Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Catering to Our Needs

I wrote up and saved exactly what we need from a caterer, in a word document.  I did this for two reasons: 1) Our desires are detailed and ultimately I forget something when asking for a proposal from different caterers and 2) I'm too lazy to retype it every time.
[edit: 3) also because I never remember how to spell "hors d'oeuvres" and"chiavari" and need to stop googling it every time]

The blurb goes something like this (cut, paste):

Wedding, 6/19/2011 5p - 10:30 at the Carnegie Institution, DC.
-We are looking for a seated dinner for 170 (max) guests, including the band.
-We are interested in up to 4 passed hors d'oeuvres and with two different entree choices: one chicken, one vegetarian.  Please avoid over-use of mushrooms as the bride and maid of honor do not like them. -About twelve guests will need outsourced prepared and packaged Kosher meals.  They will not be eating the choice entree.
-Please focus more on vegetarian friendly options for hors d'oeuvres to stray from blatantly non-kosher options ("Kosher style" is fine).  No shellfish or crab, or meat/milk combination (blatantly non-Kosher) like cheese on top of meat. (A small amount of milk in a dish containing meat is fine, just so long as it's not covered in milk).
-Desert will be the wedding cake.  We would like the cake cost included in our proposal.
-We will provide alcohol, but need to rent your glassware and use your liquor license.  Please include soft beverages.
-We need enough chiavari chairs for guests during the ceremony to be used also with dinner. Six-foot-wide tables are provided on site.  Basic linens are fine.
-Please stay below our price point of $BLAH (sorry readers, that's private)

These are chiavari chairs. {source}

So far we are looking at 2 different caterers.  Let's call them A and B.

Caterer A is a well known DC company recommended to us by a friend who happens to be a wedding planner. Because of this reference they were able to meet our price point ($BLAH) by giving us complementary soft beverages and food containers.  Who knew you had to PAY for the containers they use to transport the food to your wedding?  The wedding cake is included and they do LOVELY things with icing. 
However, Caterer A neglected to include the tax in our quote and we are over our price point by $2K.
We have our tasting with Caterer A on the 27th.

Caterer B contacted US from  (don't know it? you post what you need and people come to you. amazing.)   Caterer B greeted us in an email containing 4 previously drafted proposals for others, all under our price point.  I sent him my blurb and he responded well, reaching the price point to a T.  Interesting how that happened when none of his previous proposals even came close to our ceiling.  After many emails back and forth to iron out details Caterer B remains cordial, helpful, and bending over backwards for us.  He even threw in a "late bites" section and an extra entree choice - which, if we cut, then our price comes down drastically.  No cake involved though.  Thanks to our request, he now has a bakery partnership.  We think this is good.  Hopefully we like this bakery.
Oh and all this correspondence is with the chef himself, just the chef and us working on the basics.  It's quite refreshing.
We have our tasting with Caterer B on the 31st, with an extra guest in attendance (a bridesmaid).

So we'll eat, drink and be blogging about this soon!


  1. I loved going for the food tasting! We were so surprised by how long it took and how much fun we had! I think the chef and I are friends for life! Enjoy it!

  2. How much fun! You are so organized! I agree with Chocolate Lover--the tasting was fun.

  3. Good luck with your tastings, they're one of the most fun parts of planning!

  4. Goodness this is tricky... again I find myself grateful you're blogging about it.

    My sister is getting married in Wakulla Springs outside of Tallahassee - lovely, old hotel, beautiful grounds, weeping willows, etc. etc. But they require you use their catering services. That's fine, but they are so, SOOOO expensive.

    So to keep things short and cheap-er she's forgoing dinner and just doing a few hours of dancing and mingling after the ceremony in their smaller ballroom with a ton of "hors d'oeuvres". (she's SUPER non traditional, not sure if you saw her dress on my post, but she's all wicca'd out n stuff)

    Anyway - Guess who gets to pick the hors d'oeuvres? ME! But alas, no tastings since I'm in Orlando. And I have no idea what to even ask, do, or what her price range is. Apparently she doesn't even have one - I can just go for it. *sighs*

    My point? I can finally relate to one of these wedding blog posts IRL. :)

  5. mmm can't wait to taste the foooood!!

  6. omg I HAVE to tell you about the catering mishap at our wedding. Our caterer (a sweet old lady) kept calling my husband Justin. Only his name is Dustin. We kept telling her, but the poor thing just couldn't remember. My mother even wrote her an email in which she bolded the D in Dustin's name every time she wrote it. After our wedding, we walk into the reception hall and see a yummy looking dish with the letters T & J on

  7. I'm having my reception at Carnegie next year and am meeting caterers now as well. Are you sticking to their list of suggested caterers (even though we don't have to)? I consider having worked there before an advantage. Unfortunately, none of them seem to go under $100 per person, which is giving me sticker shock.


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