Wedding Planning 101: 8 Essential Catering Tips

Wedding Planning 101: 8 Essential Catering Tips

Wedding Planning 101: 8 Essential Catering Tips

The ultimate goal of a party is to entertain and entice all your guests’ senses. When you mix the right combination of sights, smells, taste, sound, and touch, your wedding reception is one your guests will remember.

While that might sound like a lot of work, we have good news: you can tackle a few senses – smell and taste – with just one vendor – your caterer.

This year’s Wedding Essentials Idea Show will feature a variety of caterers to connect with, but WE wanted to give you a head start and a better understanding of what different caterers have to offer.

Lindsey Grote-Rodgers from Hy-Vee and Brenda Tharp from Save the Date Catering fill us in:

START WITH YOUR GUEST LIST

If you have a big wedding with a lot of people to get through a buffet line, think about a simple, yet delectable, food item and requires fewer condiments. If kids are in attendance, consider having a separate kids buffet.

Plan as early as possible. Making sure your caterer is locked in with your date and an idea of your guest count, so they come prepared with options catered to you.

KNOW YOUR FOOD STYLE

Do you like home cooking? Do you like different eclectic things? Do you have some recipes from grandma or ethnic backgrounds? “From there, your caterer can suggest items,” says Brenda. “I always say our menu is a template and it can be so much more, we can think outside the box and pick up ideas from wherever you are.”

Do you like home cooking? Do you like different eclectic things? Do you have some recipes from grandma or ethnic backgrounds? “From there, your caterer can suggest items,” says Brenda. “I always say our menu is a template and it can be so much more, we can think outside the box and pick up ideas from wherever you are.”

PUT YOURSELF FIRST

We know — it sounds crazy. Save the Date Catering sees many couples try to think of their guests first, but at the end of it, this day is for you. “It’s one of the only days in your life that’s totally yours so pick out your favorite things and do what you want to do,” says Brenda.

ADD CUSTOMIZED FOOD NAMES OR TOPPINGS

Bring a basic menu up a notch by renaming food dishes and customizing the way that their buffet is set up. “Couples can do things like creating a menu board or a printed menu that has some play on words,” says Lindsey. “Or, if you decide to eat pulled pork, introduce a unique topping, such as a bride’s recipe with Mediterranean flavors and a groom’s recipe with bacon and bbq sauce.”

CONSIDER A MIDNIGHT SNACK

Bring a little more ‘you’ to your reception. If not for the main meal, a late night snack is the perfect opportunity for couples to stray away from traditional and give guests a sense of what a couple enjoys eating on a regular basis, such as a favorite pizza or breakfast burritos.

HAVE BREAKFAST

Who wouldn’t be excited to open a chafing dish and see breakfast? We see a lot of night breakfast as the main course with egg bakes, bacon, sausage, the full experience. Not only does almost everyone love breakfast, but it’s also an excellent way to have a lot of options if you have a mixed crowd of dietary restrictions rather than having them be stuck eating salad or green beans. Breakfast has been a fun way to have a wide variety without breaking the bank – plus it can be presented well in an unexpected way.

HOST AN IN-HOME TASTING PARTY

Save the Date Catering offers a “Drop-Off Tasting” where the couple can invite mom, dad, in-laws, a few of their close friends or wedding party and they can make an evening or afternoon of it- like a tasting party! Keep in mind that tastings are usually for 6 people, but more can be added (at a cost, of course).

Brenda says she’s typically not at the tasting unless requested. “I want my couples to feel comfortable talking among themselves, being critical and having their own opinion and not worrying that the catering lady is standing over them. I also suggest the couples take notes because if you’re doing your tasting 6 months to a year before your wedding, you might not really remember what it is you’ve chosen before the final meeting 30 days prior.”

THINK BEYOND THE FOOD

A lot of times couples will meet with a Hy-Vee catering manager thinking they just want to look at one of our departments but part of the catering manager’s service is that it goes beyond the food. They can organize the bride and groom to meet with the florist, the cake designer and the caterer all in one sitting. Couples can knock out a lot of to-dos on their list at once. The bonus? Couples will only have one point person to have to contact rather than making separate calls for each three major parts of their wedding.

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