I have recently been talking to my October Bride and Groom about choosing a caterer and menus for their big day. I have been booked to undertake their venue decoration for the wedding but have also done some added consultancy for the couple which I love as it involves me in the build-up to the day! The catering is often one of the biggest expenses of the wedding day and a lot of decisions are needed to get it right. You have to consider the time of year, the venue, the order of the day, guest requirements; numbers….the list goes on!! My October couple are having their wedding in a venue where they can contract caterers in so we had a lot to talk about! We would call this type of caterers outside caterers or event caterers and there is a huge variety of this type of business out there. Having spent many years working in the outside catering industry running weddings and parties my October couple knew they could call on me to ask advice!
Undertake an internet search for caterers in your local area and you will be bombarded with companies to look at! Where to start? Look at the menu examples on their websites for ideas. Check out their testimonials page for comments from their clients – make sure it has current posts. It is a really good idea to ask friends and family if they have ever used caterers they would recommend. If they did a good job at their function they will hopefully do a good job for you! Ask your venue for their recommended contractors – most venues will have suppliers they have a relationship with. My October Bride had been in contact with a number of local companies and given her basic requirements. The replies back were varied – anything between one line responses and full quotes for the day. Caterers who have gone to the trouble of putting together menus are always worth a second glance. Once my Bride had got a bit more information from her favourites she asked me to have a look at the menus and the costs involved to help her make some decisions. The meal will be a traditional three course sit down Wedding Breakfast with a buffet in the evening. Make sure when you are asking for quotes you get an idea of additional costs – this can be anything from linen, to kitchen equipment to staff. A well-priced menu can often get very costly with a few forgotten extras!
We have now decided the caterer we would like to go with so have booked them for the day. Caterers can get booked up in advance through-out the year so once you know who you want let them know! We are now in the process of finalising menus which is often the hardest part! It is important not just to consider what you like but what dishes your guests will like. If you know you have a desire for a dishes that you love but you know others may hate consider other options! Also think about the seasons and the weather –you may fancy summer fruits on a winter menu but it will add to the cost. When thinking about the evening buffet, consider what the guests have eaten in the day and what time meals will be served. Traditionally we would have the heavier meal in the day then a lighter meal in the evening but this can always be reversed. Whether you have an in house caterer or are booking an outside caterer, if they offer a menu tasting take them up on the offer but do check that the chef cooking the meal with be there on the day.
The next step for us is to meet the caterer at the venue. This will be a chance for the caterers to view the facilities to give a proper overview of costs and for you to run through the vision of the day. Take a pad to write down any notes and remember to write down any questions you want to ask while you are there as this is often the only face to face meeting you will have. I love this part as the whole wedding starts to take shape!! Roll on October!!!