Most venues and professional catering companies offer a choice of set menus and charge per head. If possible, have a meal in the hotel restaurant to determine the quality of the food and the standard of service. Or, if you are employing caterers, taste sample food before you make final decisions.
Ask if you can vary set menus to suit the timetable or theme of your day — your suggestions may be welcomed, especially if it makes lighter work for the catering staff. For example, serving a good variety of canap’s along with the welcoming drinks will satisfy the hunger of your starving guests as they wait for everyone to file past the receiving line. It will also give the bride and groom time to freshen up before the formal meal. In sufficient quantities, the canap’s may serve as the first course should you decide to do the speeches first and allow the nervous speech-makers the opportunity to relax and enjoy their main meal. Choices should include meat, fish and vegetables. Your careful planning of the menu will be appreciated by your guests.
These can be either finger buffets, fork buffets or seated buffets. A seated buffet is where the guests have an assigned seat and are served one or more courses with the others being self-service and the catering staff replenish the table on-going. For any buffet always have two food tables to prevent the long queues and provide a separate table for drinks and for empty plates.
When catering for evening buffets, order one buffet meal between two, otherwise, as on most occasions, there will be loads of food left over.
The food served at your favourite restaurant may be perfect for your reception. Maybe you could negotiate a deal with your venue for a higher hire charge for the room on the basis that you can arrange the outside catering yourself. On balance it could still save you money and the venue will still make the same profit margin.
- Before you book, have a meal at your chosen venue.
- Ask to sample food, especially if you are having something unusual.
- Are vegetarian meals, etc., charged extra?
- Do you want a children's menu?
- Will caterers provide their own equipment?
- How many staff per guest?
- Will you be charged staff overtime rates?
- Do the charges include GST and corkage?
- For outside catering, are delivery charges included?
- Get a written contract and receipt for your deposit.
- Give final numbers to your hotel or caterers as soon as possible.
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