Post # 1
My Fiance and I are having a hard time choosing a caterer. We are planning buffet style Italian for 80 guests. We have a little while to pick, but I am wondering what you bees would do. Is taste or peace of mind more important?
Catering Company (about $3500)
Pasta bar with three sauces, two types of pasta, and four toppings. Carving station, salad, and vegetables. Open bar with well drinks.
- Does weddings all the time and has plenty of experience with feeding large groups
- All inclusive- won’t have to worry about other companies for cleanup or bartending
- Pay per person (not per drink or plate)
- The food we tried was good, but not mind-blowing. Pasta sauces were on the salty side. Marinara was homemade, but tasted like the jarred stuff.
- A lot of the cost comes from high service fees, not food costs.
- May have to pay per head for non-drinkers too.
- Have to book a while in advance with large deposit.
Restaurant (about $3000-3200)
Several different pasta entrees with various meats mixed in. Vegetables, two salads. Beverages and open bar with beer, wine, and one mixed drink from seperate company.
- Food is DELICIOUS. Everyone’s mouth drools when they hear the Restaurant name.
- Can choose as many different entrees as we want.
- We could control how much liquor to buy.
- Can book just a few weeks in advance.
- Servers may not have ever served at wedding and no supervisor wiill be on-site. (May not know what to do.)
- Food is excellent in restaurant, but I don’t know how well it would keep after being made in bulk then served hours later.
- Would need to hire completely seperate company for bartending.
- Would need to hire seperate company for coffee and tea.
Post # 3
I voted for the catering company merely b/c we were going to do the restaurant option (Ruby Tue). We spoke to someone on the phone and met a manager. We were thoroughly impressed and began setting up the details. As we were beginning to budget how much to pay them per month, we had run-ins. They didn’t return phone calls, emails, etc. Later, we found out the manager we had spoken to no longer worked at the restaurant. (Nobody told us!) The head of their catering/large party gave us run around and behaved as if they’d never done a large event before. When we discussed the plans that we set up with the new lady, she acted as if they couldn’t do anything that was discussed. GRRR! (Bridezilla almost came out). Glad we didn’t pay them anything. Ended up saying forget you Ruby Tue and got a caterer that did an amazing job. Look around for other caterers who have better food if possible. They can do everything including drinks if you find the right one!
Post # 4
The “food made in bulk and stored” thing is a problem. That could result in a lot of your food being unevenly heated, soggy, gummy or just not tasty (depending on what it is).
I’m also concerned about the lack of supervisor to coordinate timing, distribution, etc. I would decide against the restaurant for those reasons.
Is there a possibility of you finding a caterer that you find tastier, so you are happier?
Post # 5
- Wedding: July 2012 - Baltimore Museum of Industry
Food will almost always be better made on site vs. hours before/brought in. Also- you have too many cons listed-bad service at a wedding isn’t acceptable.
Since your wedding is two years out, keep looking!
Post # 6
We looked at a few other caterers. I haven’t tried any of the food, but many of them are way out of our price range (or didn’t respond to price inquiry at all…)
The problem is, I wouldn’t describe the food as bad at all- just pissing that “wow” factor. I would probably have the same thing in a sit-down restaurant and be perfectly happy, but I think if we are paying that much money, it should be the best damn thing I ever ate.
Post # 7
Thanks for the input! The servers at the restaurant could be fabulous for all I know, or they could also just be sitting there waiting to be told how to cut a cake….
Wedding date listed was actually set before we set one. We actually only have a few weeks to make a decision since many caterers fill up a year in advance.
Post # 8
@CrazyCoffeeGeek: I definitely understand you feeling that way, but there is A LOT to be said for having the catering company coordinate the bartending, serving, coffee and tea service, etc. Are you having a wedding planner? If not, it will be you that will have to ensure that all of those different companies are working in harmony, responsible for various breakdown and cleanup, et cetera.
I know the service fees are high, but for ME I totally felt like it was worth it to really have the catering company handle *everything* and not have to sweat about anything, you know?
I really would keep looking and have your current catering option as a fallback. I think, with the number of italian caterers out there, you can do better.