The food and venue for the wedding banquet will be your two biggest expenses for your wedding. Together, just these two will take up half of your wedding budget or even more. In most cases, catering will be provided by your chosen venue, although you also have the option to contract an external caterer. Either way, your catering will undeniably be important and costly, which is why you should keep a close eye on it.
To help you with that, here are what you should know about the different aspects of wedding catering.
Determine the number of guests to have a good estimate of how much food and beverage you need. You need to know how many appetizers, entrees, hors d’oeuvres, desserts, and beverages you want to be served. Try to choose dishes that complement your theme. For example, if you’re going traditional, then choose classic Chinese dishes, while if you have a modern wedding, then choose an international or Western cuisine. Spend the most on your entrees to make sure that your guests’ tummies are absolutely filled.
It’s important that you have a food tasting session before you finalize your menu. This will let you sample your options as well as verify your caterer’s culinary skills. Once you know what the food will actually taste like, you might want to make one or two changes in your initial food choices. You can also make some recommendations on the dishes to make it suit your taste better. Check that your caterer’s food presentation is also visually appealing.
Buffet style is generally more practical than plated service as it requires less manpower. A sit down meal also requires more preparation and the dishes cost more than those offered in a buffet. One of the advantages of having plated meals, though, is the convenience it offers to your guests as they won’t have to line up for the buffet table. But if you want to spend less and have your guests mingle, buffet is the way to go.
Get a total headcount of the guests you expect on your wedding banquet. For a buffet setup, have one waiter for every 15 guests; for a plate-in seated dinner service, have one waiter for every 10 guests. If you’re having a bar, one or two bartenders should be enough. It’s important to have enough servers to reduce your guests’ waiting time for their food. Make sure, however, that you don’t hire any unnecessary labor.
In your first meeting with your prospect caterer, request for a list of references. Try to get at least five names with contact details and take the time to call each name so you can have a testimony on the food and service the caterer offers. Previous customers can give you the most honest review on the caterer’s food and service.
Leftovers & Extras
These are the add-ons that you should request for. The leftover basket lets you and your family enjoy any extra food left from your reception. For your hired DJ or band, request for packed food that should cost less than what you’re serving to your guests. Your caterer should be able to manage serving the other vendors as well during your reception.
External caterers normally offer tableware rental. Know what kind they can offer like china, silver or glass wares. Be attentive to the details of the plates, glasses, and utensils and make sure they go together with your table cloth, napkins, and the overall venue décor. Secure a guarantee of their quality and availability from your caterer.
Décor & Presentation
Your table setting will be a big part of your overall venue decoration. It can even be a highlight of your reception. Let your caterers know what your theme is and request a mock table setting so that you get an idea what to expect on the day of your wedding. Check that the linens, centerpieces and chair dressing go with your theme.
Let your prospect caterer know that you are still scouting for service providers and that you will consider their offer. To help you make your choice, request for a competitive price quote from each of your prospective caterer based on your final number of guests (plus a buffer). This will help you have an apples-to-apples comparison on the value you can get from their price tags.
Follow the above time to make sure that you serve good food matched with excellent service on your grand wedding banquet. This way, your guests will have a hearty meal and will wish you more joy and happiness in your marriage.
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