Updated: Jan 4
Let’s be honest for a second. Weddings are partly fun because you know you will be served good food and drinks. So give your guests some thing to remember! Something that reflects your relationship. High class barbecue? Up scale Italian? Food truck heaven? Junk food junkies? Pick foods that you know and love and they would appreciate. People starve themselves all day to be able to fit in the food at the wedding, I see it all the time.
For this reason, you must be careful when selecting a caterer, this is a high-ticket item. There are so many different styles and types of caterers, you might be shooting yourself in the foot later by choosing some caterer that will not deliver what needs to be delivered on wedding day.
Do you want a plated dinner? This helps keep the guests seated and they don't have to break up their fun conversation to get up and grab their meal. It generally runs faster if you have enough staff, since the staff can prep and serve several plates at once, and knock out tables within a few runs.
Do you want your guests to go back and get a second serving if there is more? Buffet style may be what you're looking for. Be sure to have your staff serve your guests. If your guests serve themselves, they will run out of food. Plus it's kind of unhygienic during a pandemic..
If you have more than 100 guests, we recommend two buffet lines. It makes things go by way faster. Can you imagine being the very last table to receive your meal after the whole hour? They're going to be haaangry. Buffet lines are known to be a little lengthy.
Sometimes venues have their own on-site catering and won't allow you to bring your own caterers. Eek! That means you have to trust that they will deliver in taste, quality control, and staffing. A lot of the time you get to taste their food only after signing on. At least you get to taste and get a chance to make final changes! Sometimes, you don't get to taste it or the chef completely changes the entire menu.
In-House Caterers Only - Sometimes venues only allow you to use their in-house catering, be sure to ask that early on in the process. They usually have a set, limited menu. Unless they are with a chef, usually they can get more creative and innovative.
Required Caterers from the Venue - A lot of venues require you to choose from their selected and approved list. This means they have created a valuable relationship and choose not to deviate from the list due to liability, learning curves, rules, insurance requirements, and regulations. You'll have to pick from their list and set menu, but keep your options open.
Full Service Wedding Caterers - This is what you want at your wedding. Full service wedding caterers bring in their team of buss staff, preppers, and servers. They each have a job to do and work together like a well -oiled machine. They arrive 2-3 hours before service time, stay until the end, clean up, buss tables several times during the night, cut cake, pour champagne, haul trash, and handle the left over food and cake. They are the real deal and can handle dietary restrictions and cultural weddings. They can serve buffet style, family style, and seated dinner.
Drop off and Serve - These vendors you do not want on your wedding. Think: Bill Miller's BBQ, disposable everything, tin catering containers, buffet style, and others alike. We don't want them because they don't buss tables, haul trash, pack up left-overs, handle dietary restrictions, allergies, etc. Guess who will have to do all of that? You guests, you, or a staff member you hired from a staffing company.
Food Stations - Instead of having a sit down meal, think: "Heavy appetizers" but several options and larger portions. Guests can walk around and pick and choose their food selections and try all or several stations. Cocktail tables will be scattered about so that guests can set their drink down and quickly eat. Sometimes you can find desserts as well!
Food Trucks - Food trucks are not cheap, they usually have a $2,000 to $3,000 minimum. They usually are cooked to order and that means they will take a looong while. Make sure the options are limited and able to be read so that the guests are already making their final choices while they are in line. People are going to be standing around waiting, hangry, and might grow impatient. I only recommend this if you have less than 50 people, 2 or more food trucks, and make sure your food truck staff or an additional hire will buss your tables and haul trash. That's hard to find. If you don't have that, you'll have to hire staff from a staffing company.
Lastly, I want you to have the vision you are dreaming of! But be weary of the pros and cons of the catering industry. You might have to pay higher prices in the end to get yourself out of a corner!
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