With approx 106 days to go until my own wedding, I’ve been busy checking elements off my To-Do list (Check out the wedding documents I’m using here!. Of course, the list seems to be never ending, but I know that in the end I’ll have a wonderful day marrying the man of my dreams surrounded by family and friends.
My favorite part of wedding planning are the tastings. As a pseudo-foodie myself, I love getting to try different caterers interpretations of familiar dishes. Not only have I gone on various food and cake tastings with my clients, but I had a blast going to the tasting for my own wedding with my mom and aunt. However, food tastings are not just about the food – they are about building a relationship with your caterer.
Catering is usually the biggest expense for the wedding, so it is only natural that one of the questions I get asked most frequently by my couples, is what they should expect at a tasting. So today I’m going to address the topic with the help of two great catering companies – Mindy from Café Chardonnay in Palm Beach Gardens, FL and Amanda from Bill Hansen Catering in Miami, FL. Both companies have served the South Florida market for over 20 years, so they have had their fair share of tastings.
Helpful Hints for What to Expect at Your Tasting:
• What happens at a tasting? This is where you have the opportunity to taste what you have chosen for your menu – every hors d’oeurves and course. We include the option of providing cake, so you would sample that as well. You get to experience what your guests will taste. – Amanda
• Can I schedule a tasting before booking? Yes, but for a fee which will then be applied to your total balance once you have booked. The tasting fee is not a set price. Price would vary depending upon the culinary choices that are made. – Mindy
• What do I get to taste? This varies by caterer. Make sure to ask your specific caterer what’s involved with their tasting.
For Bill Hansen Catering, you will taste your exact planned menu, which includes 8-10 hors d’oeurves, first course, dual entree, starch, vegetable and cake (if you chose that option). If changes are needed we make note and give suggestions for other options. – Amanda
At Café Chardonnay, the you will narrow down the selections from choices you have already made. This is the time to taste what you have an interest in and create your final menu. You may try 6 different entrees, but only need to select 2. You will taste options for apps, salads, entrées and side dishes. – Mindy
• How many people can come to a tasting? 2 to 4 guests. Confirm the exact number with your specific caterer, since policies vary.
• How long is a tasting? A tasting has no time limit! They usually last about 2 hours. – Mindy
• What do I do if I don’t like something or want something changed? Always speak up! This is your special day…we want it to be perfect. The menu is created for your special occasion. We are here to please you and your tastes. We allow for changes up to 72 hrs prior to the event, if need be. – Mindy
• How are dietary needs addressed? Any dietary needs will be discussed prior to the tasting. We will also address special needs during the tasting, as you create your final menu. Special dishes for children, vegetarians or those with allergies can be made separate from the regular menu, for the day of the event. – Amanda
• Is the presentation of food during the tasting the same as the wedding day? Can I take photos? Yes, the presentation will be the same as you will see at your event. In some situations, the portions will be tasting portions only. Buffet items, of course, will be an exception. Yes…take pictures! – Amanda
• Can the menu be changed during the tasting to bring the cost down? We always try to accommodate a brides budget. As an example, simply changing the type of fish in a fish entrée can change the price without changing the taste of the meal. We will discuss these options during the tasting. – Mindy
• What else happens at the tastings, besides eating? We use the time with you at the tasting to discuss your vision for your wedding. We discuss colors, décor, timelines, beverages, service, linens and rentals needed. All the little things that are important to you can be covered during this meeting, so you and the caterer share the same goal for you perfect day. – Mindy
• What else should I know before the tasting? Have fun, speak up, savor and enjoy! – Amanda
Have a blast during your tastings! If you need help booking your caterer or anything else wedding planning related, please feel free to contact us! We’d love to help!