Today's Bride

8 Catering Mistakes

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Scheduling tastings and choosing a menu can be one of the most delicious tasks on your wedding planning list. Aside from the cake tastings, of course! But don’t let your taste buds take over your mind. There are things – eight specifically – to consider before finalizing a menu.

Not having a budget in mind.

Go into your initial meeting with a budget already set in your mind and ask about options that fit within that number. Your caterer should be able to work with you to come up with a menu that pleases your taste buds and your budget.

Thinking a buffet is cheaper.

Steak Dinner | Genevieve Nisly Photography | As seen on TodaysBride.com
Genevieve Nisly Photography

With a seated meal, there is a set amount of food prepared and served; you are only charged for those meals. With a buffet, caterers often cook too much food and welcome guests to seconds, which can cost you more money.

Find out what kind of dinner service you should have with this quiz!

Not thinking about the kids.

If your menu consists of courses like shrimp scampi or risotto, kids probably won’t be apt to try it. Offer kid’s options like mac and cheese, chicken tenders, or pizza to satisfy the children at your wedding (and their parents).

Not offering a filling vegetarian dish.

Your RSVP card should include a space for guests to mark any dietary restrictions they have. However, many guests may prefer a vegetarian option, but don’t mark it down as a dietary need. Be sure to offer at least one hearty dish that isn’t meat-based. Serving soup or pasta will fill up your vegetarian guests without breaking the budget.


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Serving too much food at the cocktail hour.

Appetizers | Jay Kossman Photography | As seen on TodaysBride.com
Jay Kossman Photography

The cocktail hour is meant to be an appetizer and hors d’oeuvres course, not a main course. You should have a limited amount of food to be served so that guests don’t ruin their appetites for dinner.

Requesting out-of-season dishes.

Ordering side dishes or ingredients that aren’t in season can do some major damage to your budget. Talk to your caterer to see what other options they recommend or similar tasting recipes.

Ordering too much dessert.

Not every guest will eat cake as they’ll be busy out on the dance floor. Though we recommend ordering at least one piece of cake for each guest, if you opt to have a dessert station with cookies, cupcakes, candies, and other treats, you can offer less cake.

Not planning for leftovers.

Salmon Dinner | too much awesomeness | As seen on TodaysBride.com
too much awesomeness

Before your wedding day arrives, brainstorm some ideas for what you can do with any leftovers. If you’re having a buffet service, ask your caterer if they’re responsible for disposing of the extra food or if you can keep it. If you’ve already paid for it, you should take advantage of the extra food by passing out any extras to your guests, wedding party, donating it, or freezing it for yourself.


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You don’t want a catering crisis mid-wedding. This advice will prepare you for anything so you can have a flawless and delicious dinner!

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