{expert tip} When to Hire a Caterer for Your Wedding ( & what to expect when you do!)

From the Spring/Summer 2015 issue of The Wedding Ring ONTARIO Magazine

North Moore Catering is a boutique caterer, located at 196 Dundas Street in London, Ontario, who serves high quality, delicious, customized menus at many special events across Southwestern Ontario each year. This professional catering company has made a name for themselves by concentrating on providing new and exciting delicious food choices for their clients, as well as extraordinary service to go along with it all. Owner, Jess Jazey-Spoelstra explains her boutique approach, “We do not have set wedding menus or packages but instead customize a menu based on your likes, dislikes and budget so each wedding is unique and different. We do not do cookie cutter weddings.”

In this featured expert tip, Jess shares what she feels every bride or groom should know about hiring a caterer…

MORE THAN JUST FOOD

You can certainly plan a customized, fantastic wedding menu, cocktail hour, and late night buffet or sweets table when you hire a professional event caterer such as North Moore Catering, but that’s not where the services end. For example, North Moore offers rentals, specialty linens, Smart Serve Bartenders, Valet Attendants, indoor/outdoor furniture rentals, even consulting and more. “We also have Pastry Chef, Michele Lenhardt, former owner of the Black Walnut and AGO in Toronto and we do fabulous wedding cakes, cupcakes, pastries … all made in house:’

TAKING YOUR WEDDING ANYWHERE YOUR HEART DESIRES

If you want a wedding that is truly unlike any other, then hiring a caterer opens the door to a host of unique venue choices! Your glamorous catered event can take place just about anywhere you like, when you’re working with a caterer who can travel to wherever you are – whether it’s a rustic chic barn, a private estate or an outdoor tent. And since unique venues come with w1ique requirements, a professional caterer can highlight (and likely help with) the things you’ll need to consider such as hydro, washroom facilities and the like. This tends to be where a true expert goes from caterer to life-saver!

ALLERGIES VS DIETARY RESTRICTIONS

Jess recommends finding out if your guests have food allergies. This is critical, because in some cases, food allergies can be fatal. Jess also recommends asking if anyone requires vegan or vegetarian meals. What you shouldn’t do, she says, is ask for non-health-related dietary restrictions. “You may end up attempting to accommodate a dozen fad diets or your cousin’s dislike of all vegetables!” While it feels good to be able to meet your guests’ every need, you can feel safe in the knowledge that with a well planned menu, you will have something for everyone.

WHAT NOT TO DO

When you hire a caterer, you’re putting your menu in their hands. Don’t ask to bring your own food or provide your own food for them to cook – not even just the appetizers. “There are a lot of health risks associated with providing your own food. Unfortunately, even if your dad owns a ranch, you wouldn’t provide the beef for your entrees. We can use beef from someone’s farm as long as it goes through the proper inspection channels and is up to our standards, however since you would still need to pay for the labour to clean and prep it, along with the sides and sauces, it is best to allow us to choose all ingredients:’ Also, for the sake of insurance, health and reputation, the risks are just too high, making it difficult to find any professional caterer that would allow the use of outside ingredients or food.

Don’t make last minute changes without updating the caterer! Whether it’s timeline changes, the number of guests or any of a million other interchanging details, make sure you update your caterer when and if changes arise.

THE KEY TO BUDGETING IS TO SHOP SMART, NOT CHEAP

By prioritizing what you want most on your dream wedding day, you’ll find it easier to budget for that dream. Do you and your soul mate consider yourselves true foodies, opting for lobster bisque over linens and lace? Perhaps the most important thing to you is having the wedding at your family’s cottage? If you know what you want, you’ll also know where you’re willing to trim.

“Not all deals are good deals;’ warns Jess, who has heard her fair share of horror stories. “Just because that new, part time rental company is offering twenty percent off their chair rentals, doesn’t guarantee that you’re getting a great deal. Their sale price may be more than full price somewhere more reputable, or because they’re new, you could be risking late delivery, sloppy set-up or any number of other issues. If you shop smart, not cheap, you’ll dramatically increase the chance of getting the day you’re dreaming of.