Complete Guide to Wedding Catering and the Perfect Reception

 |  Super User

You’ve selected the date, venue, tried on a dress, and talked everything over with your significant other.

Now it's time to plan your perfect wedding reception. But what does the perfect wedding reception look like? And how can your wedding caterer help make it a success?

There’s more to wedding receptions than just delicious food. Other aspects like the catering style, presentation of food, deciding on the menu and theme, as well as hiring an experienced and professional wedding caterer in Draper with whom you can work together as a team to make your wedding reception run smoothly.

If you are planning your wedding in Utah or anywhere across the US, this article will take you through all the basics of planning a wedding reception that you and your guests will long cherish.

catering spread

Elements of Perfect Wedding Catering

First things first: decide on your budget. Don't worry if you have to limit it. With a bit of creativity, you can always make your wedding catering a beautiful occasion. Choose a variety of small plates, or a few entrées. You'll have plenty of delicious options.

Our Salt Lake County and Utah County wedding caterers can help you decide on a theme. The options are plentiful here, too. Some fun themes to consider include:

  • Vintage
  • Mediterranean
  • Modern
  • Bohemian
  • Romantic
  • Traditional
  • Rustic Artisanal

The food and theme combinations are limited only by your imagination and budget.

Some of your guests might have special dietary requirements. Others might prefer vegan and gluten-free options. Your wedding caterer will definitely have something delicious in store for all your guests. Just make sure you ask your guests to specify their dietary requirements when you send out your invitations and RSVPs.

Be sure to decide whether you’ll be including drinks or not. You can offer paid or free options or a combination of both. Some couples choose to offer free wine and beer on tap, and if guests want a mixed drink they must pay for that.

Decide on the Catering Style

The catering style will determine how your guests interact with each other while enjoying the food and drinks. Once you choose a style and the venue is set accordingly, there's no going back.

You can select from the following catering styles:

  • Full service sit-down
  • Family Style
  • Buffet
  • Food Stations

For a sit down full service style, guests remain seated and servers bring food to the table and bus the table once they are done. Your guests are free to sit back, relax and enjoy the festivities without getting up to get food.

Similar to the full service style, except large portions of food are placed on the table in serving platters and guests help themselves. Everyone can take as much or as little as they desire.

With buffet catering, food is laid out in a line on long tables often in special warning chaffes. Guests grab plates and work their way down the table scooping out their own food, getting exactly how much of whatever items they desire. Sometimes lines develop as guests wait their turn to get food. Guests can go back up for 2nd’s if there’s anything left and still setup.

Similar to buffet style, except multiple stations (small plate table, entree table, veggie table, dessert table, etc) with food are set up to minimize long lines for guests.

Wedding Tasting (Sampling)

Many Utah wedding caterers offer a tasting session before you commit to the menu (after all, it's a bit like a date). You can try several (or all) options from the menu and create a customized wedding menu. 

Don't forget to ask for the Chef's recommendations. 

A tasting session is crucial if you're hiring the caterer for the first time. It will be as helpful to the caterer as it will be to you. Wedding caterers want to help you make your wedding memorable by making the food match your needs and expectations.

Expect to be invited for the tasting several weeks in advance of the wedding. This way, you'll have a lot of room to change your mind and the caterer will have time to adjust to your requirements.

Technically, your wedding is about you. However, consider the people who may be travelling from afar to attend your special day. These guests could be children, elderly, or people with allergies and dietary restrictions. 

Don't stress over it, though. Catering companies in Utah already factor this in. They can help you choose the right entrees, meals, and desserts, and present you with enough options to keep everyone happy.

If you inform your catering company about the expected number of visitors, they can even help you order the right quantity of food and save you unnecessary expenses. The goal is to work together and create that perfect wedding catering experience.

While you’re tasting, take notes. You might eat about 30 samples before you settle on your likes and dislikes. That’s a lot to remember.

Great Presentation for Great Wedding Photographs

Of course, you'll be capturing all these memories in photographs. So, why not make them special as well?

Your wedding caterer will make a delectable presentation of the food, plates and platters. The servers will look professional and bus the table to make everything clean.

Wedding Catering makes for Memorable Weddings

Planning the perfect wedding catering isn't difficult at all. If you plan early, you'll have enough time to make changes.

Start with your budget and go from there. Utah wedding caterers can provide lots of fantastic options for everyone. 

Decide on a catering style according to the experience you want. Go for a tasting session with your fiance and parents and in-laws.

If you live in the Salt Lake City metro area, Ridge Cafe can help you with your wedding catering. We offer a great selection of food, professional staff, and can create a presentation that will be a featured focus of your cherished memories and photographs.

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