Owner of Weddings in Vieques, a destination-wedding planning company off the coast of Puerto Rico, Sandy Malone has helped countless couples plan their big day since 2007. Here, she's sharing the top eight things most couples don't know about wedding catering.
Most brides and grooms don't know the ins-and-outs of how catering works at their wedding reception. There are rules and schedules caterers will follow to make sure your event runs smoothly.
Unless you've planned big events before and have the scoop, the following info will help you understand the hows and whys of the food and beverages at your wedding reception:
1. You don't get to keep the leftovers. You only get what you paid for and your guests ate, unless you've pre-arranged something differently on the contract. An off-site caterer will have brought more food than necessary to make sure they have enough to satisfy all of your guests. It leaves with them.
2. When you have an off-site caterer, plated, pre-ordered meals are often less expensive than a buffet or food stations.
3. Bar packages have specific hours. If you've contracted for an open bar for five hours, that means your wedding party can't hit the bar when they're getting ready beforehand or the caterer has every right to close the bar early.
4. Buffets and service stations that require a carving chef or other special attention will require an addition fee — usually $150 of more — for that extra chef.
5. Like the food, any "leftovers" on the bar belong to the caterer. They've brought more booze and mixers than they needed and they'll be taking the extra back with them at the end. Prepare to be charged if any of your guests help themselves to a bottle.
6. Not every caterer has a liquor license, but they won't always tell you that. Be sure to ask so that your event doesn't break any laws.
7. The caterer has the right to cut off any wedding guest who becomes too inebriated. We had one guest so drunk that he stole a bottle of booze, hid it in his pants and then accidentally dropped it on the pool deck amongst a whole crew of dancing barefoot guests. What a nightmare!
8. If you have a complaint, you need to take it directly to the chef, owner or manager of the establishment. Making a scene at a bartender or server makes you look like a bully. Legitimate complaints should be acted upon immediately by management if you go to the right person.