7 Reasons Why Your Caterer Is NOT Your Wedding Planner

catering for weddings
Image: Ryan Graham

One of the most frustrating things for us as wedding planners, is seeing couples fall into a false sense of security, and believing that all of their wedding day duties will be managed by one supplier. (For example, read 7 Reasons Why Your Venue Coordinator Is Not Your Wedding Planner). When it comes to key suppliers for your special day your caterer is going to be absolutely crucial. We work with so many brilliant caterers (and have worked with some not so great ones in the past) so we understand more than anyone how hard their job is.

You might think your catering team will have time on the day to deal with your every request, but their one and only priority will be ensuring their food service is on time and of top quality. Everything else in between will be taken care of by your wedding planner. If you’re wondering exactly what your wedding planner will do that your caterer won’t, then here’s a quick guide:

1. Go Between
Your wedding planner will act as a go between all of your suppliers and your family members. This means that he or she will liaise with any relevant family members and inform certain suppliers of key timings. For example, the priest will want to know when the family are ready to start the religious ceremony, the photographer will want to know when the bride is ready for her pre entry shots, the DJ will want to know when the couple are making their entry in the evening and so on.

2. Coordinate The Ceremony
If you have a good caterer then he or she will keep an eye on your ceremony as this will give them a rough guide as to how much time they have before lunch is served. Your wedding planner however will coordinate the ceremony and everyone involved. Though it’s general custom for the priest to fully prep families on what they need to bring, your planner will check he has everything he needs before he begins. When someone needs to fetch the bride and/or other family members walking her down the aisle – your planner will take charge. What about the photo lists at the end? Yep, a planner will manage that too!

3. Double Check Table Settings
If you are having a seated meal for lunch or dinner then chances are you are going to have a seating plan. Your wedding planner is the person who will be cross checking the plan to ensure the correct number of chairs have been laid out per table so there are no errors. This means going to every table one by one before set up and counting every individual chair as well as ensuring the set up is correct. This means making sure no guest is without a spoon, fork or napkin and so on. Sound tedious? Well, perfection doesn’t come easy.

4. Guide Guests
Though you will have had a countless number of meetings with your catering management team, not every single member of staff will be fully aware of the ins and outs of your event, and neither will they have studied your floor plans a countless number of times. This means when it’s time to seat your guests and guide them to their individual tables, it will be your wedding planning standing at the door way cross checking everyone knows where they need to go and pointing them in the right direction. The service staff may be asked to take guests to their table, however this direction will need to come from your planner.

5. Collect Personal Items
Whether it’s your cake, guestbook or gifts, your wedding planner will collect all of your personal belongings and store them away safely, ready for you to collect at the end of the night or the next day. Your caterer on the other hand will simply be responsible for leaving the kitchen tidy and taking away all of their remains – the rest will be up to you. So, when you’re busting those moves alongside your immediate family on the dance floor after a few drinks, you can stay rest assured that your valuables are being looked after by someone you trust.

6. Review Your Catering Contract
This point is important. Your wedding planner will know your day inside out, often better than you yourself which means when liaising with a caterer he or she will be able to cross check that you have everything you need – as your caterer will only have as much information as you give them. If for example your venue is providing one set of service bowls, but you need two, or your décor company is going to need extra assistance to turnaround the room after lunch, these details should be covered in your contract and are points your planner will raise.

7. Handle Other Emergencies
Your caterer may be spot on, but what happens if another supplier slips up, and that too bang in the middle of food service? Your catering team will not have time to abandon the service to deal with another emergency. This burden will generally fall on a family member or friend unless you have someone else on hand. Someone who is experienced will know exactly what to do about the situation and will be able to keep everyone calm under pressure, without your guests even realising that anything is wrong. This person is your wedding planner.

We’re basically saying that because your caterers will have so much to do on the day of your event, there’s only so much they can realistically take charge of, which is why it’s essential that there is another supplier who is going to act as a complimentary force to ensure your day runs as smoothly as possible!

Contact our expert team of wedding planners on 0116 268 8804 or email enquiries@carriagesevents.co.uk to arrange a complimentary consultation. 

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