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Elsa V.

Catering: what style are you?

Catering.  Every event has some in some form or another.  What do you want for your day?  

There are many different types of service out there - yes, I said service not food.  Catering a wedding, of course needs good food, but more importantly good service.  So you really need to ask, before you even  get menus or taste, what type of services they offer.  Believe me, not all catering is the same.  I once worked a wedding where the caterer they hired told me that they didn't to any service, they only provided the food and set it up.  Well, since that wasn't what the couple had been planning on, there was a last minute scramble to find someone who would.  So know what you want.  Maybe to save money you're willing and able to set up tables and chairs the day before.  Maybe you have family who is willing to serve a buffet.  Maybe you'd like your guests to be treated to an amazing meal with 5 star service.  Once you know this, ask for it.  Find out what they wear to the event.  Its pretty bad to have an elegant reception, where the service staff is wearing mismatched black tee shirts.


So here is what you might find:

  • Full service catering - They can take care of all aspects of your menu, bar, and any rentals needed.  They will arrive early enough to set up tables and chairs, and stay afterward to clean and mop up after the event (I've seen plenty of bride's maids moping in their long gowns because they find out at the end of the night that the caterer doesn't do that).
  • Some service catering - This is what I call those companies that claim they are full service, but won't touch any of your items (favors/flowers/table numbers); don't want to set up your tables and chairs; put out tip jars when working the bar; and won't break everything down at the end of the night (but somehow missed filling you in on this).  I once had a 'catering manager' tell me that no caterer ever folds napkins! OMG!!?
  • Buffet service - this is what I call a company that shows up with hot boxes of food (who knows how long its been sitting there before you finally get to eat it!), set up their buffet tables, put the food out, stand back as you and your guests serve themselves, immediately break it down (don't try to come back for seconds!), and then pack up and leave while you're in the middle of toasts.
  • No service - these are companies, often delis and such, that will bring you food, and maybe set it up for you, but then leave you to be on your own. 

None of these types of catering services are wrong, if they're right for you and your budget.   Some people have only ever seen it done one way, so that is their normal.  What's yours?

To craft or not to craft

We all seem to have a friend or relative who is self proclaimed Martha Stewart. Or maybe its you. Are you a DIY Bride? Your wedding is the perfect place to share with everyone your talents and your wedding crafts- or is it?


I have been at many weddings where I have been very impressed. What was impressive was the bride's ability to say "enough." When it comes to your perfect day, the wedding of your dreams, there is a "wedding look" that you can see in your mind's eye. But do paper doll cut outs and felt flowers fit in? ... If this is a path you'd like to take, some things to think about with crafting are 1) time; 2) how good can you do it? 3) who is going to set it up and take it down for you?

Time. If you're crafting, did you make a vision board, or something like that to use as your road map to get you where you want to go? Please do! Some times you can fall into the "I have __ months and I'm going to do something each month." The problem is that you might have tons of cute stuff, but does it really go? The other side of that -is that you might have started a project or two but the clock has just run out of time. Now what?  I have often happily stepped in where a bride has wanted something and either didn't have the time, or was traveling for her wine country wedding - believe me, you really don't want to pay the cost for shipping jars.

How good is it? There are many things that look great hand crafted. But there are also many things that are really just worth the cost (and time) to buy (or have made). And unless your wedding is in a setting where lots of hand crafted items make sense ( a wine country barn or garden wedding type), 1 or 2 things look nice. Maybe 3 depending on what they are. (Most people make their own programs, so I don't count those) More than that and you might bordering on tacky. I mean really, when was the last time you saw every detail tied in the same teal ribbon bows? the  wedding programs, the wedding fans, the chairs, the napkins, the wedding favors, the baskets for your gift cards & bathroom amenities. It can look pulled together, or it can all be a little much.

Who is setting up? Make sure you read carefully through the catering contract, it will state what they do and what they don't. Such as; Do set out linens, table numbers, move centerpieces to one central location at the end of the night. Don't/won't put out favors, your wedding guest book, centerpieces, ceremony items... and don't forget that you'll either be getting ready or taking some 1st look photos at the time this set up should be happening. If you don't have a day of coordinator like me, you can always ask a friend or family member to help. You'll have many offers to help. But don't forget the end of the night. Once everyone has had a good time, you'll find it a bit harder for them to want to stay. I just recently spent 2 hours packing up over 100 vintage small bottles at the end of a gorgeous wedding (some were used as flower vases, and others just pushed together on the tables for a great look!). But where you had months to gather and pack, there is usually only 1 hour allotted for break down - after that you might be charged overtime by the site (even if it is your wedding planner that is the one staying late).

So take a breath and step back. If your friends don't call you the Martha of the group, then pick out 1 or 2 things you'd really enjoy making, and relax.  Your wedding will still be your dream wedding, and a day to remember with your friends and family.