Catering Weddings, Serving Alcohol & Finding Your Wedding Cake


Once the ceremony is over it is time to eat, drink and be merry! What better way to celebrate your marriage than a delicious feast and a joyous toast with your guests? Whether you choose tantalizing canapés, a sit-down meal or an informal buffet, this article will guide you through the tasty details about catering for your reception.

First steps
As with many areas of wedding planning, your budget will help dictate where to hold your reception, the type of food and drink to serve and the number of people to invite. Remember that your guests will appreciate a quantity of quality food presented well rather than a small plate of complicated food with expensive decorations and so now is the time to work out how much money you have to spend.

 
 

To some couples, the finest wines and the choicest delicacies are worth splashing out on, for others, food is secondary to entertainment, bridal attire and flowers. The choice is yours but, as a general guide, an average 40% of the entire wedding budget is spent on the reception. You will find more detailed advice and a breakdown of costs in our article, Budgeting For Your Wedding.

Once you have established a budget, it is time to decide on a venue. Many civil ceremony venues also have room for your reception, but if you are marrying in a church, register office or venue that cannot accommodate your reception then you might choose a hotel, stately home, hall or pub for your celebrations. If you want to hold your reception at a private house then be sure you have plenty of space to comfortably accommodate all of your guests.


Choosing a caterer
Now that you have decided on the type of reception venue you want then it is time to choose between using the in-house catering on offer, hiring an outside catering firm or catering yourselves.

Many venues have in-house caterers that provide all the food and drink services for celebrations held there. These caterers will be familiar with the styles of meal that their chefs specialize in and will also be able to provide tables and chairs, linen, crockery, glasses, waiting staff and some decorations.

If you have specific catering requirements like needing Halal or Kosher meals then the venue may not be able to accommodate your wedding or they may allow you to book outside caterers. Similarly, if there is no in-house catering then ask for recommendations from the venue or friends or relatives. Also check the Yellow Pages and local newspapers for contacts.

Draw up a shortlist of potential caterers and arrange an appointment to discuss your specific requirements and compare prices and services. Ask to see specific example menus, price list and testimonials from other brides and grooms and inquire about the type of wedding packages they offer. Ask each caterer the same questions about their service, ingredients and any added extras so you get comparable quotes from each.


Useful questions to ask your caterer
Do you only have set menus or can we create our own?
How many options can we offer for each course?
Can any special dietary needs can be dealt with?
Can we taste a sample of your food?
I am holding my reception at home/in a marquee/in a hall. Will my food will be pre-cooked and prepared or do you need any cooking or storage facilities?
Is wine included in a package with food?
Do you charge corkage if we buy our own wine?
If wine is provided, will we be charged for the amount of bottles ordered or for just those that are opened?
How many other drinks are included in the package? What soft drinks are included? (Some include a drink as the guests arrive and then a certain number of bottles of wine per guest, along with fruit juices).
How much clearing up will be done after the reception? (Some caterers will clear only the kitchens while others will wait until the end of the entire evening and clear everything away. In-house caterers will usually clear up more at the end of the evening.)
Do you provide for waiting staff in your quote?
How near the wedding date can we confirm final numbers?

Self-catering your wedding
This is now the least popular option because most couples feel they have enough to worry about on their wedding day without being responsible for the finer details of catering. Taking care of the food for your wedding is a big responsibility, but a highly-organized bride with a dedicated team of helpers should be able to manage. You will need to make sure there is plenty of food for your guests, that it is well presented and that you cater for any special dietary requirements. There is a limit to the amount of food that can be prepared in advance. The setting out of the reception will have to be done at the same time as the preparations for the ceremony, and it is here, if nowhere else, that helpers can come into their own.

Before choosing this option, ask yourselves a couple of questions: Do you have the time and experience to cope with planning menus and catering for large number, access to the right kind of equipment in large enough quantities, and a supply of willing friends and relatives to help with this mammoth task? Perhaps one friend could take overall responsibility for the catering with the rest of the team reporting to him/her rather than you. This will take some of the strain off you, but keep the cost of catering down.

It is more simple to self-cater a buffet as it is easier to estimate the quantities of food you need and you can provide a variety of hot and cold items that do not need to be cooked and served simultaneously. As a guide, professional caterers allow approximately fifteen to twenty items of food per guest, so simply multiply this by the number of guests you invite. Make sure you have enough furniture, china, cutlery and glassware or hire from a catering firm for the day. Some off-licenses offer a discount if you hire glasses at the same time as ordering your wine.

 

Catered Weddings Q & A: What you need to know

Its our step by step guide to wedding to wedding attendants.  No matter the question, we've got an example or answer for you

The following information is articles, questions, and answers that have been submitted by ForeverWed readers.  Should these not answer your questions. Feel free to ask an expert
.

Ask your banquet facility for references

25 Ways to Make Your Wedding Unique

50 helpful tips to help you plan and remember everything for your big day

Affordable Wedding Receptions

Alcohol Alternatives for the Reception

Bride specified no alcohol during her reception.  Is this acceptable?

Brunch Reception Questions

Catering for your wedding reception

Catering your reception

Catering Worksheet

Cash or open bar? which one is better?

Cocktail reception, Is three hours enough?

Champagne and Wineries

Choosing a caterer for your wedding

Choosing a Caterer

Creative Ways to Give Away The Wedding Centerpiece

Creative Reception Decoration Ideas

Dinner Ideas vs Large Reception

Drink but be careful

Foods Easy to transport

Garden party lunch, wine only. Bar too?

Great Tips for stocking a bar

Guidelines Pertaining to Alcohol

Hiring a Caterer

How do I  save $ on the caterer without going overboard?

How to Hire a Caterer

Hiring a wedding caterer

How to save money on your reception

How much liquor should I buy?

Is there a way to have a no host bar?

Is three hours acceptable for a reception?

Liquor Checklist

Liquor Breakdown for a Fully Stocked Bar

Low Cost Catering Ideas

Money Saving Tips

Make your own wedding cake

Managing w/o Alcohol: A Dry Reception

Need Second Location Just for the Dance?

Non Alcoholic Reception

Our guests may have to travel about 45-50 minutes from the ceremony to the reception & back home again.   Should we not have our celebration there because of the travel time for our guests?

Outside Cocktail Reception, evening ceremony, lots of appetizers, and dancing to follow.  Is this appropriate?

Purchasing Alcohol

Questions you should ask

Reception Styles

Reception Sites, How to Choose

Reception Guidelines & Questions

Reception Styles

Reception Times and Suggestions

Sample Menus for Different Types of Receptions

Serve wows after the vows - The Wedding Cake

Selecting your cake

Selecting a Caterer

Society Weddings

Should we serve alcohol at the reception?

Should we serve alcohol

Should we not have our celebration because of the travel time for our guests?

Sit Down Dinner vs Reception

Suggested time table for our reception

The Complete Wedding Reception Guide
Three Wedding Receptions

Tips for a successful wedding reception

Unique Table Numbers 

What to Ask your Caterer

What to consider when Choosing a Caterer

What type of wedding reception to have

What type of bar will you use?

What should my budget be for my wedding reception

Wedding Reception Information: How to

wedding consultants, caterers, and more..

What percentage of my over all budget should my reception location be?

Wine Only, No bar

Wording for Dinner where guest pay their own way

Your Wedding Reception, What You Should Know

 

 


Wedding Supplies Store




Sparkling Cider Mini Bottles


Water Bottle Labels


HERSHEY'S MINIATURES®


HERSHEY'S® Kisses


Wine Labels

Beautiful Butterfly Decorative Set
Favor Decorations


All Wedding Favors


Personalized Tin Mints


Flute & Serving Set Collections


Flute Sets


Wedding Cake Toppers

 

Open Hearts and Bows Cake Knife and Server Set
Serving Sets


Bride's Favorites

Bridal Party Gifts
Bridal Party Gifts
Personalized Tin Mint Favors
Personalized Tin Mints
Personalized Water Bottle Labels
Personalized Water Bottle Labels
Unity Sand Ceremony
Unity Sand Ceremony