The Nitty Gritty You Need to Know About Wedding Catering
by Brynlee Handy May 27
Wedding planning is stressful enough as it is without having to worry about making faux pas – whether that be in trend or in etiquette. We asked Wolfgang Puck Catering a few of the most pertinent, nitty gritty questions you need to know about the catering process in order to assure your big day goes as smoothly and tastefully as possible. Read on for our Q&A with the qualified caterer.
At what point in the reception should apps and dinner be served?
At Wolfgang Puck Catering, we want each wedding to be about the couple. The wedding is a reflection of who they are as individuals therefore they should always do things in whatever order they want. Traditionally though, you would end the ceremony and do tray-passed/stationed hors d’oeurves for 45 minutes – 1 hour and then proceed into grand entrances and dinner. Guests are usually hungry by this point after getting ready, driving to the location, sitting through the ceremony, etc.
What rentals come with the food?
Every catering company and location is different. Most of the time the china/glass/silver is a rental unless it comes inclusive with your venue rental at the location you select.
Should couples host an open bar or buy an allotted amount of booze?
Once again this is up to the couple and what they are comfortable spending. As a guest, it is usually an expense to attend someone’s wedding. A bridal shower gift, wedding gift, travel, hotel, etc. I always think it is nice to provide your guests with a fantastic meal and open bar as a thank you for taking the time and spending their money to attend and celebrate your special day. However, there are fun ways to get creative with your bar options if they opt out of an open bar. For example, our cocktail carts where we can create multiple drinks themed around one spirit of the couple’s choice.
What vendors should we plan to feed, and when?
You should always feed your vendors. Any who are on-site for the event. Remember that those vendors arrived early to set-up and are staying late to load out. If it is a photographer or videographer they may not be “setting up” but they are with you early and are spending every minute with you on your big day and don’t have time to worry about bringing their own food. It is always nice to offer a vendor meal. I have found that if you can provide a “hot meal” for them it goes a long way. You want to fuel your vendors to continue to be energized on your big day!
What should a serving process look like for a wedding? Who takes charge of that – the couple, the planner or the caterer?
The catering company should always take the lead on service. They are the professional and know what will work best for their staff, in the location and for the guests they are serving. As the caterer, it is also important to always ensure the wedding planner understands your service plan so that they can assist you in educating the guests and answering guest questions. All vendors should work as a team on your big day and each be the expert in their own field.
What is the catering plan for children at the wedding?
Each event is different. Always provide them with a kids meal! If you have room at your venue for a “kids room,” it is always helpful with a trusted babysitter to keep an eye on them and keep them entertained. You can also provide activities for the kids. In the past, we have done a station that allows kids to decorate their own cupcakes or design their own pizza!
What questions should brides ask before booking a caterer?
1.) What is your server-to-guest ratio? 2.) Where do you source your ingredients? 3.) Have you catered an event at my wedding venue before? If not, would you be willing to do a site visit in advance with your operations manager and chef? 4.) How will the food be prepared? Hot box? Cooked on-site? 5.) Are you comfortable with customization/changes of the menu to fit our needs or dietary needs?
Is bar-service typically included?
Not necessarily “included” but most catering companies will have a liquor license to be able to provide you the alcohol. It is best to allow one company to take charge of food, beverage and service to ensure seamless execution and a cohesive look.
Thank you to the Wolfgang Puck Catering team for answering these need-to-know questions about wedding catering etiquette and trends! To connect with this caterer directly, visit their vendor profile here. Cheers!
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