We are all about the food today and I’m actually getting hungry putting this post together! The food and drink portion of your wedding budget could very well be the largest portion. When you are spending such a large sum of money, you want it to be good food, and an even better experience for you and your guests. We have Averil from Truffles Catering in Baltimore to give us the scoop on how to have amazing food and a positive catering experience at your wedding. This will give you the basics, some things you might not have thought about, and good solid start to finding a great caterer for your wedding. Take it away, Averil:
Photo Credit: Merkle Photography
Crunch, slurp, sip, savor, repeat. There’s no question that your catering is a vital part of your wedding day. It’s what fills your guests’ stomachs before they hit the dance floor and is perhaps the most common bond amongst all of your guests. Everyone loves food, everyone needs it. So, it’s always surprising how often people overlook what’s generally the largest percentage of their budget and a huge element of the wedding day. Truffles Catering serves thousands of guests each year so we’re happy to give all of you brides and grooms out there a little insight into what we consider some of the most important, but most neglected aspects, of your caterer selection process and how to make sure you have a flawless wedding day.
When you go to meet with your potential caterer there are certain things you should have decided about your wedding. Most caterers will require a minimum guest count so it’s a good idea to have thought about who you’ll invite. Your guest count can increase from that number, but it can’t decrease.
You should have an idea of what portion of your budget you can allocate to catering. But, most importantly have an idea of what your priorities are. There are things you’ll budge on, and there are things you won’t. You may know that you absolutely want jumbo lump Maryland crab cakes, but you aren’t so concerned with whether your bar is Deluxe or Premium. Knowing what is crucial for your wedding day and how much you can spend will help your caterer get you everything you want within your budget. Because caterers do want your business and will work with your budget.
If you’ve ever been to a wedding where half of the room has finished eating before the other half has received their meal, it’s probably because of the caterer’s staffing ratio. Make sure that your catering company staffs at least one server per 25 guests. That will ensure your meals are served speedily and efficiently, and empty plates are cleared quickly. At Truffles we pride ourselves in serving every single guest their meal in 10 minutes or less. And, don’t forget to ask your caterer where they get their staff! Some catering companies have their own staff, which means their servers are familiar with procedures and etiquette, whereas some others may outsource through a staffing agency.
Photo Credit: Merkle Photography
Find out if your caterer “hot boxes” their food. Hot boxing is when food is pre-cooked and reheated before service. It can lead to tougher meat, dryer fish and chicken, and soggy hors d’oeuvres. Make sure your caterer prepares everything right before your reception so your food is delicious and fresh! If you’re having a cocktail reception, find out how many hors d’oeuvres your caterer will prepare per person. I can’t tell you how often we’ve heard horror stories of catering companies running out of food! Any respectable caterer will want to guard their reputation and ensure that food is plentiful and fresh.
Once you’ve worked out all the details, your caterer will draw up a contract for you. Don’t feel bad about asking questions. The contract is the seed from which your wedding will grow. So, making sure that everything you want is in the contract and that you understand it entirely is just plain smart and that goes for every vendor you work with throughout your wedding.
Ultimately the whole wedding process should be enjoyable and you should genuinely like the people you work with. When you’re looking for caterers remember that even if a company looks great on paper if personalities just aren’t meshing, there’s no reason to push it. After all, a wedding is a celebration and it’s your time to have some fun!
Yum, right!? Thanks, Averil! If your wedding is in the Baltimore area, be sure to check out Truffles Catering. And, if you are on the hunt for a wedding venue in Baltimore, Truffles also manages the ballrooms at the historic Belvedere. (Be sure to check out their VIB – very important bride – program!) Here is a super stylish wedding that we recently featured at the Belvedere.
Looking for more? Be sure to look for more tips and advice for your wedding here.