Post # 1
I’m starting the best and worst part of wedding planning for me – caterers. We’re doing a vegan wedding, so putting together a menu that makes everyone happy is a bit of a challenge, but I’m also extremely excited to taste all of the food.<br />
Anyway, I’ve contacted all of my venue’s preferred caterers and I want to do a tasting at all of them. I’ve gotten to the point of scheduling tastings with one of them, and they will do a complimentary tasting for two people, but want $75 for each additional person! My parents are paying for the wedding, so I absolutely want them at the tasting. But paying $150 to have them there seems extremely expensive.<br />
I understand that because we haven’t booked with the caterer they don’t want to just give out free food, but the actual food proposal part of the menu was $36/pp, with staff, rentals, etc. bringing it to around $100/pp. Shouldn’t we only have to pay for how much the food would be at the tasting?
Is it normal for this to be so expensive? We certainly can’t pay to go to tastings at 5 places if they’re all going to charge that much. For reference, we’re just outside of Boston, so it is a pricier area.
Post # 2
All of the caterers we contacted had a similar thing – free tastings for the couple, but you had to pay extra for any other guests. Most were charging in the $25-$50pp range, which was also the same or above what we would have been spending per person at the reception. If we happened to book any of those caterers, they applied the tasting cost towards the full catering bill.
Ask your parents what they want to do. If they are paying for the wedding, they would probably be fine with paying a tasting fee so that they can be involved with the process. If they want you guys to go alone, make sure that you are all on the same page in terms of your menu and price goals so that you can relay the information they need.
Post # 3
Can you have 4 people eat off 2 plates to avoid the fee? Not the classiest move, I know.
Post # 4
We didn’t pay for tastings because only we went. If we brought more people, there would have been a fee.
Post # 5
memorieslff: Haha, I was thinking the same thing! I’m not sure if I have the guts to ask about it, though.
Post # 6
bleusteel: That’s the problem – my parents are outraged that they would be charged a fee. They keep comparing everything to my sister’s wedding (10 years ago…) and don’t understand that 1. her wedding was at an all-inclusive venue so that’s why they could have as many people as they wanted at the tastings and 2. things have changed in 10 years!
Post # 7
TGold: I mean, if it’s the same portion size they would have served one person, it shouldn’t be an issue. If you do get up the nerve to ask, just be like “Oh this is such an embarrasing question, but because our parents are paying for the wedding they would also like to taste the food as well, but are unwilling to go with a caterer that charges them a tasting fee. If my FI and I share a plate and they share a plate, just the normal size you would normally serve, could we somehow make that work? I would just very much like to use your company” blah blah blah
Post # 8
We were told we would be charged, but then weren’t. I suspect it’s because some people end up doing it for the free food and bring way more people. $75 does sound a bit steep, for 5 of us I think we were given 2 or 3 of each item that we wanted to try. It more than made up a full meal though, as we tested 3 different salads, 3 entrees, etc.
I think you should ask them to split up the servings, it’s a tasting and not meant to be a nice social dinner. It does sound like they are trying to cover their costs of the 2 free ones they are providing.
Post # 9
TGold: we could only had a tasting with the place we booked, free of charge.
i could understand them charging you for tastings before you committ to them. that is their time and energy when you are not 100% committed.
Post # 10
- Wedding: January 2013 - Harbourfront Grand Hall
TGold: We did not have to pay for our tasting. Maybe just take your mom to the tasting so you don’t have to pay the fee? Maybe they have people that want to bring larger parties to taste, hence the fees? I wouldn’t be turned off by that alone.
Post # 11
1st of my daughters to marry had a free tasting, for 2. It was scheduled by her venue about 5 months before their wedding, even though they had already chosen their entrees, so they could be put on their invitation inserts (handmade-Etsy). My husband and I didn’t go, since I’m a light eater, and it was $60 plus tip each, for anything over 2 people. We trusted their judgement, even though we paid 100% of their wedding costs. They chose a soup I couldn’t eat, because it was made with peppers, but I certainly didn’t starve.
I didn’t go to my 2nd daughter’s tast testing, either, even though we also paid 100%, of the wedding costs. The hotel who catered their menu had one big event, in the winter, for all couples who had signed contracts the past year. It was something like $40 per person, but included sample signature cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, etc., and they came home with a big box of cake samples, fillings, and icing. They told me that the hotel ballroom was full, but few if any, looked old enough to be parents of the bride and groom.
Unless you already have a signed contract, with a venue, I would think it was unlikely you’d get meals for free.
Post # 12
- Wedding: February 2015 - Chapel on Base
My caterer charged a fee if we wanted a personal tasting. However, we could sample any meal that they were catering that we wanted. We just had to pick it up and eat it at home. We found that much better to critique.
Post # 13
Where I work, we charge a fee for a tasting and will apply that fee towards your catering bill if you choose to book with us. It is a flat fee rather than a per-person fee.
Often, a tasting is more expensive than the per-head price because #1 they are making the items just for you, so the labor is more expensive, and #2 you are trying more dishes than what is going to end up in front of the guests.
I am all for tasting fees as it weeds out an awful lot of people who are not serious about booking with us (you may be surprised how many people will still take up your time even after they have signed contracts with someone else), and those whose price ranges we can’t fit into.
Post # 14
Yes, we were charged the regular full price of the meal for tasting .
Post # 15
TGold: NO we didn’t pay for any tastings.