How to Find the Perfect Wedding Caterer: Advice from Four Wedding Experts
With the majority of a wedding budget going to catering, we thought we’d do a little research for you… We asked four wedding experts for advice on catering. Here’s what they had to say.
What is the biggest mistake you see couples make with their caterer?
Doris Dunkel, Owner and Lead Events Coordinator of San Diego Events Company, says the biggest mistake she sees is “Hiring a caterer who is inexperienced. It is a delicate process knowing how much food to order and knowing the appropriate staff support for the size of the wedding.”
Emily, Eco Caters’ Co-Owner and San Diego Senior Wedding Coordinator, says she all too often witnesses couples picking the cheapest caterer and then regretting it. “They believe the cheap caterer will be just as good, even though they will not be cooking on-site – that’s not possible. You have to cook on-site if you want fresh tasting food. We also commonly hear ’This other caterer said we could do it with half the staff.’ Sure you can, but the service suffers immensely. You get what you pay for.”
What is the easiest thing I can cut from my budget?
“Unnecessary rentals” says Lauren, Senior Los Angeles Wedding Coordinator, of Eco Caters. “Although it may seem like you need a specific style of china, chargers, or glassware, the truth is that it’s more about the decor and accent items. Most guests do not notice if they’re drinking out of a clear or colored glass. Stick with the basics when you can and spend that extra money on something fun like a photo booth or DIY selfie station!”
Emily points out that you can save by simply changing up your service style. “If a couple would like plated or family style but wishes to save money, a buffet is the way to go with us. Plus, the food quality is just as great!”
What questions should I ask a caterer before booking them?
Lindsay Swain, SalesManager and Coordinator of Vario Wedding in San Diego, offers this sound advice. “Is the caterer licensed and do they carry liquor liability insurance? What type of food does the catering company specialize in? Is the caterer working any other events the day of your wedding? Can the caterer provide references from past clients? That’s what I would want to know.”
What are the most popular wedding food trends this year?
As a coordinator covering a wide scope of events, Doris has seen trends come and go! “This year I’ve seen an uptick in mashed potato bars, breakfast for dinner, and anything organic and locally grown.”
Lindsay has seen a boom in, “food trucks, donut bars, and mini grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup shooters for late night snacks.”
This season Lauren has seen a substantial increase in family-style service. “A wedding brings two homes together to create a big happy family, so why not serve a family-style dinner! We bring the food right to the table where you and your guests pass dishes and share the meal as one.”
If you have questions about your upcoming California wedding, reach out to Vario Weddings, San Diego Events Company, and Eco Caters. Special thanks to Lindsay, Doris, Emily and Lauren for sharing their insights!
San Diego Events Company
Doris Dunkel, Owner/ Events Coordinator
Lindsay Swain, Coordinator and Account Manager
Emily Brune, Co-owner and Senior Wedding Coordinator of San Diego
Lauren Sullivan, Senior Wedding Coordinator of Los Angeles