I want to start off letting you know that this post is a series of posts called ‘Advice from a Professional - The Wedding Series’. If you want to learn more, or see other posts within this series check out Top Wedding Questions Answered - Advice from a Professional
Food. Man, how do you choose what to eat at your wedding? Everyone has different diets these days, there are so many different catering companies out there, and everyone is going to be hungry! Let’s face it, you don’t want to get hangry on your wedding day right? I mean that is the absolute last thing you want anyone to go through. After all the day is supposed to be filled with love, joy, and good food!
So how do you choose? How do you know that you are making all the right decisions? Well, that is why we ask the pros! Today I am interviewing Jessica with Fiona’s Local. This girl is amazing! She is so dang gorgeous, so incredibly sweet, and makes some of the best food around. Make sure that you check out her Instagram (listed below) for some beautiful food images, and wedding inspiration.
P.s. This girl got the award for the 2018 Best Caterer in Tuolumne County! Seriously though, you gotta check her out!
Alright alright, lets get into the interview :)
How to choose food for your wedding
Advice from a professional | Fiona’s Local with Jessica
Q1. What should be considered when choosing the menu?
When deciding what to serve your guests, I suggest a couples menu express their own tastes & reflect their culinary heritage, or that of their favorite foods. Keeping the meal personal to you is lovely way to tell your story through food, so if you haven’t done it, sit with your partner & figure out where you’d like to take this & set aside a realistic budget for the day. For most couples, the meal is going to be in your top 3 largest expenses, so deciding on a number up front will aid in selecting the right caterer, menu & service.
Some of the things I ask a client who is unsure of their direction are;
What does your favorite date night meal look like? Do you prefer French, or barbecue, etc.? How formal would you like the service to be?
Q2. What should be considered when choosing a caterer? How soon before the wedding should you book a caterer?
Once you’ve decided what your style & budget will be, you should start requesting quotes from your preferred caterers. Many of us can be booked a year or more out, so getting in on the food game early will help your chances of securing your event with minimal footwork. When you make contact, the more information you have the better, so knowing your venue is important. Each has its own amenities & this can affect your cost. Some caterers have mobile kitchens, trucks or trailers & the lack of a kitchen is not an issue for them. Fiona’s isn’t quite there yet, so we rely on what the venue has to offer & we build our equipment needs around that & your menu choices. As long as there is a water source, we’ve made the best of every situation.
With us, our first contact will be information gathering to get you a proper quote, so some information to have handy would include;
Date, location, kitchen availability, budget, minimum number of guests, event start & end time, type of menu (appetizers, dinner, etc.) & service (buffet, family style, plated), any allergies or preferred diets.
Q3. Do caterers offer samples?
Every caterer is different when it comes to tastings & much is dependent on their situation. For vendors with a location, tastings are much easier to execute as they have committed hours, food suppliers & dedicated staff. In addition, they have the ability to absorb the costs associated with shopping/ordering, preparing & serving, through their daily operation. For someone like myself, who operates out of a commissary, or shared kitchen, it can be tricky to make that happen. If offered by your caterer, it is typically limited in size (2-4 people) & menu, which means you’ll get to choose a specified number of items to try. Some will offer a tasting for free, some will have a fee to cover food & labor costs, and again this is dependent on their situation. What we typically do is set a per person fee for the tasting & should the couple choose to book with us and secure their date with a retainer on the day of the tasting, the tasting fee is waived for the couple.
Q4. What is your top tip for choosing a wedding menu?
My top tips for choosing a wedding menu would be to convey as much information regarding your personal style, menu ideas & budget to your caterer as you can in the beginning, & trust your chef! We want to help you have a beautiful day & make it as stress free as possible. Finalizing your menu choices should be done well before the event so that your caterer has the opportunity to properly source product. In some cases, it can take several days to a couple weeks for specialty items to be delivered & theres event the option to have produce grown locally specifically for you. We work with some wonderful local farmers who are more than happy to make that happen. But nailing that down ahead of time will give you one less thing to think about. As far as numbers, we start off with your guaranteed minimum number of guests to base the cost off of & ask that your final number, should your count increase, be given no later than 10 days prior to your event. A reduction in numbers is likely to result in a revision of your contract & a possible increase in the per person cost & an under estimate could result in running short on food, so try to be as realistic as possible with your caterer.
Q6. How do we please everyone? There are so many people with eating restrictions? Help!
Choosing a menu that is reflective of your wants, as well as the dietary needs of you & your guests doesn’t have to be daunting. With the prevalence of restrictions & preferences, it can seem difficult to find a meal that can accommodate everyone, but this is one area that I happily accept the challenge. Because I prefer to work with whole foods & personally have hands & eyes on every ingredient that comes through my kitchen, I enjoy making every guest feel included & considered & am more than happy to research proper substitutions to accommodate. Knowing any type of allergy, restriction or preference before hand is helpful in getting started & you can always let your caterer know if you anticipate a certain need. In my experience, gluten free & vegan/vegetarian are the most requested.
Alright ladies! There you have it. Advice from one of the coolest chicks I know. Jessica is super sweet and the food that she creates is amazing. Her food is fresh, delicious, and absolutely beautiful! She pours all her heart and soul into her business and making sure that her clients are happy.
Do you have any other questions? If you do, please comment below! We will be answering all of your additional questions in the comments below. Please don’t hesitate to ask as it will also help all the other brides out there :)
Wishing you nothing but the most amazing wedding ever!
p.s. If you are looking for a wedding photographer and you think we might be a good fit hit me up via this contact form. Lets Chat!