7 Catering Secrets Every Bride-to-Be Should Know

To Brides the prospect of marrying her true love will feel like a dream come true. Planning a wedding, however, is another story. Staying within your budget and in love with your betrothed while you choose a venue, write your vows, select a cake, interview florists, hire a caterer, address invitations and attend to the countless other details can try your patience and resolve like little else.

You want your big day to be special, memorable and romantic, but how can you possibly traverse the commercial wedding world? While pitfalls and opportunities abound throughout the wedding planning process, one arena where a little inside know-how is certain to come in handy is in choosing a caterer.

Regardless of whether you choose a wedding venue in Los Angeles or Connecticut, feeding your guests and feeding them well, should be a high priority. Weddings and the celebrations that follow them can take up a large portion of a day, and the food is often a highlight for both guests and wedding parties. As you’re going through the process of selecting a caterer, a service style and a menu, arm yourself with these seven secrets to ensure you get the most victual bang for your buck.


You Might Be a Guinea Pig

Believe it or not, your caterer hasn’t cooked, baked or served everything under the sun. Do you want your guests to experience the cannoli that you and your beloved shared on your first date? Your caterer may comply, but it might be the first cannolo she’s ever baked. Did your caterer suggest mini beef tongue pastrami sliders during the cocktail hour? It might be a recipe he’s dying to try. If the prospect of being the first to try out a menu concerns you, don’t let it. At the tasting, just make sure you love the taste and look of whatever ends up on your menu.

State What You Want and What You Can Pay

Instead of asking a caterer how much he charges, tell him what you’re hoping to get and how much you have to spend. Food service has a lot of wiggle room in it, and most caterers and chefs are experts at working within a budget. If your dollar amount is too low for what you were hoping to get, your caterer can make suggestions like having a buffet instead of a seated dinner or serving two courses instead of three.


They Have a Budget, Too

When your caterer quotes you a price, she has taken a lot of different categories into consideration: the cost of the food she’ll buy, preparation time, wait staff, rentals, kitchen staff, gas, insurance — the list is a large one.

When you’re negotiating menu and cost with your caterer, keep in mind that her numbers aren’t being offered willy-nilly. Not only will this knowledge help you remain empathetic, it will also help the two of you work together when you’re trying to find where costs might be cut.

Give Your Honest Opinion at the Tasting

At the tasting before your wedding, be sure to give your honest, no-holds-barred opinion. If something is too salty, say it. If you think the amount of cheese is too chintzy, speak up. The caterer wants you to be happy with the food she serves, and the only way she can ensure that is if you tell her the whole truth.

Ask About Discounts

Few caterers advertise discounts but that doesn’t mean you can’t get one. Simply asking for a price reduction might loosen the purse strings a bit, and, because Saturday is king in the wedding business, if you’re willing to get married on a Friday or Sunday, your caterer may be more willing to give you a break since it means he can also book another wedding on Saturday.

Presentation Matters as Much as Taste

A wedding is every bit as much about dazzle as it is about substance, and the food is no exception. While the food you’re choosing should taste good, that good taste shouldn’t be its sole positive attribute. How plates and buffets are presented is every bit as important as how the flowers in your bouquet look. Choose a caterer who understands that food should be beautiful.

Feed Your Guests; Don’t Fatten Them

The days of gluttonous feasting at a wedding reception are finally over, and you should feel no need to bring them back. Whether you go with a buffet or table service, make sure you and your caterer are on the same page: you want to feed your guests well without emulating anything like Thanksgiving. It will save you money and cut back on waste.

A wedding can be tricky to plan, and it’s often an expensive undertaking. Arm yourself with these catering secrets, and not only will you shave a few dollars off your expenses, but you’ll get food you and your guests will love, as well.