When you live in Melbourne everyone knows about the Collingwood Children’s Farm. It’s the place to go on the weekends to cuddle the animals and enjoy great food and time out in a country atmosphere – and yet it is only 5 kilometres from the CBD. And as time goes on, we’re all starting to find out that not only does this Farm cater to families on a great day out, it also has some beautiful venues tucked away that are perfect for weddings. With a choice on site, of beautiful rustic venues and an open paddock to make your own with styling by a talented wedding team, that befits this space, Catering by The Farm Café also spreads the love all over Melbourne, catering delicious food to suit your venue. Let the magic of The Farm weave its spell and create a magical day that is everything you wanted it to be and more! Lauren takes us for a peek behind the scenes.
How long has Catering at The Farm Café been in business? How did the business start?
The catering arm of the Farm Café started 2014 when the owners decided to have their own wedding here. After a spectacularly beautiful event, their friends decided to also get married here. As the weddings became increasingly stunning, the word spread and more couples began to book our unique and naturally beautiful venue.
Image by Timothy Marriage
Was the Farm Café always intended to cater for weddings and events, or did this evolve over time?
The Farm Café has evolved into the weddings and events space. We are finding that a lot more couples are looking for a unique location to have their special day. We have also seen o lot of growth in the number of couples looking for something more relaxed where guests can be themselves and enjoy the evening. The Farm and its natural surrounds is the perfect place for this.
Images by Bri Hammond
Not only are you a caterer – you also have other services you provide to bridal couples. Would you describe these?
Here at the Farm Café, we offer a full wedding service. All couples that get married with us have their own Event Planner to help them bring their day to life. Our Event Planners assist with all the details including selecting vendors, styling and making sure that nothing is missed. On the day, our staff do everything from set up to service and pack up. Which means that the couple is stress free to enjoy their day.
Are these services provided only at The Farm Café, or also at other venues?
We provide the same level of service at all venues we work with. We understand that most people have never planned a wedding before and that it can be quite overwhelming. Our goal is to ensure that every couple has the wedding they always dreamt of and that the day is as smooth and stress-free as possible.
Image by Timothy Marriage
Your team must be super talented, able to deliver the most beautiful styling, flowers and planning. How do they keep their ideas fresh for each wedding?
We definitely have a superstar team here at the Farm Café. All of our staff are absolutely obsessed with weddings. We are always online researching the latest trends, both Australian trends and international trends. We also attend wedding fairs, expos and any other form of industry trade available to make sure we are always up to date and offering our couples the best information possible.
Which other venues across Melbourne and Victoria are you associated with? Do you provide catering as well as other styling etc at these venues?
We work with any venue in Melbourne and surrounds that allows external catering. Some of our favourites include Noisy Ritual, Mountain Goat Brewery, Glasshaus & Small Talk. But we also love to travel and explore new venues. We offer a full service at all of these venues, which includes an Event Planner, styling, catering and full staff service.
Image by Kristen Wursthorn
Are you able to travel to provide your catering plus styling/planning service to couples who live in the country?
Yes, absolutely! We love to travel and work with new spaces and venues. The countryside is such a magical part of Australia and we encourage couples looking for a countryside wedding to contact us. We would love to be involved with their weddings.
What spaces are there available at ‘The Farm’ for couples to use for their ceremony and reception?
As the Farm is so large, we have a variety of locations onsite which cater to different needs. For ceremonies we have two options:
- The Oak Tree
- The Paddock
For receptions we have:
- The Café
- The Barn
- The Paddock (where we would set up a marquee)
Image by Kristen Wursthorn
Would you please describe them:
All locations within the Farm have a beautiful natural feel, full of charisma and rustic charm.
- The Oak Tree
The Oak Tree is an impressive 160 year old, heritage listed tree located right on the bank of the Yarra River. Naturally beautiful, this space can be left as it is or dressed up with florals, Persian rugs, ice cream cart, live music etc.
The Paddock is great for large ceremonies. The large open space is really well suited to hay bale seating, large market umbrellas and vintage games for guests to enjoy.
The Farm Café is perfect for intimate weddings holding up to 60 guests fully seated or 80 guests cocktail style.
The Barn (our most popular location) holds up to 120 guests fully seated or 150 cocktail style. This building is also heritage listed and full of rustic charm. There is an outdoor area next to the Barn that compliments the space perfectly. With so much space to utilise there really is an option for every couple to achieve the look and feel they are going for.
The Paddock is perfect for large weddings. This space can hold up to 400 guests fully seated. There are limitless options here for styling and they all start with selecting the marquee type you would like. Anything from a classic, traditional marquee with clear walls, to the trending tipi’s with a fire pit or a stunning Sperry tent. You can also utilize the unique space by having an open air bar and open-air dance floor.
How can a couple make these spaces their own? What décor elements are important right now?
We really encourage each couple to bring their own personality and style to the Farm for their wedding day. Because of this, every wedding we do is different. As part of our fully staffed service, couples are invited to drop off any personal decorations at our warehouse a few days before their wedding day. We will bring them to the Farm during bump in and set them up just like you asked us to. Then at the end we take everything back to our warehouse for you to pick up after you have recovered from your wedding.
If there are particular decorations a couple would like that we don’t have, their Event Planner will source them and arrange all the details for delivery.
Images by Kristen Wursthorn
You also have a hire arm to your business? What sorts of items are available to hire?
We have hand picked our styling items to fit perfectly with the style of the Farm. We offer everything from tables & chairs to hay bales, oak barrels, wishing wells, signage, festoon lighting, place card holders, cake stands and table numbers.
How would you describe the food you serve at weddings?
Amazing! Everything we make here at the Farm Café is made with a whole lot of love! We love to source our meats and produce as locally as possible. We also get as much organic and free-range produce as we can get hands on. To top it all off, we love to feed people! So our serving sizes are abundant to make sure everyone can indulge in our delicious food.
Are grazing tables or shared platters a popular option?
Both options are incredibly popular. All our menus are designed to be shared like a big family feast. This allows everyone to interact and enjoy the company as well as the food. The beauty of our menus is that they allow guests to choose the dishes they like rather than being forced to eat the dish placed in front of them. And of course, as we are always abundant in our serving sizes, guests are welcome to come back for seconds or even thirds!
The general trend we see with menu selection is that couples looking for a more laid back and relaxed wedding select the Grazing Menu. While couples looking for something a bit more formal select the Shared Dining.
Image by Kristen Wursthorn
What dishes or style of food, are couples requesting the most?
We get a lot of couples that love the idea of having a huge wedding feast full of abundant dishes on their wedding day. In terms of the food, as we offer so much variety, every wedding really is different. We have done everything from large extravagant weddings with 6 courses full of stunning cheeses and meat platters to 100% vegan weddings. We also offer everything in between including our new Camp Fire style menu aimed at utilizing the Farm space and creating interaction for your guests.
What’s on the menu for a winter wedding?
Winter weddings at the Farm are a lot of fun. We like to keep your guests nice and cosy by serving delicious and hearty foods. Lamb is always a popular dish to keep guests happy. We also like to spice things up a bit by offering an open fireplace with a smores bar for dessert and adding mulled wine to the drinks menu.
As the Café is part of the Collingwood Children’s Farm – how can couples ensure exclusivity of the venue?
At the Farm, we only do one event per day regardless of which location is being used. This means that couples get the Farm exclusively for them and their guests to enjoy. We start our weddings in the afternoon, which allows the public to leave the Farm before the wedding starts. It also means that photographs can be taken at prime lighting times and guests are free from the harsh midday sun. From 4:45pm onward the Farm is closed to the public and is exclusively for the wedding couple and their guests.
What do you and the team love about weddings – and how do you celebrate the end of a wedding day?
We love absolutely everything about weddings! From meeting the couple for the first time, through to the planning process where we hear the couple’s plans. All the way up to seeing the beautiful couple walk down the aisle and the smiles on their faces when they see each other for the first time. We also love seeing everyone go into party mode after the mains and hit the dance floor.
We love all the rustic spaces The Farm has to offer – and the bonus is that the food that this talented team prepares will have your mouth watering. To find out more about Catering at The Farm Cafe visit their website.
Headshot courtesy of Lauren Davie.