Planning a wedding can be stressful, and we completely understand that. Over the years, we’ve learned some valuable information that we thought we should share with you as you begin to put together your special day. Some of this information is catering specific, some is general, helpful tips to help your big day go just as you imagine.
One of the biggest concerns that we face when working with couples is they’re not sure what they want. Deciding on a menu is a huge part of planning a reception, and once you can mark that off of your mile long “To-Do” list, it’s really like a weight has been lifted. One of the most important questions to ask yourself when planning your menu when you have no idea where to go is this: “If you and your closest friends were going to get together for dinner, what would you make?” If you can immediately answer this question, then chances are you’ve already began to put together a menu for your reception. After all, the reception is a massive gathering of you and your 150 closest friends. If you figure out what you would feed you and your ten closest friends, you’ve already decided what to feed the other 140.
Be reasonable! We have catered weddings where there have been brides that are so specific about every single thing that is involved in their wedding, as they should be. But there comes a point when it’s just not reasonable to have a gelato stand, popcorn machine, and the food truck parked outside, not to mention the two signature drinks for the bar, the s’mores for the fire pit, and the welcome and take away favors for guests. Everything that you plan for your wedding, either you, one of your friends, your parents, your soon to be in-laws, your wedding coordinator, or the catering company has to figure out how to accomplish said item, how to get it to the venue, where to put it, how said thing should occur, how they’re going to manage it, and how they’re going to take it home at the end of the night. That turns into a lot of moving parts all at once, and the more moving parts, the more likely there is something to go wrong. Figure out what is most important to you as a couple, and choose quality over quantity.
Be specific! When you hire a caterer, service is a very large aspect of what you’re paying for. Labor accounts for a huge portion of your bill, and the only way for the catering staff to know what you expect of them that night is to have it outlined. We have couples that want us to pour champagne for toasts, or refill wine glasses during dinner service so their guests don’t have to get up while they’re eating. We would love to do that for you, but it makes it a lot easier on us when we know that you are expecting that from us. You can give us all the details you’d like, and more often than not, we’re going to make note of every single thing, so the staff can have just as much information as you do. There is no such thing as too little information when it comes to sending staff into a catering function. In essence, they are walking into an event that they are responsible to manage and are only armed with information that you have decided to share, or what the catering company has coaxed out of you.
Being specific also comes in handy when we’re discussing your food. Any great caterer is going to know how to tend to your Vegan, Gluten, Soy, and Dairy Free Uncle. The problem lies when we don’t know we’re going to have to feed said uncle until the day of. We can easily accommodate any dietary restriction, but we just have to know about it ahead of time. Communication is ALWAYS your friend!
Sometimes your caterer even turns into your coordinator. Some brides don’t have a wedding coordinator, and that’s okay. Some do everything themselves with the help of a close friend, and the only people who are in the loop are the close friend and the caterer. If that’s the case for your wedding, it is absolutely critical that you give us as many details as you possibly can. If something goes “awry” last minute, the last thing we want to do is hunt down the bride to ask her a question on her wedding day. Today is your day, and you should be the least stressed person there. Good caterers will adapt to any situation and can make any incident come up smelling like roses, we just have to know our parameters which to work in.
If you can hire a day of coordinator, we highly recommend it. Even if all she is there for is to answer questions and keep you on track of the timeline you’ve worked up, she is well worth your money. Wedding receptions with no “point-person” tend to get off track and quickly. You plan to eat at 4pm, but since there was no one watching the clock, you’re now eating at 6pm, when you have to be out of the venue and 10pm, and you still have to get through toasts, cake cutting, first dances, garter tosses and bouquet tosses. A day of coordinator makes it easier on you. If you can swing it, let someone else have the headache of making sure you didn’t miss anything. Most coordinators are experienced, and will remember to think of all of the things that you didn’t. You’ve never planned a wedding before, and some coordinators have hundreds of weddings under their belt. Let their experience make your wedding experience stress free.
The Bar! We have learned through our years of experience that a self-serve bar is never a good option. It’s not safe, depending on what kind of crowd you have, and more often than not, when a bar is self-serve, it’s not adequately stocked for everything the guests may need that evening. Even then, someone still has to make sure that the ice is restocked when it runs out, that there are wine keys, bottle openers, shakers, mixers, and cups. Plenty of cups! If you hire a caterer to tend to your bar, information is still your best friend. Most caterers (including us) don’t have a problem mixing up that signature drink you’ve dreamed up, but it helps a whole lot if we know ahead of time what the ingredients are, and in what proportions they’re mixed. We’ve also found that although the idea of a “full bar” sounds great, that’s a lot of alcohol for you to purchase, and when it comes to running the bar, the more alcohol you have, the more options your guests have to choose from. That can seriously back your bar line up, and unless you have 6 bartenders, they’re always going to be that line at the bar during cocktail hour. We always advocate that less is always more!
Finally, have fun! This is an amazing and exciting time in your life. Let our passion for what we do, help you get to where you want to be.