Food for Thought
Step 1 – The first meeting
- Ask the caterer about weddings they have handled
- Tell them about your favorite foods and restaurants
- Don’t have an in-depth menu discussion at this first meeting talk about the feeling you want to create. A casual reception with lots of dancing or a classic seated dinner etc.?
- Discuss costs. Tell them what your budget is
- Let the caterer make suggestions, but you set the direction
- Read your caterer’s letters of reference
- Take numbers so you can call former clients
Step 2 – Food Presentation
Once you have picked a cater the next issue is food presentation.
The four basic options are seated, buffet, sharing boards, and cocktail service
- The classic seated meal features several served courses.
- A buffet give lots of choice to guest and hot and cold options. Many caterers will supply staff to serve at the buffet table.
- Sharing boards features several food areas, each with a theme, and gives guests many choices. This increasingly popular at marquee/yurt receptions.
- At a cocktail reception, hors d’oeuvres are passed and, often, served at stations. This allows the most time for mingling, but is not well suited to wedding rituals.
Step 3 – Pick the menu
The next choice is what to serve – the best way to do this is to get the caterer to offer a food tasting of various dishes. Don’t forget veggie, vegan and gluten free options.
Consider serving as many room temperature food as possible,”Hot food must be plated and served within minutes. It can go cold quickly and this ruin the flavour.
Step 4 – Costs
Catering costs can vary, as each company has a different way of evaluating costs. Most caterers estimate food costs per person. Many caterers then add the approximate cost for the staff and other costs – like cutlery and glass hire. Some will give a flat fee, others a breakdown.
Ask about staff overtime charges, taxes, and tips. Some may add tips, others won’t. These hidden costs could add a substantial amount to the final bill.
Step 6 – Contract
Finally, get everything in writing. The contract should be very specific, listing everything from the final menu to the total cost of rentals. You will need to pay a deposit – 50% is reasonable. But you may need to pay up to 80%.