Most people who have attended a social event or wedding will tell you about the food – whether it was delicious or not and if there was enough of it! Most guests will not remember the floral and decor, or whether the linens on the tables matched the invitations exactly. The food always resonates in the minds of guests. Your wedding or special occasion is not the time to try out a new catering company or your cousin who likes to cook. The food is a very large portion of most event budgets so choosing a reputable and licensed caterer is a must.
If your chosen venue does not have its own catering services, you now have the flexibility to choose a caterer who will suit all of your culinary desires. However, before you begin interviewing caterers, be clear on what your venue will provide and what you will need to have brought in. Many times a venue can provide tables and chairs at no extra cost. But, whoever provides anything for your special day ask to see the items first so you are sure that they fit into your design scheme. Work with your wedding planner or event planner to rent items that your caterer or venue are not able to provide.
13 Questions for Your Caterer:
- Can the caterer create a memorable feast that will match your taste?
- Will they provide a tasting session prior to your event, so you can get a preview of their culinary skills and select a menu of your choice (for the tasting session bring at least two other persons so you can get another perspective to take into consideration)?
- Ask for an itemized invoice that outlines all that will be included in their services to include the meal selection, linens, tables, chairs, wait staff labor, cake cutting fees, corkage fees, etc.
- Ask if tax and gratuity will be included in your final bill.
- Ask if they have liability insurance and their ABC license agreement.
- Will the caterer supply alcohol if you request it? Or, if you have to source the alcohol from somewhere else are they licensed to serve alcohol you have purchased?
- Can they accommodate guests with special dietary needs (gluten-free, kosher, halal etc.)?
- How many other parties will the company handle on the day of your wedding and can they handle a party of your size.
- You should also discuss the serving options they offer such as plated meals, a buffet and various food/drink/dessert stations.
- Ask if the caterer has experience providing food at your particular venue.
- What is their staff to guest count ratio? (Note: For excellent service, the minimum service ratio for conventional sit-down meal functions with American-style service with some foods preset is one server for every 20 guests. If you are using rounds of 10, the caterer should schedule one server for every 2 dining tables. If you are using rounds of 8, two servers should be scheduled to handle 5 dining tables. ~Source, Cvent)
- How many bars and bartenders?
- And most importantly, ask for client references and check them!
3 Steps to Designing a Knock-out Feast for Your Reception:
Caribbean Caterers is a company we have had the pleasure of working with on numerous occasions. In business for over 25 years, they are known for using the freshest ingredients and wowing their clients with their impeccable style. The event designer that works with couples will create a memorable feast – from the linens, to the china and a one of a kind menu – you’ll be sure to be pleased. Gillian DeSouza, owner of Caribbean Caterers, shares her advice on designing a knockout menu for your wedding reception.
- First, consider the atmosphere you would like to create for your guests. This will help your caterer determine the service style and presentation.
- Next, consider your guests likes and dislikes, dietary consideration, etc. The idea is to come up with a mix of items that everyone will enjoy (walk on the safe side if you don’t know your guests).
- Finally, plan the presentation of the menu items to suit the event/theme/style, i.e. small plate, designer plate, creative service-ware, etc.
Visualize Your Reception as if You are Hosting in Your Home:
Another industry partner that we often recommend to our couples is Tasteful Affairs – a full service, gourmet caterer based in Alexandria, VA who has been in business for more than 20 years. Linda Harkness, Owner and Head Chef of Tasteful Affairs suggest couples “to visualize their favorite restaurant, so that they might familiarize themselves with the kinds of foods their clients would like to offer their guests. The Clients are hosting the “event”, we at Tasteful Affairs implement their ideas as if they were setting up, cooking, and decorating in their own home to entertain their guests. We are the brawn behind the vision, the vision comes from the client. If they have difficulty visualizing, then we begin to paint various pictures from which they may choose.”
When planning your next event, connect with Perfect Planning Events and its industry partners to produce a remarkable event for you and your guests.