Ask the Experts: A Tale of Two Caterers

By Azure Nelson, Published Dec 10, 2009

Ask the Experts is your chance to get your specific wedding questions answered by a variety of wedding professionals. If you have a question for our panel of experts write Dear Ask the Experts, My fiancé and I want a mix of Caribbean and Filipino food at our wedding. We are going to have a buffet for 150 guests, and are ordering food from two different places. I need advice in making this happen. The food itself won't cost a lot of money, but I need some ideas about how to get this coordinated and set up on the day of the wedding. I'm trying to plan everything but it has just been so overwhelming, and I don’t have a lot of money. Can you give me advice on this? Signed, Jada Brandi of All Events Planned says: Dear Jada, The first step is to let both catering companies know you are using them. I know it seems strange to tell them about utilizing different caterers but this will allow them the chance to work together or at least know with what they’re working. This way they can be certain you have the right styles and types of food for your event and hopefully ones that compliment one another. When dealing with food setup, especially different types of ethnic foods, you want to be sure to take all the necessary measures to keep each food item at its proper temperature, as well have the serving utensils that will suit the food item best. This is where your caterer should be able to assist you, with providing the utensils or heating/cooling items for setup. Some catering companies will provide a “delivery/setup/pickup” person for a nominal fee. The person won’t stay at your event but will get you started and get everything in place for your buffet. They will then come back either at the end of your event or the next day to pick up all of the items they delivered. You will have to pay an additional fee for any heating/cooling items that you “rent” from them but this will definitely be your most cost effective option that doesn’t involve you doing most of the work. If this isn’t available through either catering company, you can always call a wedding planner or event staffing agency and see if they have someone available for the afternoon of your event to help with setup, preparing, serving and cleanup.If you want to go it alone, ask your caterers to provide you with a detailed menu that includes heating instructions as well as serving instructions. Then you can have family and friends assist you with everything, which in the end, should be done at no charge to you! However, that’s up to your family and friends!! OneWed’s Wedding Maven says: I can’t answer your specific question as well as Brandi did, but I will say this. You need some help. Reading between the lines of your letter I take it that you and your fiancé are from two different cultural backgrounds and you’re trying to plan a wedding that makes everyone happy. Wedding planning is not a solo event; it’s a team sport. Gather your best girlfriends, you most helpful relatives and your fiancé and tell them that you can’t do this by yourself. There’s no shame in asking for help. About today’s expert: Brandi Hamerstone is the owner & senior wedding planner for All Events Planned. In her nine years of experience in the wedding industry, she has planned over 300 weddings.

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