Caterers and Wedding Reception Food Ideas

After setting your wedding budget, choosing your venue and caterer will be your first priority. People will always remember the food at a wedding if it is particularly bad, or if there isn't enough of it. While you don't need to go overboard with the expenditure, good planning can ensure that your guests will be impressed with the food without breaking the bank.

Here are three options for your wedding food:

Option 1: Don't do dinner at all
Where finances are tight consider changing the time of day and the type of meal as people won't be expecting to get quite so much food for a wedding brunch or lunch as they would for an evening meal. Some people have even one the route of having a cocktails-only party or a tea party with just dessert buffets for the food.

Option 2: A home-cooked meal
If you or some of your friends and family love to cook, doing your own catering is certainly an option. Just make sure you, or they, will have the time to prepare everything. Don't let this be the first time you've tasted their cooking either. Only let people you really trust prepare food for your wedding.

Option 3: Bring in the professionals
You can spend the varying amounts of money on employing caterers who are accustomed to servicing weddings. Wedding catering is big business these days and there is a lot of competition in the market, so you have many choices to suit most budgets.

Guidelines for Hiring a Caterer

If you have done your budget properly, you should have a general figure for the amount you have to spend on food for the wedding. With this in mind, your first step is to call a few places you have in mind to see what their average price per person is for the traditional served dinner or buffet. Many caterers won't want to give you that information over the phone, but be insistent so that you don't waste your time and theirs.

  • Ask friends for recommendations of places they have been where they enjoyed the food and service. Most caterers do many events other than weddings, so it doesn't have to be a wedding that you base your referral on.
  • Many venues for weddings have their own caterers or specific caterers that they trust who they have worked with in the past. If you have already decided on a venue, get the names of the caterers they have used and an idea for prices. Often, they will be able to tell you which ones are more or less expensive.
  • Meet with your short list of caterers and discuss different options or packages that they do. A good caterer will alter any package to suit your needs, budget, and the style of wedding you are having. However, beware of asking them to do something that is very different from what they are used to. It may result in something less spectacular than you envisiouned.
  • Consider your wedding theme, if you are having one. Your theme will often dictate the type of food that you will be having and that can determine whether it will be expensive or not. A theme wedding might also dictate your choice of caterers and reduce your available alternatives.  This can often push up the price.

When choosing your wedding caterer, make sure it is someone you can work closely with. This person must be flexible to any changes you might want to make in the future.  In addition, they must be able to work well with other vendors you are using, such as a DJ and event coordinator. When it comes to the actual reception, it is often the food that dictates the timeline, so your caterer is an essential part of the entire day. Choose with care and, most importantly, make sure their food tastes delicious!

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