Post # 1
I think I’m starting to make progress in the planning process but have a question I hope you all might be able to help me with.
I sent an email to a number of caterers in the Hartford (CT) area to ask for information on their menus/prices etc… I left the message pretty vague – I gave somewhat detailed info on what I’m looking for in terms of the type of meal (hors d’œuvres, entrees, side dishes, dessert)
And gave an idea of the presentation – passed/stationery/plated/family style etc…
What I DIDN’T mention in the email is that it’s for a wedding reception. I have read in several places that a quote can go up substantially if it’s for a wedding so I was pretty vague and just said it’s a family event and that I wanted info so I could consult with my family about the details and the prices. Which is true…
One of the caterers I emailed just wrote back and asked one question "what type of event is it?"
I really want to remain vague for the time being but if I decide to go with a caterer I don’t want them to think I was being dishonest. I really just want good food for a good price, not good food for a higher wedding price…
Does anyone have any advice? Or has anyone gotten quotes for services based on an ‘event’ rather than a "wedding" and then proceeded based on those quotes? OR, is it a myth that caterers (or other vendors) charge more for a "WEDDING" than any other occasion?
Thanks for any advice/tips/personal experiences you can share!
Post # 3
I think sticking to "it’s a family event" should be good enough for a caterer. There is no need for them to know exactly what type of event it is, IMHO, food is food, whether it’s for a wedding or a huge birthday party. I can tell you from personal experience that vendors WILL TRY TO CHARGE YOU MORE when you drop the "wedding" word. My MOH and I both called the same florist (within a few days of each other) asking for generally the same types of centerpieces. She said it was for a birthday party, and I said it was for a wedding. They quoted the birthday party centerpieces at $20 ea and the same ones for the "wedding" at $45 ea!!! I would imagine a caterer would do the same. It’s not the caterer’s job to "keep you honest" or even judge you for how honest he thought you were being… it’s the caterer’s job to serve you delicious food!!
Post # 4
You need to tell them it is for a wedding. The price to cater a wedding is higher than the price for other events because the caterer has to be so careful to schedule the food events around all the other events (cake cutting, dances, toasts, etc). This means that they might have to hire extra staff to get the food out and served/cake cut and served in a very tight amount of time.
Post # 5
I agree with the family event idea. Thats exactly what a wedding is. The only thing I will warn is that some caterers will most definately try to add one extra fees once they find out its a wedding. Most blame it on that fact that they feel a wedding is much more work than a big birthday party or something else.
Post # 6
I also think you should tell them it’s a wedding. I wouldn’t like it if my caterer tried to pull a fast one on me, so I won’t do the same to them.
It’s the same with every wedding vendor. Wedding photographers charge a lot b/c you’re not only paying them to shoot the day of, you’re also paying for peace of mind that they won’t cancel on you, that they’ll back up the photos, that they’ll provide you with images no matter what, etc.
I think not telling them is being sneaky.
Post # 7
well I think before the caterers write up a contract you will have to tell them exactly what you want and what type of event it is so I don’t see the point of witholding the info.
Post # 8
"it’s a family event" for now. or "a really big party"
Then later before you sign the papers go "oh i thought i told you it was for a wedding? i can’t remember, i’m planning two parties right now!" and if they change the price, find out WHY. What makes the service differnet for a wedding than a really nice party. Or, "anniverary" party.
There’s a whole section in the book by Denise Fields about how to pull this off and save lots of money!
Post # 9
Oh, another idea is to get a quote for a wedding, and then have a friend ask for a quote "similiar style" right? for a birthday party and see what the difference is.
Then you can call and be like ‘Hmm what’s the difference?" and see if they’re pulling a fast one over on you. Food is food as far as I am concerned
Post # 10
Thanks everyone – seems like a split vote (so to speak)
I’ve sent the following message to a couple places and think it might help the situation.
I am planning an event for April 10th 2010 and would like to know more about your facility. I saw your menus online and would like to know if they are interchangeable or flexible and if you have availability for April 10, 2010. The guest list will likely be approximately 180 people. We are getting married and are deciding whether or not to get married in Connecticut (where I’m from) and have the reception here or to get married in Ireland where we live beforehand and just have a party back in Connecticut afterwards.
Any information would be much appreciated.
This ‘change in plans’ may actually occur if FI’s work situation changes but I figure it gives the potential caterer a better idea of my situation. We’ll see what they say back!
Post # 11
I have found that all of the vendor’s I looked at gave me their basic menu prices that would be used for ANY event not just weddings!
I hope this helps
Post # 12
regardless of whether or not it’s a wedding, i would hope that all vendors would treat each client equally. as for spacing out the food and such in between toasts, etc, what if you did all of those things before hand and not in between? when you go to a restaurant, they still have to space out the meal. there are also other events besides weddings were toasts are given, games played (like at showers), and such. all vendors (and i know they don’t) should be in the same frame of mind when it comes to their clients: show up, do a great job, know their timing for things, etc.
Post # 13
I would tell them it is for a wedding. It may not even raise the price. But caterers do have different packages for weddings vs corporate vs etc. A wedding package might include the cake, champagne, bar, hors d’ oeuvres whereas another package if you said “family event” would not. Most other packages will not include dessert because you bring your cake for a wedding, or it includes a champagne toast where it wouldnt for a corporate event.
Post # 14
For a vendor like a florist or for linens, I might not say it is for a wedding but for a caterer and venue, I think they should know what type of event you have in mind so you can get all the options in the package.
Post # 15
I’m the catering director for a restaurant, and our food prices are based on the cost of the ingredients. What does make a difference is the staffing. If it’s a sit down wedding with servers bringing out your courses, we send one server per 10 people, with at least 5 kitchen staff. We’ll also send out a Captain to orchestrate the service, If it’s a buffet, we could probably get away with 7 or 8 servers and if it’s hors d’oeuvres only, 4 or 5 servers is sufficient. We don’t gouge you because it’s a wedding, we would follow these guidelines for any large event.
That being said, I work part time as a “day of” coordinator, and a wedding is THE HARDEST event to work, for all vendors. No other event runs on a tight timeline, from the welcome beverage, to the ceremony, the cocktail hour, the reception with all of its traditions. And unlike corporate events, or even birthdays, a wedding is based on very very high emotions and expectations. A photographer may bring two assistants, just to make sure they catch every moment. Florists bring several people to ensure every flower is in place. I’ve worked weddings where there have been 25 people rushing around all working against time to ensure the venue, music, lighting, food, ect. is perfect. The day of, it’s not unusual for me to work a 14 hour day….
Does that help?
Post # 16
You could always say it’s for a reunion ………. and then call up later as a “Friend” to see if you could get the same quote roughly for your wedding. So …be up front on the 2nd time around I guess. I’d imagine if you really went through the whole process …. they would be really upset because weddings do require extra staff and time. I didn’t do this personally – food was important to us and be budgeted extra for it.