Catering for a Wedding
Catering for a wedding is usually one of the most expensive, and perhaps important, features to the overall event as this will be one of the main experiences for your guests and what will make a lasting impression on them.
So, it is necessary to have a careful planning when it comes to selecting the right wedding catering service and the wedding menu, to ensure that everyone will have a good time during the event. This means considering the serving style, which caterer to hire and the cuisine you will serve.
Wedding Serving Styles
Usually the catering serving style will be determined by the type of reception you are planning, the venue and the number of guests.
1. Buffet - This kind of wedding serving style is done by placing the different food selections on a long table or on several table stations scattered around the reception area with guests selecting their own meals from the food provided.
This kind of style encourages socialization among the guests as everyone in the reception room would have to mingle with each other to get the food. However, a buffet can become difficult if there are a significant number of guests as queues may form with some guests waiting too long for their meals.
2. Seated Meal – a formal wedding serving style wherein wait staff are assigned to every table in the reception room for the duration of the meal. The wait staff will be the one to distribute the food to the guests in their assigned table. There are three types of seated meal with French service, plated service, and Russian service being the most common for wedding receptions.
3. Passed Tray - This wedding serving style is used for cocktail receptions only with wait staff walking between intermingling guests with platters of appetizers.
Selecting a Wedding Caterer
- Ask your family and friends first – save yourself some time and ask people you know for any recommendations of good caterers. Alternatively, ask any other wedding professionals you may have already hired for quality caterers they may have worked with. People involved in a business usually know other people who are also doing business in the same field.
- Contact the wedding caterer - When the couple has made a list of their potential wedding caterers, they should call or email the caterers to ask for important details like their experience in handling a wedding catering, their asking price, the kind of dishes that they are accustomed to making, and their availability to cook for the wedding.
- Experience matters - It is best to get a caterer that has an experience in catering weddings and handling the large number of guests and dietary demands. An experienced wedding caterer can also give some tips to the couple about what dishes or arrangements are popular in weddings.
- Ask for a Sample Tasting – request that the suggested wedding caterer provide a sample of the food they are going to have in the wedding, using this to decide whether it suits your reception and guests or not.
- Enquire about their special dietary options – always enquire about what alternatives they provide as there should be at least one vegetarian meal choice for every course. What’s more, it is important that all other dietary requirements are able to be caterer for especially allergies.
- Get Numbers in Writing – it is always suggested that catering costs are calculated by a quote per head based on several menu options as this will give the closest and most accurate figure for the budget.
Planning the Wedding Menu
There are essentially three basic elements to consider when planning the menu and what food to serve to your guests.
Budget – Food and catering expenses usually take up about half of a couple’s wedding budget which is why careful consideration must be made for just how much they are willing to spend on this expense. If the couple is working to a strict budget yet does not want to sacrifice on quality, consider having less courses during the meal.
Reception time - In planning for the wedding menu, a couple should also take into consideration the time of their reception as this will dictate what kind of dishes they are going to serve their guests. A reception at around 10 am, for example, may not need to serve 5 meal courses. The couple should also take note that a reception during dinner time costs a lot than a reception held in breakfast time.
Traditional Cuisine or a Range of Options – this is more to do with the theme and style of the wedding, with formal occasions generally being more traditional fare while a modern approach is having creative food presentation with a range of world cuisines. This would also impact on the choice of caterers.