With food trucks, interactive dining options and a whole host of traditional "wedding caterers" to choose from how should couples hone in on what they want for their wedding menu? More importantly, how much will it cost?
Food and beverage is going to be one of the largest expenses overall for your wedding simply because you are hosting a large number of people in most cases. Our advice is to compare apples to apples. Couples may hear of a caterer who is much less expensive per person, but their package is itemized differently so what they aren't factoring is tax, gratuity, labor for staff or rentals that are not included with caterer A vs caterer B.
Before you book your caterer look closely at what your venue requires as far as licensing, insurance and the kitchen/clean-up duties. Venues that have a hard stop time (example everything needs to be cleaned up and everyone out by midnight) are going to require extra manpower compared to a venue that allows you to set-up on Friday, and clean-up the following day.
If your affordable caterer is focusing on serving the food only, and then leaves after dinner service you need to consider who will provide the dinnerware, buss the garbage and or dishes from the tables, wash dishes or re-rack them in the rental crates, who will return the linens, pack up tables and chairs etc. Full service caterers also will assist with cake cutting, and some will have bar services available under their catering license & insurance so it can be great to have one team handle food and beverage.
Full service caterers also will assist with cake cutting, and some will have bar services available under their catering license & insurance so it can be great to have one team handle food and beverage. Another detail that gets missed is who is responsible for garbage? Does the venue have garbage cans and bags onsite, do they have a dumpster that all of the garbage goes in or is the party responsible for removing all garbage from the premises?
In addition to the cost, you will want to choose a caterer who is experienced with weddings and events so that dinner service runs smoothly and according to the timeline. Communication in the months prior to the event is crucial for not missing any of the important details & wishes of the couple. If you have been trying to communicate with a caterer and they aren't getting back to you in a timeline manner this can be a huge red flag.
Enter wedding planner: Lets look at those contracts! Having an understanding for who does what will make the whole event much smoother and help ensure that at a minimum you get your deposit back for clean-up; but also that you aren't stressed at the end of your wedding reception.
We've heard from so many couples that were in wedding parties of their friends and family and felt like they worked more than they were really able to relax and enjoy the event with the couple. This becomes a strong case for hiring wedding professionals to handle these elements rather than relying on wedding party.
If you have questions on catering or you are looking for a quality caterer in Northern California please contact us for a complimentary consultation! ~ Happy Planning!~