Life Events

Life events pose a unique challenge because each is a new or infrequent occurrence for which many people have little or no prior experience.

A wedding is no exception to this rule.

When planning your wedding, a little dose of commonsense advice can help

Here is our advice on this topic.
/ Marriage / Wedding /

Hiring a Wedding Caterer
The engaged couple and their parents may quickly discover that the reception following a wedding is likely to be the largest, most expensive, and most complex party they will ever plan. Deciding which caterer to hire for this event will be one of the most important decisions in the entire wedding planning process. The first step will be to determine the size and date of the reception. The next will be setting an approximate budget. With these decisions made, you can begin to shop for a reception location and determine who will provide the refreshments you will serve. Caterers often provide the food, beverages, wait staff, tables and chairs, linens, china, silver, and glassware. Many will also bake the wedding cake.

If you are thinking of hiring a caterer for your wedding reception, consider the following:

  • On site locations such as hotels, restaurants, private clubs, and some churches and community centers usually offer convenient one stop reception shopping. They may have an experienced catering manager who can coordinate all the services you will need, including the flowers, photography, and music. This is probably the easiest way to plan a reception, but usually you will be limited to the food and services they supply. You may even be forced to choose from among a number of preset wedding packages, and yours may not be the only event held at the same time.
  • Off site locations generally provide only the space, but they offer the opportunity to customize your reception in your own personal style. This may require more effort, as it will be up to you to supply everything necessary for a successful reception. A good independent caterer may be able to do this for you, but many will only provide the food and beverages. If you are holding your reception in an unusual place, the logistics of the catering need to be worked out carefully in advance. Some off site locations, such as historic houses or museums, may require you to work with a list of caterers they have already approved.
  • If you are planning on having your reception at a private residence or location where not everyone can fit in the interior, you may need to rent a tent. Make sure the caterer you hire has experience with this type of party. Tents frequently require setting up special kitchens.

Never sign a catering contract until you have determined who is going to provide every service that you will need. Everything should be contained in the contract, including the date and time, any delivery services, taxes, gratuities, payment plans, cancellation fees, and refund policies. A down payment will almost certainly be required. Make sure you know whether you can use a credit card as some caterers will only accept a certified check.
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