Guest Blogger – Kim Pitchford from Dine by Design Catering

Happy Saturday everyone! I hope you all had a busy and productive week and are ready for a relaxing weekend. Well, darlings, lay back,  and relax.  Today I have a little treat for you. Amazingly talented Kim Pitchford from Dine by Design Catering is here to share with us everything you need to know about catering and hopefully easy your mind a little about reception food in general. Enjoy!

How to choose your destination wedding caterer?

The best possible recommendation for a caterer comes from other industry vendors: florists, wedding coordinators, rental companies, rental property owners. They know what it’s like to work with catering companies: who makes it easy, who doesn’t; and they also know the level of satisfaction the client experiences, because brides, grooms, mothers and fathers, they all talk. They talk to each other, and they talk to other vendors. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a bride tell me her choice of florist and I inevitably respond “Oh, great, I work with him/her all the time and he/she is fabulous!”

So, vendors know.

The other aspect of making a good decision has to do with how well you get along with the caterer. Your caterer doesn’t have to be your best friend, doesn’t have to be the person you want to sip Frozen Banana Pomegranate Daiquiris with at The Red Bar on Friday night, but you need to feel good about your choice. You need to know that you’re heard, that your vision is understood, that your budget is taken as seriously by your caterer as by you, that your caterer responds promptly, with clear, thorough answers, and that the food represents you. And your groom, of course!

You should feel confident.

Which leads me to the subject of Tastings: To do or not to do. Most caterers will do them, some won’t, some will do them during low season only, some will charge, a few won’t. But there are two main questions a tasting can answer, plus a distant third:

1. Can the caterer cook at all? If you’ve seen reviews of his/her work, and spoken to other vendors, you shouldn’t have to ask yourself this question. If your caterer charges for a Tasting, and your budget is tight, you might not want to add to your expenses.

2. What does it taste like? You might be in an indecisive position between one or more dishes, and just really need to taste them side by side to make a decision. This is a good reason to set up a tasting for any foods you’re unfamiliar with. If your menu includes beef tenderloin and boiled shrimp … you probably already know what they taste like, and if you’re confident in your caterer, you can skip the tasting.

3. How will it look? If you’ve decided to have a seated/plated meal, you might want to actually see how the food will be presented.

Always keep in mind, however, that the food somebody can produce for four guests, in the comfort and ease of their own commercial kitchen, is not necessarily an accurate representation of that which they will produce in a tent kitchen for two hundred of your closest friends. So ask. “Is this exactly how it will be at my wedding?” Ask, because it’s your money and your party!

Ok, you’ve decided, signed the contract and sent in the deposit. So now what?

I’d be a very wealthy woman if I had a nickel for every time a bride or groom has said to me “I don’t know what to do, I’ve never done this before!” Of course you haven’t done this before; most people don’t hire caterers on a regular basis. The thought to keep in mind is that we have.

And this one: “I just don’t know how I’m going to make this work, I’m trying to arrange this from Duluth, Minnesota, and I’m so far away!”

We know you are and seventy to eighty percent of our clients are planning their event remotely. We do know how to make it work, it’s what we do! Destination wedding vendors are a very particular group of people. We get it; we know how scary it is to have to rely on people you may never have even seen before, and for such an important event! But here, on the beautiful Emerald Coast, it’s basically a small town, and we all know one another. We take joint responsibility for your event and we play nicely together.

Do your homework, pick your vendors carefully, and then let them do their jobs. And breathe, never forget to breathe. It will be ok. It will be more than ok, it will be beautiful.

Thank you Kim for joining us today and we hope to see you back soon with more tips and advice.

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