Advice I have learned just this summer alone from one of my past weddings that decided our preferred catering was a little pricey and they wanted to allow an “up & coming catering company from their church” is one any planner and/or couple should take note on:



DON’T go cheap on the catering & food!  People will remember leaving hungry or so hung over from not eating!  Plus they will remember if you run out of food or if the food was horrible. 



So here’s a few tips we suggest avoid any Catering issues:


TRUST YOUR PLANNER…if a planner/venue says they “recommend or prefer” a certain company….there is a reason!!!


·         Everyone should drink Lots of water the week of your wedding.


·         Eat a delicious meal at your rehearsal dinner.  When I was younger we’d always “fuel up” the night before a track meet or soccer game….same concept!


·         Start your day off with a hearty meal & a bottle of water!  Provide breakfast if hair & make-up begins early.  Send biscuits over to the guys before they go out golfing or for their morning activity. Make sure the hotel you have your vendors in (and hotel room block) offers a free HOT breakfast.


·        Have lunch delivered where everyone is getting ready and include your hair & 


make-up team in the headcount.  Send over a pizza or subs over to the venue where your vendors are busy setting everything up.  IF YOUR “TEAM” IS FUELED your day will be FUELED! 




  Think of it as a marathon…not a sprint…. Lots of water and snacks all day!



o   Surprise your vendors with a cooler of juices, Gatorades, water & sodas and a basket of snacks at the venue


o   Have a cooler of nonalcoholic drinks and basket of snacks in each area the wedding party is getting ready in.
*We even love surprising our staff with ice cream on the hot days!!!


·         If your wedding is outside offer small bottles of water and/or lemonade on warmer days and hot cocoa and/or warm apple cider on cooler days.


·         Make sure to offer appetizers at cocktail hour… more than just crackers & cheese!  (*plus those look really gross in hot summer months sitting outside in the sun) You never want you guest drinking on an empty stomach.


·         Offer plated salads or family style salads & bread baskets when guests first take their seats.  This will prevent some guests from just getting up for the buffet and majority will wait for their table to be called.


·         Talk to your catering team to decide which type of meal is BEST for your reception.


o   Large crowd?  Two double-sided buffets may be best               


o   Do you have a lot of elderly, guests with disabilities, small children?  A plated meal would be best for this audience


o   Ask your catering team to provide “kid friendly” plates for kids to save on money and create a guest experience for the little ones too!


o   Do you have a small guest count? Action stations and/or food trucks may be a great option



·         Other tips for your catering company?


o   Hire professionals that only focus on one service at a time.  If they are doing too many things and offering too many services WE see that as a RED FLAG!!!  UNLESS they have an EMPIRE behind them taking on each role.  ONE person cannot give 100% of themselves to multiple tasks at one time… so be hesitant to book a vendor that is your “Cheficciant”= your chef and your officiant OR a company that says they will be your chef, florist, rentals, bakery and venue… and THAT one person says they will personally be handling everything by themselves to save you money…. It takes a TEAM (a mini army) on wedding day! So make sure to ask them how many will be on property during the event… you should have a couple beverage attendants, some staff to clear dirty dishes, a few focused on buffet/stations and a lead chef in the back managing the whole crew… usually you want at least 1 per 20-25…for better service even more!



o   Make sure to give your catering team the RIGHT headcount.  YES they will always provide a few extra meals… but DO NOT BANK on those counts!


o   How professional is your catering team?


§  Does your catering team have a written contract?


·         Did you receive a formal invoice?


§  Where do they cook? Is it a commercially graded kitchen?


§  Have you seen a copy of their insurance and health department inspections?


§  Do they have a website?


§  Do they have reviews online?


§  Are they on preferred vendors/venue lists?


§  Are they a part of any associations, networking groups, and/or the local chamber group?


§  Were you able to do a taste test at their restaurant or did they come to you?


§  Is it just a drop off catering company or full service?


§  What will your catering team be arriving in?


·         Will they be able to haul off trash & recyclables if your venue requires?


§  How many staff will your catering team consist of? Again we can’t stress this one enough!!!


·         What will they be wearing?


§  Who will be cleaning up? (taking out the trash)


o   Ask about the presentation. 


§  Does your catering team provide chaffing dishes & sternos?


§  Does your catering provide all of the display dishes or do they need to be rented?


§  What does their set-up look like?


§  Do they provide Hot boxes to keep food hot & coolers to keep food cold (or do they cook everything onsite)


·         How long prior to your event do they begin cooking


·         When will they arrive onsite


§  Will your catering team be providing china or plasticware for appetizers, dinner, salad, and desserts?


§  What about glassware for the bar & nonalcoholic beverages?


§  What about drink dispensers and pitchers (do they walk around and refill beverages)


§  Does you catering team provide linens, napkins, beverage straws, etc.? (do they own it or are they renting it?)


§  Does your catering provide bar set-ups, mixes, stir straws, beverage napkins, etc.?


·         ALWAYS provide your vendors with a HOT meal and a space for them to take a
quick break while you are eating (don’t worry, no one wants photos or video of them chewing either….)


·         Offer late night snacks… this is a great time to break out the cheese and crackers and fruit platter to go with wine and desserts


·         Think ahead…if you have a large hotel room block, ask the hotel to leave donuts or muffins with a thank you card in their rooms upon their return from your reception.



Now those are a few tips to have a successful wedding reception!