Some of my first memories of appreciating food come from, as I suspect it comes for many, from my grandmother & grandfather. As a child, I would often go to their home for special occasions and I have fond memories of sitting in the kitchen, watching them cook (when we weren’t chased out). Their cooking always smelled so good and was so generous. My family gathered around the table, sharing food & stories. These are my first memories of the power of sharing a meal with loved ones, so it’s safe to say that food & catering is one of my favourite topics when it comes to wedding planning.
In this age of unique and unconventional weddings, there are a thousand ways to break bread with family & friends on your wedding day. Very few people know the art of creating a memorable meal than Sameena Sandhu, owner & chef of Nourishing Gourmet Catering in Kamloops. Since 2009, Sameena has been providing gourmet food & exceptional service using wholesome and locally sources ingredients in the Kamloops area, and today she is my guest on the Wild At Heart Podcast to talk everything food, choosing the perfect catering for your wedding day, I promise this episode will leave you salivating!
Before beginning the search for a caterer, choose your wedding date, venue, time of day for your reception and the type of food you’d prefer to have served. All these factors will influence the type of catering you will require and which services should be included in their estimates. [00:06:54]
A buffet is often the most economic option of food service because it requires less serving staff than a plated meal, and also provides the widest selection of meal options for your guests. A plated meal on the other hand can create a more personalized
and curated experience during your reception. It allows control over the portion size, visual presentation of the dish, temperature and representation of the theme of your wedding. [00:10:48]
Sameena’s recommendation is to select between three to five courses for a plated meal to ensure that dinner service goes out in a timely manner and that guests are not seated for too long a period of time. She also adds that plated meals are most often best reserved for wedding receptions without many children, as it is easy for parents to serve and feed their children with a buffet format where they can leave the table and get their food options quickly. [00:12:02]
If you have chosen a plated meal for your wedding reception, my best tip is to create a wedding website with the ability for guests to RSVP online. For our clients, we create custom websites that allow for guests to choose their meal option as they reply to your invitation and the caterer and couple receive automatic replies. Receive this information quickly will allow you to better plan out your catering budget, especially if you have two main course with different price points. [00:13:10]
When first sitting down with a potential caterer, here are a few helpful questions to help you make your selection:
- What is your speciality or approach to food?
- Given my budget, guest count and wedding style, what food choices can you recommend?
- Am I limited to sit-down or buffet?
- Can you provide gluten-free, organic, vegetarian/vegan meal options for guests with dietary restrictions?
- Do you offer tastings?
- Are dishes, cutlery, linens, glassware included in your estimate, or an additional charge?
- How much time do you need to set-up at the venue?
- Do you have staff available for dinner service, as well as clearing dishes and glassware?
- How are leftovers handled?
- How quickly can you provide dinner service for my guests?
When planning out your timeline for your wedding day, my best pro tip is to add extra time between the ceremony and reception to ensure that everyone will be ready for the scheduled dinner time. No matter how well your timeline has been planned, interrupts or incidentals can still occur on the day and its always best to give yourself a bit of padding for the ceremony, family photos and newlywed/bridal party photos. If for any reason you do find yourself running behind on schedule, it’s very important to delegate to your wedding planner, family or friends to inform the catering staff so that they can keep food hot or cold for you and your guests. [00:21:20]
When selecting your caterer, it’s important to discuss the amount of time it will take to serve the number of guests you will be hosting – whether buffet or plated. Nourishing Gourmet typically recommends 1 hour for 100 guests to be served food and eat their meal, but several factors can impact the speed of food service. If you have chosen to play a game to announce which tables are next for food service, be sure to have your MC discuss with the caterer or wedding planner at which pace the game should go, as well as the amount of tables that can go up at once to the buffet. [00:25:38]