The wedding catering and planning tips created by Crave Catering of Melbourne is designed to help you choose the right wedding caterer for your special day. Download your copy today
The wedding catering guide covers:
- What to look for in a caterer,
- Pitfalls to look out for,
- Suggestions on time guides,
- Sample menus
Plus you will find lots of other important information to help with your wedding catering planning. You can also check out our wedding catering articles on the main Crave site.
Choosing the right caterer is a big decision and only the best will prevail. Research shows couples are spending more on weddings than ever before (an average of $36,200 (The Age 27/09/11) and the wedding catering represents a major component
Wedding Catering Tips
Wedding catering can come in a range of styles and desires but one thing remains constant; the outcome, the most memorable day of your life, one that will be remembered forever. You need a caterer with the skills, knowledge and attention to detail to ensure the desired result. A wedding is more than just an event and basic wedding catering; it requires an in depth understanding of a range of important factors that will influence the outcome.
What to look for when choosing a wedding caterer
Experience: Ensure your caterer has longevity and catered many differing styles of events. This leads to foresight and preparation. A caterer who is ill-prepared to handle potential problems or worse yet, not predict possible problems from the outset probably doesn’t have the experience required to professionally facilitate successful outcomes.
Understanding: Each client will want something unique. This, being a human trait, is what makes a good caterer thrive. The ability to cater events with a point of difference and to let the creative juices flow, allows caterers to grow and provide events that are cutting edge, unique and brilliant. The starting point is communication. Good dialogue allows for events to be created with the clients absolute desires to
be perfectly met.
Ability: Caterers will promise the world but can they deliver? Fancy websites and brochures promote one level of professionalism, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating; literally. So don’t be afraid to try before you buy. Taste the product, see the facilities and satisfy yourself that these are the people you want to drive your event.
Most good caterers are also total event managers. Find out if ancillary services can be provided. Why burden yourself with extra workload if you caterer will do it for you? Most times the fee for this service will be minimal as the caterer should receive a discount from the supplier, which acts as their ‘commission’. Floral arrangements, hire of equipment, theming, entertainment, staffing, security, rubbish removal and recycling are all part of a good caterers services.
Making a decision to utilise the services of a caterer is one that should not be taken lightly and due diligence is recommended. A word of caution; look out for suppliers who provide low price quotations in order to secure a confirmation or at least a foot in the door, however on closer inspection, may not be providing a comprehensive proposal. Common tricks include short quoting on staff numbers or hours or equipment lists being deliberately misleading. The supplier will, once confirmed, notify you that extra staff are needed or for more hours or other equipment deemed necessary to properly cater the function, thereby increasing the quote cost. On the flip side, a cautionary note for those suppliers who genuinely short quote and end up at function time, short staffed or without relevant equipment. Once again reference is made to the relevance of securing the services of an experienced caterer.
Other Wedding Caterer Factors to Consider
Other factors to consider, especially with the magnitude of the competitiveness within the hospitality industry, are legal, moral and environmental concerns.
- Does the caterer have the right insurances, public and product liability?
- Are all staff trained and have relevant qualifications to complete the tasks assigned?
- Does the caterer have a sustainability report and genuinely attempt to reduce the impact on the environment?
- Is this an equal opportunity employer?
Payments and Fees
A quality caterer will discuss your budgets and payment options early in the negotiation process in order to provide you with full disclosure. Usual practice is for a reasonable deposit to be paid on confirmation and the balance within a few days of the event. Terms and conditions should clearly outline the consequences of cancellations and alterations. It is fair and reasonable for certain fees and penalties to exist. People often have limited comprehension of the actual workload that goes into, not only quoting an event, but following up and securing it as well. Countless hours, most unbilled, go into sourcing all the information and subsequent actions to finalise arrangements. More often than not, the client will have a few mind changes along the way.
There should exist, among all suppliers, the ability to pay in a manner of ways; cash, cheque, credit cards and direct debit as a minimum. The payment process should be easy, quick and as painless as possible. The old adage; “the food will be remembered long after the price is forgotten” rings true for catering events. There must be a clear representation to the client that a special day catered will be remembered long into the future and dollars spent are merely a means to an end. Regrets after an event for those few extra dollars that could have been spent, are far too common.