Written by Amy Brown
With your wedding venue booked and ticked off the long list of decisions to make, you then find yourself looking for the perfect wedding caterer! Whilst it may seem like a daunting task, we have put together some handy tips to help you on your way!
You may have chosen a dry hire venue such as Hylands Estate due to the flexibility it offers when selecting caterers and contractors that suit your needs. Having the option to select a specific cuisine type, really makes your day personal.
HOW TO FIND A CATERER
Step 1: Before you embark upon seeking out the perfect caterer, have in mind your budget and a good idea on guest numbers.
Step 2: If anyone knows anything about caterers, it’s your wedding venue! Here at Hylands we have put together a list of recommended caterers. To earn a place on this list, caterers need to provide a high level of expertise and consistency with each event, from communication to execution, their service must be outstanding.
Step 3: Recommendations will be key! Ask family and friends if they can offer any recommendations. Afterall, I’m sure we can all recall memories of disastrous dinners as well as those meals that left us in foodie heaven! …… you certainly want your wedding meal to be memorable for all the RIGHT reasons!
WHAT TO ASK YOUR CATERER
A few things to ask when making your initial enquiries:
- Check availability of your wedding date
- Check if pricing is per head & fits your budget
- Find out if they have worked at your venue before
- See a sample menu
- Find out if they offer complimentary tasting sessions
- Check that they cater for allergies and various other dietary requirements
When you have narrowed down your selection, you’ll want to dig a little deeper to make sure they are the right caterer for you.
- Find out if there a separate children’s menu
- Do they offer table service, trolley service and/or buffet service?
- Ask for images of the food and serving stations (if required)
- Check that they provide table linen, if so which colours/sizes/styles are available?
- Check that they provide crockery, cutlery & glassware. If so, what does it look like?
- Do they have a personal licence to sell/serve alcohol?
- Can they provide bar staff?
Another bonus for selecting your own caterer is the ability to step away from a standard “white cloth” set up. Imagine sparkling sequins for a glamorous theme or beautiful soft lace linen for a more romantic feel. Find out if your caterer can offer a selection of table linen, crockery and additional items such as charger plates and cutlery, so that you can tailor this to your décor theme. You’ll find bundles of tablescape inspiration on Pinterest to get your imagination fired up!
It’s your day, push yourself to select a menu that excites you rather than pleases the crowd. If you want your meal to be memorable, be sure it tastes amazing even if it seems like an unusual choice!
CATERING AT HYLANDS
When booking your wedding here at Hylands, your caterers will have access to both our house kitchen and our full-size event kitchen in the Grand Pavilion from 9am (or an hour prior to your hire time). Both kitchens are fully electric and fitted with ovens, refrigerators, freezers, dishwasher, warming ovens, electric hob together with ample storage space and food preparation areas.
If your caterer would like to cook using a gas flame, we can offer an outdoor cooking area in the service yard right behind the kitchen. They would simply need to bring the required equipment and a gazebo for inclement weather.
In order for your caterer to work with us, we ask for the following documentation:
- A 4 or 5* Food Hygiene Rating set by the Food Standards Agency
- Public Liability for a minimum of £5M
- Personal Licence to sell/serve alcohol (unless you have a separate Bar company running the bar)
- Any additional electrical equipment will require a PAT test certificate
- Caterers who have not worked at Hylands will be required to sign a Caterers Pack
We appreciate that each wedding is unique and we welcome additional mobile catering units/pop up units providing the above documentation is available. Why not book an ice cream van and rename the ice creams to something personal to you? Bring in a cocktail bar or van such Piccolo Furgone. From popcorn to candy floss, pizza to crepes and pancakes …. make your day unique and offer guests an unforgettable experience! The Events & Weddings Team are here to help, every step of the way!