In life, we enjoy a number of memorable occasions, one being a wedding. For the bride and groom, this day is by far the most beautiful time when two people make a public and legal proclamation of their love. In addition to the happy couple having the experience of a lifetime, the wedding is also a time of celebration for family and friends.
For any couple planning a wedding, a long list of factors comes into play from invitations, music, and even alcohol consumption at the reception. Of course, while the wedding should be a time of vibrancy and life, it is also a time of responsibility, especially when alcohol will be served. The key is providing the right amount of alcohol so guests can enjoy a drink or two but without going so far that drinking becomes a potential problem. One of the best ways to ensure your reception is perfect would be working with a reputable caterer.
You will find that, of all expenses for your upcoming wedding, catering will be the largest. Now, you could host a beautiful reception void of alcohol, which would save you money but if you plan to serve alcoholic beverages, you want to remember to increase the budget to accommodate. For instance, food and drink at a wedding reception can account for as much as 50% of the overall cost of the wedding!
As you begin planning to include the wedding gown, cake, photography, music, church, and so on, you want to pay close attention to the reception, realizing the significant cost. Many times, a bride and groom will cut a few corners for the actual ceremony so they can have an all-out party for the reception. If this is the case, you have a number of options to ensure you get the most out of your money!
For starters, interview at least four caterers. When it comes time to choose a caterer, one of the most important requests you can make is for references. If possible, we recommend you begin your search for a caterer by asking a family member or friend who has had a positive experience. However, if you need to find someone on your own, always ask for references and then follow through by checking each one. Unfortunately, many people ask for references, but more as a means of seeing if the caterer will supply any. Instead, it is vital that you have a good understanding of whether past couples found the caterer’s services average or outstanding.
Once you have identified four caterers that would be good choices, schedule a sample tasting of the food they plan to make. If they refuse, scratch them off the list. Most professional caterers would be delighted to show off the menu for you and they expect you to ask for a sampling. After all, they want your business and realize you could easily turn to someone else. Therefore, once you arrange for a test tasting of the caterer’s work, specifically sample menu items that would served at your wedding. In addition to taste, the food should be attractive and presented well.
For budget, remember the caterer needs to know how much money you plan to spend on their services. Typically, some compromises would be required but again, a professional caterer would be able to come up with excellent alternatives without exceeding the set budget. For instance, if you had originally planned on a sit-down meal, but find it too expensive, then perhaps a buffet style dinner would work better. This way you would still be able to afford the same delicious menu items, just served in a different way.
You also want to make sure dishes and silverware will be provided, and make sure the design enhances the style or theme of your wedding. Just as you did with the menu, never be afraid to ask to see the dinnerware and silverware used. Make sure the style is listed in the contract. Next, determine the number of servers provided by the caterer. Obviously, a sit-down reception would require more servers than that of a buffet style reception but clean up, coffee service, cutting of the meat, and other service aspects should be considered.
In summary, never feel bullied by the caterer. A good caterer will know when to make suggestions and what type of suggestions to offer. Work with a caterer who is working for you, someone eager and willing to go beyond expectations to make your wedding an absolute success. You should never feel that you have to make major changes because you have no other option. By choosing your caterer carefully, any problems should be avoided.