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FOOD! Let's talk catering service...

Catering food service

Food is one of the most important parts of your guests' wedding experience (after seeing you and your love tie the knot!). Which means that it needs to be memorable for all the right reasons. You know what I am talking about because we have all been to that wedding where the chicken was dry and the veggies over-cooked...bleh! So how can you ensure catering success at your wedding? Well, this is a longer discussion so we will explore it in the next three blogs. Today, let's start at the very beginning with some terms:

Catering service levels:

  • Full-service in-house catering, these are venues with catering done by their staff - such as hotels and resorts. This service includes:

  • layout(s) of venue

  • permits for liquor, food and liability

  • staff for set up, service and clean up

  • all kitchen equipment and power

  • standard serving equipment such as chafing dishes, plates, glassware, flatware, and table linens.

  • basic rental set up if you would like to bring in specialty dishes, flatware, glassware, linens

  • cake cutting (typically for a fee)

  • Full service off-site catering, these are licensed caterers that come to your reception site - you will need this type if you are having a wedding in a tent at your parent's ranch, a community house, park, botanic garden or other venue that does not have staff to provide this service. This service includes:

  • permits for liquor, food and liability

  • staff for set up, service and clean up (typically includes trash removal)

  • all kitchen equipment and power (there may be an additional fee for this service)

  • standard serving equipment such as chafing dishes

  • basic rental set up for dishes, flatware, glassware, and linens

  • cake cutting (typically for a fee)

  • Not full-service catering means that you will need to discuss and coordinate all of the details as the caterer may be more of a drop off food service. You may be able to add services to the contract, but it is up to the caterer as to whether or not they will provide the additional services and the fee that they will charge.

  • Preferred caterer: Venues without a kitchen staff (think museums and historic buildings) may have a list of preferred caterers who are well versed in the policies of the venue. If you wish to book a caterer that is not on their list they may refuse or they could impose a penalty fee.

  • Outside hire: If you're passionate about a local barbecue place or have a favorite Italian restaurant, you may be able to hire them to serve their food at your wedding reception. You will need to check with your venue to see if they allow off site caterers (many hotels and resorts do not). In some situations (think small restaurants with only one or two chefs and a few employees) you will be hiring all of its staff so it'll have to close for the night as such they may be a higher priced option as they will need to compensate for lost business at the restaurant.

That is a lot of info so I will give you some time to digest (look at that pun!). Next month we will continue our FOOD! discussion with Meal Service 101.

Thoughts, suggestions, or questions? I would love to hear from you email me or comment in the box at the bottom of the page. When commenting please put the blog title so that we all know which topic you are interested in. Thanks!

#weddingcatering #cateringservices #food

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