Now don't get me wrong, I know not everyone has it in the budget to pay for catering -- and that's totally fine. We all have to work within our means. However, as a wedding planner (and former corporate event planner) I can personally attest to the undeniable asset that a quality caterer brings to any event. Catering is so much more than just the food eaten; something I have learned by working with kick butt caterers (and not so kick butt ones) over the years. Consider hiring a caterer for your event even if you have to cut costs in other places. In my opinion, a caterer can make or break an event, and there are so many benefits to hiring a quality caterer. Today, I am going to share four of these benefits with you.
Event Set Up and Breakdown
Catering is an essential component in the set up and breakdown process of a wedding or event. Caterers assist with setting up tables, chairs, linens, plates, flatware, and glasses. This makes the job of your wedding or event planner infinitely easier and takes a ton of the burden off of you or your family if you are not using a planner. Once the tables have been set then your centerpieces, table numbers, place cards, or menus can easily be placed on the table. Caterers also assist in the breaking down of these tables and chairs at the end of the event. In addition, they are also typically in charge of sweeping, mopping, and trash removal. This frees up your planner to get all of your personal items, leftover food, florals, and decor out of the venue and in route to where they need to go (and also frees them up to work on your decor during the set up as well). Finally, catering companies provide several staff members to help with events which makes the process more streamlined and efficient. Your planner can assist with some of these duties, but caterers make the process happen in half the time.
In addition to providing food and drinks, your catering company can staff the bar with a bartender(s). Bartenders will often be required at venues, especially some of the older and more historic properties. But even if they are not a requirement, they are a really really good idea. Trained bartenders know when to open and close the bar, make sure people are not being over-served, and help breakdown the bar area at the end of the event. Good bartenders are something you don't think about until you don't have one. Ask your catering company if they supply a bartender and considering paying for them even if you are not required to do so.
Oh how much I love good servers. They are like spokes on a wheel -- when all the spokes are working correctly it makes the wheel spin much easier. Servers do so much throughout an event that is never seen. Not only do they serve food or passed cocktails, they are responsible for making sure all the drinks are being refilled, that food is being set out and replenished (if using a stations or a buffet), that your cake is cut and served, that the champagne is poured and served (if doing a champagne toast) and even help remove dirty dishes and napkins. Servers are absolutely essential to an event running smooth and effortless. Your planner can assist with these tasks as needed, but keep in mind that they are also making sure all the other components of your event are running smoothly and are keeping everyone on track with timing and logistics.
Not much needs to be said here. Good food = happy guests. Bad food = unhappy guests. Okay, so maybe that was oversimplifying it just a little but different types of caterers offer different types of food. So interview and do tastings with several different companies to determine what food tastes the best to you and your spouse-to-be and fits within the mood you are creating. Keep in mind that if alcohol is being served then serving food is a requirement as well. And in the end, when all is said and done, guests often do not remember some of the small details of weddings, but they do remember the food, drinks, and dancing.
So there you have it! I hope this helps you think through the benefits of having a caterer beyond the amazing food and drink they provide! Interview a few different caterers until you find the best fit. Just like not every planner or photographer will be right for your wedding, not every caterer will be right either. Have a list of questions that you want to ask them at your consultation and go from there!