Today’s top tips are written by events catering extraordinaires Bespoke Catering – what they don’t know about wedding food isn’t worth knowing (and defs isn’t worth eating). Take it away pals!
One of the most important decisions you have to make as a couple leading up to the wedding is securing the right wedding caterers to fulfil your desired menu. This can be incredibly overwhelming considering how saturated the industry is right now. Here’s a list of our top 10 tips for securing the right wedding caterers:
1. Do your homework
Before meeting up with potential caterers do a little on-line research. Check out their social medias and previous posts from real weddings. How does the food look? Have they been in business for a long time? Are they a reputable trustworthy company? Are they recognised by the industry?
2. Read reviews
Make sure you read reviews on your selected caterers to help you get a feel for their previous work. If they don’t have any displayed, ask if they would be willing to let you chat with any of their previous clients so that you can be sure they are able to deliver on the day of your wedding.
3. Make a list of your non-negotiables
Write a list of non-negotiable items you absolutely want to happen on the big day. If the wedding caterer is able to fulfil all of them, you know you are on the right path to a good relationship
4. Schedule a Tasting
All good caterers should offer you a chance to taste your menu before the big day. If you are feeling at all unsure, don’t be afraid to ask for a tasting before signing a contract. After all, as they say the proof is in the pudding!
5. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box
Just because it’s never been done before, don’t be afraid to do something different with your food menu! For example, if red is your colour scheme ask the chef if all the dishes can have a red colour element. Similarly, If you’d rather have a variety of food stations than a plated dinner, chat with your caterer about ways to make this work.
6. Ask your caterer about their approach to dietary requirements or allergies
It is incredibly likely that at least one of your guests will have an allergy or specific dietary requirements to cater for. Ask your caterer how they would approach this, will they adapt your chosen menu to be suitable, if not, what alternatives will they offer. The last thing you want is for one of your guests to sit through a bland and uninspiring plate of food when you have worked so hard to plan a delicious wedding menu.
7. Be mindful of your budget
When working out a budget for your wedding catering it can be difficult to have an idea of what you’ll need to spend. A good starting point is to think about what you would pay for a similar style of three course meal at a restaurant and then double it. This will account for additional costs such as staffing, travel, crockery hire and kitchen equipment. Be realistic with your menu expectations and let your caterer guide you – they will be able to advise of clever ways to cut costs with cheaper cuts of meat or seasonal veg.
8. Consider Venue Limitations
Not every venue has a kitchen big enough to cater for a big guestlist. Be mindful of the space reserved to the caterers as this will greatly affect the type of menu you choose. Ask your caterer if they have catered previously at the space or whether they will be willing to carry out a site visit to make sure they are fully aware of the facilities and space available.
9. Speak with your other suppliers
Choosing a caterer is such an important part of planning your wedding. Nobody wants to sit through yet another bland and boring wedding meal (let’s face it – we’ve all been there). Ask your venue who they like to work with and who fits in well with their team. Your photographer is also likely to have been fed by a vast array of caterers at previous weddings, ask them who has stood out for them in the past. Having first hand recommendations is invaluable when it comes to picking your suppliers.
10. Create a Brief
What kind of wedding are you having? Is it an intimate affair where sharing platters will go down a treat? Or is it a more formal traditional occasion where you would prefer table service for each of your courses. Once you have a clear picture of your wants and needs, put together a brief that you can use to explain your vision to your suppliers. It will make your planning process a lot easier to navigate and will also help you understand how to best allocate your budget.
Planning your wedding can definitely be an overwhelming journey. You will have to compromise a lot, constantly making sure you are not going over your overall budget. At the same time this should also be an exciting time and one way to make it less stressful is choosing a supplier that fully understands your needs and is able to deliver. The caterer you choose for you wedding day, will not only serve your ‘wedding breakfast’ – the first meal as a married couple – but will also set the tone for the full wedding day. Women will remember how beautiful the bride’s dress was; men will remember how fast they got served at the bar; everyone will remember how delicious (or not!) the food was! So, give them something to talk about!