At OneWed.comwe generally don't suggest potlucks or DIY for catering. For casual, outdoor weddings the idea can work, but it can also be a source of stress and even added expense. Even if friends make all the food, you still have to figure out how to heat or chill it and how to serve it. You may need to buy or rent refrigerators or serving dishes and you'll need someone to serve the food, even if it's a buffet. Depending on your wedding venue, you may also need to buy insurance.
An experienced caterer not only helps you avoid these costs, he or she can also help you navigate issues like beverages, table linens, and even the timing of the reception. When all is said and done, unless someone in your circle is a professional caterer or chef, paying someone else to handle the food is one wedding expense that's worth it. Notice, we said paying, not paying a lot.
Having a late afternoon wedding almost guarantees a high food bill because you need to serve dinner. But, there are other options for all styles of weddings. For a casual wedding, you could have a morning wedding ceremony followed by cake, coffee and champagne. For a more formal affair, you could have a mid-afternoon wedding followed by cocktails, passed hors d'oeuvres and cake. For a funky or hip event, what about a 7:00 p.m. (or later) wedding followed by a dessert buffet?
If you want to have a meal, consider a late morning or early afternoon wedding followed by a luncheon. People eat and drink less during the day then they do at an evening wedding. Lunches and brunches can consist of less expensive foods such as quiches and salads instead of the expected steak or chicken offered at dinner.
There's often a misconception that having a buffet instead of a plated meal saves you money. While this is usually the case, it isn't always so. Depending on the kind of buffet you're planning, it may require the same number of waitstaff, and because more food is needed for a buffet than a plated meal, it can actually wind up costing more. But there are definitely food choices that can be done well in a buffet and save you money. These include more 'homestyle' choices such as barbeque, pasta dishes and salads, and fewer items that require carving!
With the largest searchable online database of local wedding vendors, OneWed.com is sure to have a caterer that fits your needs, but don't just take our word for it. Make sure to stage tastings with three to five different caterers in different price ranges. Sometimes the difference isn't in the food they serve, it's in the waitstaff's uniforms, or the prestige of the company. Don't choose the caterer 'everyone uses' -- choose the one that's right for you.
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