Wed | Sep 20, 2017

Choosing the Right Wedding Caterer

Published:Monday | July 17, 2017 | 7:00 AM
Crispy Shrimp Wraps prepared by Elite Kreations.
Elite Kreations' savoury Shrimp & Chicken Pasta.
Old-Fashioned Roast Beef Lasagna whipped up by the Elite Kreations team.
Elite Kreations' mouth-watering BackaYard Chicken served with rice.
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Planning weddings can be one of the most thrilling experiences, especially for those exciting brides, but it can also be the most overwhelming. According to Elite Kreations, with food being an essential element of any nuptials, knowing what to look for when choosing a caterer can spell all the difference to pulling off your big day.

So, in honouring Flair's 'Wedding Issue', we've enlisted their culinary experts in order to dish out some savoury and sweet tips on how to choose the right caterer.

Determine your budget

You're going to need a budget for every aspect of your wedding but catering, Elite Kreation has pointed out, will account for a significant portion of your wedding expenses. "Before reaching out to caterers, you first have to decide on your budget for food and beverages. It can easily spiral out of control if costs aren't kept in check, so creating a budget will not only help to track your spending, but will also assist in setting guidelines for what you're able to afford." Consider choosing a company which offers both catering and bar service to get a better deal, said Chef Stewart, founder of Elite Kreations.

Do your research

New to the wedding scene? Well, do some research, seek expertise from those who have already gone down the road of holy matrimony, whether family members or friends, to see if they can possibly recommend potential caterers. You should gather a few quotes in order to compare not just costs but also menu options and dinner services. "Keep in mind the seasonality of vegetables, fruits, and meats when choosing a menu, since the pricing will be affected by the availability of produce. Additionally, rates will also be impacted by the type of dinner service selected and the number of staff needed. If you're on a tight budget, you may want to opt for the more economical buffet style over a plated dinner, which requires extra servers," Stewart added.

Schedule tastings

Tastings are crucial in deciding the main meals for your big day. Try to schedule a tasting with the chosen caterer(s) before making the right decision. "Limit the number of persons you invite to three to five individuals whose opinions you not only truly value, but who will also bring value to the experience. "A larger group may run the risk of welcoming more contrasting views, and the experience may become overwhelming," Stewart highlighted. During the tasting, Shea recommends being open and honest with your feedback, ensuring that you share any concerns you may have about the dishes presented.

Iron out all the culinary kinks

Work closely with your caterer and wedding planner, clearly outlining the resposibilities of each, so to avoid any mishaps. Stewart advises, "Everyone should be on the same page about who will provide items like the linens and cutlery for the reception; who will set up the lighting and identify a water source should there be an outdoor prep area, and who will be responsible for cutting the cake for guests."

Finalise the Contract

Finalising before the big day is key to making the reception process go smoothly. With that in mind, Stewart shared that once you've selected a caterer, you should receive a final proposal, which outlines the menu, staff, equipment, tableware, and all requisite fees. Be sure to carefully review the invoice and correct all errors before signing off and paying your deposit.

krysta.anderson@gleanerjm.com