Catering Tips 101 // Guest Post

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To ensure that your wedding day goes off without a hitch, I’ve compiled a few wedding day responsibilities that should be discussed with your caterer, especially if choosing the budget friendly option of a buffet meal. You wouldn’t want your caterer to feel like they got stuck with a job that wasn’t their responsibility, and possibly choose to not do that job on your wedding day.

  • Specify what time they need to be there for setup, cocktail hour, and dinner time.
  • If the caterer is providing drinks, such as tea or coffee, will they also be providing creamer, sugar, and stirrers? Will they make extra coffee if it runs out, or refill the drinks when they are empty?
  • Are they going to serve the head table?  
  • Will they be clearing plates from the tables, or will the guests have to discard of the dirty plates themselves?

Having the bride and groom make changes last minute, is very difficult for caterers to do, especially if they live in a rural area where food warehouses are not as readily available. Make sure if you think you want to change anything it is done no later than 2 weeks before the wedding.

It is always good to let the caterer know what type of kitchen and prep area, if any, is available for them to use, and make sure that the use of the kitchen is included in the price of the venue

As a guest, when you see something that maybe you think the caterer should be doing, remember that the bride and groom chose a cheaper option to save costs. For instance, if the bride and groom chose a budget option where they pay for delivery and set up but do not want to pay people to staff your event, guests as well as the bride and groom shouldn’t assume the caterer will stay and help out with last minute tasks.

It is always recommended to hire a bartender especially one that is RAMP certified. It helps to make sure your guests are being looked after. Especially since the liability would fall on you if something goes wrong and guests were allowed to freely help themselves to the alcohol.

A caterer will prepare extra food to ensure that they don’t run out, but you shouldn’t expect to keep the left overs, except what has already been gotten into. If they have extra full pans in a hot box, the caterer will most likely take that home, unless specifically stated in your contract. This keeps your costs down.

Make sure to discuss an absolute exact price per person, and make sure you know if they are going to add on a service charge, gratuity, or tax so you are prepared for the exact amount due.

Buffets are a more affordable option, but remember if you have a guest count of 60 or more you will want to make sure there is either more than one buffet line or that guests can go down both sides of the line. With so many guests and only one line, dinner will take longer than expected.

Make sure you specify with the caterer if you want them to finish cutting the cake and serving it to your guests. Also, don’t assume they know to save the top of the cake.

Remember that if you are trying to cut costs at your wedding, you should reconsider doing it in the catering department.  It is a great idea to make sure that the caterer is available to stay and serve the food for the little bit of extra it may costs. Even if you are having a buffet, the caterer will be responsible for making sure that the food doesn’t run out before all the guests have gone through the line. (Because we all know those people who take heaping handfuls of everything on the buffet). Having the caterer only drop off food requires you to find someone to help set it up. There will be no guarantee that food will not run out. Also, you won’t have to have possible guests feel like they can’t enjoy your day with you, by asking them to be responsible for such a big task.

As I’m sure you will find more questions to ask your caterer, I hope that these few suggestions will prove useful to you!

Thanks,
Samantha
Patchwork Planning Intern