When planning your wedding, there are TONS of decisions to make! Finding the right venue, picking out your wedding dress, when you should send out save the dates, what colors to use in your florals, and you don’t want to forget one of the most important parts…the FOOD! Yes, your guests are there to be apart of your celebration of eternal love, but they are also excited to enjoy a delicious meal!
Here are 4 tips to help you choose the perfect caterer for your wedding!
1. Decide on a budget.
Before you start calling and emailing caterers in your area, decide how much you want to spend. Deciding on a food & alcohol budget is something you should do ASAP! That way you know exactly which caterers you can afford to hire, this also eliminates wasting your time talking with someone who is outside of your decided budget. Brides published an article about finding your caterer, mentioning this is not only helpful for you, but also the caterer. “A budget allows a caterer to realistically pull together options — seated, family-style, or buffet — within your means.”
2. Book a tasting before you commit.
Before you sign anything with a caterer, be sure to book a tasting before committing. Even if you’ve tried their food in the past, it’s a good idea to do a tasting anyways, just to make sure you’re making the right selection. Most restaurants that also offer catering have a completely different menu than what they serve regularly, so keep that in mind! Some caterers do not provide free tastings, but trust us, it is worth spending a little extra to do a proper tasting before making a decision. And book your tastings early! Many caterers book fast, especially during the wedding season.
3. Ask about serving styles.
The majority of caterers offer three serving styles: a full service meal, family-style food stations, and buffet. Even if you’re set on have a plated, full service meal, get quotes per head for each serving style. You may have envisioned a full service meal for your guests, but your favorite caterer’s quote is way out of your budget. A great alternative could be family-style food stations, plus it’s a unique option!
4. Ask your venue for suggestions.
You may have no clue where to start looking when it comes to catering, and that’s okay! If you need suggestions or help on where to start, ask your venue if they have any suggestions. Most venues are happy to help, and they may even have a list of preferred vendors to get you started. The Estate at Cherokee Dock has an open vendor policy, but we love helping our brides and grooms out by giving them suggestions of great vendors we’ve worked with in the past! Our venue directors love making things simple and easy for our couples, so if you’ve booked with us and need help, please reach out! We’ll be more than happy to give you suggestions on wonderful caterers, or any other vendors you may need.
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Join our Venue Director, Aryn Meyer, and Executive Chef Travis Hartley of Food Warming Equipment Company, Inc., during his recent visit to The Estate at Cherokee Dock to learn how to make Guinness Beef Stew - just in time for St. Patrick's Day!