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Weddings and Money



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When it comes to your wedding reception, there are many things to take into consideration. There are the decorations, the music, the food, etc. As far as the menu, you can find literally any type of food imaginable, whether having a traditional or ethnic reception. You will need to decide who will be catering the food and what type of seating you will have - sit down, buffet or cocktails only. The answer is based on your personal preference and budget.

If you are having a large wedding, a caterer will save you a tremendous amount of time and effort. They will know exactly the right amount of food and beverage based on the number of guests invited, the perfect setup, and the type of food to serve. Caterers not only prepare the food but they also manage the setup and cleanup. After months and months of planning, you will be thrilled to have someone else take care of the reception and allow you to just sit back and enjoy the reception. If you are using a caterer, you want to ask some specific questions.

Will the caterer use fresh food and produce? Do they use oils, spices, and foods that could cause allergic problems for some people? Will the caterer allow you to have a pre-reception tasting to make sure you approve of the dishes? You should also ask about leftovers. This is especially important if you will be using a food station or buffet setup and a larger wedding reception. You need to check with the caterer's policy. For example, some couples choose to give the leftovers to the homeless or to a local shelter. However, there are caterers that will not allow this practice for liability reasons - they are unable to guarantee freshness and do not want to be sued. If you are having an ethnic reception, you may have some favorite family recipes that you would like incorporated into the meal. Ask the caterer if they can make these special dishes or if you should have someone from the family prepare them.

You also need to ask for a quote based on a minimum or set number of guests. If you have invited 150 guests but only 100 show, it would be a shame to pay for 50 additional people. Check to see if the caterer handles wedding cakes as well. If you can find a caterer that does both, this could be a real money saver. Determine the policy for gratuity and tax, which will vary from business to business. If the caterer will be handling your reception decorations, make sure you see pictures. Discuss in detail your color theme and preferred style. Find out if the caterer handles seating cards, table toppers, tableware, linens, etc.

Most importantly, make sure your caterer is licensed in the state where the reception will be held. Most will display their license in clear view but make sure, since a licensed caterer will be required by law to know about proper food handling, alcohol serving, etc. If you will have alcohol at your wedding reception, you need to determine if a special permit from the liquor board will need to be secured. Finally, check references!

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