So you’re working through your long to-do list for planning your wedding and wondering…what comes next?  Catering because the food will set the tone of your event.  It is also one of the BIGGEST COST of a wedding so be prepared!  Do your research for your area.  What are average costs per person?  What do Catering Companies offer?  Some will offer linens and centerpieces others will only drop off your food without any staff (meaning someone has to clean everything up).  Who will provide the dishes, place settings, glasses, etc.?  Will the stations or buffet be decorated?  Will the catering team need a prep area?  Who will provide ice, bar needs, coolers, etc.?  There are a million questions we ask catering, bar, and bakeries when it comes to your special day.  These are only a few we’ve touched on.  Make sure anyone handling your food and beverage that day is a professional (licensed, insured, certified, inspected for health and safety reason).  Also ask your venue if they allow outside catering or if they have preferred vendors.  Most venues do not allow self catering for safety reasons. 

Depending on the time your ceremony starts will decide what kind of food you will serve.  If you are getting married at 11, guests will expect lunch and if you are planning for a wedding between 4pm-7pm, guests will be looking for dinner.  Here are some other great ideas when it comes to food and beverage at you event:

o   Do you want to greet your guests with a snack or glass of champagne as they enter the ceremony area (if not at a church)? 

o   Are you getting married outside?  Consider greeting your guests with water or punch on warm sunny days and hot chocolate or cider on cooler days.

o   We can’t tell you enough…HAVE APPETIZERS during cocktail hour.  If you are taking photos between ceremony and reception give your guests something!  Those photos usually take up to an hour so remember your guests back at the reception hall waiting for your arrival.

o   Signature drinks are a great way to cut down on the bar tab.  While we

highly recommend offering some form of alcohol at your reception, it’s not for everyone so maybe offer fun “mocktails” instead.  (We only see 25% of our couples offering liquor at their receptions.  Most are
beer and wine only and a few
have no alcohol at all).  However,
if you are offering alcohol make sure to offer non-alcohol beverages before, during and at least 30 minutes after serving. 

o   Offer multiple drink stations (coffee, hot chocolate, smoothie, Ice Tea, Punch, and/or water stations).

o   Want to save money?  Think about hosting a “Brunch” wedding instead of a full dinner reception.  Breakfast is a more budget friendly meal option and the bar can be limited to mimosas and bloody maries.  

o   When it comes to dinner think about your favorites!  Offer a salad while guests wait to eat, have rolls and butter on guests table (to save room on dinner plates), Are you planning on a buffet, food stations, plated meal or family style dinner? 

o   What about late night snacks?  You could always offer desserts and/or fruit and cheese with the cake cutting.