Wedding Food Tips

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How can I feed the band at my wedding?

Keep the Band Fed

Ask your caterer or catering hall to set up a simple cold buffet for the band (sandwiches, salads and cold drinks) that can be accessible to them all night long. This way, they aren't at the mercy of the kitchen, and your guests are not at the mercy of the band's stomachs. Everyone is happy, and it should cost you less than feeding them an entire wedding meal (which, if they are doing their job, they will have no time to sit and enjoy...)

How can we save money on alcohol?

Alcohol Know-How

When you're making arrangements for alcohol at your reception, be sure to nail down the following details. They may seem trivial but the differences can add up to a big bill or big savings:

* Will waiters fill all glasses on the tables or ask each guest first?
* Will glasses be filled all the way, halfway, or 3/4 of the way?
* Will opened bottles be left on the tables or will waiters circulate to refill glasses?

How can I save money on food?

Awesome Appetizers

If you want to save money on your reception costs, consider having an "appetizers only" reception. You can serve a mix of hot and cold hors d'oeuvres. Be careful how many you choose, too many appetizers can get expensive. Also make sure it is clear on the invitation the type of reception you are having. You don't want your guest expecting a full meal.

What should I consider when serving wine?

Which Wine is That?

If you're serving an inexpensive wine and are worried about the name of the brand, serve it in a carafe so no one can make judgments based on the label.

What should I ask our caterer?

Quizzing the Caterer

Hiring a caterer to provide food for your big day? Here are some questions you'll want to ask:

  • Do you cater full-time?
  • Do you have any formal training?
  • How long have you been a caterer?
  • What is the ratio of staff to guests?
  • What equipment do you provide?
  • Are there extra charges for buffet servers, champagne toast, having you make the cake, cake cutting, bartenders, etc.?

What kind of bar/alcohol options do we have?

A Limited Bar

This is an excellent option for alcohol: guests don't have to pay for their own drinks, and you don't end up with a huge bill. You decide beforehand which beverages you're going to serve (usually a mix of wine, beer and maybe mixed drinks), and then have the bar open only during certain times (such as during the toasts and for an hour or so after dinner).

How much alcohol should we buy for our reception?

Enough Alcohol

If you're having alcohol for your wedding reception, it's recommended that you purchase approximately 1/3 more alcohol then you think you'll use. Be sure to purchase from a distributor that will let you return unopened bottles, and inform your caterer of this.

How can I make the food more interesting?

Mix it Up

Want to have your guests mingling more than they do at buffets or waiter-served weddings? Try having different food stations set up around the room: pasta, Mexican, sushi and stir-fry are just some of the many suggestions.

How can we make our reception meal special?

Fancy Frills

Want to make your wedding reception dinner a special look and feel? Try adding one of the following touches:

-Have waiters circulate during dinner to offer grated parmesan or romano cheese or ground pepper

-Have a cappucino/espresso bar

-Have a sundae bar, cotton candy machine or movie-theatre style popcorn popper

-Have waiters hand out glasses of champagne to guests as they arrive

What should I know about prices for food?

Food Price Know-How

Be sure to get detailed quotes from your caterer in regards to specific food items. This is especially important to remember if you're planning for a wedding that's more than six months away. Perishable food prices can change; be sure you're prepared by asking these questions:

* Are you guaranteed the price on the food quote or can it change?
* Will you be charged more overall if the caterer's cost of food increases?
* How and when would you be notified of a price increase?
* Can you make substitutions?

What questions should I ask the caterer?

Matchy Matchy

When you choose your caterer, be sure to ask what kind of dishes they serve on---make sure that they're in good condition and they they coordinate with your color scheme.

What should we include in the final head count for our caterer?

Final Head Count

When it comes time to give the final number of guests to your caterer, don't forget to include meals for your DJ/band members, photographer/videographer and wedding consultant (ask them beforehand if they'd like meals). Sometimes the caterer will give you discounts for vendor meals.

styles for wedding cakes

Wedding Cake Styles

Most wedding cake styles consist of tiers, largest on the bottom with smaller on top. Some tiers are separated by pillars with things like colored fountains or figurines in the center of the pillars.
Cakes can be shaped into round, ovals, or squares.They can be decorated with flowers, icing flowers, ribbons, or candles. You can even use cupcakes stacked in the shape of a tiered wedding cake, or your favorite donuts. The choice is yours!

What should we consider when hiring a caterer?

Choosing a Caterer Top 3

Keep these three things in mind when you're choosing a caterer: the food should taste excellent, the service should be perfect, and the table settings should be attractive and creative.

What beverages should we have at the reception?

Non-Alcoholic Beverages

Be sure that you have a nice selection of non-alcoholic beverages at your reception. Many people today are drinking less alcohol anyway, and it will also save you money. Choose 'fancy' drinks such as sparkling or mineral water, flavored carbonated waters, ice tea, real lemonade, sparkline punch, or hot
mulled cider.

How can I make my guests more comfortable at the reception?

Hospitality Table

If your wedding and reception are both happening in the same offbeat, off track or non-restaurant type of location, consider having a very limited bar or soft drink setup available when people arrive for the wedding. They will most likely be thirsty and having that extra little touch is very welcoming. This can be as simple as an urns of coffee and tea, or a simple selection of punch and sparkling water.

What should we keep in mind when figuring out the number of meals?

Chow for Children

When figuring the number of meals for your caterer, don't forget to tally a separate number of meals for children. There's usually a lesser charge for meals for kids under 12 years of age.

What kind of bar/alcohol options do we have?

Open Bar

Of all the beverage options, this is the most expensive. Be prepared for a hefty bill, and for possible over-indulgers who may drink too much. Go this route only if you've got the funds to back it up.

What should I consider when serving alcohol at our reception?

Bad Buckets

If you're chilling wine or beer in ice buckets and the labels get ruined, you might not be able to return those bottles to the distributor. Keep this in mind when you're deciding how to serve your alcohol.

Should we have a cash bar?

Cash Bars

Cash bars are not only controversial, they're also just plain tacky. Inviting people to your wedding and then asking them to pay for their drinks is not a nice thing to do. If you can't afford an open bar, have a limited selection of alcohol instead. If you can't afford that, then consider nixing the alcohol altogether.

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Guru Spotlight
Shirley Tan