The Expert Panel | Catering for a Wedding Part I

Culinary Capers: Apple Cup with Roasted Pears and Cambozola Crisp - green apple cup filled with pears roasted with shallots and pear essence

Selecting your menu for your wedding can be one the most pleasurable tasks while planning a wedding. Who doesn't love trying delicious samples from a reputable chef. But when you are in a foodie bliss it is always a good idea to ask some very important questions from the catering company so that your guests also enjoy the bliss on your wedding night. After all choosing the menu for your wedding is the one aspect of your wedding that is entirely for your guests' pleasure.
CountDown Events has asked our expert caterers from Culinary Capers for their expert tips and suggestions so you can go ahead and enjoy the menu sampling and not have to worry the details.

Culinary Capers
What information should a bride have before they meet with you for the first time? When a bride calls we like to spend a little time talking over the phone to find out how far along she is in the planning of her wedding. If she has not decided on the type of reception, the venue, the number of guests and/or her budget we can help her by giving her some ideas and price ranges.

In the initial phone conversation, if the venue has not been decided we would take the bride to our venue page on our website where we have an extensive list of possible choices. If the bride has an idea of her budget and her guest count we can then suggest the venues that would be the right size and suggest the style of reception that would work with her budget and guest count.

If the bride likes our suggestions, we would recommend that we meet for an hour to discuss things in more detail so we can design a menu and put together a quote for her. During this initial meeting we ask her to bring ideas and pictures that she would like to be incorporated into the reception. Our goal is to take these ideas and create a beautiful and unique event that reflects the personal style of the wedding couple.

What are some general recommendations/ideas that you would give to a new bride hiring a catering company such as yours? It is very important that you feel comfortable with your caterer and are fully confident in their ability. This is going to be one of the most important days in your life and you will need to rely on your caterer. At Culinary Capers we have a network of exceptional vendors that we have worked with for many years. Suppliers that we know will do an incredible job and go the extra mile if necessary.

Within our company we have a specialty cake division, Culinary Cakes ( that makes beautiful and delicious wedding cakes; we have a floral and décor division called PartyArt Design ( that can do everything from décor and lighting to floral arrangements and bouquets. We encourage our brides to let us organize as much of the reception details as possible so she can relax and enjoy her day.

Culinary Capers: Shot of Strawberry Rhubarb Fool - Rhubarb strawberry compote and vanilla chantilly cream

What are your best insider tips:
- At Culinary Capers we are renowned for our gorgeous and delicious hors d’oeuvre selection. I highly recommend that you have a few of our hors d’oeuvre passed during the cocktail hour. A few of my new favourites from the Spring/Summer menu Culinary Capers Menus
Crisp Apple Cup filled with Roasted Pear and Cambozola; Tomato and Celery Dusted Scallop wrapped with a Vodka Infused Cucumber Ribbon.
Instead of bread and butter have baskets of warm Parmesan Cheese Puffs….soooo addictive!
For your entrée do something a little different….no chicken! How about Pheasant with a Champagne Apple Sauce or a Stuffed Cornish Game Hen with Currants and Hazelnuts.
For dessert we make lovely wedding cakes which you can find on our website but another big trend is doing a dessert buffet loaded with a selection of petite berry pies, dessert shots, cheesecake pops, dessert spoons.

Culinary Capers: Cucumber Wrapped Scallop Tomato and celery dusted - vodka infused cucumber ribbon

- The food service at your wedding should match your style and work well with the venue space. If you and your fiancé love going out and finding small ethnic restaurants that have great food, I would suggest that you would enjoy a more casual style of wedding with food stations like a gnocchi station, soft taco station, a grilled steak station, a wok station and a sushi station.
If your idea of a great vacation is staying at a high end resort and getting pampered I would recommend doing hors d’oeuvre followed by a sumptuous four-course meal. The venue will also play a role in your food service choices. The venue you select may not be big enough to allow for seating for everyone which would rule out a sit-down served dinner or it may have a fabulous garden which would better suit an hors d’eouvre reception or food stations. If you are working with a tight budget I would steer you away from a plated dinner as you will require more rentals and staff for a sit-down affair.

- When working with a caterer at a rented venue that does not have an in-house liquor license you can save substantially on the bar. You can bring in your own liquor and mix purchased from the liquor store.
Culinary Capers does not add a corkage fee, we would just charge you for the bar staff, ice and glass rentals. Providing you choose a wine for under $20 a bottle and don’t buy premium brand hard liquor you could budget $25-$30 per person for your liquor and mix. If you are in a venue or hotel ballroom that has a liquor license you will need to more than double the per person price of our above budget for your drinks.
If you are comparing catering quotes be sure to check that all the line items are quoted and clear - have they listed every line item – food, beverage service, staff, rentals, service charge and applicable taxes.

Thank you to Culinary Capers for giving us such great tips and suggestions on making the right choices for wedding catering. To read more expert advice on wedding and event topics follow us on Twitter @CountDownEvents and our Facebook fan page.

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