7 Secrets to Working with Your Wedding Caterer

We have been asking our colleagues in different areas that pertain to weddings an events.  This week, we spoke with the team at J&L Catering and asked them, what they thought were the 7 secrets to successfully working with a caterer.  Here is what the team had to say!

1. When initially contacting a caterer don’t just say or email,
” Could you send me your wedding package? ”
The best way to get the relationship started is to talk through the evening

  • Where is the wedding reception?
  • How many people?
  • Are you having the ceremony at the site?
  • For the reception, do you like the idea of a seated dinner, stations, buffet?
  • What are your food likes and dislikes?
  • If you have not signed a contract with the venue yet, does the caterer have other suggestions for you?
  • Don’t start of being too general, when it’s really about the specifics.
  • Better yet, you can always call for your initial contact and go with email going forward. A phone conversation can help you and your caterer get a good idea of the personalities and tastes involved.
Cheese Puffs
This is a cheese puff, served on a half round platter, and if you like cheese, this is GREAT!

2. Your caterer often handles more than just your food; they also often provide rental equipment (china, glassware, flatware, tables, chairs, linens, etc.). When communicating your budget to your caterer, keep this in mind as 35% of your budget goes to food, 25% to staff and 30% to rental equipment…and then 10% for tax. Your caterer will be able to help you figure out what is available to you and help you create a catering budget. Catering is often the largest cost in your wedding planning, so it’s good to have these numbers together when designing the rest of your event.

3. Don’t try to please everyone…people are not as picky as you think they are. If you like the food at your tasting, it’s likely that your guests will like it too.

4. Work with your caterer on your timeline. Let them know if the best man tends to be long-winded or if you plan on having dancing between courses. The chefs time food service to assure that your tenderloin comes out medium rare and your chicken doesn’t turn to wood. An extended dance set between courses or a chatty maid of honor can put cooking time in peril.

Great plated meal at a recent wedding. It was delicious!

5. Your caterer should “cater” to your tastes. Don’t be afraid to share your honest opinions about the food at your tasting. Anything can be changed and your caterer only wants you to be happy with the meal in front of you.

6. Create a menu that reflects who you are. Most caterers can customize a menu that reflects both of your tastes. Maybe the bride is Bulgarian and the groom is Nigerian…your caterer can incorporate those cuisines into your dinner menu. Or maybe the two of you had your first vacation together in Brazil, so late night snacks of Empanadas and Buenuellas might be in order.

Fried Chicken on a Waffle. This has been a great choice as a passed hors d’oeuvre at many of our client’s weddings and corporate events.

7. Remember that the caterer you chose is going to be a part of your life for the next several months, likely more. Choose someone you are comfortable with, whom you trust to execute your overall vision.

To learn more about catering for an event, you can contact Rachel at J&L Catering and Events or talk with one of the planners at Liven It Up Events!

All images have been taken by Liven It Up Events at events catered by J&L Catering