Wedding tastings are a very enjoyable part of wedding planning that is often overlooked. I mean what could be better then sitting down to taste bite after bite of your favorite foods while discussing a plan for your personalized menu? But tastings are a new thing for most of our couples. They've never done this before and want every aspect of their celebration to represent their combined likes. We work with them to not only set up their tastings but we prepare them and stand by them during this important task. We have your back as well with this important guide!
Before you or your planner set up any tastings be sure to reach out to a few caterers from your venues approved caterers list. During this step we provide a lot of insight to our clients on our experiences with these caterers and who might be best for their style and budget based on their needs. Be sure to check their availability, collect sample menus & basic pricing information.
Once you've narrowed down your selections after receiving this information then its time to actually set up a few tastings with your front runners. Be sure to ask about and understand your options and how each caterers tastings work. Some caterers charge for tastings upfront and then credit you if you book with them, or some may not offer full tastings before booking. Your favorite caterer may also have bigger tasting events they invite you to along with other couples in the area, this gives you the opportunity to taste a huge variety of items to help you gather ideas.
HOW TO PREPARE
Don't Eat Beforehand. Yes, you are trying smaller versions of everything but this normally adds up to be a lot of food by the time you are done, total food coma! So eat light before arriving.
Know your Budget. Chances are you are going to love almost everything you try. So know how flexible your budget is before arriving and keep that in mind while you are tasting items.
Decide on Service Type. Talk to your planner about suggestions for what type of meal service to provide for your guests. Do you prefer buffet or station service? Do you have a higher guest count that may do better with a plated meal to help the timing of the event? If your creative and want something unique you may want to consider family style service. These are things to consider and talk to the caterers about before your appointment.
Make Food Allergies Known. Let the caterer know of any food allergies before your tasting so they can prepare and serve items that are safe during the meeting. Communicating you and your guests dietary limitations will help plan a menu that will work well for everyone.
Learn what's in season. This will allow you to have a better attitude during the tasting vs. having to find this out and feel disappointment.
Decide who's attending. Obviously you and your fiancé need to be in attendance, and your planner who is guiding you during the process. But don't feel like you need to bring anyone else. Too many opinions can take the fun out of this step and may cause confusion.
DURING THE TASTING
Take Notes. Snapping photos or jotting down notes of what you did and did not like will help you later. If your attending two or three tastings in a day things may start to run together.
Be Honest. This appointment is for the caterer to get to know your likes and dislikes, so don't feel bad about speaking up in a polite way. And also feel free to ask about substitutions or changes that can be made to certain dishes to make it more appealing.
Trust & Be Open. Of course you want to taste items that speak to you but also be open to thinking outside of the box and trying some items you may not have thought about. Caterers may include some items you didn't list for the tasting and thats ok! Trust their experience and you may love their suggestions.
WHAT TO NOTICE
Presentation. Does the style of the caterers presentation match the style of your event? If serveware is on the modern side it may not fit with a vintage or traditionally styled event. This is something to bring up during the tasting. Check out the way the food is presented as well. Does it look appealing? This is the first thing your guests will notice.
Freshness. Does the food look and taste fresh?
Table Settings. Check the linens to see if they are steamed and clean, most venues offer linens but if you are wanting to upgrade these may come from the caterer. Is the flatware polished? Do the glasses have water marks? What type of plates do they use and do you like them? Chances are these are the same ones they use for events. Keep all of this in mind!
Be sure to also check out our blog post on Creating a Delicious Menu and if you are in need of planning help here are our service options! We would love to serve as your support system and stress relief!