Appetizers, dinner, desserts, and DRINKS, are a huge part of your wedding. You're essentially treating your family and friends to a huge dinner party, and you're in charge of catering! When you crunch the numbers, your mind goes a little bonkers thinking the amount per head times the total guest count. Here are a few tips I've learned through my experience.
Appetizers are great to have! We had small appetizers during our cocktail hour which was after our ceremony and before the dinner (when we took photos). Our thinking wasn't necessarily about our guests HAVING to have snacks before a full dinner, it was more of "we definitely should get some type of food in their system if they're going to start drinking." if you know what we mean! If you're budget allows for it, I'd consider allowing for a couple of items to nibble on if there is drinking involved and a long gap before dinner. If not, save yourself some dough.
Your main course, whether it's lunch, a buffet, or a full on 5-meal course is something you need to take into careful consideration.
- First things first, review with your venue if you're allowed to bring in your own caterer or if you have to choose from their preferred caterers. Luckily, we were able to bring in our own caterer without any other fees, since their preferred vendor would have been twice as much.
- Second, ask what the requirements are for the caterer. For example, can they cook inside the venue (ours had to be outside), or if they need a certificate.
- Ask whether they will do a sit down or a buffet.
- If they provide both and you're unsure what style you'd like, here are a couple of questions you can ask yourself:
- What's our theme? Does it lend itself to a more formal sit-down style OR does it lend it self to a relaxed feeling?
- Additionally, does the venue lend it self to a host a buffet bar and line? Will the flow work of people going for food and coming back inside with plates in their hand?
- If you're opting for the formal sit-down, how many servers will you need and what are their costs?
- Ask for more! Ask if they provide linens, silverware, plates, napkins. Ask if they will provide any extra food OR pack up left over food just for you and your fiancee, and all other left over food.
Open bar, you say? Some weddings have open bars, some have dry weddings, and some only have beer and wine. Again, check in with your budget to see what's within your budget. Then chat with your fiancee and a couple of key family members and ask if they'd like an open bar (most likely this is a yes). Some couples even go as far as having adorable signature drinks! Some things to consider:
- Does the venue require you to only purchase their alcohol? Our venue was at a vineyard, so of course, we had to purchase their wine, as well as beer and non-alcoholic beverages.
- Can you have hard alcohol at the venue? Some places are against hard alcohol due to the way it causes their guests to act (if ya catch my drift)
- If they do allow hard alcohol, do they provide a bartender? Our venue allowed hard liquor, but their employees could only poor the alcohol, not mix it. Or do you have to provide a bartender and what is the cost of that?
- Do they charge a corkage fee for uncorking their alcohol? Or do they charge a fee if you bring your own alcohol?
- An important one: Do you think your guests will be able to handle the free booze and still manage to not break anything that you'll eventually have to pay for, OR create some not-so fun memories.
- Lastly, will it enhance your wedding or cause issues?
On to the last (and yummiest) portion of this series--desserts! Brides have been uber creative in their dessert selection now-a-days. I absolutely love that brides are deciding to go with their creative side and kick tradition to the curb in this particular area. And the tasting portion of this particular part of the planning isn't too terrible either ;P Here are some fun ideas and thoughts about desserts:
- Traditional Wedding Cake: There is nothing wrong with traditional wedding cakes. There are some beautiful (and delicious) cake designers out there! There are opulent cakes, naked cakes, or fun themed fondant cakes! The possibilities are endless! After you've tasted your little tastebuds out, make sure you are purchasing a cake that will be able to fit in your venue, not melt once sitting there for a while, and truly represents you and your love!
- Additionally, in favor of saving some money, but not at the risk of the beauty of the cake, some couples opt for a smaller cake for only them, and have a sheet cake in the back that will be served to them. Guests won't know the difference
- Dessert Bar: These have been popular over the last couple of years. I personally think they are great because they offer a variety of deliciousness to satisfy almost every guest.
- Specialty Dessert Bar (Pies, Cupcakes, Cookies, Candy, Donuts, Ice Cream, Waffles) Specialty dessert bars have been popular as of late. These can be so much fun and really add to your overall theme, and more importantly to your guests entire experience.
- Size Matters: You can have all your desserts oversized or even mini. Our specific theme was mini desserts! We opted for a mini dessert buffet with all things from mini candies to mini cupcakes to mini churros and mini cookies! We felt if there are THAT many options, everyone would want to take a nibble of each.
- A mix of the above: As stated above, we had a dessert bar. However, we also had a mini cake (with adorable toppers I painted) that was there for purposes of photos and our "Cake cutting" portion of the wedding. Only cost $20 and was delish!
Whatever you choose, also make sure you know how the dessert will be delivered, whether it can withstand the whether it will be in, and if you have to rent/return any dishes..
Oy! That was a long post! But food is nothing to scoff at! It will most likely be a large portion of your budget and you want to make sure it fits in with your theme, jives with your venue, satisfies your guests, and most importantly, you're happy with the decision! Again, if you have any questions, send me an email and I'd gladly try to help firstname.lastname@example.org