You are amid wedding preparations. You are sorting out everything from the table plans to the floral decorations and favors. One key area of your wedding that you do not want to overlook is the catering. Getting the wrong caterers or having one that fails to meet expectations can end up ruining certain elements of your big day. When it comes to choosing and selecting a caterer, you need to be certain about what you want and need at your wedding. Breaking down the process is going to give you greater control, and allow you to get the answers and information you need to make the right choice.
Your Budget and Timescale
It can be difficult talking about money and budgets when you are planning a special day, but those conversations need to happen. Budgets can impact what catering you have, when, and for how many people. Having a budget per person, and a larger event budget (with a contingency), is crucial. When you have a budget, you can start liaising with caterers and seeing what you can get within your budget. At the same time, you will also want to look at creating a timescale. The caterer that you like or want may not be available when you want them, and this may have to be factored into your timescale.
When Are Caterers Required and Needed
Once you have a budget, and you have a timescale, you can then start thinking about what your special day will look like. You must do this, as you need to establish when caterers will be required. For example, are they going to be needed for the reception, or the wedding breakfast (if you are having one)? Are you looking at having caterers for an evening sit-down meal with a small number of guests? Or, are you looking at putting on a wedding buffet? How will your day flow, and when do you need caterers to step in and take charge?
Ideas, Menu Selection, and Packages on Offer
You want to ensure that you get variety when you hire a caterer. Looking at a gourmet wedding catering company and piecing together ideas and menu selections is important. Not all caterers will cater to weddings, and not all of them will allow you to have much input concerning menus and ideas. Looking at wedding packages on offer and looking at a selection of menus is essential during your search. You do not want to have to settle or compromise on what you eat (and what you feed your guests).
Looking at Previous Work
If you can, you need to try and see what previous work a caterer has carried out. Previous work can show you the quality of their work, and it can allow you to start managing the expectations you hold. If you do not see their previous work, you could struggle to visualize what food and menus will look like. This struggle can build and lead to a heightened sense of anticipation, and this is not what you need on your wedding day.
You may be looking for a particular taste or style of food on your wedding day, and often, the only way to check you are getting this is to have a taste test with a caterer. A taste test will give you a chance to see if ideas and creations are living up to your expectations. Some catering companies can post a lot of photos of their creations, but when you come to taste them, they can be bland, or just not as you were expecting. To avoid this disappointment, you need to try to arrange a taste-testing session. Even if you are only sampling one or two dishes, you will be able to gain a better idea about what the caterer is capable of.
Making Use of Recommendations
Do you know people that have recently got married? Perhaps friends or even a work colleague has recently got married and used a caterer? Recommendations can save you a lot of time and stress. They can allow you to avoid catering companies that have not fulfilled contracts, or not met expectations. When using recommendations, always make sure a person has used a caterer or catering company before. Their view and their recommendation will be two very different things.
Being Clear About What You Want
At all times, you must be clear about what you want and expect, both from a caterer and from the food you select. If there is no clarity, there will be confusion, and this is when issues often start to creep in. Set out a brief if you can, discuss what you want (and what you don’t want), and make sure that everyone is on the same page.