Post # 1
I’m still struggling to find a venue and of course food is a super important part of the decision for Fiance and I. I assumed before starting this process that a tasting wouldn’t be a big deal but apparently every place I call has a different policy. I understand not offering the full-on meal tasting experience before signing but at least a bite of something! One place I’ve been in touch with is making it super difficult and said they need two weeks to arrange a tasting, another said we could come to brunch and try the chef’s food (that was fine), and another said they don’t have any way for us to taste the food. So two questions, is it normal to not have any food to try prior to signing a venue? Would you book/pay a venue if you couldn’t taste something the chef has made prior to booking the venue?
Post # 3
From my understanding, almost all tastings happen after the contract is signed and are used to pick menu options rather than select a venue.
If the venue is also a restaurant then you can just go and have a meal there to see what the food is like, but if it is just a catering hall thy usually will not do tastings until after a contract is signed.
Sometimes places will have a “tasting day” where they have lots of couples come and taste, but I think for the most part you have to have signed a contract first.
Post # 4
This was pretty typical when I was venue hunting. I booked without a tasting but only because I had heard amazing things about the food there. We had a tasting a few months before the wedding and it lived up to my expectations.
Post # 5
Usually you sign first. So don’t worry about that. But I’d be pretty wary of a place that would NEVER let me taste the food.
Post # 6
I hired a caterer who brought the food into my venue. We tasted before committing to them. Why would you chance that the food would suck???? It is such a big expense and leaves your guests with either a oh my god that sucked feeling or wow that was freakin awesome! Taste your food girl, it’s a lot of money!!!!
We picked out our menu and the chef made each item we wanted! It was awesome!
Post # 7
Our venue didn’t do tastings either, but they are also a restaurant so we already know their food is amazing.
I think it depends how much you care about the food from your venue (vs. style or location) and maybe talk to other brides who have had their wedding there!
Post # 8
Our caterer is exclusive to the venue, so if we wanted the venue we had to use that caterer and they did not let us do a tasting prior to signing the contract. We have our tasting scheduled in a few weeks and then we’ll pick our menu. I think it’s common to not do food tasting prior to signing a contract.
Post # 9
I didn’t taste at my venue. It’s a country club that does tons of weddings, and IMO wedding food is kinda wedding food. It was basic stuff like salmon, chicken, steak. i was planning from out of town and they had great reviews so I didn’t even think to push the issue.
Post # 10
Our venue did not allow tastings until after a contract was signed and like PP said to pick the menu. This was the same with the 2 other venues we visited.
Post # 11
My venue does not do the food so I went with a caterer and we did 2 tastings with them before booking them.
Post # 12
We’re using a historic mansion that doubles as a banquet hall. Fiance has eaten there on other business before and was impressed with the food. We haven’t tried the things that we wanted serve at the wedding but I feel resonable confident that it will be good.
Post # 13
For our venue, you sign the contract before the tasting. The tasting is done 6 months before your wedding date. The venue is a restaurant, though, so I at least had an idea of what their food would be like…
Post # 14
If they don’t offer a tasting, they’re hiding something. I would never book any caterer who did not offer a tasting before you book them (you have to try them out first so you know who to go with. if they don’t allow that, move on to someone else asap) since you have no way of knowing what they will be fixing and you risk having bad food on the day of because you are locked in at that point.
Post # 15
Thanks bees, I appreciate the thoughtful comments.
I called the venue that had said not to a tasting and asked if we could pay for a tasting and she said no, I asked if there is even a tasting to plan the wedding menu after you book and pay the deposit and she said “it just isn’t worth our while to do so”. Wow. I thanked her but said my Fiance and I just didn’t feel comfortable going in blind and that was that. Now I know why there is only one review on any of the wedding sites about this place, I mean $100/person I want to taste the food!
Edit: Just to be clear, they have absolutely no brunch, no food nothing that can be tasted prior to the wedding.
Post # 16
This is very typical for a venue that isn’t a full service restaurant. Our venue offers a brunch every Sunday and we are invited to come and taste the food to get a better idea of what the chef is like, then we can choose the menu later (without tasting).
You have to keep in mind that there is a huge difference between a caterer and a venue with in-house catering. A caterer is selling their food alone while the venue has more to offer and isn’t JUST relying on the food. That being said just do your homework. If the venue had terrible food they wouldn’t be able to keep it a secret by any means.