A good caterer can be the difference between the perfect wedding day and a disaster. If you have the right catering team at your back, you can enjoy the magic of your day while knowing that your guests will be well-fed and taken care of. But how can you choose a caterer who will take all the worries off your plate? Here’s how:
HIRE A TRUE CATERER
There’s a huge range in what people call “catering” these days. Sure, you could pay a restaurant to drop off 200 orders of Pad Thai and call that catering, but that’s a long way from what a full-service caterer does.
As any bride knows, the wedding day can be both exhilarating and exhausting. After a long, stressful day, the last thing you want to do is worry about whether the food will arrive on time, how long guests will have to wait in line, or whether there will be enough to feed everyone. A full-service caterer will be there behind the scenes maintaining the timeline and keeping traffic flowing—solving problems you won’t even see. You’ll be covered from first look to last bite, and when the day is done, let them handle clean up so that you’ll be free to go home to more important things.
It’s often a good idea to ask your event planner and your venue about caterers they’ve worked with before. Before you place your wedding in the hands of a caterer, ask around. Find out the caterer’s reputation for integrity, reliability, and level of service.
New couples may not realize how much is involved in orchestrating a wedding day, particularly for large numbers of guests. As you consider hiring a caterer, make sure they’ve handled events like yours before. Ask what complications they foresee and how they’ve handled similar problems in the past.
ONCE YOU’VE FOUND YOUR CATERER, TRUST THEM
It doesn’t make sense to hire a caterer for their experience and expertise, and then ignore their advice. If your caterer tells you that 200 people can’t fit in your venue, they can’t fit. If your caterer warns you that the cake is going to melt in direct sunlight, move the cake. And if they say it will take at least 30 minutes to flip the dining room into a dance floor, plan on it taking at least that long. Trusting your caterer also means being candid with them. Be upfront about your vision and priorities, as well as your budget. Some couples approach their caterers like they’re haggling with a used-car salesman, pretending that their budget is lower than it really is so that they don’t get overcharged. Couples need to understand that catering prices are set—they don’t charge one client more than another for the same services. The goal is to help make your vision happen with the best food and service possible within your budget. You’ll have the best experience if you are straight with your caterer from the beginning.
OPT FOR LOCAL AND FRESH
One of the best ways to guarantee that you serve the most delicious meal for the lowest price is by using fresh, local ingredients. It makes sense to pick a caterer who specializes in fresh, local foods. If they have connections with local growers, they can hook you up with great deals on foods that are in season, and they can help you create menus around those ingredients. When it comes to planning your wedding menu, using local, fresh ingredients straight from the source will be one of the biggest factors to your meal’s success.
REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE CATERING FOR
In one sense, of course, your caterer is there for you, to make your day go smoothly. But they are also there to take care of your guests, and it’s important to think of them in your planning. Do any of your guests have food allergies or sensitivities, dietary restrictions, or other food-related concerns? Will any of them need wheelchair access or other accommodations? How will you handle Covid concerns? Work with your caterer to anticipate your guests’ needs and make sure they will feel comfortable and cared for.
Your caterer can also help you find the balance between making your wedding reflect your own personality and style and, at the same time, accommodating your guests. We once had a bride who’d been allergic to onions all her life, so she didn’t want onions in any of the dishes she planned to serve. It took some convincing to help her realize that what tasted “normal” to her would seem bland to everyone else. While we want to help you personalize your day in every way, we’ll also remind you who the catering is for.
Discover more tasty tips for your wedding menu here!