Wednesday, 19 December 2018 17:18

A Mastery of Beverages is Vital for Wedding Catering

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The bar at your wedding should make everyone happy. So the details of what to serve when can go a long way to ensure the joy lasts from start to finish.

As any Los Angeles wedding caterer can attest, working with a broad variety of families – who derive from an equally wide spectrum of ethnic and religious (and non-religious) backgrounds – the questions around beverage service at weddings are not simple.

For those of a strict teetotalism tradition, the questions are much easier of course. It is simply should they serve sparkling soft cider or not? For the vast majority of weddings, it is about everything else associated with weddings, bar service and drinking.

The questions fall into six distinct categories:

Does our budget allow a completely open bar? This is of course a very important consideration because, on the averages, a bar will constitute around 20% of the overall reception budget. There are ways to limit it: serve only during certain hours of the reception, say, for an hour or two before the meal, and perhaps provide just wine and beer, or announce a 30-minute post-dinner bar service after that.

Should it be a cash bar? No. Your guests may be incurring expenses just to get to your wedding, and because cash bars are so uncommon they may not even bring a sufficient amount of cash to the reception. And the modern twist is that younger people who use electronic payment systems for everything would create a much longer service wait if the bartenders had to run the transaction through a payment system.

How do we make sure guests don’t over-imbibe? Some will (incorrectly) argue for a cash bar to limit drunkenness. In families where this may be an issue, limiting the service to beer and wine might help, as would asking your wedding catering company to hire experienced bartenders who know how to manage such individuals. Other tips: no shots service, use smaller glasses, and provide ample appetizers, served via wait staff, to guests during the opening cocktail hour.

Do we serve champagne for a toast? Some recommend against this as champagne is not everyone’s taste and consequently much goes to waste. And what do sober people do during such a toast? Simple say “let’s raise a glass now to the happy couple,” which covers all the bases.

How do we ensure fast service? Listen to the advice of your wedding caterers on how many bars to have on hand (anything over 50 people suggests two or more). And be clear you want professionals who understand drink orders and who can deliver them quickly. If they do, they’ll earn their tips (either provide tips as the reception hosts in your contract, or allow them to ask for some). Fine wedding caterers aren’t just masters at food; they also have good bartenders.

How to make sure the drinks are right for the season? It’s become fashionable to have a signature drink, sometimes something that fits the wedding colors. But what flies in summer dies in winter. Plan accordingly.

Finally, as a check on the over-serviced guest, it may be possible to hire a car valet service that is experienced in identifying who is and is not capable of driving home after the party. It may be well worth the money.

Huntington Catering

Huntington Catering is an innovative, full service Los Angeles catering company providing wedding, corporate and private event catering and at home with the most sought after special event venues in Southern California.

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