Christmas, New Year and Valentine’s day are by far the most popular times of the year to get engaged, so if you’ve just decided to tie the knot, first of all, we’d like to say a massive congratulations, but secondly – have you thought about how you’ll choose a wedding caterer for your big day?
After questions about ‘the dress’, the most likely thing your guests will be asked after your reception is ‘how was the food?” It’s one of the key talking points of any wedding day and probably the most expensive element of the reception, so you need to be sure it’s in the hands of someone you can trust.
Our family business, The Orde Food Company, has organised hundreds of weddings over the years, so here are our top tips on how to choose the right caterer, plus some questions to ask when you’re making your choice.
Top of the list of things to consider is your budget. This will be the main guide to the type of wedding you can afford to create and knowing this before you speak to a caterer will save a lot of time. Plan what you can afford to spend on each of the elements of your day, from the dress and photographer, to venue hire, food and drink, flowers, linen, crockery and glass hire.
You’ll need to decide if you’re looking for someone to provide food only, or if you need someone to act more as an event manager for you. At The Orde Food Company, we provide fabulous food but often also organise everything from marquee hire and lighting to band and bar hire, so this will be an important consideration when you’re choosing who to work with.
Always ask for recommendations from family and friends, or think about weddings you’ve attended where the food has been fantastic and find out who the caterer was. At The Orde Food Company, we’re always very happy to provide prospective clients with contact details for some of our previous customers so they can hear a first hand account of how we performed on the day, and any caterer worth their salt should be prepared to do the same.
You may have your heart set on a particular venue, in which case there may be an approved list of in-house caterers to choose from. If you’re not happy with any of the businesses on the list, speak to the venue manager as they may be prepared to accommodate a caterer of your choice.
If you want something completely different and personal to you, then you might want to think about something less conventional. We have lots of experience of organising events on hillsides, in gardens, fields or on the beach and this kind of venue can create a truly magical experience for you and your guests.
Do you have a theme in mind for your wedding, eg. Rustic, vintage, contemporary? Can the caterer accommodate this?
Check where the caterer sources their ingredients? Are they fresh and from sustainable sources? You want the food to be of as high a quality as possible. Can the caterer develop recipes or elements to the meal that have a special meaning for you and your family? This is something we’re often asked to do for our clients and it’s often a really heart-warming surprise for family members. And always arrange a tasting to help you make your final decisions on dishes for the day.
Point of Contact
Ask who your main point of contact would be. Do you feel comfortable that they understand how you want your day to be? And will they be there on the day to ensure that this happens?
It’s also worth asking whether the caterer is handling any other major events that day, just to make sure that they’re not overstretching themselves and can give your special day the focus that it deserves.
Don’t forget to include equipment hiring and staff costs in your budgets so you’re not landed with any unexpected bills. You should also find out how many staff the caterer will have on duty on the day, so you know your guests will be well looked after.
While caterers such as The Orde Food Company can often pull together events at fairly short notice, it’s much easier and less stressful for all concerned if you give as much notice as possible. For popular times of the year, you’ll probably need to book well in advance to ensure you get your date of choice.
There’s lots to consider but hopefully these pointers will help to get you started with planning your day to remember. If you’d like any more information, or would like to speak to us to talk about your forthcoming wedding, just give us a ring on 01573 229150. We’d love to help you create the special day you’ve always dreamed of.