Catering: Fare and Ambiance

The professional caterer is the most importantperson in putting your wedding reception together.After the ceremony your guests will look forwardto your reception as a time to share in yourhappiness and celebrate with food and drink.Whether you serve champagne and cake, or havea formal sit-down dinner, it is essential that youhire the caterer whose services will meet the needsand style of your reception.

Caterers today offer a wide variety ofmenus and services. You will find caterersranging from those who provide a simplelight fare to those who offer full serviceincluding elaborate cuisine as well asambiance. The full-service caterer will assistyou with many of the details which createthe atmosphere for your reception withdecorations, table linens, beautiful servingpieces and in some cases, even music.

The time of day, the location of yourreception, the number of guests, and yourbudget will help you determine theservices you will need and the type ofcuisine you will wish to serve. Afterdetermining your specifications you canbegin looking for the caterer best suitedto meet your needs.

A great deal of planning and specialattention need to be given to the reception;therefore, it is wise to select a catereras early as possible. If your reception isbeing held at a hotel, catering serviceswill probably be provided by hotel staff .Regardless of which caterer you mightchoose, there are certain questions you willwant to ask of any caterer before you makeyour final selection.

What menu selections are available?The most important thing is that the catererprepares the type of cuisine you wish toserve your guests. You might choose anythingfrom a light brunch to an elaboratesit-down dinner, depending on the timeof your reception. Ask the caterer what thespecialties are and what might be recommendedfor your particular reception.

Does the caterer provide full service?Does service include food and drinkpreparation, wait staff , place settings, centerpiecesand set-up and clean-up?What is the complete cost of the cateringservice? Does the cost include deliverycharges? Are there charges for overtime?What type of deposit is required? Rememberto ask about such items as gratuities forservice people, and charges for cake set-up,cutting and take-down.

Once you have chosen your caterer,discuss all the necessary details and putthe catering specifics in writing. You shouldinclude costs and your estimates for thenumber of guests. Both you and the caterershould sign the agreement.

In the months and weeks before yourwedding, work hand in hand with your caterer.This person will play the most significant rolein making your reception a celebration toremember for a lifetime.