TO ASK YOUR CATERER?
Most catering agencies have fixed menus to offer. Find
out if they fulfil your requirements. You can 'mix &
match' dishes to suit your liking. However, it would
not be a bad idea to adhere to their format and select
your preferred dishes from there. Find out about any
extra charges so that you are not caught unawares at
the time of payment. Seek their opinion since they have
more experience than you do. It would be a good idea
to put things down on paper as you will be able to compare
notes of the various caterers you would have met,before
making the final selection. Find out if there are any
legal obligations that you may be required to fulfil,
especially if you are planning to serve alcohol. The
caterer might be able to guide you. Make it a point
to have only one staff member of the catering agency
attend to your enquiries Ask the person if he/she will
be there at the function to ensure that all details
are being taken care of. If no, then insist on discussing
your plans with the person who will be in charge on
the day of your function.
It would help to have somebody who is well versed in
the culinary arts to guide you while finalising the
menu. It could be somebody in the family. Make it a
point to discuss the final menu with the chef. It will
make you feel all that more confident and the chef more
involved in abiding by your suggestions. Select items
from your menu and ask your caterer for a food trial.
This is especially so if you intend to serve either
special dishes or a very traditional cuisine. Invite
your core group to give their opinion of the food and
to suggest any modifications. Take this opportunity
to inspect the crockery, glassware, waiters and such
- Chilly winter weddinG
evening bring to mind hot steaming cups of coffee
and piping hot soups. lndulge your guests with a rich
traditional cuisine. Ask your organiser to light a
big cheery bonfire and make sure that there are enough
coal braziers to light up the night! Hire a specialist
bartender to do dustice to all those lovely bottles
of Cointreau, Triple Sec. Creme de Mentheet al.
- A summer wedding? Avoid
heavy, rich Indian curries. Opt for a variety of salads
and fresh fruit delicacies. Serve light pasta dishes,
fresh juices, mocktails, chaat-papri etc. Avoid milk
and cream based preparations as they tend to go rancid
in the heat have different flavours of ice-cream instead!
Go ahead and hire the ice lolly vendor(chuskiwallah)
it's a perennial hit with the young and old alike!
For the bar, avoid heavy spirits; instead go in for
beer, wines, nimbu-pani, spritzers and coolers! A
cool refreshing fruit punch will have people raiding
your bar counter and yes! do not run out of ice. Make
sure that the venue is air-conditioned or has several
pedestal fans and desert coolers.
Tell the caterer that you would like to attend a function
organised by him, prior to your own visit the premises
on that day to get a first hand idea of the decor, the
waiters' attire etc. Observe whether there are enough
of them to ensure a smooth service. Note the food display,
cleanliness, hygiene, bins for collecting used plates
etc. Check whether the food tastes as fresh as it looks.
Take this opportunity to watch how well the car parking
is being managed?Are there a sufficient number of attendants?
Check tghe bathrooms for cleanliness. Are they manned?
A word of caution, however. Since you are attending
somebody else's function to do your survey, you should
have your caterer accompany you. You could also try
asking a few guests whether they are happy with the
catering, are well attended to etc. Some catering agencies
also take care of light arrangements and decor. If your
agency does not, then you will find yourself handling
the tent house-wallah, florists, musicians et al. In
such a situation, you should have a joint meeting, wherein
you discuss your various areas of responsibility. This
way, you will know who's doing what exactly, and leave
no scope for grey areas. Your catering agency could
also be called in to cater to the large number of outstation
relatives and friends who would have arrived some days
prior to the function. You may do a package deal with
the caterer. Remember, higher volumes ensure better
FOOD IN THE RIGHT QUANTITY
This depends on a lot of factors such as: is the day
of your function a very busy date? If yes, you can expect
a reduction in the number of guests you have to cater
to. A lot of people arrive on the occasion, wish the
bridal couple, have a drink or two but do not stay for
dinner. Usually, catering agencies work on a guaranteed
figure. Check with the caterer as to how much of a margin
can he cater to should the number of your guests increase,
and the amount of time he would take to make fresh preparations
should the need arise. It is better to overstimate than
understimate your numbers and save yourself undue embarrassment.
There are different types of service but the most popular
is the buffet system, being the most convenient. The
wide variety of snacks are arranged attractively on
platter, appear fresh, and are easily accessible to
all. Having a 'live' counter where snacks are prepared
in front of the guests, adds a lively charm to the event.
Salads, main course and dessert are laid out on the
buffet so that everyone can have exactly what they want
and in quantities to their liking. An important aspect
to be mentioned here is that most caterers charge clients
on the basis of plates consumed, that is, a certain
number of plates are laid out on the buffet counter
and the host is charged according to the number of plates.
A good tip- have somebody from the family stand at the
counter where the plates are bding handed over to guests.
It is a wonderful welcome feeling when a guest is handed
his plate with a lovely smile from a member of the family.
In fact, certain communities do adhere to a charming
time tested tradition wherein members of the host's
family serve the guests themselves. An advantage of
'plate control' is that the host does not get billed
for what the musical band, florist and tent personnel