Thanks to the internet, today’s wedding couples are extremely well-informed about every aspect of the wedding process. They may, however, find themselves overwhelmed with the breadth of knowledge available on the internet. What do you really need to know? Your catering decision is one of the biggest and most costly choices of the entire wedding planning process- worried yet?
The good news: Chances are you know what you like to eat, and maybe even know what you’d like to serve. The tricky part is that getting from point A (your initial consult) to point B (the wedding!) is filled with appointments, calls, conversations, and most importantly, your tasting. Although a tasting is one of the more enjoyable forms of a meeting, don’t forget that it’s still a meeting, and there is a bunch of information you need to know.
Before you even get to the tasting, as an informed consumer you should have a roadmap of questions to guide your process. These questions will help you evaluate whether or not you even want to pursue a tasting with a particular vendor in the first place. Here are some of the questions we love that our brides and grooms ask us:
How many weddings do you do a year?
Experience matters! While every wedding is unique, you want a caterer where your wedding isn’t their first rodeo. We did over 150 weddings in 2018!
Are you licensed to serve alcohol? Can we provide our own bar?
Purple Onion Catering Company is licensed to serve alcohol throughout the DMV region, and we allow our clients to provide their own bars- a great way to save money!
Who can come to my tasting?
We tend to do our tastings with just the wedding pair, and encourage this intimate environment to allow you the ability to really let your specific tastebuds guide the menu decision process.
Is there a fee?
We personally do not charge a tasting fee, but keep in mind that many caterers do. Remember that the more guests you wish to invite to your tasting, the more likely it is there will be a fee.
Will you show custom menu offerings or a preset menu?
Purple Onion will customize your tasting to your own specific menu, but others may have a preset tasting menu that cannot be substituted.
Will there be a service captain?
This one’s a biggie! We believe that behind every great event is a great team leader. Your event should always have an event captain.
You know you’re supposed to be the one asking the questions, but the truth is that your caterer should be asking you even more! They are the experts on how your wedding’s food, drink, service, and even decor will be managed. Pay attention to what questions your caterer asks you, as it’s an insight into their knowledge, abilities, and taste. Questions may vary, but we ask questions in the following areas:
What can you tell us about yourselves?
You’re not just a check- this is your wedding and it needs to reflect you, your partner, and the life you’re building together. Your caterer should want to know your story so they can use that information to shape the wedding of your dreams.
What’s your theme (if you have one)?
Going art deco/vintage? Want to feature cuisines from both of your cultures? Your caterer should be asking these pertinent questions to help guide your menu decisions.
What are your favorites?
Yes, you want a wedding menu that will satisfy the palates of all your guests, but you should keep your particular tastes in mind as well! We always want to know our clients’ favorite meals, that restaurant you went to on your first date that was so memorable, and your “must have” menu options so we can get creative with your menu before your tasting. For example, our clients who loved their trip to Spain (where the groom proposed!) were thrilled when we provided a paella skewer as one of their passed hors d’oeuvres options and a Spanish charcuterie tray featuring manchego cheese and iberico ham.
What can you tell us about the logistics?
Caterers do far more than just provide the food and bar. They’re responsible for your set-up, rentals, decor, and service. your caterer should be asking questions about your ideal timeline, when toasts will be served, layout, floorplan, and about other vendors and their needs. An involved caterer will help guide you through the logistics process since they are such an integral part of it.
What’s your ideal budget?
This is a conversation that happens both before and during the tasting. It’s your caterer’s responsibility to craft a menu that stays within your budget. Your caterer should keep in mind additional fees like sales tax and delivery to help keep you on track.
With all this information at hand, you should head into your wedding tastings armed with enough knowledge to book the right caterer for you. If you’re working with us, we have even more questions to shoot your way, so reach out today!