Good Weddings – Is the Correct Catering Company Essential?

In a word I think yes. Ask most people who’ve attended a wedding and at this point forget about the bride and groom because by and large their memories of this day don’t really feature that much round the food, what their abiding memory of the entire day is and I’ll wager that the majority will come back and say that he was great but the reception in the food was terrific / awful.

Perhaps it’s just me being a cynic but I think that the catering side of a wedding reception is essential. It’s the one part of the day apart from the ceremony where people get to sit down and relax and socialize with each other.

The other fact worth bearing in mind is that as the whole concept of the wedding gets more and more out of control. By this I mean the ancillary services who take over namely that draconian figure – the wedding photographer. By the time the guests next see the bride and groom after the ceremony they’ve probably had to wait for a long long time. At this point I think it is essential that you don’t annoy the guests are much or insult their intelligence by serving up poor quality food.

Many couples do not realize that the catering or food bill is typically your largest expense involved with your wedding (45-50% of most budgets). This is why it is essential to choose your caterer carefully. Spend plenty of time with your caterer talking about your budget, what style of reception you want (buffet, sit down dinner, cocktails, etc) and the types of food you’d like to serve.

If you are unfamiliar with the caterer, schedule a ‘tasting’ to sample their culinary skills and take not that food is presented attractively too. Another way to ‘check-up’ on your caterer is to check references. Many brides ask for references but never actually call them. Make at least 2 reference calls. Don’t be shy—ask questions.

When hiring your caterer, be sure to ask about the dinnerware or china they use. Some will include the dinnerware in their price, but it may be chipped, scratched, or worn down. Ask to samples to make sure the place settings will nicely compliment your wedding décor.

Service is a very important element when choosing a caterer. Be sure to ask about the ratio of servers to guests. This can vary depending on the type of reception you have. A good estimate is about one server for every 8-10 guests.

When determining a final head count for your caterer, be sure to include a meal for your entertainer(s), photographer and wedding day coordinator. But, always confirm with these vendors that they do want a meal before you include them in your head count. Make sure to separate these from your guest head count, because a caterer may charge less for ‘vendor’ meals.

Ask your caterer to prepare a ‘leftover’ basket with a sample of all the food at the reception. Most likely, the bride and groom will not get the opportunity to eat and enjoy all the food at the reception. Even if you’re leaving the next day for the honeymoon, it will be a good snack.

Be sure to ask your caterer about ‘guaranteed numbers.’ Many caterers will quote prices based on a minimum or ‘guaranteed’ number of guests. Many base their figures on a minimum of 100 guests. If your final guest count is less than 100, there may be an additional fee.