Choosing a Wedding Caterer

wedding catering

wedding catering

Choosing a caterer

After you have decided on the type of reception venue you want, it is time to choose between using the in-house catering on offer, hiring an outside catering firm or catering yourselves.

Many venues have in-house caterers that provide all the food and drink services for celebrations held there. These caterers will be familiar with the styles of meal that their chefs specialise in and will also be able to provide tables and chairs, linen, crockery, glasses, waiting staff and some decorations.

If you have specific catering requirements like needing Halal or Kosher meals then the venue may not be able to accommodate your wedding or they may allow you to book outside caterers. Similarly, if there is no in-house catering then ask for recommendations from the venue or friends or relatives. Also check the Yellow Pages and local newspapers for contacts.

Draw up a shortlist of potential caterers and arrange an appointment to discuss your specific requirements and compare prices and services. Ask to see specific example menus, price list and testimonials from other brides and grooms and inquire about the type of wedding packages they offer. Ask each caterer the same questions about their service, ingredients and any added extras so you get comparable quotes from each.

Useful questions to ask your caterer

  1. Do you only have set menus or can we create our own?
  2. How many options can we offer for each course?
  3. Can any special dietary needs can be dealt with?
  4. Can we taste a sample of your food?
  5. I am holding my reception at home/in a marquee/in a hall. Will my food will be pre-cooked and prepared or do you need any cooking or storage facilities?
  6. Is wine included in a package with food?
  7. Do you charge corkage if we buy our own wine?
  8. If wine is provided, will we be charged for the amount of bottles ordered or for just those that are opened?
  9. How many other drinks are included in the package? What soft drinks are included? (Some include a drink as the guests arrive and then a certain number of bottles of wine per guest, along with fruit juices).
  10. How much clearing up will be done after the reception? (Some caterers will clear only the kitchens while others will wait until the end of the entire evening and clear everything away. In-house caterers will usually clear up more at the end of the evening.)
  11. Do you provide for waiting staff in your quote?
  12. How near the wedding date can we confirm final numbers?

wedding food

Self-catering your wedding

This is now the least popular option because most couples feel they have enough to worry about on their wedding day without being responsible for the finer details of catering. Taking care of the food for your wedding is a big responsibility, but a highly-organised bride with a dedicated team of helpers should be able to manage.

You will need to make sure there is plenty of food for your guests, that it is well presented and that you cater for any special dietary requirements. There is a limit to the amount of food that can be prepared in advance. The setting out of the reception will have to be done at the same time as the preparations for the ceremony, and it is here, if nowhere else, that helpers can come into their own.

Before choosing this option, ask yourselves a couple of questions: Do you have the time and experience to cope with planning menus and catering for large number, access to the right kind of equipment in large enough quantities, and a supply of willing friends and relatives to help with this mammoth task? Perhaps one friend could take overall responsibility for the catering with the rest of the team reporting to him/her rather than you. This will take some of the strain off you, but keep the cost of catering down.

It is more simple to self-cater a buffet as it is easier to estimate the quantities of food you need and you can provide a variety of hot and cold items that do not need to be cooked and served simultaneously. As a guide, professional caterers allow approximately fifteen to twenty items of food per guest, so simply multiply this by the number of guests you invite. Make sure you have enough furniture, china, cutlery and glassware or hire from a catering firm for the day. Some off-licences offer a discount if you hire glasses at the same time as ordering your wine.

When it comes to presenting your buffet food, the simplest way is often the most effective. Ask the staff at your venue if they have any table linen you could hire, or buy paper tablecloths and napkins in the colour scheme of your wedding. Basic plates are fine for displaying your food, and use a few some simple flower or candle arrangements to decorate your tables.

If you decide to have a sit-down meal you will need to consider table settings for all of your guests and provide waiting staff to serve your food. It is possible to hire waiters and waitresses but this can be an expensive option. Consider asking friends of teenage bridesmaids to help, and delegate responsibility of organising them to someone else.

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Wedding Gown Trends

wedding gowns

Applause – the strapless gown is waning in popularity. Not to knock strapless, but move over for more neckline coverage! Designers are giving brides more support and a bit more decoration up top. Throw in a healthy dose of detail at the hemline, plus splashes of accent color and you’re in the know on what’s current.

But the biggest thing is big…

The Ball Gown Enters

wedding gowns

If a $200,000 Christian Dior design worn by Melania for her marriage to Donald couldn’t start a trend, then not much else will be able to move the seamstress’s needle. Those wonderful full formals are making a heady return and brides seem quite attuned. Top couture runway designers such as Carolina Herrera, Eli Saab and of course Vera Wang have gone big. Stunning custom and prêt a porter ball gowns can also be seen from the Italian house Atelier Aimee, whose design teams offer traditional to avant garde styles in three lines of varying style and price point. Of course St. Pucchi has always skirted the bride in a big way, and Eugenia Couture, plus Priscilla of Boston are known for grand entrances.

Big gowns are a bit more challenging to manage, but photographers love having that extra yardage to create drama. Will you wear a separate petticoat or does the dress have a sewn-in slip? One item about big dresses – they are heavy. Melania’s couture was rumored to weigh 50 pounds. Getting a good snug fit is essential so the dress stays in place. A separate petticoat (one not connected to the dress) will keep the fullness whilst not being a drag on the overall outline. Be sure your bridesmaid knows how to bustle you into position. Some dresses are quite complex.

Strapless – Passé?

ballroom gowns bridal

It’s not all the rage to say the least. Busty gals will not be busting out all over, the anorexia bride will be hidden at least until after the reception and maybe no more grip, grab and tug on the bodice front side to shore things up for another few minutes. We have straps and collars, lace overlay and plenty of wonderful fabric treatments to fill the neckline void.

Canadian designer Antoniette Catenacci shows interesting Celtic-influenced gowns with wonderful square and wide necklines guaranteed to beautifully show off your on-loan Harry Winston jewels. Australian designer Basilica Couture showed this past season at New York Couture Week and brought classic cuts in very proper covered up styles. One gown featured long sleeves and upper bodice done in organza, while another favorite was a wonderful ensemble that paired a clean A-line skirt gown with matching waist or full length tailored coat.

Other styles holding up are keyhole and halter. Luscious bias cuts with these necklines prevail in creations from Eden Bridal. Slim shapes with cowls and soft neckline draping are other strapless alternatives offered by many designers such as Adele Wechsler. Cowl cuts give fluidity and motion and are perfect for the slim angular bride looking for more softness.

Skirting the Emotion

Not to be outdone by motion up top, skirts are moving every which way with feathers, ruffles, ribbons, pleats – sometimes adding mayhem to hemlines. One designer mad with details this season is Claire Pettibone – roses and ruffles, panniers and fluff, draped lace and filmy chiffon.

On the couture scale, Paris-based Japanese designer Yumi Katsura plays with frills using organzas and sheers. Her playful gowns offer ruffles in symmetric and asymmetric placement. She’s also showing a few crystal pleated styles – a hot dressmaker embellishment the past few seasons. In other moves closer to the body, the mermaid silhouette has added some legs with the addition of a train and a whole lot of embellishment back side.

Not since the 1880s have ladies had so much fuss trailing them. Designs from Elizabeth Fillmore give additional backside swish and detail. Vera Wang and Jim Hjelm follow right behind.

And on the looser side of things, full ‘proper lady’ tea length styles are on order again for both brides and bridesmaids. Whether swinging free or petticoated for fullness, these dresses are showing up at destination and outdoor summertime weddings. Check the outlines from Carol Peretz and Lazaro:

Color My World


A few seasons back color started breaking onto the bridal canvas with hints showing up in beading and embroidery. Then came the famous Monique Lhuillier double-sided satin ribbon waist sash in cafe latte. Seems the world is awash with colors for brides and her maids. For the marrying woman, not only has her basic palette widened but accents come in a rainbow of options. She’s no longer limited to shades of white and ivory; she can blush, have champagne and slither in silver.

Raylia Designs shows a pretty in pink silk georgette dress with smooth bodice and curvy hem, while Demetrios chooses sweetheart red.

Alfred Angelo offers a line of dress basics where color can be customized on a sash, in the embroidery, or at bodice and hemline. Also take a peek at Hannah Hartnell’s work. She offers sexy, slinky, bias bridal pieces in a wonderfully soft range of tones.

And capping off this round-up of swish, color and pomp is a stunner from Kenneth Pool — who says his brides just love the glitz and sparkle!


Bridal Tiaras For a Blushing Bride

bridal jewelry usa

bridal jewelry usa

Even with a brief glance of a bridal hairstyle catalogue, you can pretty much determine that there are more than enough hairdos to choose from, and wear on your wedding day. While the basic few alternatives are relatively easy to choose from (letting your hair down, going for an updo, a half updo, a hairstyle with curled ringlets running all the way around the temples, or with wavy curls running down the back), the combinations for such are practically inexhaustible.

Of course the hairstyle wouldn’t be complete without an accessory, and bridal tiaras are among the popular few opted for by most brides on their big day. Bridal tiaras come in different types and sizes, and if you are running the notion of using it for your wedding day for some time, take note that you should consider these factors before picking out the perfect tiara to suit your outfit.

The first thing to wrap your mind into when shopping for a bridal tiara is your wedding dress. It’s a sort of mix-and-match affair. The size and style of the tiara should complement the dress, not overshadow or understate it. Having a bridal tiara fit for royalty, huge and with intricate details, while you don a simple sheath wedding dress, needless to say, is an inappropriate combination.

Similarly, wearing an elegant traditional dress with a cathedral veil and train, and accenting the headpiece with a quaint tiara wouldn’t do the outfit justice. Tiaras are available in numerous sizes, designs, and shapes. Make sure that the one you eventually go for would be the ideal accessory to match the wedding dress you ordered for.

Next, you’ll have to get a good idea of the hairdo you will wear on your wedding day, and preferably have your hair done in similar fashion when you go out and browse for a tiara. This doesn’t mean that you have to take great pains in pinning down waves of hair around your temples, or having the back held up in a prim bun.

As long as it roughly resembles the style you prefer to wear, and the tiara can pretty much sum up the look in a glance, it will suffice. If you are searching for tiaras perfect for hair which is let down, have your hair worn in this way when you try out a piece; if you are planning on an updo, bring along a clip or band and put it up before donning a selection.

Once you’ve zeroed in on a particular piece, make sure that you bring it along with you on your next visit to your hairdresser, for the purpose of finalizing your particular hairstyle. In this way, you and your hairdresser will be able to acutely visualize which specific hairdo would work well for you with the tiara in place, and you may be able to make significant adjustments in order to make the look more compatible with the piece.

The bridal tiara is just one of the accessories which can complete the bridal look. If it is worn with the appropriate wedding garments, it lends an elegant and graceful finishing touch to an otherwise incomplete outfit. You may have a tough time in choosing the ideal one to suit you, but once you wear that special piece on your big day, be rest assured that your efforts are well worth the trouble.

If you like, you may want to check out this list of jewelry retailers who specialize in diamond jewelry