Choosing a Caterer
Meeting your caterer for the first time can be like that awkward first date where you’re trying to listen to who they are and what they can do, but you’re also wanting to talk about yourself, your needs and wishes. Your goal with this first meeting is to convey how you want your wedding to feel while finding out the style of your caterer. To prepare yourself for your first meeting, you will want to be able to describe what you like and don’t like. Think about previous weddings you’ve attended, what did you like about these weddings that you’d like to duplicate at your own wedding? What do you want to avoid?
Anyone can put their best foot forward during the introduction so do your homework and thoroughly review online reviews and comments from previous clients your caterer has served. Ask your caterer if she/he can provide picture from past events they’ve worked. If your meeting is going well and a relationship is forming, discuss food preferences but avoid having an in-depth menu discussion at your initial meeting. Instead concentrate on the feeling you’d like to create at your reception. Are you wanting an elegant seated dinner or a casual reception?
Budget for Caterer:
Be upfront with your budget and what it is. When deciding the exact budget you have to work with, remember that anyone who helps to pay for your reception has initial input. Your caterer should be able to take that information and make suggestions. Take those suggestions and figure out what you like and what you think will work. While your caterer should offer options, remember you are the one in control and the ultimate choice is up to you. Once your budget is discussed and options have been given that you agree with, ask your caterer for references and call their former clients.
Once you’re committed, some basic decisions need to be made regarding food presentation. The four food presentation options are a simple hors d’oeuvres service, station, buffet and seated. The simple hors d’oeuvres reception offers light snacks passed out and often served at stations. This option allows optimal time for mingling. The station reception features several food areas, each with a theme, and gives guests many choices. Common station food offerings are a meat-carving station, a fresh pasta station, salad or a vegetable station and a dessert station. If you opt for this type of service, plan on a minimum of four stations (one station being dessert). A buffet style may be your best bet if your guest list grows to more than fifty. For a buffet meal, guests assemble their own plates, but most caterers will supply staff to serve at the buffet table. A buffet may start with a served first course, which will offer some structure for the wedding toasts. Lastly we have the classic seated meal, this meal style includes several served courses and it is usually the most expensive option.
When making decisions on what types of foods to serve, remember to incorporate your wants and wishes. It may be tempting to attempt to please your guests’ likes and dislikes when it comes to the core items of your meal, remain true to the dishes you wish to serve. If you find flexibility in your menu, perhaps throwing in a family favorite recipe is appropriate. Some caterers offer a tasting that allows clients to sample dishes on their menu. A tasting allows the bride and groom to adjust the foods or refine a recipe before it’s created and served. Lastly, ask your caterer to pack food for you for after your wedding, you’ll have been busy mingling with guests and entertaining and may find yourself interested in a little something to eat after the festivities.