I get it. I really do. Catering for a wedding will take up a large portion of your budget and it is tempting to hire a catering company that will do the bare minimum and save you a few hundred dollars. Well, I am warning you that this is a terrible place to try and save some money and I am going to give you reasons why.
I don’t feel like I have had as many issues as of late where the caterer thinks it is okay to leave an hour after dinner is served, not bus tables to completion, not finish washing/scraping dishes, packing them back into crates and not pack up leftover food and not cut the cake. When I have confronted said caterers about this, there response has been, “The wedding coordinator usually does it.”
Here are some reasons why:
I don’t care how much you are charging and how many assistants you are bringing, handling food and any food-related items should always be the responsibility of the catering company. We do not have catering licenses and we do not have insurance that covers if someone gets sick from the food or cake being served or packaged at the end of the night. Wedding planners and coordinators could literally be put out of business if we handled the food and someone got ill and decided to sue us. PERIOD. Did you know there are laws put in place by the Health Department regarding the amount of hours food has been cooked prior to eating and serving and why some food is not legally supposed to be packed up at the end of the night? And there’s a host of other laws I am probably not even aware of! This is why wedding coordinators need to stay in their lane and caterers should automatically include these services in their contracts. A big THANK YOU to those who do because they want their events to look fabulous and KNOW this is one thing you cannot advise a client not to include.
I don’t know about you, but we have a million things going on around that time of the evening. My team is making sure the timeline is being carried out (and on time), communicating with the DJ to make the proper announcements, taking care of guests’ needs/questions as well as our clients, prepping things for the end of the reception and packing up personal items, so that at the end of the night the family doesn’t have to wait on us to do that. We simply don’t have time to bus tables, wash/scrape/crate dishes anyway, even if bullet point, above, wasn’t a “thing.”
I know that there are some planners that have the option to add extra staff through their company for bussing/scraping/washing/crating dishes, but at the end of the day, this is not something that is generally just automatically included in their contracts. I am unclear how this really saves the client money by going through their planner for the extra staff as opposed to simply adding these services via their catering contracts. And caterers should never just “expect” that the coordinator is handling this - this is a conversation that should be had between caterer and client, coordinator and client, coordinator and caterer prior to the wedding.
“I have some family and friends that said they’ll help bus tables,”…I have heard from clients. First of all, they won’t. It never happens - guests are busy being guests by that point of the evening, generally drinking and either forget or just feel like things are being handled, so they don’t have to. And you really shouldn’t expect your guests to do these mundane things at your wedding anyway. Second of all, even if you have some bomb-diggety friends and family members that actually do bus some tables, it won’t be done right…which brings me to the next bullet point…
When tables are not bussed efficiently, it makes all of us look bad, including the couple hosting the event. Dirty dishes covering tables and trash sitting around everywhere just looks junky. It looks like something was skimped on during the planning and it quite literally visibly shows.
Okay, rant over. I felt compelled to blog about this because within the last week I have heard two different catering companies say, “The coordinator usually handles that.” I am sorry, but that is just not true first of all, and second of all the planners that do offer it, are adding STAFF to their contracts - this is not automatically included in most planner’s/coordinator’s contracts, so just stop. Stop advising your clients that this is commonplace and advise them properly that they need to add these items to YOUR contract.
I work with some amazing caterers and for those who I know and love and recommend all the time, this blog post is not toward you - love you long time 😘