Catering Wedding Experience

How Does Catering Enhance the Wedding Experience?

As a bride, you’re excited, glowing, and gracious in accepting the congratulations and well-wishes that follow your engagement. Deep down, however, you may be feeling a little anxiety as you try to figure out how you’ll get everything done by the wedding day. One of the first decisions you’ll need to make is also among the most important: Whether to hire New York wedding catering to handle the event.

You can make a list of pros and cons, as you keep your budget and chosen venue in mind. However, it’s also important to consider whether:

  • You simply want to check an item off your Wedding To-Do list; OR,
  • You strive to enhance the wedding experience for yourself, your partner, and your guests.

Once you recognize the difference, you’ll appreciate the ways that catering can take the event from mundane to memorable.

Wedding Caterers Assist with Planning the Menu:

Catering professionals are knowledgeable about what’s necessary to feed any size group, from a few dozen family and friends to a large bash for a few hundred. These services can assist you in choosing dishes based upon your vision, as well as:

  • Your chosen cuisine and style;
  • What works for the wedding venue;
  • Portion sizes;
  • Sizes and accompaniments;
  • Kosher, vegetarian, and specific needs of guests; and,
  • Many other details.

You Can Rest Assured the Food is High Quality and Consistent:

People may rave about your chicken marsala, but you can probably see how the quality of any dish may suffer if you try to prepare it in large quantities. Caterers excel in creating large portions of food on a large scale, so you can be sure the meal is as flavorful as it is plentiful. Plus, they have solid, long-term relationships with food purveyors and suppliers. You’ll know that quality ingredients go into the preparation of your wedding feast, and you’re getting the best prices on fresh, seasonal items.

Caterers Deliver Show-Stopping Meal Presentation:

As the saying goes, “we eat first with our eyes.” Therefore, aside from quality of the food, you’ll also want it to look fabulous for guests and photo opportunities. A catering professional will focus on the visual aspects of food service, so that the presentation compliments the venue, décor, and overall style of your wedding.

Hiring a Wedding Caterer Saves You Time:

Taking matters into your own hands and planning your own wedding reception is the equivalent of a part-time job if you want to do it well. Though you can tackle the big picture preparations, it’s the little details that you don’t expect – but which can derail your hard work up to the moments before the wedding.

Wedding caterers anticipate the challenges in planning these events, down to the minutiae you may not have considered. They’re also prepared to take on other tasks that have nothing to do with food service. Based upon your needs, you can trust a caterer to help with:

  • Booking the ideal venue;
  • Retaining an officiant;
  • Design, preparation, transportation, and presentation of your wedding cake;
  • Vetting and working with the band or DJ;
  • Choosing and assembling flowers;
  • Taking the lead on other wedding décor; and,
  • Hiring bartending staff or other types of beverage service.

You Won’t Stress About Last-Minute Emergencies:

Even best laid plans can go awry when unforeseen circumstances arise – and Murphy’s Law dictates that these emergencies will occur at the worst possible time. A wedding caterer is your go-to resource when disaster strikes, so the stress of a crisis doesn’t creep in to affect your big day.

Wedding Catering Allows You to Be the Bride:

To a certain extent, the role of a bride encompasses hostess duties. If there are issues with the food, drinks, music, unruly guests, or service, who will be the first to hear about it? YOU, unless you have a wedding caterer to run interference. On the biggest day of your life, you don’t want to be finding a clean fork for your nephew, uncorking bottles of wine, or hearing about your cousin’s gluten intolerance.

Your wedding day is the one, rare opportunity where you should be wearing a veil – not multiple hats. Be the bride and let wedding caterers tackle the rest.

Learn More About the Benefits of New York Wedding Catering

If you’d like to hear about additional ways that a catering service enhances the wedding experience, please contact Thomas Oliver’s Gourmet Catering & Events. Our professionals offer the full array of catering services for weddings, including assistance with the menu, flowers, cake, venue, and other essentials.

Tip the Caterer

How Much Do I Tip The Caterer: Tipping Etiquette 101

It’s a common scenario when planning a wedding, corporate meeting, or other special event: The big day has arrived, and you’re feeling very satisfied with the preparations. You’ve checked off every item on your list, including booking the venue, hiring a New York catering company, determining the menu, and organizing the guest list. Because you considered every expense and planned for any contingency, you’re set to go.

Though you may think you’ve covered all details, there may be one item that eludes you: How much to tip the caterer. It’s a point that’s easily overlooked during preparations, but the tip is something that you should at least consider making part of your budget.

Why Do You Tip Caterers?

Tipping is defined as giving a person or company a sum of money as a way of rewarding them for providing the services you’ve procured. It’s not considered part of the transaction – a tip is extra. It’s part of social convention in many environments, including catering.

While tipping is routine in restaurants, and in some cases required by an added gratuity, there are fewer unwritten rules as applied to catering. The general rule of thumb is that you tip because you’re satisfied, happy, or even thrilled with the experience. You add a tip when the services, food, music, venue, and all other arrangements were handled impeccably and professionally by the catering company.

How Much Do You Tip a Caterer?

Once you understand the reasons behind it, the next important question is how much to tip the wedding caterer, event coordinator, or other company hired to help you host an event. In some cases, it may even be in the contract and the decision is made for you. Other times, you’ll need to determine a strategy – preferably in advance – of how you’ll calculate the caterer’s tip. Examples include:

  • You may choose to tip on the basis of the total catering bill, at a rate of 15 to 20 percent.
  • You could provide a tip that accounts for the food and beverage cost, usually around 18 percent of the combined sum.
  • A flat rate fee per person may be appropriate, as follows:
    • For servers, food runners, and non-chef kitchen staff, a tip of $25-$50;
    • For the executive chef and catering management, a standard tip may range from $50 to $100; and
    • For bartenders, the going rate for a tip is usually around 10-15 percent of the total bar bill, if separate from your catering services.

In addition, you should note that the amount of the caterer’s tip is also based upon the type of event. For instance, you may provide a higher rate for a wedding as compared to a corporate event. Your big day is a personal, momentous occasion, so your gratitude should be reflected monetarily.

How Do You Tip Caterers?

Besides how much to tip the caterer, it’s important to comply with protocol on who, when, and how. In general, you’ll pay the tip to your agent at the catering service – the person who had taken the lead on all the details and consulted with you throughout the planning process. You’ll want to wait until your wedding or other event is drawing to a close, especially since performance of the catering services is a major factor in determining the amount.

As a practical matter, you should plan to pay the caterer’s tip in cash. Many times, the service will dole out tips to service staff immediately after wrapping things up. All those involved with assisting in your event appreciate being able to go home with cash in their pockets.

Consult with a New York Catering Professionals About Wedding and Event Details

Hopefully, these answers to common questions about tipping will help you guide you on the bigger inquiry: How much to tip catering delivery, the caterer services, and any other professionals that assist with your event. There is no right or wrong way to handle it, but DO make sure you at least consider an extra amount for great service, fantastic food, and attention to every detail.

Please call to set up an appointment with a New York catering company who can assist with your event, and will inspire you to tip accordingly for professional services that exceed your expectations.

New York Catering Company Food

What Type of Food Does a New York Catering Company Provide?

Menu and food service are among the first tasks you’ll need to tackle when planning a special event, but you may be wondering how the process works when you partner with a New York catering company. Generally, you can rest assured that caterers will strive to exceed your expectations for a wedding, gala, or corporate event. However, you should also be aware of the types of food a catering company can provide to make the occasion special.

4 Types of Food You’ll See at Top Events by New York Catering Companies

Recently, caterers for weddings, parties, corporate meetings, and other special events are less focused on presenting a specific cuisine or course. You may see the typical entrée choices of fish, beef, or vegetable replaced by an experiential menu. The food might represent the lifestyle or preferences of the couple or be a complement to the venue itself. Some examples of the food you’ll find at a catered event may include:

  1. Farm to Table: The trend that’s hit the restaurant scene in recent years is carrying over into catered events, with organic produce, locally produced meats, and artisan cheeses topping the menus. Guests feel a sense of connection with their meal when they know it was sourced just a few miles away.
  2. Brunch: People love brunch, so it makes sense that this breakfast-lunch crossover would find its way into high end events like weddings, anniversary parties, and engagement celebrations. Mimosas and Bloody Marys are the ideal accompaniment to a mid-morning meal with omelets, fruit, breakfast meats, and other offerings.
  3. Midnight Snacks: After a night of dancing and revelry, more couples are providing late night sustenance to guests before they depart the wedding. The menu could be as basic as pizza and burgers, or as elegant as passed appetizers.
  4. Small Plates: Catering services are moving toward a meal that’s more akin to a tasting menu than a three-course meal. Instead of the routine salad/entrée/dessert, you may see an amuse bouche paired with an aperitif, followed by 3-5 small plates, wrapping up with a tiny, sweet bite.

3 Types of Catering Food Service and Presentations

To New York wedding catering services, the presentation and style of service is every bit as important as the food. However, more couples and event organizers are eschewing the sit-down dinner or buffet for more creative choices.

  1. Themed Service Stations: Everyone’s got a hankering for a certain kind of food, and themed food tables are a way to satisfy their cravings. Top theme options to consider include:
    •  A seafood tower;
    • Cupcake display;
    • Pasta bar; and,
    • Choose your stir fry station.
  2. Food Trucks: Another trend that’s carried over into weddings and special events is food trucks, a budget-friendly, rustic presentation that creates a no-fuss, casual atmosphere. Fusion tacos are a popular choice, blending the flavors and spices of Mexican, Cuban, Thai, Korean, Hawaiian, and many other global cuisines.
  3. Interactive Food Service: You may also see more catering professionals bring out interactive experiences at weddings and events, which makes the guest part of the preparation process. For instance:
    • If you love guacamole prepared at your table, you’ll love how caterers are taking the show out of the restaurant and into event venues. Guests can choose their toppings, such as veggies, cheeses, seafood, and other add-ins. Then, they can mix it up themselves in a traditional molcajete.
    • Rolling your own sushi isn’t as tough as you think with the right tools and guidance. Guests can select what they want and the style, such as sashimi, nigiri, or hand-roll. When the ingredients are pre-chopped and all the necessary supplies are handy, roll-your-own is an unforgettable interactive experience.

Additional Factors Regarding Types of Food Served by New York Catering Companies

Of course, there are also other considerations to take into account when deciding on food types for a catering professional. With any of the above ideas on types of food and service options, your budget is a priority. Fortunately, some of these concepts are reasonably priced, and you can move up the budgetary ladder from there.

The venue is another concern, as the setting and layout of the structure will dictate some of the details. Still, some of these ideas are just as home at a high-end, elegant affair as they are at a backyard event.

Trust New York Catering Professionals to Cover All Your Event Needs

Whatever your vision for a wedding or other special event, you can expect your catering service to be flexible and accommodating to meet your needs. Please call to set up an appointment with a catering professional who can help you in laying the groundwork for a memorable occasion.