Wedding Planning From Your Vendors’ Point of View {Miniseries} ~ How to Choose Your Caterer

Mmmmm food. I am a foodie at heart, and if you are anything like me, then you want the food at your wedding to be front and center! {After you and the dress, and I guess your new husband too… }

We continue this weeks’ miniseries by talking about your wedding caterer.  I asked Perkins at Groovin’ Gourmets for some answers to help you with your catering quandries.  Leave some questions below and we will make sure to get some answers to you!

Tips on how to choose your wedding caterer, Groovin' Gourmets, Richmond caterer

Groovin' Gourmets, how to choose your wedding caterer, tips

Q: What is the most important thing to think about when choosing a caterer?

Perkins:  The most important thing to keep in mind when choosing a caterer is to be aware of what your main focus is. Is it the actual food (are you a foodie?), is it the budget?, or is it the style and design you are most interested in? The personality of a catering company really will show you if this is a business you can see yourself working closely for the next however long till your day. Luckily, there are some vendors in Richmond that you can go to achieve all of these main focal points. But it is important to keep in mind what your vision is and respectively go to a place that help you achieve your vision.

Groovin' Gourmets, how to choose your wedding caterer

Q: There are many caterers to choose from, what do you think (Besides food choices) really distinguishes the caterers out there from one another?

Perkins: Something that really distinguishes caterers from one another is their flexibility. Everything about your wedding is custom built, from you as a couple down to your date. Why shouldn’t your menu be? At Groovin’ Gourmets we avoid menu A,B, or C, rather we have a conversation about what is important to you and then you get the “Your” menu.

Q: Can you give some helpful/fun tips and hints?

Perkins: Some couples get overwhelmed supplying a bar for their guests.  When it comes down to it, the bar can be more expensive than the food. I recommend to my brides who are interested in having a full bar to focus on 3 to 5 special drinks. Rather than stocking a bar that can accommodate 18 different types of drinks, those specialty drinks will cover your guest’s favorite celebratory cocktails!

I also love to recommend to hold “stock the bar parties”. Much like an engagement party, each guest bring a liquor, a bottle of wine, or a specialty beer and by the end of the party you have completely stocked the bar for your wedding. Budget friendly and a great excuse to get together with friends!

Groovin' Gourmets, how to choose your wedding caterer

Q: Can you tell us a fun/great story you would like to share with the readers of a past client?

Perkins: We had the pleasure of being a part of a fabulous wedding this past Fall in Charlottesville and the couple had chosen a uniquely fabulous menu of mouth watering and very different menu options for their family and friends. The Groom’s one request was to have cracker barrel cheese on top of ham on a Ritz cracker passed throughout the night. After I could wrap my head around the request and make sure I heard him correctly we made it happen and of course it was talked about all night and was quite a hit. Who needs a bacon wrapped scallop when you’ve got ham and cheese on a cracker right?

Honey’s Two Cents:  From a planner’s point of view, I have the following advice for you to consider {*none of the following points reflect or are meant to reflect upon Groovin’ Gourmets, these are general points to consider}:

  • Screen your potential caterer based on the food you would like at your wedding.  If you are planning on doing heavy hor’s d’oeuvres, ask for some pictures of the weddings they have worked with this food style.  Looking for a southern menu? Don’t hire a company that is known for their Asian food
  • Get references and check up on them!  Ask your catering company for references to a wedding with a similar style to what you are looking for, not a general reference.  If you are having a plated dinner, don’t call a reference that had a buffet dinner.  Two different playing fields.
  • Does your caterer provide: linens, staffing, alcohol, glasses and plates, tables for the buffet?  Make sure to get a VERY detailed list of what they provide so you can alot for certain things that may not be provided.
  • Are there hidden costs?  Some caterers who provide staffing will tack on a fee per server needed, and even charge for the chef and assistant chef.  One venue I worked with that had an on-site caterer charged $150 for the Chef, $75 for the assistant chef, and $100 per server used at the event.  Yes, those services were needed, but make sure to read the fine print
  • If you choose a venue with an on-site caterer, how flexible are they to your food choices?  If they allow an outside caterer, ask if there is an off-site catering fee, and ask if you are obligated to use a caterer that they recommend, or if you can use someone you want to bring in.  Many venues will not even consider working with a caterer they are not familiar with, or it can cost you a pretty penny if they do

Leave any questions you have below, and we will get back to you with some answers!

Tomorrow’s Post: Your Wedding DJ

Happy Planning!