When I was planning our wedding back in 2010, I was told you couldn’t cater a wedding in Melbourne for less than $150/head.
I’m not sure whether I was clueless or just pathetically hopeful, but my unfailing optimism told me I could find a better deal somewhere…it just happened that for every great deal there was some hidden clause about paying $10,000 for hiring a second spoon. Ok, not quite, but let’s just say there was a very good reason why I remember thinking things like – “What if we saved money by collecting every glass, plate and cutlery set from tiny country op shops that still haven’t put their prices up?!!”… So. Not. Feasible. But dozens of wedding blogs have told me that hundreds of couples have resorted to this desperate kind of cost reduction and will probably continue to do so. Unless they find out about The Grub Club.
If The Grub Club had existed when I got hitched, it’s safe to say I would have booked them in a flash. You know the catering company we all wished existed, but just can not find? Well this is it. Brand new, all-inclusive, and oh-so-genius. Here’s how it happened…
About two months ago, I had this idea to do a styled wedding shoot in the Dandenongs. I live here, I drive past amazing scenery every single day…fields of daffodils, incredible forests, gorgeous tiny hills villages. The actual scenery in the Dandenongs is what dream wedding photography is made of. But for the most part, wedding venues in the hills are not my kind of thing (not in a snotty way – for every photographer like me, there’s a million photographers who rock most when they’re shooting at these venues). I just prefer shooting a wedding in a cute country hall with an open fire over a reception centre that also does a great conference.
So, the styled wedding shoot. My idea was to find a clearing in one of the many forests up here, rope in a couple, dress them up, stage a mind blowing but fake elopement, then create the sweetest, teeniest reception dinner for just the two of them. The dinner would look super cosy even though it would be wintery, and I was hoping like nobody’s business that there would be mist…
OHHH YEAH…Like every other styled up fake wedding shoot you’ve ever seen on Pinterest! So original am I!
But I swear this was going to be different!! I roped in my favourite cafe, The General Foodstore in Emerald to cater this romantic dinner for two. Rita from Blooming Brides in Emerald agreed to do flowers. While the setting and general vibe may have been seen a million times before, the food and florals would be the focus. And they’d be oh-so-original.
So here’s what happened. I met with the owner’s of The General Foodstore (chef Paul ‘Dougie’ Douglas and his wife Bel who is a communications designer) at Rita’s floral studio. Within ten minutes we found ourselves chatting about food at weddings and began begging Dougie on behalf of all couples, everywhere, to start up a wedding catering company. Which was amazing because Bel admitted it had been on their minds for a long time (in fact, ever since they got married). They weren’t sure of the exact vision yet, but essentially they wanted to start a catering company “without the bull”. Rita and I like to think you can thank us for what happened next…ha!
We set a date to do the test dinner, and then I left to shoot a wedding in NYC (because I have waaay better things to do than styled shoots in forests, clearly). The styled wintery elopement dinner was now dead and the launch of a brand new catering company imminent. (If you are genuinely sad that we didn’t get to do the original idea, type the phrase “Dinner in Forest” into a Pinterest search. You’re welcome).
Whilst overseas, I got an email from Dougie and Bel saying they’d settled on the name The Grub Club and a mood board was emailed to me which was so on the money I got chills. It was simple, clean, beautiful, and made so much sense. I think when you’ve been married and you know how complex catering can be, you know what you don’t want, and therefore can create the right product pretty quickly. I couldn’t wait to get home and see it all come to life!
I’m not even going to bang on about how amazing the food was, because it was basically the best ever and that’s why there are photos. We had the Full Whammy catering option plus canapes to start and dessert canapes and cheese board to end. See the tables towards the end of the night? Every square inch was covered with food. There is no way your guests will need a late night Macca’s run on the way home from a Grub Club wedding. Being adaptable is all part of The Grub Club’s charm, and Dougie was happy to work with everyone to provide the exact food they required – “We pride ourselves on our ability to make delicious gluten free, vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian, fructose free and allergen friendly foods”.
Rita from Blooming Brides created the incredible florals that decked out the hall so beautifully and Mel from Cherrytree Bakehouse worked with the subtle citrus theme to make a tiered lemon wedding cake that this photographer and her husband devoured for Sunday breakfast the next morning. I wanted to stay in that hall eating Grub Club food, smelling Rita’s flowers and staring at Mel’s cake (drooling ever so slightly) FOREVER. If that had been my wedding I would have cried happy tears all night.
What I especially loved is that between Dougie’s incredible seasonal food and Bel’s design, you can have your entire wedding or function look and feel so cohesive. These guys are partners in life and love for a reason – their individual aesthetics support the other so incredibly well. And here’s the best bit – the jugs, plates, mismatched cutlery, paper runners, napkins, tables, menus, place cards, giant welcome and seating chart are all included! Every couple wants this, but so often you have to settle for the generic version the venue has been using since 1989, or else you end up spending a fortune on outside stylists, graphic designers and hire companies. Not at The Grub Club. No sir. It comes standard.
I heard at least 3 guests say that if they ever renewed vows they would have this exact set up. I must admit, I feel exactly the same way. I am so so pleased that this incredible company is now servicing the Dandenong Ranges. There has been a gap in the market for this exact thing for so long, I’m just so glad that couples out there who want to rock an old hall or their backyard can do it in such a fun and exciting way!
“We’ve had a lot of fun pulling The Grub Club together. It’s been a hugely creative yet methodical process and we’re excited to be launching the business within the beautiful Dandenong Ranges which has so much goodness to offer. We get a real buzz out of providing people with quality and value – not to mention a good time!” – Dougie + Bel.
So excited to share these images with you! Let us know what you think!
Love Sarah xo