Planning your wedding day is probably one of the most complicated and diverse projects you’ll ever undertake. When you consider that you’ll be thinking about venue, food and drink, photography, guests, transport, make-up, wedding party, roles on the day, music, dress… even just listing the list is hard work! All that said, it’ll also be one of the most magical days of your lives and so very much worth it.
TNWS supplier Caviar and Chips share their advice on what to ask your wedding caterer to ensure everything is perfect on the day.
Planning your food and drink
One of the central parts of your day will be the food and drink and how you cater for your guests. When we prepare menu tastings for couples, we encourage them to ask lots of questions about how to choose not only the menu, but lots of things they need to think about on their wedding day.
At Caviar & Chips our approach is to create the food that you want, rather than making you choose from a set menu or package. Co-founders Jonathan and Marc have an amazing team around them and provide a personal and bespoke service with a wealth of knowledge and experience, so you’ll know you’re in safe hands.
Marc explained to us:
We created Caviar & Chips Catering the year Jonathan, our Exec Chef, was planning his wedding. Jonathan and his (now) wife, Gemma wanted to craft a menu made from the memories, experiences and favourite dishes that they had shared. The food and drink and sharing this with their friends and family was really important to them. Having worked in hospitality for over 20 years both as a chef and running restaurants and bars, Jonathan was very aware that they were looking for something unique, but they struggled to find it from existing wedding caterers. So, they ended up organising all the food and drink themselves.
It was an exciting and involved process choosing and sampling dishes and creating their own menu together; as well as pairing with wines and thinking about how the menu ties together and reflects their relationship. This is how our approach to menu tastings at Caviar & Chips came to be as we prepare the couple’s menu much like a dinner party in their home with close friends and family on hand to help choose the wedding menu.
Every menu we make and every tasting we do is different and so that means that no two weddings are the same. This gives us such a broad range of experiences and it’s exciting week after week doing something new and different. Because of this, we have so many examples that we can share and our clients can ask all sorts of questions which we’ve made a short list of to give you a starting point:
What are the terms and conditions that your wedding caterer works to?
Sometimes this question can be overlooked when planning your wedding catering, but it’s important to understand what you’re paying for and what is expected of a contract that you’ll be entering for the best part of your wedding budget. If your caterer doesn’t have terms and conditions then this should raise concerns about their level of professionalism. Equally, if they tie you in knots, look closely at what you’re agreeing to with deposit, cancellation, insurance, balance payments etc
What does your wedding caterer provide with the food and drink?
Double check if your wedding caterer is including or charging separately for cutlery, crockery, tableware, linen, set-up, clear away, staff and kitchen equipment. Glassware may be separate if needed – think about your wedding menu and everything your guests will need to enjoy it. If you have to pay for extras then it’s important to know upfront. Equally, if your caterer has flexibility, you may be able to save budget by providing some things yourselves, conversely, your wedding caterer can save you time and hassle by taking care of all of the food and drinks aspects of your day.
How many members of staff will be there on the day and how do they work?
It’s important to have confidence in your wedding caterer that they’re surrounded by a team that knows what they’re doing, so you can focus on enjoying your day. You want to make sure that staff are trained, experienced and knowledgeable about your wedding day and your menu. You wouldn’t expect to go to a restaurant where you’re paying for all of your guests and for the service team not know anything about the menu and the occasion. Make sure you’re satisfied that you’ll get the best service you need and that your day will run smoothly
What times will your caterer arrive, set-up and leave
With some wedding venues they stipulate how many days before and after the wedding you have to set up and clear away. If you’re planning your wedding in your own garden or that of a friend or family, then you’ll have a lot more flexibility, but knowing when your caterer will set up, what they’ll set up and when they need to be cleared away can help you top and tail your planning. It’s a good starting point to work out your project planning and sequence of events that happen in the lead up to your wedding day and afterwards.
How can your caterer help with the running of your day?
Having a good wedding caterer help not just with preparing your menu, but also with other details on the day can be really reassuring. For example, serving your welcome drinks, pouring wine at the table, making sure the toast drinks are ready for speeches can save you having to worry if you’re providing your own wines. Similarly what happens with your wedding cake and can your caterer take it away once you’ve cut it and portion your cake and serve to your guests to make sure everyone gets to enjoy a slice!
Sometimes it can be hard to know where to start with your wedding menu – thinking of all of the food and drink that you enjoy and what your guests might like too. We’ve captured some examples of bespoke menus that we’ve put together for our clients on our menu pages here that you can take a look at to help.
Most importantly of all, ask as many questions as you need to, to make sure you’re completely happy and comfortable with the wedding caterer that you choose. Whether the caterer is part of your venue, or whether you can choose whoever you wish, do draw up a short list of questions before your menu tasting and during your tasting too. Get friends and family involved to help you along the way as they may think of things that you haven’t.
Enjoy the process, take time out to relax and remember why you’re getting married in the first place. The plan is to only do this once (unless you renew your vows!) so make it the best meal you’ve ever had and you’ll remember it always and your guests will have a wonderful and memorable time on your big day.
For even more inspiration and ideas for your wedding catering make sure to visit the team at The National Wedding Show, NEC Birmingham. You can also check out Caviar & Chips’ website here or following them on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook