Aside from the moment when you and yours are united in marriage, the food and desserts you choose to serve just might be the most anticipated aspect of your Washington DC area wedding reception. For this very reason, your search for a local caterer involves the consideration of many factors. Lucky for you, we have Brianna of Windows Catering here to share her professional insight on the important questions to ask your wedding caterer. (Be sure to browse through Windows Catering’s newly re-designed website and wedding lookbook, too! It is as pretty as it is delicious!) Take it away, Brianna…

All photos courtesy of Windows Catering

Have you worked with my wedding venue before?

It’s important that you work with a caterer who knows your wedding location from the inside out. Your caterer is able to determine more easily the equipment needs, staffing requirements, seating layouts, and general logistics of your wedding when they know your location. Your caterer can also be a valuable tool when you have questions about space restrictions, time allotments, what equipment the venue may have on hand already, and how the venue looks with or without visual enhancements like up-lighting or pin-spotting.

Don’t stress if your event coordinator has not worked in your space before, and it’s not a reason to choose another caterer. Chances are if your event coordinator hasn’t worked in your wedding space before, one of their colleagues has. Keep in mind that your coordinator will know the right questions to ask the event space manager, and do the proper research on the space before your wedding date.

Photo Credits: Rodney Bailey Photography (left), Genevieve Leiper Photography (right)

What variety of hors d’oeuvres do you offer?

A long list of hors d’oeuvres to choose from can be overwhelming, but we have a few ideas on how to make it effortless. Variety is the most important task when selecting hors d’oeuvres for your wedding day, about five or six options will suffice. Choose between a beef or lamb, a chicken or duck, a seafood option, a cheese and a vegetarian option.

Cocktail hours are a great opportunity for the bride and groom to showcase their backgrounds, heritage, ethnicities, traditions, and foods known to their hometowns. From mini cheese steak bites, to lobster grilled cheese, there are endless possibilities with hors d’oeuvres!

When selecting your hors d’oeuvres, keep in mind colors, flavor profiles and type of preparation. Avoid too many fried foods, or brown foods and always remind your caterer to serve on interesting platters with beautiful garnish. Always consider the sauces, not too drippy that can spill on a formal dress or tuxedo, and too many items with a skewer, bone or shrimp tail in your guests hands.

Photo courtesy of Windows Catering

We want a more relaxed feel at our wedding, what are our other options then a seated dinner?

It’s not abnormal to want to have a different flow at your wedding then a seated dinner. Some people prefer to have more mingling time and a less formal setting. While there are a lot of great seated dinner arrangements to choose from here are some of our favorite alternatives.

  • Stations
    Stations allow for you to have several clusters of buffet tables throughout your dining venue. Stations are also a great way to incorporate food from your heritage, for instance a Mediterranean station, a Southern station, or even an Asian-fusion station. Ask your caterer if they can incorporate any family recipes into your items.
  • Family Style
    Family Style is an intimate setting and allows all the guests to feel as if they were at home. Several platters of fine cuisine including proteins, starches and vegetables are elegantly presented and passed around the table.
  • Action Stations
    Action stations are a great way to have guests interacting with chefs who are preparing your cuisine right in front of you. Action stations can be incorporated during cocktail hours, and even adapted into your buffet reception. A guacamole bar, a dessert crepe bar, or a martini risotto bar.

Photo Credits: Deb Lindsey Photography (left), Brian Tropiano Photography (right)

Can you provide a wedding cake or desserts?

With all the fancy storefront cake shops in the area, it’s also important to remember your caterer can be your one-stop shop for all your wedding needs. Caterers with a skilled pastry department are able to create beautiful wedding cakes. Having your caterer design your wedding cake might also save you money, its one less delivery fee, and you know it will arrive with the rest of your
catering the morning of your wedding.

If you are not a cake fan here are some of our favorite alternatives: Over 50% of weddings skip the traditional tiered cake, so it’s important that your caterer be able to provide you with something that will still allow you to take that picture perfect moment! Here are some of our favorite wedding cake alternatives!

  • Cake Pops: Maybe you like cake but in bite size options with a variety of flavors and colors.
  • Milk and Cookie Station: This is a hit with guests, and allows you to use homemade family recipes.
  • Gourmet Pie Bar: You can still “cut” a slice of heaven during yourwedding night, pie bars are all the rage and are perfect served à la mode!

Are you able to adapt to food allergies, vegan, and gluten free menus?

Almost all weddings have a guest or several guests with special dietary restrictions. Most common requests include vegetarian, gluten free, or vegan meals. Your wedding menu should be customized enough where your caterer can accommodate special food requests. During a seated dinner where there are several guests with dietary needs, most caterers will ask you to provide them with the table number and location where that guest will be sitting a few days before the wedding.

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Thank you for all of this great advice, Brianna! If you’re on the hunt for a local premiere wedding and event caterer, be sure to check out Windows Catering and their new website! Plus, don’t forget to browse through their incredible wedding lookbook as well!

From food and entertainment to planning and budget, we’ve got it all covered, so take a look around the blog and read more tips and advice from local wedding pros in the DC area!

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