5 Wedding Menu Mistakes All Brides Should Avoid

We say this all the time, but it’s really true: When people look back on your wedding day, the food is one of the things they’ll remember most. Having a good menu is one of the best things you can do to ensure a fun and memorable time is had by all; this means knowing and avoiding some of the most common wedding menu mistakes.

We’ll show you what we mean, listing five common ways in which wedding meal planning can come up short.

Offering too many options.

There is a marketing principle called the paradox of choice, which basically means that, the more options you give people, the harder it is for them to actually land on one. It’s good to offer your wedding guests a few options, but too many can actually be daunting—to say nothing of expensive.

Forgetting dietary needs.

You can’t necessarily know each and every guest’s dietary needs, and it’s probably unwise to try covering all the bases. With that said, you probably do know if you have a number of relatives who are vegans, or an entire side of your family that keeps kosher, or if your mom and dad are lactose intolerant. Make sure you are reasonable in making some dietary accommodations.

Neglecting the kids.

Surf and turf may be exciting for the grown-ups in your family, but will it be exciting for your five-year-old niece? Having a kid-friendly option or two—even if it’s just mac and cheese—can really be a helpful thing for parents.

Not thinking seasonally.

Fresh strawberries make a lot of sense if you’re having a summer wedding, and a lot less sense if you’re getting married close to Christmas. To ensure quality and to keep costs down, make sure you think in terms of the season. You can always ask your caterer for guidance here, of course.

Mismatching menu and mood.

If you’re aiming for a low-key, casual, outdoor reception with a country theme, barbecue sandwiches may be perfect—but they wouldn’t necessarily make sense if you’re eating in a fancy dining room. Make sure you pair your food to the type of reception you’re holding.

With any additional questions, or to ask for our help in planning the perfect menu, don’t hesitate to reach out to our catering team directly. Contact the crew at Mosteller Events today!

Before Your Wedding Tasting…

It’s not uncommon for chefs and caterers to offer full tasting menus before your big day—allowing you and your fiancée to gather, get a feel for what the menu will be like, and make some important decisions about what you do and do not want to be included. The wedding tasting can be a lot of fun, but more importantly, it can help you ensure that your wedding day catering is exactly what you want it to be.

But how do you get the most out of your tasting? There are a few things you should do before the tasting even begins, ensuring that it’s a productive experience. Here some of our tips.

What to Do Before Your Wedding Tasting

Give plenty of clear instructions to your caterer. Are you 100 percent sure you want a steak dish on your menu? Do you absolutely hate tilapia? Are you convinced that an Indian- or Italian-themed menu is what you’re after? Let your caterer know, with as much specificity as possible.

Remember, it’s not just about you. Veal might sound tasty to you, but what if only a small handful of your guests would enjoy it? Be sure you pick your menu based on the guest list, not purely your own tastes and preferences.

Come prepared to discuss dietary needs. If you already know that vegan or gluten-free options will be necessary, let your caterer know as soon as possible.

Think in terms of the whole day. Do you plan on serving appetizers during cocktail hour? If so, you probably don’t need to serve them during the meal, too.

Invite other key decision makers to your tasting. If your mom or sister is helping you arrange the catering, and if you trust their taste buds, ask them to come along with you! Their input can be helpful.

Schedule Your Tasting Today

One more thing: Schedule your tasting sooner rather than later, and get your wedding menu all squared away. We’d love to tell you more about the catering services we can provide here at Mosteller Events. Connect with us today to set up a consultation!

5 Things to Remember As You Plan Your Wedding Menu

wedding-reception-1967373_1920What will your guests remember the most about your wedding day? Well, they’ll remember the music. They’ll remember the happy couple, smiling and glowing. And they’ll remember the food. What that means for you is that it’s vital that you plan a really appealing menu—one that will provide plenty of fond memories both for you and your guests.

Of course, planning a menu for such a large group of people can be daunting. Here are five pointers we’d recommend you keep in mind as you brainstorm your wedding day menu—five pointers that we hope will provide clarity and confidence.

Guidelines for Your Wedding Menu

It’s Not Just About You

Yes, this is your big day—but it’s also a big party, and you’re hosting it. You need to think about your guests, and create a menu that the people on your guest list will like. This might mean some kid-friendly options, and it might mean some crowd pleasers—like surf and turf, for example—to make sure everyone can find something they love.

The Timeline Counts

How do you envision your wedding reception progressing? A two-course meal, with a quick speech or two, will probably last about an hour and a half. Use that as a baseline, and either shorten or lengthen your dinner service to accommodate the rest of your reception events.

Consider the Cocktails

Your cocktail hour can also have an impact on the meal itself; if you have a longer cocktail hour with a lot of appetizers served, that means you can probably get away with fewer courses in the meal itself.

Don’t Neglect Your Budget

Food will probably be one of the bigger chunks of your wedding budget, but even so, you can make choices here to either splurge or cut back a little, just depending on what your priorities are.

Think Seasonally

Finally, think in terms of the time and place where you’ll be getting married, as that can dictate what you ultimately want to serve. Opt for seasonal ingredients, and food selections that make sense for the time of year.

Talk to the Pros

Here’s a bonus thought: You can call the Mosteller Events catering team any time to talk more about the available options. We’d love to be part of your wedding day planning—so contact us any time!

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7 Ways to Cut Costs for Your Wedding Cocktail Hour

petit-fours-1566255_1280Catering is one of the most important ingredients of your big day; it’s one of the things that sets the stage for your reception, one of the things guests will remember the most. As such, it is perhaps unsurprising that food costs typically make up a big chunk of the total wedding budget. Of course, there are always ways to reduce these expenses, and one especially good one is to take a look at the cocktail hour. There may be some simple tweaks you can make to make the cocktail hour more cost-effective.

We’ll show you what we mean.

Pass out pricier appetizers by hand. Rather than allowing guests to serve themselves cocktail shrimp buffet-style, pass around a cup of shrimp to each guest; this is a great way to curb the amount that your guests consume without appearing chintzy or ungenerous.

Offer big salads and grilled vegetables. Vegetable spreads can be tasty, colorful, and vibrant—but also inexpensive. Again, you can offer your guests real generosity without breaking the bank.

Focus on the crowd-pleasers. Mac and cheese in martini glasses, mini grilled-cheese Panini sandwiches, small crab cakes… these are all enduringly popular items, and they don’t cost all that much. It’s a win-win!

Don’t get every type of seafood. Ask your caterer to help you land on one or two affordable options. You may find that shrimp costs half as much as scallops, for example—and if so, there’s not necessarily any need to have both.

Skip the cheese plate altogether. Your guests are familiar with cheese plates. They have them at every office party and holiday gathering. No need to spend a lot of money on this item.

Pass on the carving station, too. Ham and roast beef are too heavy to be considered appetizers anyway. Don’t let them add to your catering budget.

Serve food on interesting plates. Tapas-style dishes, for example, will allow you to add some style and flare to your cocktail hour without adding much to the budget.

You can have a really magical cocktail hour without ballooning your total catering costs. For more ideas, contact our catering team directly. Reach out to Mosteller Events today!

5 Reasons to Hire a Catering Company

cateringNo matter the size or scope of your private party—whether it’s a lavish fundraiser or simply a get-together among friends—food is essential to ensuring that everyone remains happy throughout the festivities. There are different ways to prepare and serve food at your party, of course, and the one we hope you’ll consider is hiring a catering company.

Of course, catering companies aren’t just for weddings, and they offer advantages that you won’t get if you try to make all the food yourself. Consider five of the big benefits that hiring a catering company can bring.

Why Hire a Catering Company?

  1. You can reduce your stress. Planning the food service for a large group of people is a big undertaking—and when you’re already trying to ensure that your party space is clean and well-decorated, the cumulative effect can be considerably stressful. A good caterer will essentially take all the food responsibilities off your plate (so to speak), and allow you to focus your attention elsewhere. In other words, it’s one less thing for you to stress about.
  2. You can save time. Just imagine what all you could get done if you didn’t have to go to the grocery store, prepare food, or serve it. Well, when you hire a catering company, you don’t have to imagine.
  3. You can ensure a diverse menu. A catering company will be able to put together a list of foods that go well together, but still offer the guests some options—and also accommodate different dietary needs, if applicable.
  4. You’ll know that every detail is being attended to. Catering companies don’t just offer food; they see to all aspects of the food service, including logistics and presentation. You don’t have to worry about any of that, yet you know it’s all being handled satisfactorily.
  5. You’ll make a statement. When you cater an event, that’s something that’ll stick with your guests. They will remember the event as a really special and important one—and isn’t that part of your goal in hosting the event?

Ask Us About Our Catering Service

We’d love to talk with you more about the benefits of hiring a catering company like Mosteller Events. Contact us at your leisure to get the conversation started!

What Your Wedding Caterer Will Ask You

2f6a3a2ab14d06b3b580ac11ceece04cWe’ve blogged before about the importance of asking the right questions to your wedding catering company—ensuring you’ve picked the best caterer for you and making certain that everyone is on the same page. But of course, communication is a two-way street, and just as you should come prepared with questions to ask your caterer, you should also be ready to answer the questions your caterer will ask you.

In other words: Hiring the caterer probably shouldn’t be the very first thing you do in planning your wedding. Instead, you should get some of the basics in place before you even call the caterer—ensuring that when your caterer asks you some standard questions, you know what to say.

What Questions Should You Expect?

But what will your caterer ask you? Most of it is pretty common sense, but it’s still worth going down the list to make sure you know the answer. Some of the standard questions include:

  • What’s the wedding date?
  • What’s the venue? Has it already been reserved? Who is your contact person from the venue, and what do you know about the venue’s policies regarding external caterers?
  • How many people do you plan to invite to your wedding?
  • Who are your other vendors? Do you have any specific vendors booked at this point—music, photography, videography, flowers, cake, etc.?
  • Have you selected your wedding colors yet?
  • What size/shape tables were you hoping for—and does the venue have them already?
  • What are your thoughts or wishes with regard to napkins, table clothes, chairs, centerpieces, glassware, silverware, etc.?
  • Do you want alcoholic beverages to be served? If so, do you want the caterer to provide it?
  • What’s your budget, per person?
  • Do you have any family favorites or specific dishes you know you want to be included?
  • What kind of service are you hoping for? Appetizers? A sit-down meal? A buffet? Something formal or something informal?
  • Do you want water, lemonade, and tea to be provided?
  • Will there be any children at the wedding?
  • Are there any special dietary requests you need to have accommodated—Kosher, gluten-free, etc.?

Don’t be surprised when you get all of these questions and more—and don’t be hesitant to answer as honestly as you can! To start the conversation with one of our Mosteller caterers, give us a call today!

The Best Foods for a Summer Wedding Reception

69381_124479817607012_121080851280242_126998_7937436_nPlanning your wedding reception menu isn’t just about selecting the foods that you like. It’s also about picking foods that will go over well with your guests. And believe it or not, that requires you to think about the time of the year you’re getting hitched.

Whether you’re getting married at a sunny, outdoor affair in August or at an intimate gathering in chilly December will set the stage for the foods your guests expect.

In addition, it’s important that you select food and drink items that are going to be in season—easily and affordably attainable during your wedding month. If not, your catering budget could swell.

So let’s take the example of a summer wedding, and consider: What are some menu items that are must-haves during the hottest months of the year?

Start with Drinks

First and foremost, make sure you have plenty of options for guests to slake their thirst—and that means plenty of non-alcoholic options for kids, families, and non-drinkers. A bar set up with lemonade and iced tea is almost sure to go over well at an outdoor, summer wedding. Cut fruit garnishes can make for lovely décor on these drink tables.

As for cocktails, summer is all about lighter stuff—fun cocktails that are meant to be refreshing, not merely alcoholic!

Other Ideas for a Summer Wedding

Some other culinary considerations:

  • Have some cool appetizers on hand to compliment those cool drinks. Think along the lines of chilled shrimp.
  • If your wedding is outside, and people are milling about rather than sitting down, then miniature and handheld items become all the more essential.
  • Summer is the time of year when people set their palettes for grilling, so if you provide some grilled entrees then you’re immediately adding a splash of summer spirit!
  • Remember that your desserts can be more than just tasty; they can be colorful and fun, augmenting the easygoing, summertime vibe. And here again, lighter, cooler desserts—fruit-based stuff, sorbets, etc.—can be most appreciated on hot summer days.

As you plan your wedding menu, think beyond what sounds good right now; think about what will sound good on your wedding day. For more help, reach out to the Mosteller Events catering team today!

5 Rules of Wedding Gift Etiquette

mosteller-mansion-wedding-photo_011When you attend a wedding, you usually come bearing a gift—but did you know there are rules of etiquette that surround wedding gift giving? Of course the happy couple will surely appreciate your generosity no matter what, but if you really want to impress and delight them then why not take the time to do things right?

And really, the rules of wedding gift etiquette are not so complicated. We can boil them down into five simple directives—all of which you should keep in mind the next time you’re buying a wedding present!

Always Buy from the Registry

Many gift givers want to “surprise” the happy couple—but the problem here is that you’re probably going to end up getting them something they don’t actually need or want, or something they already have. The overwhelming majority of couples have wedding registries—consult your invitation or the wedding website, if there is one—and the majority of brides say they’d rather their gifts all come from the registry. So there you go!

Practical Gifts are Okay

This isn’t Valentine’s Day, and there’s nothing wrong with getting a piece of bedding, a kitchen appliance, or some other “practical” gift from the registry. In fact, these are generally the gifts that couples are most hopeful to receive.

Your Price Point Should Be Determined by Your Relationship to the Couple

A close friend will probably spend more than a casual acquaintance, and that’s fine—but generally speaking, it’s considered bad form to spend less than $50.

Group Gifts are Welcome

With that said, there’s nothing wrong with getting a group of friends together, pooling your money, and investing in a really big-ticket item for the bride and groom. In fact, many couples are most excited to receive gifts like these.

Ship it To Them

Rather than bring your gift to the wedding—which really just creates inconvenience for the bride and groom—order online and have the gift shipped to them directly. Make sure to do it within two months of the wedding!

So there you go: Follow these basic principles and your gift is sure to go over well!

How to Pick the Perfect Wedding Cake

2f6a3a2ab14d06b3b580ac11ceece04cLet’s be honest: When we go to weddings, we’re excited for the bride and groom, and glad to be part of their special day… but there’s some part of us that’s really most excited about a good, big piece of wedding cake!

The cake is often one of the most memorable parts of a wedding reception, and also one that can be harshly judged: If people don’t care for the cake, they’ll readily say so. Certainly, you want a cake that both the bride and groom enjoy, but also one that will be a crowd-pleaser and a good accent to the reception as a whole.

Here are some tips for achieving exactly that:

Go to some tastings. Ask your baker to schedule a tasting with you, or else show up at the next “open” tasting that he or she is throwing. Sample some exemplary cakes, check out some pictures of past cakes, and make sure it’s a baker you feel comfortable with.

Think about style. Decide on the cake after you’ve decided on things like wedding colors and general décor—and match the cake’s accents to your overall aesthetic as best you can. If you want little ribbons of icing on your cake, for instance, make sure you pick complimentary colors.

Get the right size. Three tier cakes will serve somewhere between 50 and 100 people, so plan accordingly. Get input from your baker on exactly how much cake is needed. Make sure nobody goes home without getting a piece.

Don’t settle for just one cake. Want to ensure that everyone at your reception gets a delicious piece of cake, just the way they want it? There’s no law against getting a few different cakes in a few different styles and flavors.

Augment with other desserts. If you’ve got a buffet table filled with desserts, you can afford to serve half-sized pieces to your guests, which will reduce the cake cost a bit.

Ask about the frosting. Do you prefer buttercream or fondant? Make sure you specify!

Get the forecast. If you’re having an outdoor reception on a hot day, stay away from whipped cream, buttercream, and merengue—all of which can melt in the heat!

For any lingering questions about your reception and its catering needs, don’t hesitate to call Mosteller Events today!

Wedding Etiquette: Don’t Mess with the Catering Crew!

Mosteller Charcuterie Display at Moretz Mills

When you attend a wedding, you’re supposed to be on your best behavior. That doesn’t mean you can’t have fun and it doesn’t mean you can’t cut loose. It just means that manners are important, and it’s good to arrive at the wedding with a basic sense of etiquette and decorum.

This encompasses your interactions with wedding caterers, and your general approach to the food being served. You probably know not to talk with food in your mouth or to put your elbows on the table, but what are some other pieces of food-related etiquette you need to know for your next wedding event?

Good Food, Good Manners

A few basics:

  1. As soon as the catering crew arrives on the scene—which will likely be long before you yourself arrive—the kitchen is officially theirs. You may be curious about what’s going on back there, but please, leave them their space and let them work in private. This is an issue of efficiency and convenience, but also one of safety.
  2. Generally speaking, it is not alright to ask for “seconds.” If the wedding reception is buffet-style, that’s one thing—but otherwise, remember that the bride and groom have paid for a set number of meals, and there just isn’t enough for everyone to ask for a second helping.
  3. Wedding receptions do not have “to-go” boxes and they do not have “leftovers.” That’s just not how they work! Even if a guest fails to show up, that does not mean you can ask for his/her food to take home!
  4. Remember what you ordered for dinner, and get it! You may decide, on the big day, that the fish really sounds better than the chicken, but again: A specific number of meals have been paid for, and it’s rude to take someone else’s requested meal.
  5. Above all: Keep calm, and don’t worry about not getting fed. If there are professional caterers on the scene, there will be enough food to go around. Just let the caterers do their work.

Keep these rules in mind to ensure that the wedding reception is a memorable event for everyone who attends.