Wedding catering plays a huge part in creating the atmosphere of your wedding, and the experience you create for your guests. These days you don’t need to stick to alternating plates of chicken, beef and fish if you don’t want to. The food options are endless, but they’re also dependent on the venue you choose and whether they provide in-house caterers. Let your imagination run wild – shared platters, picnic baskets, cocktail food, a BBQ or, a lunch buffet for a daytime wedding. Think about what would be your ultimate meal to share with your friends and family, and then find a caterer who can do that.
Welcome to our second blog post in our series on planning a wedding. We like to start out every post by acknowledging that there is no right or wrong way to celebrate your decision to spend the rest of your life together. We want to make it clear that our opinions about our wedding are a reflection of what we value and what’s important to us. Read the other blog posts in our planning a wedding series here.
*Full disclaimer: we are not caterers, we like food but that’s about as far as our professional expertise goes. Please ask your caterer lots of questions, as this post is not all encompassing and every event is different. We chose Al and Kim from Mr Bold in Narooma on the South Coast of New South Wales to cater for our wedding. They were recommended to us by other trustworthy wedding vendors. Al and Kim have both been incredibly helpful and attentive in designing a menu for us, as well as answering our millions of questions.
Wedding Catering Hire Items
Are you arranging your own caterer at a non-traditional wedding venue? If so, you need to consider what your caterer includes and what you need to supply yourself. Our caterers provide:
cutlery (which they set on the day)
salt & pepper shakers
tea & coffee
qualified chef and professional food wait staff for the food service period
We will be supplying our own glassware and cloth napkins, along with everything else! See our own fully comprehensive wedding checklist in our blog post on how to choose a wedding venue for tips. As a side note here, our wedding venue has a commercial kitchen, a cool room and other requirements that are essential for most wedding caterers. Mr Bold have worked at our venue several times before, and are familiar with the space which helps things run more smoothly.
Wedding Catering Schedule and timing
Most wedding venues will give you a guideline on scheduling and timing for your reception. Because our venue is on a property, we designed our whole wedding day from scratch. So early on in the planning process, we ran our schedule by our caterers to get their advice on timing for food. We wanted more substantial food rather than just canapes following the ceremony, because we’ve scheduled 3 hours between the end of our ceremony and the start of dinner. Our caterer suggested combining the entree and canapes into one, followed by the main dinner meal as shared plates. We’re having stand up street style food like mini reuben sandwiches and vietnamese chicken coleslaw, to replace the standard bite sized canapes. We chose shared platters for a sit down dinner, because it encourages conversation over food and people can eat as much or as little as they like.
On the advice given by our DJ, we’re cutting the cake before main meals are served. The caterers will cut our wedding cake into dessert sized portions while we’re eating dinner. We don’t want to have the cake served after the dancing starts, so that we can avoid either the cake going uneaten or guests leaving the dance floor to eat dessert. We also asked our caterers to prepare a late night snack that we’ll bring out at around 10pm. This is especially important to us as we’re expecting the New Years Eve party to continue on late into the night. You can read our blog post on wedding cakes over here.
Questions we asked our wedding caterer
Can you cater for dietary requirements including vegetarians, vegans, and gluten free?
Are there any additional surcharges for a New Years Eve wedding?
Do we need to pay a deposit, and when is the remaining balance due?
What date do you need to know the final head count?
Can you cut our wedding cake that is supplied by someone else?
Can you supply service meals for our DJ, photographer and cinematographer?
Do you supply tea and coffee, and the set up of milk, sugar, teaspoons, cups and saucers etc?
Can you cater for kids?
Can we do a tasting? *Note that this is not always possible with a mobile caterer if there is no permanent kitchen or restaurant space.
Food for Children
Whether you invite kids to your reception or not is a personal choice. We invited kids because our wedding is during school holidays, and most families will be travelling together over New Years. Based on our research catering can cost anywhere between $50-$300 a head depending on what’s included and excluded. Most of the food on our menu is catered towards adults, so we asked for our reception to be for adults only. We figured kids would rather eat pizza on a picnic rug with their friends, so we’re setting up a separate reception space with kids food and activities.
Drinks and alcohol
One of the advantages of hiring an alternative wedding venue is that you’re able to supply your own drinks. This can save you a lot of money – you’d be surprised at how quickly a bar tab can reach $5,000 or even $10,000 depending on what drinks are on offer. One thing to keep in mind though is if you don’t hire a bar service person, someone needs to be responsible for re-filling ice buckets and drink stations throughout the night. We’re opting for canned and bottled beers, ciders, soft drinks and water where possible to minimise our use of hired glassware.
We hope you enjoyed our second blog post on planning our wedding, keep an eye out for our next post on wedding cakes!