I meet so many brides who are looking for a venue that allows them to provide their own catering. There’s nothing wrong with hiring a caterer. I love using caterers at weddings! What IS wrong is hiring a wedding caterer who can’t really pull of your event as a true catering professional would. Often, I call this the “wedding catering hook-up.” Often, the caterer that I see brides select is a family member who is a great cook, a friend who is trying to start a catering biz, a church member who always prepares food for church events or a mash-up of people you know who are just going to “provide” food for your wedding. While these options can save cash, they may not always give you the end result you want. When I started planning weddings, I often encountered events that were utilizing the catering hook-up and 98% of the time, things were a MESS.
I ALWAYS suggest that brides invest in a professional catering company that is used to handling events of your size and knows how to keep awful things from happening. You know…those awful things that make people remember your wedding in a very bad way.
Things That Can Go Wrong With The Catering Hook-Up
-There isn’t enough food.
-The hot food is cold. The cold food is uncomfortably warm.
-The food isn’t ready when it’s time for the meal to start.
-There isn’t enough staff. Or there’s no staff at all.
-You are expected to “set-up” tables, chairs, linens, etc before the catering company arrives.
-They didn’t offer you a tasting, so you’re unsure of how food will taste.
-There’s no ice.
-There aren’t enough beverages.
-Everything is taking FOREVER.
-The wedding party is up and dancing before the tables at the back of the room have been served because the service was so slow.
-The catering hook-up will often suggest a buffet because it’s easier for them and they don’t have to bother securing enough staff.
Pretty much everyone has been to an event where one (or many) of these scenarios took place. How do you keep your wedding from being the one that makes people roll their eyes when they remember how badly things went?
Benefits Of Hiring A Professional Caterer
-Everything is timed so that guests don’t have to wait for food. In fact, there is usually a secondary crew who times the delivery of the hot food to ensure that it is HOT.
-Food is served at the proper temperature (so you don’t have to worry about food-borne illnesses!)
-The caterer has proper insurance and permits (you don’t want people coming after you if someone DOES gets sick!)
-You have a tasting and a conversation with the chef to ensure everything is to your liking.
-They suggest wine pairings and can tell you the exact amount of wine/beer to order.
-There’s plenty of staff to serve your guests, refill drinks, clean spills and setup and breakdown the event.
-They know EXACTLY how much food you’ll need for your event so you won’t run out.
Another huge benefit of hiring a professional catering company is that they know all of the latest catering trends and they are constantly attending classes and trainings to learn to be better caterers. So, if your catering “hook-up” is suggesting the “new” idea of doing a chocolate dipping station with fruit and cake at your wedding….RUN! While there’s nothing wrong with these stations, the concept is far, far, far from new. If you want the trendy ideas that you read about in magazines, you may want to invest in the professional catering company option.
I recognize that everyone wants to save money in their wedding planning. Skimping on having a great caterer isn’t the way to go. Instead, save money by hosting a dessert reception, a brunch reception or by simply cutting your guest list. With these cuts, you should be able to afford great service for your event!
Photo: Via www.PeterCallahan.com
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Karen Clark is a wedding planner, seminar speaker & media contributor who publishes the “Perfect On A Penny” weekly e-zine. Get your FREE audio seminar: “5 Super Secret Tips That Will Save You $5000 On Your Wedding” at www.PerfectOnAPenny.com