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February 4, 2020

Guest writer Meredith Parsons gives tips on catering for your big day.

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With engagement season upon us, we reached out to the best event and wedding planners in Utah to see what tips they had to make the catering at your big day the best it can be! Follow our 9 week series and see what they all had to say!    

Meredith Parsons from Bluebird Event Destination Management Meredith Parsons is the Owner and Creative Director of Bluebird Event Destination Management, a boutique event production firm specializing in bespoke events for destination weddings, corporations and social events. Celebrating 11 years with Bluebird, Meredith has cultivated an extraordinary team and a coveted list of vendors to deliver a seamless experience for guests that is at once personal, refined and timeless.

When you are planning your wedding reception, it is important to consider that you are curating the design of the entire event. 

Each detail including tablescape, catering rentals, food selections and style of service are paramount to the guest experience and aesthetic of the event. Collaborating with your caterer on the catering rentals for the tabletop and any other areas is critical to the success of your event.  Be certain to inquire about any pieces that may be needed for the tablescape in order to facilitate service, such as water liters, table stanchions, butter plates, bread baskets. These items may cause dissonance in the service to your guests and your design. I recommend keeping service elements like water liters and bread baskets to a minimum on the tabletop, if at all, and working with your caterer to ensure that service remains seamless in accordance with your vision.  This way you are able to enjoy the amazing floral and decor that you have arranged unencumbered.

Think of the menu from the point of view of your guests.

Your wedding is a great time to choose wisely food that has broad appeal.  Avoid things with supremely strong flavors that may be polarizing for some guests. For example, if you love bleu cheese on your salad, opt to serve it on the side instead of on the main salad. If you are allergic to onions, request a special meal for yourself and include the key component for the rest of your guests.

Be certain all vendors are on the same page for the timeline of the whole day.

The timeline is the organization of the flow of your event and the service. It is vital that you share that with your caterer and all other vendors. They may have suggestions that will facilitate a good flow and ensure food is hot and service is gracious. One key point is to plan for toasts carefully around the service of the entree. Most toasts should be done either right after the salad is served to all guests or after the entree has been serviced to all guests.  Caterers have a flow and precise timing to ensure fresh hot food is served to guests and that all the attention for toasts is focused on toasts when they are delivered.

When planning your timeline, use meals and food to help create a captivating audience.

The flow of food or lack of food will help direct your guest's attention. Great opportunities to use food to facilitate the timeline could be greeting your guests with a cocktail and hors d'oeuvre as servers direct them to the ceremony, planning a cessation of food service during toasts, and to have your caterer hold dessert until after cake cutting so all your guests don’t miss those special moments in your day.  

Select your style of catering service carefully.

There are many pros and cons to each style of service. Ask your caterer and planner for their thoughts and additional needs/costs to do a different style. Each event space can also limit you to the service style. The practicality of the style of service is an integral consideration for the success of your event. Don't forget to check in next week to see more tips!

20x winner Utah’s Best of State

16x Best of State Caterer

3x Best of the Best / Hospitality

1x Entrepreneur of the Year