Planning a wedding can be a bit of a daunting prospect. It is something that most people intend to undertake only once. It is also often the largest event that most couples have ever planned, before or since. And the options are seemingly endless.

Sainlo Events Catering deal with brides and grooms-to-be on a regular basis and we’re really aware of how difficult it can be to pick up that phone to the first caterer and enquire about your wedding catering.

The fear is basically born out of under-confidence, a fear that we will be considered –  or worse, made to feel  – ill-informed by the person at the other end of the phone. This is really unlikely to happen, remember that the person you are contacting wants the opportunity to provide a wedding catering service for you.

The fear is real though, and it leaves us fumbling our words and possibly ending up with a less than accurate quote, in the worst cases we feel we had a bit of a bad experience. We learn as we go along, interpreting terms and noting down must-ask questions with each call but wouldn’t it be great to start with that confidence and overall have a better experience?

To ease this pain we have compiled a list of terms – a wedding catering glossary if you will – of the jargon regularly used in the catering industry, that we realise is not necessarily understood outside of the kitchen. Hopefully this will arm couples in their quest to find the perfect menu for their wedding without fearing that phone call anymore.

10 Catering Terms You Need To Know

  • Covers

    This is the number of people you will have eating at your wedding a cover is a person requiring a meal.

  • Dry-hire

    This refers to a venue that hires out only the space and you bring all of the other services in yourself. Some will come with basics like tables and chairs others provide just the space and you need to furnish to taste.

  • Plated, buffet or silver service

    If you have a plated meal you will be served at your table everything will be on the plate when it arrives – buffet is a self-service meal guests will queue up to fill their plate with their choice of food, silver service is a half way house, plates are served empty and then waiting staff add menu items at the table.

  • Tableware hire

    This refers to the items that you need to hire for catering, depending on what is provided by your venue the number and cost of items will vary. You may need to hire in kitchen equipment, tables, chairs and linens as well as plates, cutlery, glasses etc it’s good to know in advance what your venue offers and what you will require.

  • All-inclusive price

    Caterers vary in their quoting policies. Some give an all inclusive price this will include all your tableware hire charges and staffing. Others quote on just food and add those services on (because client needs, and therefore the costs, may vary).

  • Room dressing

    Your caterer might ask about room dressing, this refers to any decorations you are adding to the room. Sometimes your caterer might offer to do this for you according to your brief, if it is something simple. Alternatively, you may have a wedding planner or venue manager doing this for you, or you may be doing it yourself. Either way it is an important term to know

  • Tasting

    This is an opportunity to try some of the menu options available to you to get a sense of who your caterers are and what the food is like. For larger events such as weddings it is advisable to book a tasting with your chosen caterer before you make a final decision about booking, it is likely that there will be a nominal fee for this service that is often discounted from your final bill when you book with that company.

  • Site-visit

    Your Caterer will probably ask for a site visit for a large event. Event caterers go into lots of different spaces but it is important to plan appropriately for each one. Knowing what facilities are available, the path from the kitchen to the table, the accessibility for loading and unloading and what additional equipment may need to be brought in is important in ensuring the smooth running of your day. Dependent on the set-up, you may meet the caterer there and run through your plans for room layout or it may be possible for this to be done by the venue manager. This will depend on the venue and also your personal preference.

  • Risk assessment

    Your venue may ask you for a risk assessment from your caterer. This is a safety net for the venue to ensure that the caterer has thought through logistics for the venue and has thought about how to keep the kitchen area and the guests at your wedding safe while they are working to provide you with a delicious meal. Most caterers have a template and will know exactly what needs to be added for your venue following the site visit.

  • Public liability insurance

    This is one of those standard things that your caterer has and provides on request. Some venues are happy to leave that between you and your caterer others want to see a copy before your caterer can work on site. Worth checking before the day because it is a simple admin thing that could cause a big upheaval if it isn’t considered in advance.

We hope this list will help you on your wedding planning journey but the other thing to remember when you do make that call is that if a term comes up that you aren’t sure about it is fine to ask. At Sainlo Events Catering we make a concerted effort not to slip into jargon and acronyms with prospective clients but it can happen to any of us from time to time so if you want anything clarified make sure you ask.

If you would like to talk to us about bringing a touch of luxury and straight talking to your wedding catering please get in touch