Food is a very important element of the wedding day and good food, beautifully presented with excellent service will make your wedding memorable for all the right reasons.
The caterers are one of the main suppliers of the wedding and should be booked as a priority supplier. If you have a venue that uses a preferred caterer then you will not have to worry. The caterer will be of a good standard and you will always be offered a food tasting to help you choose your menu.
I always recommend asking up to three caterers to prepare a quote for you, but before you do this you need to sit down together and think about the kind of food that you wish to have on your wedding day. Although it is good to include your favourites, it should be a menu that will appeal to all guests and be of an excellent quality. A good tip is to choose locally sourced food which is in season. It is also worth considering the time of year as your guests will want a lighter menu in the warmer summer months and a more robust warming menu for the autumn and winter.
When you are choosing your wedding caterer and ultimately your menu you need to bear in mind that a typical wedding will have three different types of food. The reception will start with champagne or other drinks and canapés, which will keep guests sustained until the wedding breakfast, which is normally one and a half to two hours later. It is best not to skimp on the canapés because some guests who have travelled a distance might not have eaten much since breakfast. The main event is of course the wedding breakfast which is usually table service and comprises three courses. If you are looking for a more relaxed feel to your wedding breakfast, you can opt for sharing boards. I always think a nice touch is to have a choice of three to five mini desserts, either bought to the table or guests can go and help themselves before settling down to listen to the speeches. Lastly there is the late night food option to consider. These can range from the typical bacon butties, mini fish and chips or pizza. Again the late night food is great at keeping your guests sustained until the end of the wedding.
Once you have chosen your caterer they will prepare a tasting session for you which is normally complimentary for the couple. Some caterers will put on a tasting session for you before you book, but if you do not go ahead and book them, you will be invoiced. This is because it is costly to put on a tasting with all the ingredients and you will taste more than the dishes that you eventually choose. You will have a dedicated chef spending a day preparing this for you.
A few tips to think about
The caterers will provide all the chefs and waiting staff and if your wedding is taking place in a marquee then a catering tent will have to be provided for their use and they will have to hire in catering equipment such as ovens and refrigeration. This will be included in the quote. You will also have to provide out-mess/supplier meals to any of the suppliers who are on duty during the wedding, such as photographer, wedding planner, videographer. If you have enlisted the help of a wedding planner they will work together with the catering manager to ensure a seamless event.
It is important that you ask your guests for any dietary requirements when you send out the invitations. Although the caterers will always be prepared for vegetarian or vegan requests, it is always imperative that they know about any allergies.
Caterers usually require final numbers and balance of payment one month before so do make sure that you ask your guests to RSVP in good time. Once the final invoice has been issued you will be expected to pay that amount.
Choosing a wedding caterer is one of the most enjoyable tasks of your wedding planning process, so do enjoy.
Photography: Suzy Elizabeth Photography
Photography: Jonny Gouldstone Photography