Seacoast Weddings chatted with seasoned caterer and Seacoast Weddings Advisory Panel Member Peggy Liversedge of Kitchen Chicks Catering. We now have the scoop on planning for food allergies, important questions to ask your caterer, expecting the unexpected (Peggy recalls a visiting skunk who caused an entire wedding to clear out for ten minutes — “You cannot make that up!” she exclaims), and—most importantly—what makes a good caterer.
A necessity for human survival, food should never be taken lightly. This is especially true when it comes to your wedding! To avoid “hangry” outbreaks on your special day, find a caterer who will help to guide you through the planning process. “Catering is one of the biggest costs for a wedding,” says Peggy. “Make sure you are getting exactly what you envision.” She recommends seeking word-of-mouth referrals or using caterers that you’ve seen in action at events.
Peggy emphasizes working with an experienced caterer, especially if your wedding is at an off-premise location (for example, in a tent on the beach or in a barn in the country). “Off premise catering is very different from food served from the line of a restaurant or hotel,” she says. “Always ask how [caterers] prepare the food, transport it, serve it, how long will it take to serve the entire room and what they do for clean up.” Peggy describes how some rental companies charge a fee if the china and flatware isn’t cleaned and returned to the crates that they arrived in. Be sure also to ask caterers about trash removal — some venues want trash to be removed and for floors to be swept and mopped. “If your caterer does not do this, you could spend your first day as a happily married couple doing the dishes!” Peggy warns.
Another benefit of hiring a caterer with experience is that they know what to do in the case of unplanned events. “We work outside in tents a lot so rain, thunder storms, power outages are pretty much routine,” says Peggy.
When choosing what will be served at weddings, Peggy says that food allergies are one of the first questions that she asks her clients. “With advance notice we can safely eliminate allergens from event menus or we can prepare a special meal for a guest,” she explains. Be sure to get an idea of any allergies or restrictions your guests may have in the months leading up to your wedding. As for food preference, Peggy has found that couples often request food that is locally sourced and organic. Once your menu has been set and food sensitivities accounted for, Peggy recommends asking for a tasting of the menu. “It’s a great opportunity to spend time talking over the flow for the event, getting to know the Bride and Groom and, often, parents too, and sharing important information that leads to a successful outcome for all parties,” she says.
Another important order of business: deciding how to serve the food! Peggy suggests plated courses over buffet lines. “Plated courses offer more control over the food presentation and portion size with less waste,” she says. Buffet lines tend to be more expensive because they “have to look bountiful and A good caterer is as much about good food as they are about good energy. For example, at Kitchen Chicks Catering, “we spend many months planning, meeting with and getting to know our clients before their big day,” says Peggy. The bottom line: Find a caterer who will support your wedding magic.
Emma is an intern at Seacoast Weddings. She is studying writing at Smith College. In her free time, she enjoys playing frisbee on the beach, cafe hopping and reading a good book.