What Do I Do About Food Between Events?

When planning a destination wedding, and your guests are all staying on-site, there’s always the question; What do I do about food in between events? Do I have to provide every meal- breakfast, lunch, and dinner? Or can I just provide the meals for events?

Here are a few options that will help your guests understand what is provided, what is not provided, and how to provide meals for the whole duration of your stay:

Create a Weekend Itinerary

Talk with your stationer about creating a weekend itinerary that you can send along to all your weekend guests. You can inform them of the meal times and your event times so there are no questions! Send the itinerary in your invitations or post them on your wedding website. When you arrive at French’s Point, post your itinerary in our Welcome Center in each home so your guests can reference it at Check In and during their stay!

Post the Expectations on Your Wedding Website

Make it clear to guests the meals that you are providing during their stay and inform them of the food that will be available for them in the nearest residential kitchen.

Streamline Your Weekend Caterer

Throughout your stay, hire the same caterer to create meals, formal and informal, and even drop-off meals to you and your guests! Many caterers will not only design your wedding day meal, but drop off breakfast, brunch, lunch, and late-night treats to your guests throughout your stay! Working with one provider streamlines the communication and helps ensure you aren’t missing any key mealtimes!

Don’t Forget to Provide Coffee in the Morning

You can order coffee from your breakfast caterer, or leave supplies and coffee grounds at each coffee maker for the guests to enjoy for themselves!

Hire a Personal Chef

Some catering companies offer a personal chef to cook meals for you and your guests within the home you are staying in! They will become a member of the family in no-time as they prepare all your favorite eats right in the heart of the home- the kitchen!

Hire Brunch Service

If you have multiple meal providers during your weekend stay, contact Eileen of Creative Catering or JoJo of Bell the Cat to drop off breakfast for your guests, they have everything from brunch/lunch platters to warm, home-cooked breakfasts. They will drop off at both homes, and pick up the platters as soon as you’re done!

Or a Food Truck!

If a donut truck is more your style, contact Eight 8 Donut Cafe about coming and parking in front of the Retreat House any morning during your stay! They provide fun-filled and uniquely decorated donuts, warm out of the fryer, and locally roasted coffee! It’s all you can eat so invite all your guests staying down Hersey Retreat Road to join you for your early morning treat! The Salt Box Café  is another great breakfast, brunch or lunch option. They provide creative breakfast and lunch sandwiches of your choosing and cook it fresh off the truck!

5 Questions to Ask Your Wedding Caterer

At French’s Point, we understand that our couples are seeking customized, meaningful, personal celebrations. For this reason, we encourage you to assemble your own dream team of wedding vendors to create the event that brings your wedding dream to life. Your wedding caterer is a key member of your wedding team. Food is a very memorable part of the wedding experience for you and your guests. The food and drink for your wedding reception will probably consume a large portion of your wedding budget, so you want to invest this money wisely. Remember, these costs compound with each guest you include in your celebration.

For couples new to planning an event like a wedding, catering costs can be a bit challenging to untangle because each caterer frames their pricing differently and includes different items in the standard pricing.

For couples new to planning an event like a wedding, catering costs can be a bit challenging to untangle because each caterer frames their pricing differently and includes different items in the standard pricing. Many include a cost of food in the “per-person” price of the food and will charge separately for staff/service, tax, gratuity, rentals and administrative fees, while for other caterers the “per-person” cost includes these additional fees. This makes it very difficult to really get a handle on the total costs and make an apples-to-apples comparison between providers.

The top 5 questions you should ask your wedding caterer.

1.  Do you have the necessary licenses required by the State and Town where we’re hosting our celebration?

It is important for you to know if your caterer has the proper permits to provide service at the venue hosting your event. You can also ask the venue for a list of the required licenses and permits. You can get this information at the city hall or town office where you’re getting married. Ask your caterer for a copy of the permits and licenses to keep with your wedding contract.

2.  Do you have full liability insurance and liquor liability insurance if you’re providing alcohol for my events?

As the host of the celebration, making sure that your caterer has sufficient liability coverage is crucial in limiting your own liability exposure. This is an even more significant issue if your caterer is providing alcohol and service for your events. Ask for a copy of their insurance policy for your file and be sure to check effective dates.

3.  What is your specialty and your preferred format of service style? What makes you special?

You want to be sure you are interviewing caterers that can provide your preferred style of service (buffet, sit-down dinner, etc.) effectively and that the quality of the food is in line with your vision as well. Not all caterers provide the same style of service or excel in the same areas of foodservice. Asking them upfront what their specialty is can be a very helpful tool in determining if your principals and vision align with theirs.

4.  Are you a full-service caterer?

At venues such as ours, a “Blank Canvas Venue” which allows you to choose your own catering partner, it is a key element of success to be certain that the caterer will not only provide excellent food but that they will provide the staffing and service to handle the set-up of the reception rentals as well as clean-up of the catering and foodservice rentals at your event. For instance, food trucks are a recent trend at weddings and they can be fun, but some food truck caterers don’t include set-up, bussing, or break-down of rentals in their services. The same is true of a more traditional caterer. Food is only part of the equation. Service, in my opinion, is equally or more important than the food itself in the overall experience the caterer is providing to you and your guests.

5.  What is the average price range for your service at my venue and does it include food, service, staff, rentals, tax, gratuity, travel and all other fees?

Catering companies all structure their costs differently. As we mentioned above, some caterers will lump related costs (food, beverage, service) together under a per-guest price. Other companies will give you a per-guest price for food and/or beverage and then a flat fee for service/staff and another flat fee for rentals. Almost always, these costs are pre-tax, which is 7% on food and bar products only (service, rentals, or other service charges are not subject to tax) and pre-gratuity, which is typically 15-22% in Maine on the food and beverage costs only (there should not be gratuity on service, rentals, travel fees or other service charges).

Another key element in your overall catering cost is rentals. Will your caterer need to rent service trays, tray jacks, water pitchers, salt and pepper shakers, coffee station supplies, plates, silverware, linens and glassware or other catering equipment to provide your chosen meal in your chosen setting? This can be a significant and key contributing cost for your event so do not overlook it!

To ensure you partner with the very best caterer for your wedding, I cannot stress enough the importance of gathering clear information from the caterers you are considering. You want to avoid surprises, so ask these key questions before hiring your wedding caterer so you know exactly what to expect on the wedding day.

By Jessika Brooks-Brewer, French’s Point Owner

Have more questions about this important topic or ready to book your tour? Contact us, we’re here to help!

Featured photo by Darling Photography.