The earcandy Guide to choosing a UK Wedding Caterer

Posted on Jun 04 15

There are so many options for today’s modern wedding and your choice of caterer is among them. Countless restaurants, independent caterers, and in-house venue kitchen services add to the melange of choice. But, more choice often times means more work. Weddings are times of celebration and the right caterer means happy and satisfied guests and bridal members alike. Quality and presentation are important but so is making alternatives to your planned meals. Nothing puts people in a mood to dine and drink like a wedding. The celebratory atmosphere combined with family and friends can be intimidating to even the most seasoned of hosts making a first class caterer is essential in alleviating the burden.

 

Hiring a Wedding Caterer

 

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The process is as old as the weddings the caterers serve themselves. Those that prepare and serve food and drink for the wedding guests fill an all important role in today’s wedding celebration. In addition to wait staff and dinner service, the caterer has a critical part to play and careful selection requires a diligent search.

 

Before you Book that Wedding Caterer

Before you put your deposit down with a wedding caterer, be sure to do a pre-purchase check. Many problems can be avoided by running through a checklist to ensure you are making a choice that fits your wedding in both budget and style.

 

Save the Date

Before you can plan a single meal you need to verify if the caterer in question has your wedding date available. Double check your dates and have your caterer in question verify their availability. Don’t waste precious time by leaving this part out of the decision making process only to have to disrupt your plans later on when you realize they don’t have the date you need available for booking.

 

Trust but Verify

Asking the experience level of a caterer in question is important in assessing whether they will be able to handle a wedding of your size and scope. And, while a detailed Q&A session is great, nothing beats testimonials from previous clients. Consider asking previous clients whether they would consider using the caterer again in the future if they had a similar need. Check review websites and judge ratings based on overall satisfaction as there will be happy and upset reviewers for any service so try taking a look at the average rating.

 

Included Services

Quite often, caterers will provide a banquet coordinator to ensure the meal service is executed properly. Ask your potential caterer if they provide a manager to run the entire event or if they assist with other areas of the wedding. Many times caterers are well equipped to provide presentational as well as food related wedding services. Wedding cakes, children’s meals, and ala carte options can help make your wedding that much more enjoyable for you and your guests. Don’t overlook the services your existing vendors can provide before procuring outside more costly solutions.

 

Meal Planning

What choices are offered by your caterer of choice? Before you book a caterer you should have the meal requirements down. It is natural to focus on what you would like to have as your own preferred meal, but you need to take extra care to ensure that any special requests are planned in advance. Look for caterers with pre-planned meal packages. Only with an experienced wedding caterer can you expect consistent quality for any size wedding. Many people have food sensitivities and offering alternatives is a must for today’s wedding. Meals incorporating shellfish may cause unexpected difficulties for guests with allergies. Above all disclose everything to your guests and discuss everyone’s needs upfront.

 

Food Service

Many weddings serve between 4 to 7 different appetizers making the size of your wedding and the choices offered by your caterer. Serving the same item repeatedly can come off as drab and boring to the typical guest. A good caterer will provide options for you to select from that balance value for the money and variety for the guests. You will work with your caterer to decide whether it is best to have table served meals or buffet-style setups. Based on the space available at the venue and the number of guests in attendance a good caterer will provide the best configuration for your food service.

Facilities

Be sure to find out if the caterer you are considering plans to cook offsite or at the wedding venue. Not all caterers are created equal and not all venues may allow for kitchen use or onsite preparation of foods. If the caterer provides your wedding cake or alcohol services you may save real money versus purchasing the venue provided options.

 

Availability

When you plan well in advance you and your caterer can rest assured that you will have all the requisite foods available when you need them. Talk to your potential caterer about special requests, especially ones that involve seasonal items. Many caterers will be well experienced preparing banquet meals for weddings and typically offer pre designed meals for your guests. As with all portions of your wedding, each element requires time and preparation and of course, advance knowledge of what you need and what you think you can realistically spend. Your caterer should fit you and your wedding perfectly, don’t settle and you won’t be second guessing choice.

 

Types of Wedding Caterers

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Today, many types of food service providers are in the service of the wedding industry. Now, dedicated catering companies compete with restaurants, hotels, and venue provided catering services. Each option has its advantages and challenges and learning the differences between them may mean having high quality catering at your wedding.

 

Stand Alone Caterers

Stand alone caterers are the mainstay of the wedding industry and these professionals create menus and food packages for your selected guest count. You work with the caterer personally to design a flexible meal plan that suits the needs of your guests as well as the ambience of your wedding.

 

Restaurant Caterers

Your favorite restaurant can provide food for your wedding that you know and love. Restaurants are accustomed to scaling food preparation to meet demand. Restaurant catering is a popular option for budget constrained weddings.

 

Venue Caterers

Nearly every high end wedding venue offers some type of package covering food and bar services. Sometimes a venue will even requires you to use their in-house caterer or charge a fee for self-catering weddings. Always ask and don’t let yourself get surprised in the end.

 

Professionalism

With so many factors at work in the successful execution of a banquet, professionalism from each team member is absolute is challenging and if implemented well by itself does not garner specific attention. Organization, professionalism, and coordination both in and out of the kitchen are essential.

 

Representation

The caterers will be interacting with your guests directly and so you must be sure they will complement not distract from your event. You need a caterer that is experienced at serving groups similar in size to the one you are expecting. The behavior of your hires is a reflection of your wedding’s overall character, find out for yourself if the caterer’s staff is as professional as you need. There is no replacement for experienced professionals when seeking out the best caterer for your wedding. With careful thought to the meal planning, food service, and value-added services the right caterer for you should bring all of these areas together to help you create a magical moment for two people.

 

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This guide was published by earcandy Entertainment. We are the UK’s leading entertainment agency with a stable of live music acts to suit all occasions. If we can help at all with your entertainment needs then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of our entertainment team who will be more than happy to help you out.

Author: Ben Rogers

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