Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wedding Tastings

This morning, I'm excited to introduce guest blogger, Kelsey Hendrickson!
Kelsey is an Event Planner at one of Washington D.C.'s premier off-site caterers, Windows Catering.  In her years of experience in the wedding industry she has seen and heard it all.  Her new blog, Eat My Wedding, is filled with tips and tricks to assist you in selecting your ideal caterer and determining your perfect wedding menu.
In today's post, Kelsey's is sharing some great pointers for how to be well prepared for your Tasting!
Wedding Tastings
Good News!  You’ve narrowed down your list of caterers
and are setting up times to to go in and taste their food, now what?!
Photo by Donald Yeager Photography
Have you selected your tasting menu yet?
Take a look at the proposal your caterer sent you and start narrowing down the menu to the items you’d like to try at the tasting. I usually recommend about 4 – 6 hors d’oeuvres, 1 – 2 first courses, 1- 2 entrees (if plated) or the main proteins (from a buffet), 1 – 2 cake flavors, and any dessert buffet items.  I wouldn’t expect to try every single item the caterer proposed, most caterers like to narrow down the list to a menu you are leaning towards for the reception. Also, I’ve found that the more food you eat at a tasting the harder it can be to make a decision.  I call it the food coma, and trust me, once you hit that wall it’s hard to decide between the food you are trying.
Do you know your wedding colors or theme yet?
If not, don’t panic! You don’t have to have any of those yet, however it helps to have some sort of decor direction before going into the caterer’s office as this is their time to show you any equipment they can provide for your wedding. This is also a great time to see what equipment they offer, so don’t be shy about picking up plates and pulling down china to see how they look on different linens.
If you have any pictures of table settings or inspiration boards that show the look and colors you want for your reception definitely send them to your caterer so they know the look you are imagining.
What should you bring to the tasting?
I would recommend bringing the most recent copy of the proposal that they sent you, along with any notes and questions you about the proposal. Also, bring a notepad and pen to take notes with during the tasting.
How should you prepare for the tasting?
Don’t eat a big lunch! Seriously, you will be eating a lot of food. Also, double check the directions before leaving to make sure you know how to get to the caterers offices.
Who should I bring to the tasting?
Remember this day is about the bride and groom and at the end of the day, that’s who’s opinion counts the most. I think it’s fine to bring your mom or maybe a friend and definitely a wedding planner (if that’s in their contract), however, don’t bring a crowd. This is not a free for all buffet for your friends and family to join in on. Just think of it this way, the more people there are, the more opinions there will be.
What should you expect at the tasting?
Your caterer should meet you at the door and take you into the tasting room. The tasting room will have a sample table set up with linens, china, flatware, chairs and glassware within  your budget and your theme. You’ll sample the hors d’oeuvres and menu you pre-selected before coming in. When you sit down and start eating, this is a great time to ask some of the questions below.
Tips: Don’t be put off if it’s tough to book a Saturday at a catering company. Most caterers only do a certain number of tastings in one day and the dates usually fill up quickly in late winter (Jan -March) and Summer (July – September).
Good Questions to Ask During the tasting:
1) Will you, the catering manager, be on-site the day of the wedding?
2) Can we change any of the food that we tasted?
3) Will you send a revised proposal with our selections after the tasting?
4) Will you put the equipment and linens I liked on reserve?
5) How long have you been in the catering business?
6) Why should I choose your company over the other companies?
7) Which items that I’ve selected are over my budget?

Happy Tasting!

You can check out this post along with many others at Eat My Wedding.

website: Eat My Wedding
twitter: @eatmywedding
Photo Sources: Ashley’s Bride Guide

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