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Wedding Catering

Catering options for your wedding banquet

Aside from the main event of seeing you get married, your guests will probably be most excited about the wedding reception. So how will you fill the tummies of all those people and make sure they leave with a smile? Simple: start with a plan. When it comes to wedding catering, you generally have three different options - you can use the in-house catering crew offered at your reception site, you can hire an outside firm or you can take on the task yourself. Which one will you choose? Read on for help in deciding!

In-House Catering

Pros: This is often the simplest approach to planning your wedding banquet. Many venues have in-house caterers that provide all the food and drink services for the wedding receptions they host. Because they are familiar with the site and have regular meals that they specialize in, you'll have peace of mind knowing they've done it all before. Another plus is that in-house caterers will be able to provide the tables, chairs, linen, crockery, glasses and serving staff.

Cons: Because in-house caterers usually have a fairly set menu, you may not be able to incorporate unique foods or specific food requirements. Make sure to ask about these issues up front, and find an alternate plan if needed.

Outside Catering

Pros: Choosing an outside wedding catering business gives you just that - choice. You can do your homework, search around and find the one that's just right for you in terms of food requirements and budget. If you have any friends or family who have recently married or hosted a big event, get referrals from them. You can also check the Yellow Pages, Internet or your local newspaper for contacts. Compile a list of potential wedding caterers, arrange to meet each one, and go from there. You'll want to ask a lot of questions of your potential caterers. Get specific information like sample wedding menus, prices lists and testimonials. Find out whether they provide just the meal, or if the wine and wedding cake are included. Some catering companies provide table service as well.

Cons: This approach takes a bit of leg work, and if time isn't on your side, you might want to stick with an in-house caterer.

Do-It-Yourself Catering

Pros: If you're having a very small, intimate wedding reception, this could be the way to go. The approach is definitely do-able if you're a highly organized bride, and you have family and friends who can pitch in and help out. It might also fit your wedding theme better. If you're having an outdoor wedding in someone's backyard, a homemade meal ties in perfectly for the reception. Just remember that it is simpler to self-cater a buffet than a served dinner.

Cons: Catering your own wedding reception food tends to be the least popular option among couples, simply because of the time and effort that's needed to pull it off. If you already feel overwhelmed by all the wedding planning, save this job for someone else - especially if your guest list is large!

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