Choosing a Wedding Caterer? Here are Five Things to Remember

When choosing a wedding caterer, you’re choosing the vendor who will provide you with one of the most important and memorable components of your big day. Indeed, if there’s one part of the reception that will stand out in the minds of your guests, it’s the food. But choosing a caterer isn’t just about picking food; there are actually a few different considerations you should make as you try to find the best caterer for your big day.

Here are five things we recommend you keep in mind.

Menu Flexibility

A lot of caterers have a few standard, pre-set options that they can provide—menu items they’ve perfected and found to be crowd-pleasers. That’s great, unless you have a family-favorite dish that you’re just dying to have at your wedding. Make sure your caterer can offer some flexibility—providing you not only with a nice variety of options, but also the chance to request your own spin on things.

Bar Services

Does your caterer provide a bar service—and if so, what options are available to you in terms of specialty cocktails? Make sure you know what you’re looking for by way of drinks, and ask your prospective caterer for a run-down of what they do.

Dishes, Etc.

Always ask whether your caterer provides things like plates, glassware, and utensils—and if so, what the fee is. This is a significant part of the catering cost, so it’s something you’ll want to be clear on before you make your decision.

Linens

Along the same lines, make sure you ask about linen provisions. You want to make sure the linens are good-quality—i.e., floor-length, in most cases. Ask about fees, too!

Experience and Customer Satisfaction

One final note: Menu options and linen prices aside, not all caterers are created equal—and to make sure your big day is special, it’s wise to seek someone with a proven track record and an excellent customer service mentality. Ask for credentials and referrals, but also listen to your gut instinct. If you simply don’t like working with a particular caterer, that’s all the reason you need to look elsewhere.

Of course, we are always happy to talk with you about our own catering services and our rich, long-lasting experience. Reach out to Mosteller Events today to start the conversation, or to request a quote.

10 Things Every Bride Should Do on the Eve of Her Wedding

By the time the eve of your wedding rolls around, you’ve (hopefully!) got all the planning done, everything put into its right place for your big day. That doesn’t mean there aren’t still things you can do to prepare, however. Allow us to show you what we mean, with a list of 10 things every bride might consider on the night before her wedding.

Getting Ready for the Big Day

  1. Eat a healthy meal. If you’re anxious or stressed, you may prefer a nice slice of pizza or a greasy burger—but then again, the last thing you want is to wake up the next morning feeling bloated, or struggling with a food hangover. Keep it light!
  2. Drink some water. You may still be running around attending to last-minute wedding planning items. Reduce stress and dehydration by drinking plenty of H2O.
  3. Sleep. Yeah, it’s tough—but getting into bed, turning off your phone and other devices, and just trying to calm yourself can be an important way to get ready for the big day.
  4. Give your phone to the Maid of Honor. One way to keep calm is to check out of Facebook and text for a night—perhaps by silencing your phone and handing it over to someone who can watch after it for you.
  5. Pack a clutch. Whatever you’ll need for the reception, pack it the night before.
  6. Get some cash. You may have a vendor or two you’ll want to tip, so stop by the ATM.
  7. Create a list of vendor information. Include names, contact info, and what time they’re supposed to arrive—then, pass that information off to whoever is your vendor point person on the big day.
  8. Watch something funny. A sitcom or a romantic comedy can make for a nice, soothing night’s entertainment.
  9. Thank the people who’ve helped you. It takes a village to plan a wedding. On the eve before the big day, pause to express your gratitude.
  10. Take some deep breaths. A Yoga breathing app can guide you through some truly soothing, mind-focusing exercises.

Enjoy Your Wedding Day—Really

It’s more than possible for brides to let go of their stress and truly enjoy their wedding. We hope these tips provide some insight. Come back to the Mosteller Events blog for more wedding day guidance!

 

What to Bring on Your Wedding Day

Your wedding day will be one of the most significant milestones in your life—so the last thing you want is to be caught unprepared. Make sure you’re ready for anything with the following checklist.

Things to Bring to Your Big Day

Complete outfits. You’re obviously not going to forget the wedding dress, but it’s considerably easier to forget shoes, earrings, or—most likely—the shoes or clothes you plan to change into after the reception.

Wedding bands. You may task a groomsman with keeping up with these, but make sure somebody is on top of it!

Your wedding license. This is something you’ll sign with your minister/justice of the peace either just before or directly after the ceremony. Don’t leave it behind!

Printed copies of your wedding timeline. You may have it committed to memory, but not everyone in your wedding party will—so bring some copies just in case!

Payment/tips. The best way to handle this is to put vendor tips in an envelope and distribute them to relatives, who can ensure they get to the right people. If you have a wedding planner, he/she may also be of service here.

Your honeymoon luggage and/or overnight bag. Think about not just the big day itself, but the hours and days that come thereafter.

Snacks and water. Keep your energy level up throughout the day!

Your vows. If you’ve got ‘em written down, bring ‘em with you—just in case you need to refresh your memory.

Planning for Your Big Day

Now, this may seem like a lot to remember—and truthfully, it’s not a comprehensive list. One way to make things easier on yourself is to drop some of these things off at your venue the day before the wedding, if at all possible. Also, don’t underestimate the importance of delegating key tasks to trusted members of your wedding party. You should not have to keep up with all this stuff yourself!

We’d also recommend working with wedding vendors who make your life easy, and who instill confidence that they’ll make your big day go off without a hitch. We’d love to play that role, whether as venue providers or as your catering crew. Reach out to Mosteller Events to learn more about what we can do for you!

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!

Real Talk About Your Wedding Planning

beautiful-1846171_1280As you begin the process of planning your wedding, it can be easy to get hearts in your eyes and big dreams in your head. There’s nothing wrong with that! Wedding planning is a time for dreaming, a time for following your heart. With that said, it’s also important to stay grounded, and focused on the practical dimensions of wedding planning.

In that spirit, we want to offer a little bit of real talk today—debunking some of the misconceptions that exist about the wedding planning process. We hope you’ll find this to be helpful.

You can’t do it all by yourself. Some brides want to be the maestros who pull every string of their perfect wedding—but if you micromanage every single detail, you’re going to find yourself frazzled, and probably won’t enjoy the process much. People are going to offer to help you, and you should take them up on it. That doesn’t mean you have to relinquish control of the big picture. It just means that, if you have an aunt who wants to help you find the right tablecloths, maybe it’s not a bad idea to let her.

The DIY route comes with risks. With that said, you should also be realistic about your own abilities, and the abilities of your friends and family members. You don’t want to end up with a horrible-looking wedding cake because you asked a friend to make it, and it turned out to be something she’s never done before. Some tasks of wedding preparation are better farmed out to professionals, plain and simple.

You don’t have to invite everyone you know. And, you also don’t have to let everyone bring a date. Yes, the more the merrier, and you don’t want to turn people down, but you do have a budget to consider. There’s nothing wrong with drawing a line in the sand when you need to.

It’s okay to say no. When your florist tries to talk you into a big and expensive arrangement that you just don’t like, it’s alright to put your foot down and ask to see something different. That doesn’t make you mean. That doesn’t make you Bridezilla.

Your wedding doesn’t have to be unique. Should it reflect your taste and your personality? Absolutely! But weddings are, by their nature, fairly formulaic. There’s nothing wrong with treading the beaten path.

Want some real talk about your wedding venue? We’d love to tell you about the perks of Mosteller Mansion, and help you determine whether it’s right for you. Contact us today to learn more!

What to Ask Before Hiring a Wedding Photographer

camera-820018_1280As with any wedding vendor, it’s important to be judicious in selecting your photographer—interviewing several different professionals and comparing their rates and their credentials before you make a final decision. If you’ve never done this before—which most brides probably haven’t—then you may not know exactly what to ask. Allow us to share a few things you should always inquire about before landing on a wedding photographer.

Do you have my date available? Obviously, if the answer is no, then it’s time to simply move on to the next photographer—unless you’re flexible on your wedding date.

How far in advance do you need to be booked? There’s probably going to be a ticking clock on when you can make your decision, and you’ll want to know it up front.

What’s your experience like? Feel free to ask these variants: How long have you been in business? How many weddings have you shot? And have you shot weddings similar in size/scope to mine?

How would you describe your style? Some photographers are more traditional; others, out-of-the-box. You’ll obviously want to know what you’re getting into!

Do you have a portfolio I can view? Ask to see some recent work.

Will you accept a list of specific shots that we’d like? Most photographers will say yes, but it’s still wise to ask.

May I have a list of references? A good, professional photographer shouldn’t hesitate to provide you with this.

What information should I provide you with before the wedding day? You’ll have better things to do than to answer a thousand questions from your photographer on the big day, so get everything out in the open right from the get-go.

What are your rates? Of course, you can and should inquire about pricing.

These questions will hopefully guide you to choosing a photographer whose work you love, whose rates you can afford, and whose style you enjoy. To learn more about wedding planning basics, we welcome you to check out the Mosteller Events blog!

Things You Shouldn’t Say to Your Family During Wedding Planning

family-216825_1280The wedding planning period can be a little stressful from time to time, and your family members won’t always help things. They are well-intentioned, to be sure, but let’s face it: Nobody knows how to push your buttons and get under your skin better than the people in your family!

As such, it can be tempting to speak to them a little too candidly, in ways that could hurt feelings or even burn bridges. What we’d advise is trying your best to be thoughtful. You can start by excising some of these phrases from your vocabulary:

I really don’t need your help.

You are perfectly entitled to feel this way, but it’s probably best not to speak it aloud—and if your family members really want to be involved, try to find a way to let them. It doesn’t have to be anything big. Just get them to help assemble gift bags, or maybe help you narrow down some minor decisions between two color schemes or floral arrangements. Your family members just want to feel like they are part of the process, and helpful to you in some way.

That’s a HORRIBLE idea!

It may be—but why hurt your poor grandmother’s feelings by telling her so? Try to fake an open mind, and just let everyone know that you’ll seriously consider their suggestions, but that ultimately you’ve got to do what you and your fiancée think are best.

Well, if our budget was a little bigger…

If your folks are footing the bill for your wedding, the last thing you want to do is come across as ungrateful—or like you are trying to guilt them into giving you more money.

You have such bad taste!

Again, you’re welcome to think it, and it may even be true—but this is the kind of comment that could lead to hurt feelings between mother and daughter, or between sisters. That’s not what you want during your wedding planning.

This day is all about ME!

The day can mostly be about you, but remember that you have a lot of friends and family members who want to come alongside you, support you, and show you how much they care. Why not let them do so?

Remember: During wedding planning, diplomacy goes a long way. Keep it in mind, but also don’t hesitate to reach out for the help you need. Contact us at Mosteller Events any time!

How to Save Money on Your Wedding Florist

floristEvery bride has a budget, and the wedding planning process often involves looking for some areas to save a few bucks. You may not want to risk scrimping on your caterer or your DJ, so where does that leave you? Try looking to your florist’s services as one potential place to reduce wedding costs.

Make no mistake: You can get beautiful wedding arrangements without breaking the bank. Here are a few ways to do that.

Set a budget for your wedding flowers, and communicate it to your florist. Be clear in articulating the limits of what you are willing to spend in flowers. From there, give your florist some notes and direction, but also trust him or her to take your guidance and run with it.

Choose flowers that are both local and in-season. That’s the best way to get stunning flowers for the most reasonable prices. Blossoms that are available year-round, like roses, are also good options.

Choose flowers that have big blossoms. By picking blossoms that are really big and eye-catching, and incorporating them into your centerpieces, you can often get by with fewer of them.

Find cheaper alternatives to expensive flowers. Get some photos of arrangements you like, show them to your florist, and ask the florist to help you replicate that basic look and effect with some less expensive stems.

Be open to anything. You may have no interest in having roses in your wedding—but wait: Your florist may be able to find some truly stunning varieties that are available for a low, low price. At least be willing to look at them with an open mind.

Limit yourself to a couple of different kinds of flowers. If you’re alright with just a couple varieties of stem, your florist can buy them in bulk and get better prices. You may save money on labor, too.

Flowers are important to creating the right mood of elegance and beauty at your wedding—and you don’t want to compromise on their place in the ceremony. That doesn’t mean you can’t be smart in shopping for them, though, and ultimately save yourself some money.

To get more wedding planning tips, follow along with the Mosteller Events blog.

4 Common Wedding Reception Problems—And How to Avoid Them

weddingreceptionThe day of your wedding is supposed to be perfect—and it will be! Even if a few little things go wrong, you’ll be surrounded by your friends, your family, and, of course, the love of your life. Nothing’s going to ruin those good vibes! Even so, there are a few not-uncommon wedding reception problems that you might want to make yourself aware of—and to plan for, well in advance of your big day.

Here are four little things that can crop up during your wedding reception, along with our quick tips on heading them off at the pass.

Problem #1: You’ve got adorable children present at your wedding—a sweet little flower girl or a cuddly ring bearer, perhaps—but once they get a taste of that sugary wedding cake, they start bouncing off the walls!

You are always welcome to invite kids to your formal occasion, but you can’t actually force them to uphold that formal mood. It’s best not to even try. Instead, keep them engaged somehow—placing all the kids at their own table, perhaps with crayons and coloring pages for them to entertain themselves. You might also consider getting an extra hotel suite and hiring a sitter, who can hang with them and perhaps let them watch Frozen while you and your grown-up guests party.

Problem #2: As the wedding reception winds down, you have a lot of happy guests who have had a few drinks—perhaps a few too many to drive themselves home.

If you’re serving alcohol at your wedding, it’s both smart and courteous to hire a shuttle service (or just a couple of Uber drivers, maybe) to take tipsy guests back to their nearby hotels following the reception.

Problem #3: Your reception site boasts an amazing view—but the sun is so bright that it blinds your guests!

First of all, plan ahead. Arrange to tour your reception spot at the exact time of day that you plan to hold your reception. Also keep in mind that the season may change the lighting. One way to prevent your guests from being blinded is to get some sheer curtains or pieces of cloth that can be hung to block some of that sunlight.

Problem #4: You’re loving your romantic, candlelit reception—but the candles are about to run out, and leave you and your guests in the dark!

This one’s simple: Make sure you invest in a few extra candles of each type that you are using, and ask a member of the wedding party to be in charge of monitoring and changing out candles as needed.

Again, none of these issues are going to ruin your big day—especially not if you plan for them! To learn more about planning your dream wedding, keep tabs on the Mosteller Events blog!