Tales of a Bridezilla: A Caterer’s Worst Nightmare
As joyous as weddings are, they often present uniquely disastrous situations for wedding caterers and those behind the scenes.
Allergic reactions, miscommunications, and botched attempts at veganism are just some of the surprisingly common predicaments an unfortunate wedding caterer may find themselves responsible for. Any experienced wedding caterer will know how quickly things can go wrong—and as a result, how swiftly even the most elegant of brides can turn into a terrifying bridezilla.
Weddings are monumental affairs, with stakes so high that tension-fueled errors are nearly inescapable. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to prepare for and resolve them with grace.
In this post, we’ll look at some common wedding caterer catastrophes and how you can prevent them from spoiling both your own and the happy couple’s big day.
4 Common Wedding Catering Problems To Look Out For
Without proper planning, there’s no short supply of wedding catering disasters waiting to happen.
Food is often the last thing on a bride’s mind, which is why full responsibility and preparation are so important for caterers to undertake.
Here are four of the most common wedding catering disasters to be wary of:
1. Misunderstood Dietary Needs
On top of guests who may have serious nut, egg, dairy, shellfish or other allergies, you’ve got vegans, gluten-free followers, and people who won’t consume refined sugar—just to name a few. Misunderstood dietary needs can ruin a wedding and even lead to hospitalization.
If someone suffers an allergic reaction or just consumes something outside of their diet because of catering negligence, you’ve got a potential lawsuit on your hands. Not to mention rather justifiable vitriol from the families and guests present.
2. Insufficient Food Supplies
The last thing a bride wants to have to do on her special day is to explain to her guests that they won’t be getting any dinner. If a caterer isn’t privy to the correct headcount at a wedding, it may lead to some very disappointed guests, and as a result, a very upset bride and groom.
3. Cold Food
Weddings are often vulnerable to delays and mishaps which draw out the event to be longer than originally expected. Food that’s prepared for a 1 PM lunch may sit for an hour or two before guests even sit down, leading to an unappetizingly cold meal at 2 PM.
If a caterer doesn’t account for some time delays, it will negatively impact the food quality. Wedding food should always be fresh, warm, and prepared within very close proximity to consumption.
4. Late or Tardy Service
In contrast to cold, stale food, food not yet prepared or too few staff who are unable to prepare and serve it on time present the opposite problem. By the time guests have sat through a ceremony, some speeches, and possibly several venue changes, the last thing they want to do is wait for their food.
Late service leaves a very poor impression on guests, and can quickly turn the atmosphere of even the most beautiful wedding sour. If a bridezilla is lying dormant within the blushing bride, tardy, irresponsible service will wake it up.
5 Solutions To Remember
Despite the many traps waiting to snap up unsuspecting caterers, there are certain tactics you can use to ensure they never have an opportunity to arise.
With the right attitude towards planning, preparation, and communication, you can successfully avoid e en the worst disasters.
Here are four solutions to the above-listed problems that every wedding caterer should have in their arsenal:
1. Thorough Communication
When it comes to catering for a wedding, we can not emphasize enough the importance of clear, thorough communication. Caterers need to know all about the big day, and even aspects like the color scheme and flowers are important considerations. But the biggest concern is allergens and dietary requirements. The only way to avoid serving your bride and her party food that could cause harm or go against their diet is to discuss their needs at length well before you develop the menu.
Make sure to collect information on every allergen and diet-restricted guest who is attending, and prepare accordingly. Be ruthless in your commitment to exactitude. And don’t forget to label every hors d’oeuvre on the table with their respective contaminants if this is a concern.
2. Meticulous Inventory
The only way to prevent a stock shortage is to take a “more is more” approach to inventory. Most caterers and banquet events have a standard of about a 10% to 15% allowance for additional guests above and beyond the guaranteed number. Be sure to discuss this with the bride and wedding organizer and make it emphatically clear that you will only have enough food for this number of people.
Impromptu, unlisted invites often get sent out, and brides are notorious for making last-minute changes to their guest list. Leftover food is a much smaller problem than insufficient portions. If there is substantial food left over after the meal, it can get donated to staff, a nearby shelter, or simply given to the bride and groom’s family. Just be sure to include the extra food costs in your budget and the final bill.
3. Backup Burners
Because despite a schedule, one can never truly know when the guests will be ready to eat. In the event of a delayed ceremony or a fainting groom, the food must have a way to stay warm and fresh until everyone is ready to sit down and tuck in. Even great plating won’t make up for ice-cold food.
Backup burners should be a staple for any caterer, but this is especially true for weddings. Portable burners are easy to travel with, simple to set up, and well worth the cost for the value they bring to just about any catering job. Hot meals equal happy clients.
4. Trained Employees on Standby
Having several reliable staff trained and ready to go is essential for a successful wedding meal. Hiring a few extras in case of a rush might seem unnecessary, but the value and efficiency they bring are certainly worth the effort.
Make sure your employees are all professional, prepared, and well-trained to prevent avoidable hiccups and ensure that you’re delivering smooth service to expectant guests.
At the end of the day, all a bride and her guests want is to be fed well, and on time. With enough preparation, proactivity, and attention to detail, it’s possible to elude even the most monstrous of bridezillas.