we felt incredibly well looked after.  We cannot thank you and your team enough for making the wedding reception so special.  We will be recommending you to everyone!  All our guests were asking who had done the catering as they were so impressed.

Thank you so much

Love Susie and Alexis.

(Wedding at Avington Park July 2013)


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Best business video finalist

We were delighted to make it through to the final four of the National Entrepreneurs Awards for Best Business Video at the ICC in Birmingham last week, had to be content with second place on this occasion!


Watch it here …. creative catering and marquees

Best business video

In the final four for the National Entrepreneurs Award for Best Business video


Video produced by MWS Media

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How wonderful to be thanked for doing something you love doing!

waiting staff from Creative Catering and marquees

Some of the team looking after the wedding guests at Saturday's wedding at Avington Park House

 Charlie and Susie Urquhart asked me to show their testimonial on our web-site – so here it is!
We would thoroughly recommend Creative Catering. Right from the beginning of the planning stage for our wedding (catering for 180 people during an afternoon and evening reception) through to bringing the marquee down after the event, Kaye, David and their teams were fantastic – responding to our million questions (with speed and good humour), providing sound event advice, creating bespoke canapés to fit our wedding theme, producing absolutely delicious food, providing extremely helpful and professional staff for the day and putting up a very smart marquee all the while doing everything with a smile. Above all Kaye put us first - encouraging and supporting us to explore and develop our vision for the day rather than imposing one on us. Kaye and her team attended to every little detail and we would have no hesitation in using both Creative Catering’s catering and marquees should the need arise in the future. Many thanks Kaye and David!
Charlie & Susie Urquhart
September 2013
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9 tips on how to avoid party planning mistakes


wedding marquee

Planning a wedding to the last detail of the colour of the balloons!

Planning a party can be fantastic fun; it allows you to be creative and innovative, so that your guests can let their hair down and have a great time.  From small celebratory get-togethers to large Wedding Receptions, there is always a reason to party!

With 23 years of experience of party planning as well as partying ourselves, we have created a full proof blueprint on how to create fantastic parties every time.

However, unfortunately, over the years we have been invited to some parties Where simple common errors have been made leading to the event being a bit of an anti-climax and not living up to expectation. Even when a huge amount of effort has gone into the planning.

So we have decided this has to stop, and it’s time to reveal a few of our secrets on what makes a party a Creative Catering Party!

Common Mistake 1

Not confirming the date early

It is all very well having a fantastic theme, the best caterers and the latest DJ but if you have no one coming! what’s the point?

  • Confirm the date early but make sure your family and friends are available on your preferred date before announcing it to the rest of your guest list.
  • Once you have got your date and you are happy that the “VIP’s” are free, then make sure you send out invites and get RSVP’s.
  •  This will then give you a far better idea of how many to cater for in terms of food and drink, as well as giving you the option to invite more people if others aren’t free, without it being embarrassing!


Common Mistake 2

weddings at a wedding

Pink and white umbrellas saved the day at this summer wedding

Assuming that it will never rain on the day.

  • Great Britain and its weather have a love/hate relationship with their residents. So by having a party in the middle of July does not give you the right to assume it will be glorious sunshine, as does having a party in the depths of winter mean it will be miserable and raining!
  •  Always have a back up plan.
  • Make sure that if you are preparing a summer BBQ outside that your house inside is presentable and ready for guests if the weather turns. All good caterers will provide cover for a BBQ and will be able to produce the food in most weather conditions. So you need not worry about them.
  •  Alternatively have a marquee if your budget can stretch to this. This will mean that you don’t need to worry about the weather and you can always open the sides up if the weather is nice.

Common Mistake 3

Trying to plan the schedule minute by minute

  •  Please don’t get me  wrong being prepared and planning is essential, however when trying to plan an event to such small detail, may leave you feeling stressed and ‘clockwatching’ through out the day.
  • Speeches may overrun, guests will be ‘fashionably late’, food might take longer than expected. This is a fact of life, however if you start to plan to such an extent of
  • You will not enjoy your party, so allow for variance in your times and you will relax and enjoy the party and not be forever checking the schedule

Common Mistake 4

Having too many suppliers.

  • This may seem a strange mistake, and surely having others do the hard work is a good thing? Yes it is. However, by having lots of different suppliers providing you with a range of different things, it is very hard to keep track of who is responsible for what.
  •  For example by having a marquee supplier, an equipment supplier and a caterer, items may get missed. Who is supplying the kitchen equipment needed?
  •  By having as few suppliers as possible, responsible for multiple things, any last minute checks or changes can be made with one or two phone calls


Common Mistake 5

Not having enough food!

  •  This seems very obvious, yet too many people fail to do this! We have all been to a party which states that food will be available. You therefore don’t eat before arriving, as you don’t want to be rude and say you have already eaten. Yet you arrive to see a few crisps in a bowl, some breadsticks and a quiche on the side.
hampshire beef fillet

Hampshire beef fillet for 200

  • Talk to your caterer, a good professional caterer will have years of experience in what you should provide and how much. Imagine what you would expect?







Common Mistake 6

Setting a vague or optional theme!

Moroccan interior for a Casablanca party

Moroccan magic in Hampshire


- Having themes can be great fun and create a buzz about your party before the event. You need to be clear about the theme and never leave it optional!

- Having it optional may lead to some dressing up and others not, therefore   causing embarrassment to your guests and leaving them feeling uncomfortable for the rest of the evening.

- By setting clear guidelines for everyone to dress up or for everyone to wear “black tie” this will give confidence to others who wouldn’t normally join in. It will let people really get into the mood of the party beforehand so that the atmosphere is electric when guests arrive.


Common Mistake 7

18th birthday party

Ideal environment for an 18th birthday party


  •  It is crucial that when booking entertainment you research personally. Don’t take recommendations for DJ’s or bands without listening to them first, people have very different tastes in music. It’s your party so you need to enjoy the music.
  •  If you are having your own music, spend some time making playlists beforehand which suit the atmosphere that you are trying to create. Don’t have one playlist which you are determined to use, sometimes you can make the wrong decisions, so always have a few back ups.
  •  Sometimes parties can peak too early and guests lose enthusiasm. Have a few games or entertainment ideas up your sleeve. (Remember your guests and keep it ‘clean’)


Common Mistake 8

Know your guest list!

  • When planning a party it is all too easy to get carried away. This isn’t, necessarily always a bad thing, focus on the varying age groups and cater for all their needs.
  •  Look at your guest list, (if the vast majority are over 70. Emphasis should possibly be focused on a quality sit down meal, not drinking the night away with party games and a bucking bronco. Whilst if you are hosting a party for a 21st, bacon butties and pizza might be more appropriate to soak up the alcohol and keep people on their feet!.


Common Mistake 9

Keep it realistic!

  •  Finally know your budget! Prioritise what is the most important aspect of your party. Don’t go and blow the entire budget   on a band or DJ if you want luxurious food as well.
  •  Be “Party Savvy”! Hunt around for the best drinks deals.
  •  If you are having a theme, try and negotiate a good deal with the local fancy dress shop.


Host forget to enjoy!

-         After all the time you have spent planning, enjoy it!


So now we have shared a few of our secrets, you have no excuse to hold a sub standard party.

If you would like us to help you host a fantastic party using our formidable blueprint, get in touch!

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Cooking over coals this summer

Creative Catering chefs barbequing

Lee and Candice cooking over coals

We have been enjoying some wonderful sunny days and thankfully weekends over the last month, ideal for dusting off the barbeque and getting a chance to eat out-doors.

Here are a few shots of some of the dishes we have been cooking during July.

Sharing boards placed on each table have been very popular this summer, accompanied by lovely summer salads this gives a very casual dining option.

Beef cooked over the coals 

sharing boards of aged beef cooked over the coals - ideal summer food



wood burning ovens

Terracotta wood fired oven, delicious for cooking summer Al-fresco menus


Using our wood fired terracotta ovens to cook in, adds great flavour to the food





A simple, yet delicious summer plated lunch party dish for 180 guests,  to accompany the char-grilled aged Hampshire beef fillet we served minted summer new potatoes with warm melted butter and our own home grown summer salad leaves


char-grilled beef fillet

Char-grilled aged beef fillet on ribbons of summer vegies and vine cherry tomatoes

A favourite summer pudding of mini vanilla pavlova with English summer berries

mini summer pavlovas















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Great new marquee for last weekend’s wedding at Avington Park House in Hampshire

marquee with clear window walls on the gable end
40′ wide peaked roof section marquee with clear window wall gable end

Super wedding at Avington Park in Hampshire this weekend.  The groom used to waiter for us in his University holidays!

180 guests enjoyed the family’s own Trinidadian rum made into a wicked rum punch which had 90% of the guests dancing along to the steel band even before the wedding breakfast!  The highlight of the wedding had to be the brides solo although a close second was the bride and groom leading their band with the most fantastic singing, keyboard and lead guitar, a very talented couple and a great party!

They chose our new peaked roof marquee style which was attached to Avington Park House, which is a truly fantastic setting for weddings in Hampshire and well worth a visit if you are considering a venue for your wedding reception.

marquee avington peak roof sections

marquee with peaked roof sections linked to the library at Avington Park



marquee with peaked roof sections at night

Marquee at Avington Park House in Hampshire with illuminated peaked roof sections

waiting staff from Creative Catering and marquees

Some of the team looking after the wedding guests at Saturday's wedding at Avington Park House




40' wide marquee for wedding at Avington Park

Internal shot of the peaked roof marquee 40' wide for a wedding at Avington Park House













caribbean plantain crisps with mango and coconut dip

Caribbean themed canapes included Plantain crips with mango and coconut dip


caribbean canapes

Jerk Chicken kebabs one of our Caribbean canapés











Kitchen assistants for creative catering and marquees

Iggy and Andy our fantastic Kitchen assistants who work so hard behind the scenes to keep us looking good "out front"





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Best of both worlds!

We are loving our new peaked roof marquees making their debut this summer.  They give you the external look of the traditional pole marquees with the added benefit, internally of having no poles, which gives you a better use of space. Also, as the picture shows you can light the peaks for a dramatic effect once the sun sets.


Marquee with peaked roof panels

Our new peaked roof marquees with the added design of a curved section

marquee with peaked roof panels lit with coloured lights in the peaks

Our new peaked roof marquees with coloured lights

Internal view of a peaked roof marquee, shows you have a clear span space

Internal shot of a peaked roof marquee, shows the benefit of having a clear span space inside the marquee

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How we help you plan your Wedding Reception

weddings with creative catering and marquees

Carefree knowing a glass of chilled champagne is waiting

Your Wedding and how we go about helping you plan your great day


It all starts with you phoning us or sending an email.   You will have given us a brief outline of what you would   like for your wedding; number of guests, the venue , whether you want a plated meal or a buffet.  At this stage you may not have booked the church and therefore know your service time, don’t worry, we can work on an estimated average time for staffing.  We will send you our menus along with a price guide for what you have asked for.  We do this because very few people know what it is going to cost and when we ask, quite often have not thought about a budget.  So once you know the ball park figure and you are happy with that, then we can meet up and get more detail from you and put together a personal proposal for your day.


Things we will go through with you are;

Friendly creative catering staff

Service with a smile from the Creative team

  • Time of your service and what time to you will arrive back at the venue.


  • How long do you want for reception drinks, during which time you will have photographs.  We advise on about one and a half hours for this, as we have found anything longer then guests start to get tired legs and ask us when dinner will be served!  Also, don’t under-estimate how long it takes 100+ guests to sit down!  From announcing and our staff circulating amongst your guests to ask them to be seated, you need to allow half an hour.
  • Most people like to serve some canapés during the reception stage, and they are always well received!  This helps take the edge of the Champagne, especially if your guests have not had chance to have lunch before the service.  If you are sitting down to a 3 course meal, then 4 canapés a person is enough, however, if the canapés are to act as the starter then we recommend 8 per-person.



New season lamb with tian of ratatouille and a red wine jus

  • The most popular style of wedding breakfast is a plated meal, with waitress service.  Another nice option is to have some anti-pasta /mezze style sharing starters, but do bear in mind there is not lots of spare room on the tables, once you have flowers, wine and water to dodge around.




  • After dinner, would you like us to run an evening bar for you, or are you happy to continue with the wine you have been drinking with your meal? If we leave you to it after dinner, yes this will save you some money, but please do not under-estimate that 100+ people in a marquee or venue do need some looking after  and I would always advise you have a least a couple of bar staff to stay and run an evening bar for you.  They will keep the party area tidy, make sure over-indulgent guests are offered a glass of water or a coffee, if the need arises! And best of all tidy up at the end of the evening and assist with calling taxi’s etc.
marquee with creative marquees

Your marquee all set ready for your reception

 Depending on what time your wedding breakfast takes places, you may feel it necessary to have some additional food to nibble on later on in the evening.  If you have additional evening guests coming after the meal, then you must lay on something for them and allow for a percentage of the main guests to eat again.  Sometimes, something simple like some delicious cheeses, especially from the range of wonderful cheese we have available here in Hampshire, with crusty baguettes with  chutney and fruit is just the ticket. Some people will also add on bacon butties which we offer around 11.30 and these are always very popular.

Setting up the interior of your marquee or venue

  • Regarding the setting up of your marquee or venue tables, we like to do this the day before your wedding.  (Based on your marquee going up mid-week) This then gives you time to meet with your Event manager and go over any final points before the day, also you can then personalise the tables to suit your style.  This also allows your florist to come in on the morning of your wedding and place your table flowers in situ.


  • We provide an easel on which you can display your table plan layout.

    cocktail sausages

    Honey glazed cocktail sausages


  • We will have taken delivery of all your drinks earlier in the week and have these chilling ready to be transported to your venue in a refrigerated van, where they remain for the duration of your wedding.  Afterwards we can arrange collection of these by one of your ushers.
On the day:
  • With your tables all set and everything in place, the Champagne chilled and the cutlery polished, we are all ready to go.  Your Event Manager and team of waiting staff will be ready for the arrival of your wedding party, on hand to collect coats and wedding gifts and serve the all important glass of chilled fizz.  They can make a cup of tea if anyone wants one and deal with children asking for endless juice!

    Champagne at your wedding

    Chilled Champagne for your wedding

  • Your Event Manager will have a copy of your time plan for the day and at the appropriate time will liaise with your Best Man to announce the Wedding Breakfast, she will also circulate amongst your guests assisting them to find their seats.


  • Dinner is served and if your speeches are held after pudding, your Champagne glasses will be filled ready for your speeches and to toast  the cutting of the wedding cake.  After which we shall whisk it away to be cut and wrapped in napkins to appear with coffee.


Ivory night sky and dancing on a black and white dance floor

The first dance

Once your speeches are over, your bar will have been set up and ready for action, along with the DJ or band primed for your first dance!

The dining tables will be tidied after dinner and wine left with guests who are enjoying sitting and talking at the tables, or if the wine is not required, we move it across to the bar.

After dinner your bar staff will look after guests with drinks and generally keep the area tidy of dirty glasses etc.

bar using trestle tables

Simple Bar option, using raised trestle tables and a light!

At the end of the evening our staff will tidy up, leaving you to climb into a taxi and kick off your dancing shoes !

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A Marquee for your Wedding at Avington Park House


 Avington Park House is a truly beautiful venue in Hampshire, 10 minutes from the centre of Winchester.  Here are some pictures of a marquee being erected and the finished look.

marquee being set up at Avingotn Park House

Laying out the floor area for a marquee at Avington Park House

 The marquee is linked to the library at Avington Park House, and to start with the boys lay out the leg bases, in relation to the size of the marquee.




hardwood floor going in for a marquee at avington park house

Hardwood flooring going down for a marquee at Avington Park House

       The hardwood flooring gives a wonderfully level surface to the
       floor of your marquee.  Carpet is then laid on top of the flooring.
marquee interior prior to lining

marquee prior to lining with a hardwood floor at Avington Park House in Hampshire

The next stage, flooring and marquee up and linked to the library
Next thing to go up will be, the lighting, chandeliers and up-lights
 and  the ivory lining.
The carpet is then fixed to the flooring.
40' x 100' marquee

Interior shot of a lined marquee at Avington Park House

 Marquee linked to the library  with Ivory  lining and carpet.  Ivory brocade tablecloths with bottle green brocade runners.  Ivory camelot lime-wash chairs. Lighting was a combination of pin-spots, brushed steel chandeliers and  up-lights.
marquee at avingotn park house

Exterior shot of a 40' x 100' marquee linked to the library at Avington Park House

Marquee linked to the house, a truly beautiful setting for your wedding.
long shot view of marquee at avingotn park house hampshire

Over-view of a marquee at Avington Park House

        A distance shot to show you how stunning a marquee at    
        Avington Park looks.
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