The caterer is one of the most important vendors at a wedding. Not only is food a big part of the celebration, it also makes up a huge chunk of the budget. Some venues have a designated caterer you’re required to use. But we loved that Lowertown Event Center offered nine companies to choose from. This allowed us to pick a caterer that fit our style—and our budget. My mom, Sean, and I met with three caterers before we made a decision. And we learned a lot along the way. Here are a few things to consider if you’re researching caterers:
Plated Dinner vs. Buffet
At first, I wanted a plated dinner for our wedding. For some reason I thought it was classier. But after talking through the options, we decided on a buffet for a few reasons. A buffet often costs less than a plated dinner, since it requires fewer servers. Instead of having to choose a single entrée, a buffet gives guests more options to pick from. A buffet also gives the meal a more social feel, because guests will be moving around the room. There are pros and cons to both plated dinners and buffets. Talk to your caterer about both, and figure out which option fits your needs.
Some caterers provide their own table linens, but others don’t. If your caterer doesn’t provide linens, or if their selection is limited, ask if they have a preferred vendor that they recommend working with. You want your caterer and your linen vendor to work in sync on your wedding day. You also want the tables to look great!
Taxes and Fees
Food isn’t the only cost to consider when you’re hiring a caterer. Between service fees, china rentals and taxes, the total cost can add up fast. I had major sticker shock when I realized how much it will cost to feed 200 people! Talk through all the costs and fees with your caterer, and carefully review the contract before you sign it. When you’re spending this much money on a meal, you want to know exactly what you’re agreeing to.
We liked all three caterers we met with, but we decided on Brie Cater for a few reasons. Every dish we tasted was delicious. (Heck yes, truffle mashed potatoes!) They were willing to adjust the menu to work within our budget. Best of all, I had a personal connection with Brie’s staff. In college, I worked as a server at North Oaks Golf Club. Two of the chefs I worked with at the club now work for Brie. I’m thrilled to have professionals I know and trust behind the scenes on my wedding day.
Photo courtesy of Brie Cater.