We're always thinking of food (and hoping to bring back cupcakes samples for our fall weekends!!) and brides. So naturally we wondered what big mistakes brides might make when it comes to their reception food. We asked a recent Strut Bride, a local wedding planner, and a caterer to give us different wedding reception food mistakes to avoid:
1. Don't overlook restaurant caterers.
Strut Bride Melissa was married at Aldea earlier this spring and used Babbo Italian Eatery to cater her reception. Melissa said, "It was a buffet style set-up. The food was absolutely wonderful. We had so many compliments on it. People were saying that it was the best food they ever had at a wedding. Some people said it was the best food they had ever had period."
Restaurant caterers often have reasonable packages and are accustomed to feeding large groups. One caveat is, though, they they may offer less customization in the menu. Also, be sure to see what your venue or the restaurant provides and what you may need to bring in (see Noelle's story below).
2. Don't plan to cook it yourself.
Some DIY brides also plan to make their own reception food. This may work with a really small group, but there's so much more to think about than just the food: tables, servers, plates, silverware, etc.
Jo Ann Grant, a wedding planner and coordinator who owns Apropos Creations, said, "Doing it ALL yourself will become one of the biggest mistakes that you will do as a bride. You will be overwhelmed and stressed by the time your wedding day arrives. Wedding planning should be a fun and memorable experience. Another option is to hire a wedding planner if you don't want to bother your loved ones. Do one or the other will guarantee you a very pleasurable time of your life!"
Most brides will tell you that you don't want to spend the last few days before the wedding cooking or coordinating food–there are so many other last minute tasks.
3. Listen to your caterer (and your planner!).
A lot of wedding planning stress comes from never having done it before, so you don't know what to do. And that's ok. When it comes to planning your wedding reception food, you may wonder if buffet or plated dinners are best, how many entree options to provide, etc. So work with a true wedding professional who will answer these questions and help guide you. Noelle Salinas, one of the owners of Fresh From the Kitchen, told us this story:
"This weekend we are providing a wedding cake for a bride, but not catering her wedding. Was it because of taste and quality? No, she loved our food. But, in comparing our pricing with a restaurant that said they could offer her the same thing, she went with the restaurant due to the fact that it was almost half the price. Her wedding planner had told her to book with us, but this bride thought she was saving herself money doing it her way.In the long run, it cost her more with the restaurant because, she had to hire servers, she had to rent dishes and glassware, she had to hire a dishwasher, and she had to rent chafers and serving utensils as none of these things were included with her "deal". In educating our brides, we go over these logistics, and explain to them in detail what sort of costs they are looking at if they try to "save" by doing it themselves. A professional vendor is hired for their professionalism, so they should be allowed to do their job. They have your best interestat heart, and can explain to you any concerns or issues you may have. They will help alleviate stress, and even save you money when possible. So when planning on hiring a caterer, don't just think about dollars and cents, but think of everything that comes with it. Because really, on your wedding day do you want to have to pour your own champagne, bus your guest's tables, cut and serve your cake, and be responsible for getting rentals back to the rental company to name a few? Good food and service is worth that extra dollar as it alleviates stress and leaves you and your guest happy and satisfied."
Be sure to listen to your wedding coordinator and other vendors because with their experience, they can point out true costs. If you're on a budget, it's alright to say so–most wedding professionals are able to retool packages to fit your budget.