Wedding Caterer

For me going to a wedding, apart from seeing the bride and groom tie the knot, the second most important thing about the day is the food. Food can often make, or break, a wedding.

If people are enjoying their food and drink then they will tend to socialise a lot more freely. This, at the end of the day, is what the bride and groom should be striving to achieve. Therefore you must try and make a real effort with the food you present to your guests.

There are a number of ways you can go about preparing the wedding food:

Hire a Wedding Caterer

  • If you hire a caterer you shouldn't need to think about the food on your wedding day, apart from eating it.
  • Look for a caterer with a good reputation, ask for references.
  • If he or she has a shop go and try out some of their food so you can sample their culinary skills.
  • Try and get more than one free, no obligation, quotation. Remember to ask each caterer the same questions each time, that way you will get a fair comparison in their fees.
  • When you meet with your caterer be armed with a checklist of questions which you need answering. The catering is one of the most expensive elements to anyone getting married so you need to know exactly what you are getting for your money.

Sample checklist

What the caterer needs to know

  • The date of the wedding
  • The location of the wedding reception and the time
  • The proposed number of guests
  • What your budget is
  • Any particular dietary requirements and the number of guests with them

What you need to know before you hire a caterer

  1. Will the total cost of the catering include VAT?
  2. Do you have to provide your own alcohol and if not is there a drinks package on offer?
  3. If you provide your own alcohol will you be required to pay a corkage fee?
  4. Will you have to tip the waiting staff or is this included in the total cost?
  5. Is Silver Service included in the cost? (Silver Service should include the hire of table cloths and napkins, glassware, cutlery and waiting staff)
  6. When will the staff clear away?
  7. Will the tablecloths still be made available for the buffet in the evening?
  8. Can one of the staff act as a Toastmaster?
  9. Can they provide a cake stand and knife?
  10. What is the deposit needed to book the caterer?
  11. When will the full balance need to be paid?
  12. When will the caterer need to know the final number of guests?
  13. Will the caterer be able to visit your chosen venue to satisfy themselves that they can work with the venues facilities?

Money saving tips

  • Most people have their wedding during the summer months where it is often quite hot. You might like to consider getting a quote for a 3 course buffet meal as well as a 3 course hot meal. There is a considerable difference in the cost.
  • Booze cruise. Taking a day trip across the channel to Calais in a van could save you a fortune in alcohol. Check that your passport is in date. Get yourself a cheap ferry ticket and you will be sailing.
  • Discount shops. Bargain Booze, Victoria Wine and Odd bins are always offering deals on selected ranges of alcohol. There are many wine merchants offering wines over the internet but be beware of the delivery charges.

Remember if you do choose to provide your own alcohol that your caterer may charge a corkage fee. Ask your caterer before you purchase your own alcohol how much they think you will require, that way you will have less chance of buying too much or too little for the occasion.

Get a family member to do the catering.

  • To be honest, if a family member doesn't mind cooking for a large number of guests and you can get other members of your family to assist on the day with the preparing, serving and cleaning, then great, as you are likely to save yourself quite a bit of money.
  • If you have a buffet meal you can prepare much of the food before you get to the venue providing there is adequate refrigeration facilities. You can hire all the equipment you might need for the day.
  • However, if you don't think you can muster up enough support to have it run smoothly, and you think you might be imposing on your family then you shouldn't even ask.

Get a family member to make the cake

  • If you like your mother's cakes then there would be no harm in asking her to make your wedding cake. I asked my mother-in-law to make the cake and my husband's auntie to decorate it. All in all this allowed me to gain a few brownie points with my husband's family, so everybody was a winner.