Images by Hannah Duffy Photography.
It’s mid-summer and we’re officially slap bang in the middle of peak wedding season!
BRING IT ON!
If your wedding has been and gone and you’re still checking-in on the inspirational pages of the Coco Wedding Venues blog then welcome back and congratulations! If, on the other hand, your wedding is yet to come, then I truly hope that your plans and preparations are as they should be and that you’re able to step back, relax and enjoy the lead up to your Big Day.
So, why exactly am I here with you today and popping up on your feed? Well, back in May I introduced you to a BRAND NEW WEDDING PLANNING SERIES (exclusive to Coco Wedding Venues) – a series that I hope has provided you (and will continue to provide you) with an abundance of insight, advice, top tips, confidence, encouragement and support over the coming months and years.
This series is, in a nutshell, an opportunity for me to hang out alongside some of my industry colleagues, sharing a wealth of planning advice, in the form of a Q&A, on a supplier category by category basis.
First up was all things floral, and once again a huge and heartfelt thank you and shout out to Brigitte from Moss & Stone Floral Design, Liz from Blue Sky Flowers and Jen from JenniBloom Floral Design Studio for your invaluable advice and expert contribution towards our very first feature in the series Wedding Flower Tips – A Q&A with Wedding Florists.
And today, it’s all about caterers and wedding catering which is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the most important aspects of a wedding/planning a wedding. Which kinda means that you need to get it right!
To help you on your foodie way, let me introduce you to my panel of catering pros…
- Kalm Kitchen – The masters of crafting and designing exceptional experiences that push creative catering boundaries.
- Caper & Berry – Purveyors of personal, delectable menus served with a sense of style and occasion.
- Crown Catering – An exceptionally passionate and inspired bespoke Cambridge based catering company (who also happen to own my favourite local pub, the King’s Head in Dullingham).
And the ESSENTIAL wedding planning questions:
The Foodie Q&A
At what stage of the planning process should you start to think about wedding caterers and catering?
Caper & Berry say: We’d advise that couples start looking into caterers as early on in the planning process as possible. Venues and caterers tend to go hand in hand as a venue will usually have a preferred list of suppliers they’ve worked with previously. And, if you’re planning a marquee wedding, this ideally needs to be the next thing on your list, once you’ve secured your marquee.
Ultimately, the sooner you’re able to contact caterers, the sooner they’ll be able to check availability and give you an indication of costs which will then help you work out your overall wedding budget.
Top tips on choosing a wedding caterer, including questions to ask?
Kalm Kitchen say: Take your time, do your research and look at a few websites and social media feeds as a starting point. This should give you a good idea as to whether a caterer offers an authentic service that reflects you and your style. You should also check out testimonials at the same time to get a real insight into what a caterer can deliver.
Next up – schedule a meeting or call. Working with a team of diligent and passionate people will make or break your planning experience. It’s important that you feel a connection and that your caterer understands what you’re trying to achieve.
And finally, it almost goes without saying, but try the food! This is, without a shadow of a doubt, the biggest test for deciding whether your wedding food will be every bit as amazing as you dream of.
Crown Catering say: Reputation is key so choose a caterer with a proven record of quality and reliability. Talk to family and friends. You can be sure they know who is good and who is not. Word of mouth is still one of the best forms of recommendation.
Catering budgets – how much and why?
Kalm Kitchen say: It’s a good idea to set out with a realistic idea of your budget parameters. It’s like anything – you can spend as much or as little as you choose, but of course the results will reflect this. Be honest with your caterer about what your spend is, and that will allow them to give you an accurate proposal.
If you’re contacting several caterers, then make sure you’re comparing like-with-like. Some caterers will supply an all-inclusive price, and others won’t. Look out for hidden costs too. Investing in a highly experienced company can be more expensive, but the investment will be evident with the slick, all-encompassing service and the amount of stress you’ll save yourself along the way.
Caper & Berry say: There are different approaches to catering budgets. Firstly, you can approach a caterer with an overall guide cost. From here you’ll be given an indication with regards to what is achievable for that figure. Alternatively, you can approach a caterer with a specific menu in mind, for example 6 canapés, a three-course wedding breakfast, and evening food including wine. A caterer will then provide an indicative cost based on that menu. Here at Caper & Berry, we tend to try and work with couples on their vision for their wedding day and create a menu proposal that is bespoke to them.
Crown Catering say: Weddings are primarily remembered for two things; the ceremony itself and the food, so when budgeting you need to ensure the food is good. The total cost will depend on the overall food package. Do you want canapés at the reception and if so, how many? Will you require evening food after the wedding breakfast? There are also economies of scale so very often a small wedding can be more expensive per head than a larger one.
Things to communicate with your wedding caterer and by when
Crown Catering: As with most things in life, communication is of the essence. From day one, try to give an accurate assessment of total numbers for the reception and any additional guests for the evening. Get your budget sorted and your tasting booked in.
Allergies and dietaries are also incredibly important so the sooner you can communicate these with your caterer, the better.
- How many children will there be?
- Does anybody require a special meal?
- Do you want crew meals to be served for the photographer/band etc?
- What drinks do you plan on serving?
- Who’s managing the evening bar?
- What time do you have access from to set up?
Once again, all important questions and things that you need to communicate with your caterer in the final few months leading up to your wedding and no later than a fortnight to one month prior.
It may sound obvious but also make sure you provide key contact details and check the payment terms carefully.
5 top catering tips
- Listen to the advice and experience of your catering team. They’ll always have good reason for guiding you towards (or away) from something.
- Be bold! Allow your caterer to create a mind-blowing food station for your canapés or evening reception. It’s these creative touches that will set your wedding apart from everyone else’s.
- Be sure that you love the food you’re serving up on your wedding day. It’s easy to get wrapped up with everyone else’s needs, but essentially, it’s your day!
- It’s important to like the team you’re working with and that you have a good rapport.
- Try to include and reflect your personality in the food or service. People love attending weddings that feel authentic and personal.
2020 catering trend predictions
Kalm Kitchen say: Interactive food stations are a huge talking point. They look fabulous as the styling options are endless, and guests love the sense of conversation they create. Think a bagel bar pre-ceremony or as a late snack. Or, an Eton Mess table, laden with sweet treats on a glorious summer’s day. If you’re planning an autumn or winter wedding, then home comforts are big news! We’ve just launched a cookie corner, featuring bite-size biscuits and milk, or how about a hot chocolate and honeycomb stall? A spectacular, and super-popular way to round off a perfect day.
Caper & Berry:
Ottolenghi sharing meals will continue to be hugely popular due to their vibrant displays and the interaction these meals can create amongst guests. It’s also a great opportunity to add variation to the traditional sit-down wedding breakfast.
Veganism will continue to be hugely popular, and we are big fans of these dishes as they are a great way to incorporate colour and are packed full of flavour. With these dishes there’s also a real emphasis on the produce itself and the simplicity of exceptional ingredients.
A few of our current favourites include:
Asparagus, pea and textures of onion – Chargrilled asparagus and minted pea puree with textures of onion, truffle cream and leek oil.
Balsamic peach – Balsamic roasted peach, toasted hazelnut, home dried tomato and baby leaf salad finished with extra virgin olive oil.
Rhubarb and pistachio – Poached rhubarb and rhubarb puree served with a soya crumble with toasted almonds and pistachio powder.
Sustainability will continue to be at the forefront from both a client’s perspective and most certainly from ours. We’re continually striving to source fresh and exceptional produce from local yet trusted suppliers, along with limiting the number of deliveries per week. We’ve been working with a fantastic company called Carbon Footprint – once we’ve delivered a client’s weddings, we calculate the carbon emissions and work with Carbon Footprint to plant trees in our client’s names.
And there we have it… another guide (in the planning series) done, with even more tips and planning advice to come.
And if you’re in the process of looking for a wedding caterer then do head on over and check out Kalm Kitchen, Caper & Berry and Crown Catering, including their Instagram feeds = mouth-wateringly delicious!
See you again in September.