Four Common Catering Misconceptions

Get the most out of your caterer with these four tips. Learn what will actually save you money and what only sounds like it will.

Choosing a caterer for your big day is one of the major decisions you will have to make.  It is no secret that wedding costs add up quickly and with there being so many options within your catering decisions, this may seem like a good place to cut down on some of your budget.  There is no harm in trying to trim some costs, but not everything you think is going to save you money will actually do so.  I am here to explain some misconceptions when it comes to catering and ways to save.  Get the most out of your caterer with these four tips, learn what will actually save you money and what only sounds like it will.

  1. Thinking an all vegetarian event will save you money
    It makes sense when you initially get the idea, but when it comes time to crunch the numbers, you may be surprised. While steak can be pricey, it doesn’t mean that vegetarian options would save you much money. Instead of looking at meat vs no meat, consider the products. Mushroom ravioli with truffle oil can cost just as much, if not more, than some meat entrees. Take into consideration the products used with each dish when you are choosing your menu items. If something is imported or out of season, it may add a few extra bucks per person.
  2. Assuming action stations are cheaper
    Actions stations are a great addition to a wedding! They engage your guests, allow them to pick how they want their food, and they can catch up with family and friends while they wait their turn. However, with each action station comes an additional attendant or two to help serve guests – and that means extra staffing cost for you. When considering action stations, don’t look at just the price per person for the station. Ask your caterer how many staff members are required to work each station you are interested in. If having solely actions stations breaks the wedding bank, choose one action station that is a must-have, and ask your caterer to help you find the right buffet to compliment it.
  3. Ordering less hors d’oeuvres than your anticipated head count
    It may sound crazy, but it happens more often than you’d think. If you have 200 guests attending, and only have the budget to feed hors d’oeuvres to 60 of them, it’s time to come up with a new plan. Think of it from the guest’s perspective – if you attended a wedding and heard people rave about an hors d’oeuvre, you’d want to try it, wouldn’t you? To avoid this, choose lesser priced hors d’oeuvres that you can order more of, or ask your caterer about their display selection. You want to make sure whatever is available to guests is available to all guests.
  4. Paying for an open bar for half of your guests
    This is not a reality. Even if his side doesn’t drink at all, how will the bartender know if they are part of the groom’s side? And how will they regulate it? If you have 250 guests and think only 100 will drink, look into other bar options. Venues and caterers offer a variety of options. If you don’t like the idea of a cash bar, consider drink tickets or a consumption bar. Both are paid by you, but they can be more affordable alternatives in this case. With drink tickets, there are different tiers of pricing depending on the type of bar available. You can purchase as many drink tickets as you wish, and then distribute them amongst the guests you know will drink. An easy way to do this is including it with their place card. Once their tickets run out, they can have the option of purchasing drinks. A consumption bar means every drink has a set price (which also depends on which tier bar you have available) each drink ordered gets tallied throughout the event. You will then get billed after the event for those drinks served. You can set limits to this as well. If your bar budget caps at $2,500, the bar can turn into a cash bar at that point. Most caterers and venues are great about allowing you to extend the cap as the night goes on as well.

It is easy to see why Brides and Grooms may see some of the above options as smart money saving ideas before they are really looked into.  It is important to make sure you evaluate and compare your options before actually making a decision.  Don’t cheat your guests out of something delicious by thinking you are saving a few bucks when in reality, you may not be.  Don’t stress, caterers are well aware that there is always a budget to aim within when planning a wedding.  A good caterer will work with you and be able to make suggestions so that you will be happy with your food choices and your spending!

How to Pick the Perfect Bouquet

A wedding bouquet is one of the few things that will be completely and specifically designed just for you, learn how to make it perfect.

A bridal bouquet is something that you can really express yourself with.  Whether you want real flowers, fake flowers, no flowers, a trailing bouquet, a posy bouquet, or anything in between, it is one of the few things that will completely and specifically be designed for you. Surprisingly enough, the bouquet needs to match your dress, in both color and style, and can really affect the way you look on your big day.  So here are some things to keep in mind:

  1. Choose your dress before the bouquet. You can have an idea of what type of bouquet you would like, but style makes a huge difference.  The dress you pick may not go with the style bouquet you had always imagined.
  2. Bring Color Swatches!  There are a million different shades of white out there. Bring a swatch of your dress to make sure, if you’re having any white flowers, they don’t clash with the color of your dress.  Also, bring swatches of your other color(s) so you can be sure to match them as best as possible. Especially when it comes to your bridesmaids bouquets, they need to match their dresses too!
  3. If you want real flowers, consider which ones are in season. If you want flowers that are out of season, they will be much more expensive if they’re even available. For summer months, look into some sunflowers, hydrangea, or star gazers, for spring: orchids, cherry blossoms, or freesia, for winter months: roses, holy berry, or carnations, and for autumn: irises, zinnias, or chrysanthemums. However, there are some flowers are not really affected by the seasons, lilies are one of these exceptions.
  4. If you are going a different route, like a brooch bouquet, make sure there is a very clear understanding of what you want, and what kind of a look you want to stay away from.
  5. Your bouquet is also a good place to put your something old or borrowed. If you’ve got a family heirloom, like a handkerchief, or a brooch that you want to add to a floral bouquet, see if your florist can incorporate it. Most of the time, items can be added to the stems and can make a beautiful, and very personal, addition.
  6. The more traditional you are going with your dress, and wedding in general, the more traditional your bouquet should be. Traditional bouquets are most often a round/posy bouquet or maybe even a teardrop.
  7. If the focus of your dress is on the bodice, you should probably stay away from a round bouquet, since that will draw attention away from your dress. Try looking into an arm or trailing bouquet, both are very beautiful but sit a little differently so your dress can still be seen.
  8. Make sure to take some pictures of your bouquet beforehand, especially if you have a specific place to put it during the reception. Your photographer is going to have plenty of things to take pictures of that night and you don’t want to later realize that you don’t have any pictures of the bouquet you designed so perfectly.
  9. Keep in mind that you are going to be holding on to your bouquet for a pretty good amount of time, so make sure it’s comfortable for you. Try not to make it too heavy so it doesn’t hurt your wrists and be sure that it has soft fabric around the stems so it doesn’t poke you or irritate your hands.
  10. Take the time to see what each flower and color represents, and match it to how your feeling. For instance, roses represent love, white chrysanthemums are for truth, ivy for fidelity, and if it’s your first and only love, put some lilacs in it. The world around you may never know all the meaning behind your flowers, but you and your partner will.
  11. It is important to remember, different flowers work better with different arrangements. Longer stemmed flowers, like calla lilies, tend to work better with cascading or arm bouquets, whereas irises and tulips work better in the posy bouquets.
  12. Consider your body shape when designing your bouquet, as well. If you are really tall, try and stick to a longer bouquet to help elongate yourself and to keep with the line. If you are really short, stick to something a little smaller and compact.

If you find all of the flowers and bouquet designing a bit overwhelming, another idea is for just the bride to have a bouquet and to have the bridesmaids hold on to something different.  Not only does this lessen your stress of matching flowers to dresses, but it also makes your bouquet a little more special, and provides you with a little bit more money to spend on your own.  Also, keep in mind that if your bouquet is something you plan on preserving, you don’t have to throw it! It’s yours, do with it what you please.  You may want to consider getting a small, simpler bouquet to throw later in the night and then you won’t have to worry about it.  I hope these tips on picking out the perfect bouquet have helped ease your mind through at least one of your many wedding planning decisions!

5 Important Questions to Ask Your Venue Before Booking

If you don’t ask the right questions before booking your venue you could be facing thousands of dollars in additional charges that could have been avoided.

Planning a wedding can be extremely stressful and time-consuming, not to mention, very expensive! One of the biggest and costliest decisions, when it comes to your special day, will be choosing your venue. That is why it is important for you to know the right questions to ask when shopping for your venue. These questions can help ensure you are getting everything you want, and most importantly, they can save you a significant amount of money! So don’t stress, we are here to help, take a look below at the five questions to ask before booking your wedding venue!

  1. Does the Venue Supply Tables and Chairs?
    Believe it or not, there are several venues out there that may not supply tables and chairs for your event.  A question like this may be easy to overlook, but renting tables and chairs is no small expense and can add up very quickly!
    -Chiavari chairs are the most common and desirable for weddings, these chairs can run up to $10 per chair to rent.  White garden chairs are another common wedding chair, averaging at about $4 per chair.  120-inch tables seat 10 people and typically rent for about $10 each.  In the end, it will cost you about $11 per guest if you were to set up with chiavari chairs and round tables with seating for 10.  If you have 150 guests, that already an additional $1,650!
  2. Does the Venue have China, Glassware and Silverware?
    This information is not always presented at the beginning when getting a quote from a venue or caterer. Unfortunately, most independent venues do not supply china, glassware, and silverware and these necessities can end up being extremely expensive.
    -On average, china, glassware, and silverware can cost $5 to $10 per person, depending on what type of event you are having. If you have 150 guests, that can add up to an additional $750 to $1,000.
  3. Does the Venue have a Dance Floor?
    There is no better day to celebrate and dance than your wedding day, but your guests are going to want to join you!  Make sure there is room on the dance floor for both you and your guests to enjoy your special day.
    -A 20 by 20-foot dance floor can cost you about $1,000.
  4. Does the Venue Supply Table Linens and Linen Napkins?
    If the venue you are looking at does not supply tables and chairs, like we talked about previously, it is likely that it does not supply linens either.
    -Napkins start at around 75 cents each and liens, for the average 120-inch table, go for about $17 each.  You must also keep in mind, you are responsible for covering more than just the tables for your guests’ seating.  Buffet tables, cake tables, gift tables, registration tables, and whatever else you may have will also need to be covered and should be added into your cost.  A 150 guest wedding will consist of about 22 tables and 150 napkins, bringing the price for linens to around $486.50.
  5. Does the Venue Charge for Parking?
    If you are having your reception in or near a downtown area, there is a good chance your venue either charges for parking or requires valet service.
    -Parking could cost anywhere from $5 to $15 per car. If you calculate a 150 guest wedding by one car per two guests, you would have 75 cars, averaging an additional cost of $750.

We hope we didn’t scare you too much with all of these big numbers! As you can see, the necessary items for your wedding can add up fast! If you don’t ask the right questions you could be facing thousands of dollars in additional charges that possibly could have been avoided. Be informed, ask first and save money!