Wedding venues and wedding catering are married

The cost for wedding reception venues and wedding catering services consumes up to half of the typical wedding budget. Wedding catering remains a huge revenue source for hotels and wedding reception halls, and many offer complimentary event planning and coordination services to attract new business. But the accelerating trend away from hotels, wedding reception halls, and other traditional wedding venues has adversely affected these properties' wedding reception sales. Today only one in three wedding reception events is held at a hotel or hall. More than ever before, creative couples are looking for public buildings, parks, gardens, beaches, and other less formal locations, including wineries, as unusual wedding venues. These unique off-premises properties exude personality not found in hotels, wedding reception halls, and other traditional on-premises wedding venues. But picturesque settings also require extra wedding planning, specialty wedding catering, and precision party rentals, including tenting, flooring, linens, chairs and tables, and lighting.

Unusual Wedding Venues Demand Specialty Wedding Catering, So Learn to Identify the Experts

Photo courtesy Melons Catering & Event Planning

Imagination and the Internet have vastly expanded the choice of wedding venues for wedding event planners and their clients. Museums, mansions, and off-premises venues used for corporate events maintain online lists of preferred vendors, including caterers, from which to choose. This streamlines the wedding reception planning process by ensuring that any catering company selected from the venue's list has the necessary licensing, insurance, and experience. But beaches, parks, and other out-of-the-box locations are less likely to have a list, and are more likely to present such logistical challenges as topography and access, power and water limitations, and restrictions on food and liquor. Before booking an out-of-the-box venue for your wedding reception, it's essential to consult a specialty caterer with the experience and the capacity to cater your event. Catering any large party is a complicated production with many moving parts, and a wedding reception is live theatre. So understanding the essentials of specialty catering is helpful when navigating the vendor list if your chosen venue has one. It's essential when seeking the right caterer if it doesn't. And it's useful in recognizing the respective roles of the caterer, the venue, and the wedding planner in planning and producing your wedding reception.

Photo courtesy Melons Catering & Event Planning

Course Video Tutorial: 'An Award-Winning Caterer Teaches Wedding Catering and Wedding Venues' (37:05)

Ann Lyons, the owner of Melons Catering & Event Planning, has orchestrated show-stopping parties on the beach, in the park, and at mansions throughout the Bay Area. She's catered dinner for 1,000 corporate guests at San Francisco City Hall, 500 wedding guests under a tent at a historic estate, and 100 special guests for a 'Food Network Challenge' episode taped at Alcatraz Island. She's on the preferred vendor lists at Northern California's most prestigious wedding venues, providing expert advice for wedding planners and couples from all parts of the USA who are designing a West Coast destination wedding. She's unsurpassed in her knowledge of party rentals, in the quality of her staff and infrastructure, and in the respect of her peers. As a result, she's received the national event-catering award for excellence in specialty catering. In this course video tutorial, Ann teaches Members the business essentials of specialty catering and selecting off-premises wedding venues. Her instruction is followed by a guided tour of her busy South San Francisco kitchen as she explains catering preparations underway for a wedding reception at Alcatraz Island.

Ann Lyons, Award-Winning Caterer

Learn 12 essential elements of commissioning specialty wedding catering for unique wedding venues:

  • What to consider when choosing a hotel, hall, or off-premises venue
  • How traditional hotel food and beverage service differs from specialty catering
  • How the specialty catering business has evolved in stature, structure, and style
  • Steps to follow in choosing the venue and caterer for your wedding reception
  • How to access and evaluate preferred vendor lists
  • The truth about tastings and too many options
  • How to minimize risk at an outdoor venue
  • Why a sit-down dinner is the most economical way to serve your guests
  • How caterers customize menus for clients with ethnic or ethical food needs
  • Who should manage party rentals and why it's not the wedding planner
  • How to find a competent caterer for a destination wedding
  • Analyzing catering costs and service options from an inside perspective

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