How to Approach the Tasting with Your Caterer

Anyone that knows me well enough will certainly agree that I love FOOD! I love to cook, I love to eat, and I absolutely love to entertain.  It is with all this love that I played around with the idea of catering my own wedding.  That is until my FH and my Mama looked at me like I had finally lost it.  Then I thought that maybe it wasn’t the best idea.

Needless to say, I have decided to relinquish the control of our wedding day menu to a caterer.  I know there are some other brides out there that have struggled with this loss of control, so I am here to help with some tips on how to approach the all important tasting.

First things first, don’t sign anything before the tasting.  Going into the tastings without a commitment gives you a chance to actually test out the food.  Trust me when I say that almost every menu proposal you will receive will make your mouth water, see here.  In our case, we have received close to 10 different menus and quite honestly they all sound delicious, which is why I think the tasting is that much more important.   I would advise you to do the same.  Start out with some online research for the caterer’s reputation. is a great resource for this.   Also, go ahead get quotes from all of the caterers you are interested in and then set-up the tastings in order of who you like the most and who fits your budget.  Side-note for all of you Batlimore-area brides, we have decided to start out our tastings with Dean and Brown Catering.  If you haven’t checked them out yet, you should.  They seemed to have the best overall online reputation and really great pricing!  Also, I love the fact that Dean & Brown didn’t require us to sign a contract prior to the tasting.  So, point #1 in Dean & Brown’s  favor.  But, again be aware that a lot of wedding caterers do require this.

Realize that this is not all fun and games.  At first I was thinking oh this will be so much fun we get to go taste a bunch of super yummy food and kind of envision the BIG day, what a blast!  But, then I got back to reality just a bit.  While, I think that the aforementioned fun will definitely be had, I also realized I had to get my bride hat/tiara back on and get to work. I will go as far as saying I kind of had an aha moment, as Oprah would say, that this tasting is one of the only opportunities to spend some one on one time with your caterer.

Give your caterer honest feedback.  During this precious one on one time give your caterer some honest feedback on your specific dishes (too salty, not enough sauce, etc.), so that then the caterer can adjust the dish to your specifications.  This just may be one area where I could get a little bridezilla and I think you should too.  Tell them how you really feel about everything, don’t sugarcoat it.  One of the biggest elements of your big day is feeding all of your hungry guests and there is nothing worse than bad wedding food.

Be prepared. Plan on bringing along a small notepad to write down your thoughts as you taste each dish.  That way you won’t forget anything.  As you go through the tasting you will obviously share these thoughts, but your notes will come in handy when you send in your follow-up email (more on that later).

Don’t be gun shy.  Also don’t be afraid to veto something entirely.  If you do not care for how the dish tastes go ahead and ask them to take it off the menu.  It’s okay not to serve something that you really don’t like.  As a bride, I think this is a time to get your brutally honest face on and put your taste buds to work.

Test the waters.  We have taken the tasting as an opportunity to put two hors d’oeuvres up against another.  If you can’t make up your mind about an element of your menu I think this is a great idea.  Most caterers should be willing to “cater” to this to help you finalize your menu.  In our case one hors d’oeuvre  is rather expensive, but something that I thought sounded so fun and delish.  But, my more practical other half wants to make sure it’s worth the extra mullah so, we are putting it up against a less expensive option that we both think sounds yummy.  He is so clever appealing to my obsession of Bravo’s Top Chef.  It’s going to be like a Top Chef quickfire, fingers crossed the voting goes well between us two judges.  Dean and Brown were more than obliging with this request, which I thought was so kind of them, point #2.

Follow-up. I think that writing a followup email to your caterer thanking them for the tasting is absolutely necessary!  Tastings are expensive and labor intensive so, take the time to thank them!  Also, include your feedback on what you would like changed.  This is a good way to ensure that they haven’t forgotten your discussion at the tasting.

Have fun! While it isn’t all fun and games as I mentioned earlier, it is still fun!  You are planning one of the most important parties of your life.  Live it up!

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1 Comment

  1. Ruth Knox Smith

     /  April 25, 2013

    Sounds great…


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