How to Choose the Right Caterer for your Wedding
Choosing your wedding caterer is one of the most important decisions in the wedding planning process, and, as it is likely to be your biggest expense, it is more than important to get it right. In this blog, we talk about some of the ways to ensure you choose the right caterer for your wedding, things to consider and how to keep within that all important budget.
By choosing a venue which allows you to pick your caterer (often known as a ‘dry hire’ venue) couples have a superb opportunity to showcase their individualism and creativity and design a bespoke wedding day.
Selecting one of our highly professional pre-approved local caterers to provide any menu or format imaginable, we want your guests to thoroughly appreciate what you have chosen for them and the level of service provided.
What type of catering should I choose?
This is a hugely significant part of any wedding or special occasion and there is no correct answer. However, there are some points to consider which are likely to help narrow down and focus your decision making.
Consider the time of year that you’re looking to marry in. If you have chosen to have a warm, cosy winter wedding, then perhaps a slow roasted Pork Belly served with Sweet Potato Mash and Wilted Winter Greens would be a better option than a Chicken Breast stuffed with Roasted Mediterranean Vegetables.
Do you want guests to sit at tables and experience a formal, plated wedding breakfast or would you like a more informal setting, where sharing platters are positioned in to the middle of the tables and guests help themselves and interact with each other?
Afternoon tea served on cake stands with pretty vintage china is also another idea for more of a relaxed countryside barn setting.
Not every caterer is perfect for every type of event, and many caterers themselves openly admit this. Obviously, all of our caterers are perfect for wedding catering, but some may be exceptional at afternoon tea, whilst others might shine brightly when creating beautiful sharing platters.
We love being involved in the process of who you pick and why you’ve picked them. Any venue that allows external catering should be able to offer you advice on who they best think will meet your requirements – so, talk to us, we’re here to help too.
At Hendall, all couples will have the opportunity to arrange the catering themselves directly with one of our Approved Caterers.
The caterers on our list are conversant with the set-up here, the workings of our caterers’ kitchen and our rules of engagement including the hire of everything that will go on the tables that you will be eating and drinking from.
We believe the arrangements here are a major draw to couples wishing to be involved in the catering for their special day.
In addition to this, by selecting from our Approved list, we can avoid there being any sort of disappointment on the day where your (or our) expectations may not be met if the caterer is not well known to us and is not familiar with the workings here.
Paperwork and Quotes
Once you’ve decided on the type of food you would like, you know your wedding venue, time of year you’re looking to marry (preferably the actual date!) and a rough idea of guest numbers, this would be a suitable time to speak to a couple of caterers.
Each caterer will breakdown the of charges for food, staff, delivery, linen, travel expenses, equipment hire and service charges differently from one another. Some will provide a one off overall per head price, where others will itemise every individual detail.
Ultimately, there will be an overall cost per person, but deciphering these quotes is something we are more than happy to assist with; don’t forget, we discuss this often and appreciate this might be the first time for you. Sometimes a little ‘hand-holding’ may be required.
Budget – how to choose the right caterer for your wedding day AND purse strings!
It isn’t just about the wedding breakfast though! You’ll need to consider canapés during the drinks reception, as your guests may start getting slightly peckish as the fizz and Pimms are consumed, as well as additional evening food, especially if you have extra guests coming to join in the festivities later on.
There are all manner of fun ideas for both these parts of the day. How about mini cones of Sweet Potato Fries or Crispy Crackling with Apple Sauce and then a Pizza table, Pulled Pork in Brioche buns or a sumptuous Cheese and Meats selection for the evening.
However, to stop costs spiraling out of your original planned budget, it is important you get an early indication of catering costs and what they include. In order to achieve this, it is vital you are clear and transparent about what you would like for the catering at your wedding.
Ask about what options are available to you if you are on a limited budget and don’t be afraid to tell your caterer what your budget it is. If they can’t meet it or come close, they may able to look at ways to tailor your initial ideas in to something more manageable or recommend one of our other caterers who they feel may be better suited.
The good bit – a food tasting!
Asking to sample the specific items you want for your wedding is all part of the process. It should ensure they are meeting the brief you have set out and that they are indeed the right caterer for your wedding.
At the tasting, constructive criticism is key – praise the good bits, but don’t be afraid to ask for something to be presented in a slightly different way, or seasoned more etc… A caterer who takes the time to properly display a sample and hear your thoughts about it will be more likely to make that kind of effort on your wedding day!
You want your wedding food to be something people talk about for a long time post-wedding, so it’s important to make it stand out! You could always bring along your chosen wines (if you’ve got that far!) to make sure the food and wine go hand in hand too; then you’ll really enjoy the full sampling experience!
Is there a corkage charge?
Another important point to consider in your wedding venue search and plans; is there a corkage charge if you wish to provide your own alcohol for your wedding day?
Corkage is a service charge that is levied by some venues for opening and serving bottles of wine, fizz and spirits that are bought externally by customers with the intention of consuming them on site.
As this is a family run, dry-hire venue we are not bound by an in-house caterer and, as such, we do not charge corkage.
This is a huge benefit and provides you with a very cost effective way of providing good quality fizz, wine, beer and spirits of your choice. Part of the caterer’s remit at Hendall, is to serve these drinks for you and your guests throughout the day. All we ask is that you take any empty bottles away with you (which the caterer will pack up and load into a car for you!), a fair deal, I’m sure you’d agree.
As well as your venue, (and wedding dress!) we firmly believe that choosing the right caterer for your wedding is paramount to the success of your wedding day.
Your caterer should provide you with the enthusiasm, excitement and expertise your wedding deserves which is why we have carefully picked our Approved Caterers based on their level of service, attentiveness, friendliness, locality and of course, their culinary prowess!
We hope the above gives you a little more of an idea on how to choose the right caterer for your wedding, but if you ever need advice, you know where we are!