How To Approach Your Wedding Menu and Tasting With Your Caterer

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Recently engaged?  Starting to look for a caterer?  Here at Simply Fresh, we encourage all our couples to be as open and honest with us when it comes to planning their menu.  It’s a very personalized process, and open communication is key.  Here are some things to keep in mind when doing a tasting and selecting a caterer for your wedding!

Tailor your menu to the broadest audience

Crab cake apps

It’s very thoughtful of you to keep in mind that your Aunt really doesn’t care for brussels sprouts or that your third cousin once removed once had a salad with arugula they didn’t enjoy.  However, if those things are popular with the majority of your guest list, or it’s something you really enjoy, don’t fear adding it to your menu.  An attentive caterer will be able to work with dietary restrictions, allergies, or dislikes.  Simply Fresh Events planners ask each couple to go through their guest list and identify any restrictions for their guests so that we can be prepared to serve them.  To that note…

Ensure your menu is properly labeled

quinoa pilaf w tofu

Check that the caterer plans on clearly labeling all menu items so they can be identified.  Included in this labeling should be ingredients that are common allergens: peanuts, shellfish, and gluten are examples.  If you have any guests that are vegetarian or vegan, you should consider having special meals substituting your protein selection with an entrée that they would like.  Here at Simply Fresh Events, we always prepare a handful of entrees that are vegan, dairy-free, and gluten-free just to make sure all your guests enjoy the menu!  Our warm quinoa-stuffed acorn squash is all three!

Don’t skip the salad

tasting food

The majority of weddings we cater offer a buffet for their wedding guests.  It is the most cost-efficient way to serve a crowd, there is far less food waste, and the offerings are more varied.  That being said, it takes a moment to get your guests through (don’t worry, we hate lines as much as you do!) and offering a salad and perhaps some warm cornbread with honey butter at the table keeps them munching while waiting.  In some cases, our couples ask that the salads be waiting for their guests when they enter the space for dinner!  In order to ensure that the salads aren’t wilted, we dress the salads at the very last minute and do not recommend this during the hottest months.

Be honest with your caterer

Chicken and Waffles

A good caterer can handle feedback – both good and bad.  Are the potatoes under-salted to your taste?  Is the pasta not al dente?  Did you just not care for the salmon and can’t put your finger on why?  Tell them.  This is YOUR menu for YOUR event.  Your caterer should take careful notes during your tasting and ensure that it is personalized to your tastes.  Don’t be afraid to speak up.  Here at Simply Fresh Events, our Chef sits down with you at your tasting to ask questions, get feedback, and provide suggestions if we need to go in another direction or make small tweaks.

Your wedding is unique, and your menu should be, too

app - smoked pork belly w carmelized pearl onion skewer (10) 20170224

Share, share, share with your caterer.  Give them a whole picture of who you are individually, and as a couple.  When a couple inquires with us, we send them a questionnaire that asks about their favorite restaurants, cuisines, likes and dislikes, décor details…we want to get to know them.  You’ll find our menu online, but that’s just scratching the surface of our offerings.  Did you Grandmother make an amazing matzo ball soup?  Give us the recipe and we’ll make it.  Do you really dig a signature dish at a popular restaurant?  We’ll give it a crack.  Is there a dish that has sentimentality because it’s what you ate on your first date?  We can do that.  So, if you don’t see it on a menu, don’t be afraid to ask.  90% of our menus at Simply Fresh Events are customized.  (Ps: all of these are real scenarios that we were asked to do last year!)

Don’t stress

beet and goat cheese salad

Book tastings with one caterer at a time.  Give yourself time to give feedback and talk about your tasting experience.  Overloading yourselves with multiple tastings week after week can be exhausting and you may miss details that matter.  Take careful notes, ask questions, and make your catering choice with confidence!  You should trust your caterer thoroughly, and they should be there to help you!

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10 Responses

  1. Working with dietary restrictions and allergies are one of the many challenges that caterers face. However they are necessary to be considered. Planning and scheduling always makes sure that caterers do their jobs with utmost perfection. Most of the couples keep changing menus on a regular basis. This creates a lot of confusion.

  2. You make a good point that caterers should be able to handle feedback and should welcome it. This way they can improve and you can help them do so. When choosing a caterer reading reviews like this can be helpful as well.

  3. Millie Hue says:

    My sister is getting married by the end of this year, and she asked me to accompany her in July to look for a wedding caterer. I do not cook much, and I really do not know much about the specifics about the quality of food. But I can tell if it’s good or not. I like that you also suggested doing the taste test slowly by giving time to talk about their feedback. Thanks for the tips!

  4. David Jones says:

    Great tips!!! I hope people will get benefits from your tips and will make their weddings more memorable. Thanks

  5. I didn’t even know you could book tasting for potential caterers. As someone who likes to eat, this seems like a dream come true. Plus you get to find the food that you want to serve at your event.

  6. Joy Butler says:

    Hi Nicole, I’m grateful for your advice about the wedding guests who should be the major concern in getting a wedding catering service. This is what we are deciding on at the moment. My daughter wants a beach wedding, thus, we’ll need to hire a caterer. Thanks, and we’ll see to it that we’ll pick one with all honesty.

  7. Different dishes have a different taste and the featured dishes follows a different patterns in which they are serve as this recipes are performed by the corporate caterers as they follows a different menu all time.

  8. Adrian Jones says:

    When looking for catering services it’s important to book one taste-testing appointment at a time so you don’t get overwhelmed with so much flavor in your mouth you end up getting sick the next day due to eating too much. There should be enough feedback time when it comes to selecting which service to ultimately go with since taking notes, asking questions is very important before deciding what kind of catering service you want to get. If I would order some catering, I would want to try eating the way native Hawaiians would.

  9. Kate Welling says:

    I like your tip about being honest with the caterer. I’ll let my sister know this. She just got engaged last week and is starting to plan her wedding now. She is a big foodie, and would love to have a concession stand at her wedding! I will pass this on to her so she can assess all the available options!

  10. Thanks for the suggestion to consider guests who have particular diets or allergies. I’m glad you mentioned that because I may have otherwise forgotten about my fiance’s cousin who recently switched to a vegetarian diet. We’ll have to look for a great caterer in our area who has good substitute options or incredible salads and vegetable options!

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