Statistics show, the things that most wedding guests talk about after a wedding is concluded, first is the bride in her lovely wedding dress, second is the appearance of the delectable wedding cake, and the third thing is the food served at the wedding. If you want the wedding to be an outstanding success you gotta find a really good caterer to serve your wedding. The food needs both to be visually appealing and taste good too! For a formal wedding, the meal served should be food that isn't very commonly seen in one's home, the food served should represent a very special once in a lifetime occasion.
When you allocate your wedding budget costs, the food costs which includes your caterer, wait staff, reception hall, and all supplies, your chairs, tables, linens, dishes, and decorations usually eat up 50 per cent of your total wedding budget. If you can find yourself a good caterer, you greatly increase the chances the chances of your wedding will be a rousing success.
There are basically five types of catering you can have to cover your wedding. The first type of catering is the caterer for sit down dinners. This type of caterer you'll meet with and typically come up with three different entrees but all in different parts of the menu. You might come up with three different choices such as steak item, a poultry item and perhaps a vegetable lasagna. Or the entrees could be an ethnic Asian dish, a pork dish, and a seafood. When invitations are sent out to wedding guests, entree selections are included on a RSVP card of food choices.
If the wedding is a big wedding, there might be four or five entree choices. It is commonly recommended to hire 1 wait staff member for every 20 wedding guests. You do not want wedding guests to see food being delivered to tables and have to wait a long time seeing food being delivered to them. There needs to be enough wait staff to be served food fairly quickly, for wedding guests to be happy.
There is a few variations on food being served, for sit down dinners. At some weddings, the serving of food could be a 7 course dinner and some a 12 course dinner. Every little bit a new food item is served at each wedding guest plates. The meal might start out with a salad, then a soup, then an hors d 'oeuvre dish, then a shrimp cocktail, then a fruit cup, maybe a sherbet, then the main entree, then coffee, and desserts beside the wedding cake. Usually a bread and butter is at the table. Four drink glasses are at the table including a water glass, a red wine glass, champagne flutes, and a white wine glass or a glass for a rose.
The other option that has become a rather more popular in the past few years, you have a main entree dinner and then four hours of the main dinner and the dance, another meal is served to wedding guests. This meal, it's a little different than the main meal, often it is an ethnic meal, it could be soul food, a taco Mexican meal, or an Asian dish, a lot is contingent on the ethnicity of a large number of the wedding guests. A different type of ethnic dessert that goes together with the meal also can be introduced.
Before you hire the best Lebanese catering in your area, you could ask for free samples for tasting their products. Choose the different meal offerings from their menu, and then select the ones that you would like to express your guests during your occasions. Starters would be the best solution to start your event, followed by a main course. Once the hearty meal is over, you could select deserts like a sundae or a tasty ice-cream to serve your guests.
The second type of catering at a wedding is a buffet table. All the foods served at the wedding are served from the buffet tables, hot food served using chafing dishes and many foods served in different types of platters and dishes. Usually the foods are available on long rectangle tables. Sometimes the foods are set up on one edge of the buffet table and some buffets foods are served on both parties of buffet tables. Buffet tables tend to be less costly than sit down dinners because not as much wait staff is needed.
The experts recommend to have a buffet serving table for about 50 to 60 guests each. If you have 150 wedding guests to feed, you should have 3 buffet table areas. You never want a wedding guest to have to wait in a long line and to adopt a while to serve themselves at a wedding buffet table. You want wait staff to follow the chafing dishes, bowls, and platters and make sure they're never more than 3/4's empty. Always have the serving dishes showing food or you may have a wedding guest feel cheated from a delicious food and end up feeling slighted and not having a good time.
The third style of catering is station catering. Station catering become popular at many culinary schools and often station catering was set up at many corporate learning centers. The station catering concept became so popular they're starting to show up at weddings. The centers are set up with many food stations, usually a wait staff member is assigned a food station. At one station might be a huge carved roast or ham, another station is a large salad bar, another all sorts of vegetables, another might be meat loaf and potatoes, another stuffed mushrooms, another skewered shrimp, another a taco stand, another a dessert bar, and so on. Usually one food station is established for every 12 to 15 guests. For 150 guests you might provide 10 to 12 food stations. A wait staff and helper assigned to each one, to be sure food is always replenished and someone to help put food on one's plate. This style of catering tends to become more expensive than buffet tables but less expensive than sit down weddings.
The fourth type of catering for weddings is more for country style weddings. This type of food is configured like a Thanksgiving meal instead of food being placed at each place setting. Foods are placed in the midst of each reception table, meats on platters, vegetables in bowls. The servings of food are passed around the table. This style of catering isn't popular for city or suburban weddings, but used in country weddings and barbecued style weddings. This format is good for breaking the ice of wedding guests that are meeting for the very first time. These format is less expensive than most types of catering.
The fifth style of catering has gained in popularity in recent years. A meal of hors d 'ouevres and appetizers are served instead instead of serving dinner at a wedding. Many wedding guests just love these types of food which is called cocktail style catering. The secret is to bring a new hot hors d 'ouevres or cold appetizer about every five minutes, each food that is introduced outside of the kitchen is fancy, varied and delectable. For a formal cocktail catering, you want to serve foods for the most part are not very common, there are hundreds of hors d 'oeuvres to choose from, choose varied meat choices, pastry choices, vegetable choices, seafood choices, pasta choices such as beef turnovers, cheese choices, and dumplings with a unique stuffing, and a plate with fruit and prosciutto, etc. The key is to keep sending out foods each one different, something of a surprise.
Consult with your caterer with what hors d 'ouevres and appetizers he would recommend. Ask your caterer if he/she has any specialties, what ones would be in season for the wedding, and if he offers any ones with significant discounts. Also at your cocktail catering, should you push the hard liquor, or should you push signature drinks. These 3 or 4 drinks you have chosen specially for your wedding, (to cut down on your alcohol bill) hopefully you have consulted with your big drinkers. You could also push red and wine for this type of event, you might think of having your wedding reception located at a local winery.
Your decision on a caterer for your wedding, depends a lot on your reception location choice. Some caterers go with a reception facility, golf club or with a four and five star hotel. Sometimes you'll be asked to use a caterer from a preferred list. Some reception places, often science museums, women's clubs, unique venues such as art galleries, and outdoor venues you might use with a tent you can import your own caterer.
If you can bring your own caterer, you want to target interviewing 3 or 4 caterers before deciding on one to book with. In your appointment interviews with all of the caterers, you should have a sense of what your food budget will be, you'd have an idea on how many wedding guests you're planning to invite. You might include teenagers and children in another bucket, you might be in a position to order a less expensive entree for them. You also might have some wedding vendors at your wedding, you mightn't have chosen them yet but you need to decide how you might feed them, will you serve them a wedding entree or serve them something less expensive, or serve them nothing at all.
The wedding vendors that might work your wedding include photographers, videographers, disc jockeys, your wedding planner, wedding musicians, and possible an officiant and sometimes an officiant's spouse. Your wedding vendors might have assistants along too. Many wedding couples set up a wedding vendor table in a convenient location to their wedding assignment which is normally convenient to a dance floor and musicians station and for the photographer and videographer in a location to capture pictures quickly and for the wedding planner to give cues to the caterer when to serve the meal and cut the cake. The wedding officiant often seats with the bride's family.
When you star your meeting with your caterer, you want a meeting to feel each other out. You should have a comfortable feeling when you meet one on one with your caterer. You want to create a trusted honest rapport with them. You first want to have a feel on how the caterer operates, hear how they have handled other weddings, hear how they would handle your wedding, hear what foods they have on their menu, hear how they prepare their food, and how their food flow goes. You then should talk about how you envision your wedding, what foods you were looking to serve at your wedding and how you envision your wedding reception.
After you have each have given your overview, the caterer often will bring out their menu to show what foods are on their menu and often the price of the entrees on the menu. Some of the caterers will also bring a photograph of the entree. At a wedding the food needs both to be delectable and eye appealing. The caterer many times will have a specialty they're noted for, have promotions on certain foods and many foods will be in season at the time of your wedding and sometimes be of less cost. Some foods he gets are fresh and some come frozen.
Many of your better caterers will offer a food tasting to help you make a decision on food entrees. The food tasting usually occurs when the company is slow, often an earlier in the week period maybe Tuesday, a Monday, or Wednesday late in the afternoon. Sometimes food tasting are with other wedding couples and sometimes you'll be permitted to bring family and friends along, sometimes free and sometimes for a nominal fee. The food tasting allows you to sample most foods on the menu. If you get serious on menu choices they'll show you how the entree will appear on the plate.
Ask about food tasting. Many caterers will allow a tasting in advance of the wedding so that you can choose cuisine that meets your needs. Some charge a fee for this, while others dont allow it at all. Use discretion, and if possible, ask about bringing others to the tasting.
When you meet with a wedding caterer give them a range in price you're willing to spend with the large number being your budget. With most caterers you'll be talking with them on cost per person costs. Cost per person amounts can vary a lot based on the food entrees chosen, an average per person food costs these days often are around $130 per person but can go anywhere from $25 to $5000 cost per person. When you give the caterer a range of prices, often they'll target to come up with the average of your high and low range amount.
When you meet with reception halls or caterers you give them a budget you derived from your wedding calculator budget allocation exercise. You can also use half of your wedding budget if you haven't derived a budget number by category. Review what they can offer, focus on getting a cost per person count. Take the food budget number and divide that amount the cost per person that you got from the reception hall or caterer to come up with a targeted wedding guest count number.
In your meeting with your caterer, there's a lot to cover, more things that needs to be covered than most of your other wedding vendors. You need to cover all the foods that will be served with your entrees, and how do the foods get served sit down dinner, food stations, or buffet. You will review what vegetables and possibly starches go with the meal, what vegetables get served, soup, fruit cocktail, shrimp cocktail, salad, and flavored rolls and will you serve coffee or have a coffee bar and will you choose desserts long with the wedding cake.
After the food for the wedding has been chosen, next you need to examine the dishes to serve the food on, do you require a salad plate and a salad fork, do you require a soup bowl and a soup spoon, a plate for flavored rolls and a butter knife, are dishes needed for anything else such as a shrimp cocktail dish. All dishes for the wedding place setting will need to be decided in your meeting with your caterer.
Next you need to consider all the things the caterer can offer. Many reception places have supply needs covered and many do not. On the things not covered what can the caterer provide, can the caterer provide many of your supplies for the reception, does the caterer have chairs, linens, dishes, cooking pots and pans, storage containers, ovens, preparation tables, refrigerators, serving dishes, cups and saucers, coffee urns, things like salt and pepper, and tables and fine china and all the place setting dishes and glasses for water, wine, and champagne.
With all the supplies the caterer has mentioned, you need to check out all the supplies and determine if they're acceptable or not. It may be you do not like the china decor or the color of the dishes which aren't the color of your wedding scheme. You need in order to determine whether the supplies are good for your wedding or must go elsewhere to find supplies. You might have to go look at a rental supply store for certain supplies. Sometimes you only have to hold off on making a yes or no decision until you can investigate finding your color scheme elsewhere.
Before you meet with wedding reception venues, you should plan to visit in person rental services stores and party stores in the area. You want to find out what supplies the rental store can offer, your venue you interview could be short on supplies, have inferior products, have better pricing on supplies, or not have supplies, linens or decorations in your color scheme.
When you stop in a couple of rental stores or party stores in your area, walk through the aisles first to see everything the store has to offer. A store manager might lead you to a particular section of the warehouse and you might only see supplies you were directed to. When you talk to rental store managers, do not say the word 'wedding ', use the word 'party' or 'event' instead. Some rental stores have two different price lists, one for parties, and another for weddings, the wedding price list often shows the same product at a higher price. Ask the manager for a folder that provides pricing for rental supplies. If there is no brochure, bring a pad and jot down prices of items you might use for a wedding.
In your meeting with the caterer you might need to consider with him/her, are there any foods on his menu that can suffice guests that have dietetic needs or maybe you have a couple of wedding guests that are vegetarians, can something be made special for them. Also, very often at weddings, there is so much food wedding guests ask for doggy bags, can the caterer accommodate them with take home containers and can wait staff prepare leftover containers or dropped at a wedding guest's place setting.
With some caterers you might need to talk bartender needs and wait staff they'll be needed to deal with the wedding and you might need valets for parking. You need to review everything with the caterer, you need to consider everything required in the kitchen, wedding reception room, and sometimes address valets, address the lobby, the entrance way, and outdoor spaces as you enter the venue space.
If your wedding serves buffet style catering, encourage the wedding couple to serve themselves first, in many cultures, it is considered rude for a wedding guest to fill their plate before a wedding couple does. Event if the plate sits a bit at a wedding couple's place setting while they're in a receiving line, the flow of food can be fouled up at the wedding buffet table if the wedding couple waits to grab their buffet food.
There is a lot to cover with a caterer's contract. Make sure everything verbally discussed is also written into the contract. Bring along a companion to look at the contract along with you. Besides reviewing the contract with you they're also a witness for the things in your contract. Make sure everything is covered food, people needs, and supplies. Review how tips are handled, often caterers will list them as service fees or service charges. Don't double pay tips.
Also see if you are able to bring your own bartender, waitstaff, and bring your own liquor. Often venues and caterers will jack up the price for overhead staff and pay a lot more than liquor. You might pick up liquor a lot cheaper but just as good beer, liquor, and wine at local breweries, wineries, and liquor stores. The bottom line, find a caterer you're comfortable working with and who's looking out for you, remember there's a lot of caterers in your area to choose from.