Denver Wedding Caterer Advice: Direct From The Pros
“The food at the reception is one of the most memorable parts of a wedding. What are some tips you give your couples to ensure this part of their big day goes off without a hitch?”
I would have two main recommendations for couples in regard to food on their big day with the same general idea in mind, Simplicity. Don’t try to do the most interesting and progressive food out there unless you know your guests will like it. Keep in mind of the vast array of taste the wedding party alone will have from parents to friends. Pick something you know all guests will enjoy.
The second part of simplicity is more of logistic simplicity. It you have 100+ guests and you want steak as the entree just know what goes into cooking and keeping 100 steaks warm at one time, inevitably the steaks tend to dry out and as it will still be tasty it most likely won’t be the best steak of your life. For larger events like this I always recommend more of a basic entree that can hold hot and never dry out, something homey and satisfying everyone will enjoy, just make sure it’s not the messiest item on the menu.
Here are a few tips to ensure the food at the reception is the one of the most memorable parts of a wedding:
Ensure you shop around for high quality food that is within your budget. You should love the food that is being served.
Ensure there are options for all food restrictions, ie: vegetarians, vegans, gluten free, etc
Ensure there are 2 protein options. Many people do not eat red meat and many people do not eat pork. Chicken and beef are safe options.
Taste test the food prior to selecting options to make sure it is what you want.
Have a detailed contract of all food items that will be served, do not assume simple things like condiments requested. Do not assume anything regarding standard items.
Biggest thing is the time of the wedding reception. Often times I see people devour food within minutes during the cocktail hour because it’s 5pm and they have been waiting around all day from a 12pm ceremony and on into a 6:30pm dinner. If the the time is not flexible in which you have your reception, then it’s best to have items like cheese platters, fruit platters, crudite for people to access until they are satiated. Similarly, if there are passed appetizers during the cocktail hour, you want to make sure their is space for the service staff to get to everyone in the room or reception area. Often times people stand right beside a kitchen door, swooping in like vultures on the platter and it doesn’t make it five feet from the kitchen, leaving the rest of the guests without food. So in a long day of waiting around, you just want to make sure people are not getting hungry, especially when alcohol is involved.
Secondly, I always make sure the food is in your budget. There are plenty of options in every price point, so there isn’t any reason you (or your parents) should go broke because they are spending half a million on catering. Of course, if you have the means to do that, go for it. But my greatest sadness is spending so much on this one day, that you are stressed the rest of your lives. No one should start out like that!
I believe that the alcohol and bartenders serving the alcohol is one of the most memorable parts of a wedding for the guests. I say this because there is no other vendor that guests will interact more with than the bartender throughout the course of the night. With most of the weddings we do we also craft custom cocktails for the couples. It is important that these taste as best as they can so we put a lot of effort into creating something we know people will love. By choosing Garnish, our couples know that they have a bar service that is professional but also provides bartenders with great personalities who interact with their guests. They also know that they are getting cocktails created specifically for them and what they like. We offer a very high end service from creating drinks to bar tending the day of their wedding.
I think that a lot of the time people stress about having “fancy” food and trying to impress. We do many different wedding menus but I find that some of our biggest crowd pleasers happen with our portable pizza ovens and our amazing pizzas, simple salads and sometimes a few distinctive, enjoyable appetizers and desserts. I think keeping it simple with delicious flavors is what makes everyone happy!
We advise our couples to choose a catering service that fits the style of their wedding. For example, if you are having a more structured and fancy wedding it is important to have a larger catering service who can provide an upscale menu, their own waitstaff, china, etc. and a detailed contract outlining how they do everything all the time. If you are wanting a more carefree and laid back wedding you may want a caterer who is smaller and more easy going with flexible terms depending on your desires. For example, it is important to us that we cater weddings that are expecting a local, friendly staff serving simple, delicious, buffet style food. We don’t cater weddings that require special china and plated items, as this is not our specialty. When choosing a wedding caterer, you want to get what you expect to get, and in order to do that, you must pick one who specializes in the style of food and service you desire.
We agree! The food at your wedding reception is a very important part of your celebration. It’s vital to speak with your Sales Coordinator in detail about the flow of your event and how you want the service of dinner to go. If you’re a laid back couple, and want to have a casual dining experience with lots of fun options, we will most likely suggest a Station flow. That way, your guests are able to taste many types of cuisines by moving through each station at ease. If you want your guests to be fed quickly so you can get down to dancing, our quickest option is a plated service. Your guests won’t have to leave their seats and will enjoy their meal in unison giving you plenty of time to move on with the timeline. These are all key factors to keep in mind when trying to figure out the flow of the night!
Selecting a wedding menu is all about being creative and showing your personal style through the cuisine. The right caterer will get to know you, ask questions, and work alongside you to create a customized, cohesive approach to your food and service – that way the wedding reflects your vision. So be sure to be vocal on what your favorite foods are, where you like to eat out, dietary restrictions, etc.. Don’t ever be shy in planning your big day!
Successful catering requires experience. Proven excellence, whether it is through word of mouth or trusted reviews, means that the caterer knows what they are doing and they do their job well.
The more you know about your vision, the better! When seeking out proposals from caterers, include the amount of guests you are expecting, your favorite proteins, ingredients, food styles, any known dietary restrictions, and the budget you have in mind for the food and staff. The more information we have at the start of the process, the more detailed information we can give you in your proposal.
Once you’ve selected a caterer you trust, go ahead and trust them. They cater large events regularly, and likely have many years of experience doing so. If they suggest that something about your vision might not work for a larger crowd or a specific venue, take their feedback into account.
The most important tip we can give you when planning the food for your wedding is to trust the professionals! You wouldn’t trust your dentist to give you open heart surgery—don’t have your next-door neighbor do the food for your wedding, no matter how great a cook she may be! Ask your caterer what will and won’t work for your specific situation. Some foods will hold and transport well—but some won’t. Most caterers will bend over backward to accommodate your requests and desires, but you have to trust that they know what they are doing.
If you are especially budget-conscious, discuss the different options you have available. Trendy and unique additions like live action stations increase the fun, but also increase service needs, which directly increase the cost. Family style dinners have hidden costs in renting additional serving platters and serving utensils. A nice, beautifully presented buffet can ultimately cost less than a basic plated dinner because the labor costs are less.
Go with Pavy’s and we will take care of worry that you may have. But really hire someone that know how to handle catering weddings, and how the timing works. The main reason for these would be so you don’t end up with that rubbery chicken you had at your friends wedding.
Food is one of the most memorable parts of a wedding. The menu should be created with the passion and magic only a professional event chef can bring to your menu. Your reception is a beautiful memory to look back on in the future. Your wedding is a creation of beauty, let your food at the reception be a creation of beauty too.
Tip #1 – Food is one of the most important parts of the reception, make sure to hire a professional chef.
Tip #2 – Miscommunication is the biggest flaw that can completely ruin that special day especially the menu. Make sure every detail is planned and organized.
Tip #3 – Know the ingredients, I use fresh organic foods from local farms that bring beautiful freshness to your mouth.
Tip #4 – Have a menu created around what you are looking for, each part of your menu design has to be exactly the way you see it and want it.
Tip #5 – Pay attention to guests dietary restrictions so each guest can enjoy the reception. Only a professional chef can meet the complex needs of each guest.
I create a menu and provide professional service for your beautiful wedding day. I give 5 star services and no less. Healthy eating is very important.
Compiled by Denver Party Ride