Andrea Correale shares her insider tips for hiring a wedding caterer. Whether you’re planning a wedding at home, or are looking for the perfect venue, hiring a caterer for a wedding can be one of the most important tasks to check off of your to-do list.
One of the biggest misconceptions people have about wedding carters
Wedding caterers are some of the most creative and talented culinary professionals, but they usually don’t get the credit that they deserve. It’s much easier for restaurant chefs to cook a dish on a stovetop and then present it out beautifully, but when it comes to wedding caterers, you have to produce high quantity meals in very large quantities, deliver those meals in a refrigerated truck, set up a cook tent to reheat it all together, while still preserving the restaurant-quality cuisine. Wedding caterers have a bad rap for not having the same level of culinary excellence as perhaps a high-end restaurant would have, and that is absolutely not true.
How Elegant Affairs approaches its role as a wedding caterer
I approach my role by being like a one-stop-shop, meaning that not only am I going to plan the most fabulous menu, but we’re also logistical masters. We instill confidence in the customer that we can take care of all the other details, vendors, and logistics that are imperative to creating the perfect event.
One of the biggest mistakes couples make when hiring a carter for a wedding
One of the biggest mistakes couples make when hiring a caterer is that they’re just simply looking at price. Every caterer breaks down their proposals differently. Some of them include rentals, flatware, glassware, etc. and some of them don’t. Another mistake a lot of people make is hiring a restaurant chef, thinking that the restaurant will be able to produce events, and that is not the case. Restaurant chefs and catering chefs are very different, and many times a restaurant chef will have trouble with the amount of food they need to produce.
What does a typical wedding catering schedule look like?
First things first, we interview the bride and groom and figure out what’s important to them. Very often a bride will have a Pinterest page and she’ll often share that with us to give us an idea of what the bride is looking for. We then prepare a proposal, and not only include the food and menu options, but we also include a list of all the rentals that would be needed. After we picked out all the vendors, we’ve gone over the menu, we then start working on the logistics. For example, we figure out where the bars are going, along with a whole floor plan.
Secrets of the trade
Some secrets of the trade are being detail-oriented and having an eye for creativity. There is a lot of problem-solving that comes into play and having the ability to break down a big event in your mind into little parts is a very key component.
For clients who sometimes have unrealistic expectations I would suggest keeping in mind the amount of detail, and time these things will take. Sometimes it’s hard to understand the work that goes into everything when just looking at a picture. The professionals are there to guide you through what is reasonable and within your budget.
When hiring a wedding caterer, allow them to offer their signature dishes first. You have to look at a caterer in a similar way you would a restaurant. They all have their signature dishes and things that they’re known for and they should respect that process and allow them to offer the things that they do best.
My most memorable wedding catering experience was when I did Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon’s wedding in the Hamptons. It was an amazing experience because I had the ability to get really creative, since the budget was larger than most. It was amazing being able to meet so many a-list celebrities and all of the press and the media that came with it. It was a lot of pressure, but an overall showstopper event.