Wedding Planning 101: 8 Essential Catering Tips

Asparagus wrapped in bacon. Catered at wedding


The ultimate goal of a party is to entertain and entice all your guests’ senses. When you mix the right combination of sights, smells, taste, sound, and touch, your wedding reception is one your guests will remember.

While that might sound like a lot of work, we have good news: you can tackle a few senses – smell and taste – with just one vendor – your caterer.

This year’s Wedding Essentials Idea Show will feature a variety of caterers to connect with, but WE wanted to give you a head start and a better understanding of what different caterers have to offer.

Lindsey Grote-Rodgers from Hy-Vee and Brenda Tharp from Save the Date Catering fill us in:


If you have a big wedding with a lot of people to get through a buffet line, think about a simple, yet delectable, food item and requires fewer condiments. If kids are in attendance, consider having a separate kids buffet.

Plan as early as possible. Making sure your caterer is locked in with your date and an idea of your guest count, so they come prepared with options catered to you.


Do you like home cooking? Do you like different eclectic things? Do you have some recipes from grandma or ethnic backgrounds? “From there, your caterer can suggest items,” says Brenda. “I always say our menu is a template and it can be so much more, we can think outside the box and pick up ideas from wherever you are.”


We know — it sounds crazy. Save the Date Catering sees many couples try to think of their guests first, but at the end of it, this day is for you. “It’s one of the only days in your life that’s totally yours so pick out your favorite things and do what you want to do,” says Brenda.


Bring a basic menu up a notch by renaming food dishes and customizing the way that their buffet is set up. “Couples can do things like creating a menu board or a printed menu that has some play on words,” says Lindsey. “Or, if you decide to eat pulled pork, introduce a unique topping, such as a bride’s recipe with Mediterranean flavors and a groom’s recipe with bacon and bbq sauce.”


Bring a little more ‘you’ to your reception. If not for the main meal, a late night snack is the perfect opportunity for couples to stray away from traditional and give guests a sense of what a couple enjoys eating on a regular basis, such as a favorite pizza or breakfast burritos.

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