Food, glorious food! It's something we all adore, and done well, it makes us truly happy. Whatever you decide to serve your wedding guests, do it well and it will make a lasting impression.
Before you begin planning the menu, sit down and come up with a workable budget. Your budget will help dictate the type of food and drink to serve and the number of people to invite. It's best to serve a high standard of food in substantial portions - so only invite as many guests as you can cater for comfortably.
Self-catering your wedding
Before choosing this option, ask yourself:
- Do you have the time and experience to cope with planning menus and catering for large numbers?
- Do you have access to the right kind of equipment in large enough quantities?
- Do you have a supply of willing friends and relatives to help with this mammoth task?
- Do you want the extra workload?
- Are you self-catering to save cash? Keep in mind professional caterers can often save you money.
If you do decide to take the plunge, it's easiest to self-cater a buffet as it is easier to estimate the quantities of food you need. As a guide, professional caterers allow approximately 15 to 20 items of food per guest, so multiply this by the number of guests you invite.
Many venues have in-house caterers that provide:
- Food and drink services
- Tables and chairs
- Waiting staff
If you choose a venue that doesn't you'll need to hire a catering company. If you choose your caterer before you choose a venue, your caterer can assist you with venue recommendations.
How to choose a catering company
Draw up a shortlist of potential caterers and arrange an appointment to discuss your requirements and compare prices. Ask each caterer the same questions about their services, ingredients, qualifications and any added extras so you can compare quotes easily."¨Ask for recommendations Some venues may even supply a list of companies who are licensed to cater at that venue."¨Determine the number of guests Some caterers can only cater for smaller weddings. "¨Decide what services you require What you require will depend on what is available at your chosen venue (e.g. tables and chairs, kitchen equipment) as well as how much of the organising you wish to do yourself."¨Are they licensed? A full list of accredited caterers is available on the Restaurant and Catering Industry Association website: www.restaurantcater.asn.au"¨Choose the style of food Most good caterers are happy to design a menu or package to suit your budget and tastes, but some specialise in a certain style. "¨Assess the food and presentation Ask for photos of previous weddings. Some catering companies will even invite you to a food tasting session - but only once you've already booked them for your function."¨Compare pricing Ask for the company's price structures so that you can compare with others. Ask if it includes waiters, catering equipment, tableware and so on? Some caterers charge for beverages on a consumption basis and not per head so think about which best suits your needs."¨Book well in advance Good professional caterers are highly in demand so book them as soon as you have set your wedding date and finalised a venue. "¨Get everything in writing Brief your caterer clearly and keep records of your conversations and your needs. "¨Good tucker Choose a caterer who uses the best fresh local produce to create food that is innovative in style, flavour and presentation."‚"¨"¨Once your menu is chosen, be sure to confirm your selections as early as possible and again once RSVPs have been received (along with any special dietary requests).