Grooms Grab the Menu from their Brides

Nearly one third of engaged couples now have the groom in the driving seat when it comes to choosing the food for their wedding day celebrations.

Research from popular wedding catering company Kemp & Kemp found a dramatic increase in the number of grooms in charge of making the booking for catering over the last five years, climbing tenfold from 3% in 2011 to nearly 30% in 2016. Kilner jars of Salsa Vered, Aioli and fresh Fig Chutney

Men are taking an increasingly hands-on approach to arranging the big day, especially when it comes to decisions Karen Kemp (2)

like choosing the venue, entertainment and food. Traditionally, men have been happy to sit back and let the bride and her parents plan the wedding, but as more and more couples are paying for their own weddings, and with food alone accounting for almost half of the cost of the reception, grooms are understandably looking for a say in how their budget is spent.  

In addition, “The Masterchef Effect” - an increased interest and participation in cooking from men inspired by TV programmes and celebrity chefs – could also explain the change.  According to Mintel, men are also more likely than women to feel pride in meal they have prepared, and what better opportunity to show off their foodie credentials to friends and family.

So have brides been left twiddling their thumbs with this increased interest in nuptial tactics from men?

“I wouldn’t say the grooms have taken over, but couples are now working as a team on the wedding plans” explains Richard Kemp, who with his own wife and head chef Karen Kemp caters for weddings throughout the UK, “and the brides seem very happy to have the help!  We create bespoke wedding menus for our clients, so our couples enjoy that process of creating a feast together that reflects both their tastes, travels and experiences.  Food and wine tastings and personalised presentation are all part of the experience – why wouldn’t a groom want to be involved?!” Karen and Richard Kemp

Richard and Karen Kemp


James Munro and his wife Barbara held their reception at The Royal Scots Club in Edinburgh, and James was very involved in choosing the food.

“Being half Scottish, we wanted to have a menu that reflected that.  We chose chicken breast stuffed with haggis and a whisky cream sauce.” Explained James.

“It was a very enjoyable process, and our reception venue put on a tasting menu for us to try in advance. We also were able to try out different wines to see which ones complimented the food. I’d never describe myself as a ‘foodie’ but we do like to eat out, and our holidays usually resolve around eating and drinking. I like the Scottish chefs who produce great dishes from local produce, like Tom Kitchin's Scran and Scallie in Stockbridge, Edinburgh. If one celebrity chef has inspired me to cook more, in an uncomplicated way, it has to be Jamie Oliver.”

TV programmes such as Don’t Tell the Bride have popularised the idea of men planning a wedding, and an increase in the use of social media and online wedding sites to plan a wedding are making it easier than ever for grooms to have their say.  However, it seems the finer details are perhaps still better left in the hands ofbride to be.

“Details such as table settings, favours and flowers are still very much the bride’s territory.” adds Richard. “Grooms are generally happy to go along with whatever his fiancée requires. I would say the bride is still officially Head of Design.”

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