Hey There!! Happy Wedding Wednesday! I’m so excited to write this post because food is one of my favorite subjects to talk about and if you know me or follow my IG (bloggingandthings) then you probably know one of my favorite mottos is “Food is Life” (literally and figuratively). When it came to choosing the food for my wedding…let’s just say my food game is strong…real strong, so expectations were pretty high to start with! When it came to choosing a caterer for my wedding, I knew whichever vendor I went with, they were going to be in over their heads.
First Things First
When choosing your venue (blog post HERE), one of your deciding factors may be which venue is a la carte vs all inclusive. What I’m saying is there are venues that include food, alcohol, floral arrangements, DJ, and/or other vendors in their price while other venues include nothing except use of their venue- this was my case.
Our venue provided us with a list of 12 pre-approved vendors that could provide catering services. Now if you know me then you know that I’m not one to simply feed you anything simple or basic so I knew that I needed to start looking for my caterer and dessert vendor asap! I had a vision of both how I wanted my guests to be served as well as how I wanted the dessert table and presentation to look like.
If you’re at the point of planning your caterer then I imagine you have an idea of your wedding theme and how it will look visually. It’s definitely fun if you can incorporate something from your theme into your food or dessert menu. I’ve also heard of couples who incorporate a theme for each course or food station, depending on how the food is being served. So there is a lot of room to be creative here. In addition, your catering vendor will also help you with your furniture rentals in relation to dining and can be a great source if you’re looking for creative ways to incorporate your theme to your dining decor.
I chose to add a lot of décor pieces that had the “enchanted forest” feel that I was going for and incorporated it into my dessert designs since it was harder for me to depict this with the food.
There were three things I knew that I wanted to incorporate into our dinner.
Guests to dine outside
No seating arrangements!
I was very adamant about having open seating for all of my guests
No generic menu aka chicken, beef, fish option. I wanted LOTS of options.
I wanted to do “food stations”
Like I mentioned, our venue would only allow us to have a caterer that was on their pre-approved list so I made sure to contact each vendor early in the game and let them know the honest truth about my expectations for them as a caterer. To be honest out of the 12 only about half were up for the task so I’m absolutely glad that I “vetted” them for a lack of a better word.
Not only should you interview your potential caterer but you should definitely do a taste testing with them! Presentation and taste are twins, one should not be without the other!
Make sure your venue provides you with a comprehensive “menu”. Just like any restaurant would have, your caterer should provide you with a full menu of what is being served and at what point of the wedding, let them know of any allergies and/or special needs.
Once you’ve interviewed all of your vendors and narrowed it down to your top 3 or so choices, I would recommend you make sure to choose a caterer that you can easily work with. Meaning you have an established point of contact who knows YOU (your name, your wedding date, most recent conversations you’ve had) and can contact at any time.
TIP: One tip that I received (not while wedding planning, but used it because it is completely relevant) was that you should “walk yourself” through the entire experience. This is a practice I try to incorporate into any event I plan even something as simple as packing for a 1 week vacation. “Walk yourself” through the entire wedding from beginning to end and not just as a bride but as a guest, bride, bridesmaids, family, etc. How will your guests navigate from the happy hour to the dinner, will someone let them know? How will guests find the bathroom? How will guests navigate their way through the food (think how to layout)? A lot of these will be covered by your vendors but every good planner (meaning YOU) should know the details to all of these questions.
More important to me than the food being served was DESSERT! To be completely honest with you I had vision boards for my dessert table before anything else! That’s how important it was for me! With that said, I wanted to have several dessert options for my guests including doing cupcakes rather than the traditional cake.
I thought cupcakes would be a better idea because I could get a lot of flavors for the guests and they could pick and choose as they please. I chose four cupcake flavors and chose the designs myself (vision board) from several inspiration photos to get some absolutely gorgeous cupcakes! The cupcakes were seriously the best cupcakes I’ve ever had and people who came to our wedding constantly tell me, “Those cupcakes were so delicious!”
So how did I still have cake at the wedding? Let me tell you a quick story on why I had a cake. I initially wanted to create a tiered look with a small cake on top- totally decked out with florals, and fill the lower 3-5 tiers with cupcakes. Somewhere around 2-4 weeks before the wedding I decided to opt out of this idea because I thought it would look better if the cupcakes were scattered about on wood stumps. I didn’t want to cancel the cake so late because I would’ve got charged a cancellation fee so we had cake just for the two of us and cupcakes for the guests! No such thing as too much dessert in my book!
Going with that thought, our venue told us they had an area outside for guests to enjoy s’mores and we thought why not! It wasn’t very costly to request our caterer to provide the s’mores ingredients and it was a great hit at the wedding for both kids and adults!
Our caterer also had a fun dessert option that never gets old, cookies and milk! Not only was it a great alternative for anyone who didn’t want cake and/or s’mores but the setup was freaking adorbs!
Don’t be scared to shy away from traditional dessert options or find simple add-ons (like milk and cookies) to add a twist to your dessert table. Some other ideas I’ve seen at other weddings are donuts, cake pops, cookie assortment, and of course Pinterest has ideas for days!
Can’t wait to share more with you all again! Happy Wedding Wednesday!