OF THE 80 TO 120 DECISIONS YOU NEED TO MAKE FOR YOUR WEDDING, YOU MAY NOT HAVE THOUGHT OF HOW YOU'D LIKE TO HAVE YOUR MEAL SERVED AND BY WHOM. IT ALL DEPENDS ON YOUR SELECTION OF PLATED/TABLE SERVICE , BUFFETT, OR HAND PASSED SMALL PLATES/HORS D'OEUVRES
And yet there is so much more to consider, we'll start with our helpful hint and then move to the etiquette conversation. Here are a few for instances regarding your decisions:
What is the atmosphere you want to create and maintain with your food service?
How much time do you have on-site for food service?
What can your budget manage comfortably (catering is typically the first or second largest expense after the site)
Do you have a theme or cultural tradition you want to include in your celebration and how will this be obtained?
What is the price point of service pieces? Did you know caterers charge by the piece -- yes, a spoon is a separate charge from a fork and knife. You have options of "single use" pieces like eco-friendly bamboo plates and corn-based water glasses -- these may be less expensive but not necessarily. If you want a formal look these single service items may not be the choice for you.
When selecting your caterer ask these questions to ensure you have an understanding of what products you will receive and need to rent (include linens in the conversation) as well as what kind of meal service will be provided (plated and served, prepared at table, buffet with self-serve and self-clearing, etc.)
DO have a tasting with your caterer, just trust us on this. AND, if the caterer is supplying the diningware and linens, ask to have those used at your tasting.
AND NOW FOR A QUICK MEAL SERVICE ETIQUETTE "LESSON-ETTE"
You may be a world traveler and have a clear understanding of service style (American, English, Russian and French) however most people do not have this experience or may not know the difference. When selecting your caterer and food service vendors chat with them about service style and clarify your expectations from the beginning. Servers are taught particular methods and may not be aware of the nuances, guests in the US typically expect the American style and may be surprised when a server approaches from a different side. This may seem a non-issue, yet for the best guest experience have a plan for service and maintenance of the tables. Below is a link that explains several points of etiquette.