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Guest Blog: Working with a Caterer

The food is an important aspect of your wedding and finding the perfect caterer is hard. Listed below are some simple tips before you start working with a caterer.

  • Start planning in advance and be organized. Decide on the atmosphere you want for the event and take notes on your vision.
  • Research caterers through their websites, local planners, etc. Narrow the list to 3 or 4 and begin the conversation by filling out a website form or making a phone call for an appointment. You want to find a caterer you will have confidence in, one that will easily understand your vision.  Your research will eventually narrow the choices and you then can begin the process of working out the details.
  • Think about your budget and what’s most important. Because once you’ve got a budget, it becomes easier to make choices. What is the most important area to consider first in the budget? The location, the food, the entertainment? Are there areas where you’d be willing to be frugal so you are able to spend lavishly in another area? Pencil out your budget so you know approximately how much you can spend on the location, food, etc.
  • Choose your location immediately. Many great locations schedule a year or more in advance so they fill their calendar quickly. Check whether the location also includes amenities, such as tables, chairs, tents, etc. since these will influence the budget.
  •  Ask the location about their arrangements with caterers. This is a critical piece to choosing your location and your caterer. Many venues require you to use their in-house caterer or list of “preferred” caterers. Sometimes a venue that has its own catering will allow outside caterers under special circumstances, but you have to ask! Do the research about caterers BEFORE you book a date.
  • Ask for price range when shopping for a caterer. The best way to find out how well your budget fits with your vendors is to find out what their average range is. Actual detailed quotes take time to put together.  That will help you quickly determine if a certain caterer’s services will meet your budgetary guidelines.
  • Let the caterer you chose know what elements of service are most important to you? Do you envision a sit down dinner, food stations, buffet, or maybe even family style food. An experienced caterer will have many suggestions from his/her background of creative services.
  • Oregon and SW Washington Wedding Caterer Crave CateringWhat about the style of the food? Do you have a particular style of food in mind? Is it creative, eclectic, simple, elegant, or rustic? And what flavors excite you? Northwest Regional, Southwestern, Barbecue, Farm to Table?
  • Ask your caterer about their food sources. Is the food frozen and reheated or freshly made? Is it locally sourced? You may prefer a caterer who makes everything from scratch, in-house, like we do at Crave. (We also proudly source our ingredients primarily from Local Farms and Artisans. This includes The Crave Family Farm – our very own Farm in Battle Ground Washington, Gathering Together Farm, St. Helens Beef, Draper Valley Chicken, Flying Fish Seafood Company, and Classic Foods Portland.)
  • What about beverages? Will you offer alcohol or not? Beer and wine, or a full bar, or maybe even some signature cocktails. Be sure to offer plenty of non-alcoholic options for your guests too. And make sure there’s plenty to drink.

Guest Blog Written by:

Crave Catering



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