Who DOESN’T love food?! The flavors, the spice the variety. Choosing a caterer tends to get the best of couples…but only if you let it! When choosing a catering company the key things are: excellent food, service and the ability to work with the flow and the detail involved in your big day. Below are some pointers that have helped me through the caterer searching process.
Availability: First and foremost you need to see what caterers are available on your big day. Many venues may have a list of preferred suppliers, including caterers, so reach out and see if they have your date available.
Budget: Secondly, find out what they charge! Also take into consideration what the booking and payment process is. It is important you get an early indication of catering costs and what that all includes. Ask about what your options are. If you are on a limited budget, tell your caterer what it is- ideally they should be able to provide a package to suit your needs. Keep in mind that some venues charge a “Kitchen Fee” when not using one of their preferred caterers. Consider what is and what isn’t included in the price as often this can vary from one caterer to the next.
Another big thing to look out for here is rentals. Different caterers may or may not include tableware and linen within their bid. Ask. Some caterers and venues actually make you rent items from a specific company (AKA- preferred vendors), so know what to ask. Cali (BFF getting married in Vail) is having trouble with her caterer over this problem. Originally, she was quoted $800 for rentals through her caterer, now she has incurred extra costs up to $1450 for rentals because the caterer didn’t figure everything in.
Taste is KEY: This is one of my favorite past times in the whole wedding planning experience. Tastings. Most caterers offer a sit down tasting with you and your fiancé, so that you can try certain specialties. A tasting will also allow you to fully understand the quality, style and presentation of their food and gives you the opportunity to explore how your vision can be worked into their existing menus. Most caterers have menus they play with regularly, but most chefs can make whatever you’d like. When you start planning your wedding you can have all sorts of menu ideas! This is your chance to let those creative juices flow. Make a list of those delectable dishes and then discuss with each caterer YOUR dream menu. They are the ones to try and make it a reality. They are the EXPERTS. A good caterer should understand your overall vision for the day and listen to your ideas, they should be able to use their wealth of experience and encompass your ideas to go beyond your expectations for the day.
* Don’t forget to do cake tastings too! The possibilities are endless. Ask about cupcakes, dessert bars, donut towers (not giving up YET!) or anything else that sounds fun! If they can’t take care of dessert, they will no doubt have some excellent referrals for you.
Service: Finally, SERVICE is equally as important as the quality and style of your food. It’s important that you receive the most fantastic of service beginning with your initial inquiry, to your tasting session, right up until the end of the wedding day itself. Your caterer should provide you with the enthusiasm, excitement and expertise your wedding deserves!
I come from a family where the most social place in the house is wherever the food is located. Food creates a social atmosphere where people can enjoy each other and relax with the comfort of food. I know for my wedding that I want brunch finger foods and a biscuit bar that encompasses Mom’s gravy with local homemade jams. My caterer, Marian, understands my vision and is ready to make it happen, but also is keeping my costs low by allowing myself and family to help with certain dishes. I had to pay the $500 kitchen fee for not using a preferred caterer, but overall it was worth so much more to have someone I trust and feel comfortable with.
Next week: Theme
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” – Hippocrates