A Must Have: Full Service Catering
Food is a huge part of any wedding (or event in general)! Typically, if you are hosting your wedding in a hotel or resort, you are likely going to use the food and beverage team providing in your booking package. But, if you are opting to get married in a venue that does not restrict or have exclusive rights with a caterer, then you have the big (and tasty) task of selecting a vendor to provide your food and beverage needs.
Quite often, the cost of this service can be overwhelming or surprising if you are not aware of all that is involved, so we’ve started to break that down for you. We firmly believe that it is vitally important to hire a full-service catering team. Full service meaning that they not only handle the preparation and serving of your food, but also handle front of house servers, back of house staff, bussing, water service, setting support, bar service, and super important- trash removal.
What!?! All these things come from a caterer! Absolutely! And these are important elements that impact the experience that you and your guests have. Imagine a wedding with no water service? Or no bussing of tables? Or if all the trash is left out everywhere? These are things that you don’t necessarily think about but have a huge impact if no one is there to do it. We realize that these are all additional costs and things to add into your budget, but not only is it a huge stress relief, but also can save you a lot of money (in fees and penalties from your venue for not meeting certain clean up requirements otherwise).
Some things to look for in your full-service catering packages:
What is included in the menu price? Are the passed appetizers or cocktail hour food included in the price per person, or is that an ala cart fee? We would encourage you to set up a tasting with your catering team. This is a good opportunity for you to experience their food, service, and meet with the Chef or catering team.
Does their menu come with dessert? Or if you are getting a traditional cake, will they cut and serve it to your guests?
Does your full-service caterer provide bar service? This is usually an additional cost, so make sure that you are aware of what your bar service comes with when you sign. Typically, a caterer will have some type of bar kit package that includes your basic essentials for the bar: ice, garnishes, equipment, etc. But depending on the caterer, you might have to arrange picking up the alcohol or sourcing it through them.
Front of House Service:
How many servers and assistants are working on your wedding? What are the parameters of their roles? Does it go from maintaining the food, water service, and bussing? Or can they also assist with other items throughout the day such as repurposing of chairs (if you are using the same set from ceremony to reception). This is important to discuss with them so you are all on the same page about any tasks that will be guest facing.
Back of House Service:
What items does the catering team need in order to conduct a successful dinner service? Keep in mind that full-service caterers typically require several rental items including: prep tent, prep tables, serving trays, oven, and more. Get a list of the items that the caterer is requiring and be sure to pass that along to your planner or rental company to have added onto your rental order.
Most outdoor venues or private estates have very strict clean up policies in order to maintain their property. Having a full-service catering company with the staffing to handle trash removal is essential- and a huge motivating factor to book full service. Knowing that they will take care of bussing, organizing, and removing trash in the appropriate manner is vitally important. I cannot stress this enough that hiring your caterer and service staff to handle trash removal is essential in being able to properly close out your event with the venue.
These are just a few of the many things that encompass the role of your full-service caterer. We would encourage you to have an open and honest dialog with your catering team and ensure that you have a clear understanding of what services they provide and how it can best enhance your wedding day!