Post # 1
What was your guys’ experience with finding a caterer? We’re getting married in June in southern oregon so it’s been tricky to find caterers since there aren’t as many options as a bigger city, like Portland. We went to one place that was yummy and affordable and the owner was super nice but I’d like to have more than one option….I called one place that looked good and they finally got back to tell me that they don’t do tastings…? One other place is booked up already for our weekend and I’m waiting to hear back from a restaurant. I’m wondering if this is normal, I always imagined that caterers would have a tasting menu or at least be willing to make the items you’re interested in. How else are you supposed to choose? Also, if there are any other Southern Oregon brides that have some caterers to recommend I would really appreciate it!
Post # 2
I got married in a relatively small town (40k) but with a larger city 45m away. So I looked mainly at the town places, but didnt rule out places from the city even if they charged travel. It sounds like youre thinking outside of the box already which is important. Restaurant or non-typical catering is a great option. I went with a smaller caterer and they were SO great to work with. So if you like that one, they might be the one for you. Mine worked with my budget to give me a spectacular meal for a very budget price.
Post # 3
Most caterers won’t do tastings till after you’ve signed a contract. They will generally only go through the expense of a tasting if they’re confident they’ve got your business. Start by describing the kind of meal you want– you don’t need specific dishes, but a rough guest count, number/types of courses and meat/fish/chicken/veg details should do it– that will usually get you a price and some sample menus. Narrow it down to the one you like best, sign your contract and then you get your tasting.
Honestly if your first stop is a place that has nice food and good prices, why not go with them? Check their reviews and if they look solid, don’t make extra work for yourself. Just hire them. If you truly feel like you need to get a second quote, ask your venue to recommend some caterers who’ve worked there previously.
Post # 4
Horseradish : Well I really liked the place we checked out but it wasn’t the style of food we were originally thinking. It’s a BBQ place, which is completely fine but not that different than what Fiance and eat on a pretty regular basis. On one hand, it’s very ‘us’ and since our venue is outdoors in the summer it would be a good fit but I also wanted to try out a more formal option, just to see if that is something that we’d want. I hate picking the first thing I look at or try out because I always worry that maybe I just settled or missed other choices.
Post # 5
msmeow13 : We went with a restaurant and hired the servers separately. That way, we weren’t being charged “per head” and I could bring in desserts & appetizers from our favorite local places. Plus we could bring in our own alcohol! It was more work, but it worked for us 🙂
Post # 6
We’re lucky in that we don’t have traditional “banquet halls” or “catering companies”, but rather various wedding venues and all the caterers in our area are restaurants. For that reason a tasting is as simple as going into their restaurant and having dinner.
If you like the BBQ place, go with them.
Post # 7
How far is your venue from Portland or a larger city? You may want to check with caterers there and just pay the travel fees. We are getting married about 3 hours away from a large city and running into similar problems, and our solution has been to hire vendors that will travel to our destination. Yes, it will cost more, but at least we’re getting the options we want.
Post # 8
We were deciding between two caterers, and they also didn’t do tastings until after the contract was signed. We explained that we were mostly choosing caterers based on taste, and without a tasting we wouldn’t be able to sign a contract (we said it nicely). They allowed it, and I’m glad they did, because I was leaning toward one that wasn’t the one we ended up going with. I think the competition spurred them on. If they won’t do it, I don’t see how they can expect to get your business. We don’t buy cakes without tastings, and those are way cheaper and less important to the overall wedding!
Post # 9
Does your venue have a list of suggested suppliers? Ours did, and there were more than I thought they’d be, given the size of the town we’re marrying in. We may have been lucky that the town is close to the border of two other counties. I also found caterers were quite happy to commute a fair way, especially specialist caterers like for Indian food, veg*an caterers etc.
We also didn’t get a tasting before hand. Our venue held a wedding fayre in March and we met the caterer there. They did have some lovely platters of cheese and cold meats to try, but we’re veggie so couldn’t. Our wedding is in March and the tasting is in early Jan.
We approached a number of caterers, explained what we wanted (starter and main with the cake served as the sweet course) and took things from there as the quotes came in. We basically chose ours as they were hot on veggie issues, they’re supplying our bar for the evening and asked if we wanted all veggie wines etc. and when we met them knew which of their cheeses contained animal rennet.