Catering can be a stressful and expensive subject. The time of your reception normally dictates which type of foods will be served. Early morning wedding with a brunch reception, late morning, early afternoon wedding with a lunch reception or a evening wedding with a dinner reception?
To start with, most wedding locations do not allow outside foods to be brought in. Health department and insurance are prime examples as to why on-site catering is required. It is not always just to make more money off you. Wedding and reception locations can save on insurance rates (a big savings) if all foods are catered by the wedding location.
If catering is involved, “samples”, “taste tests” may not be available. If a venue or caterer does set menus; choose “A”, “B” or “C” samples may be available. Caterers that customize your menu according to your desires and tastes, don’t normally provide “samples”. Instead, ask for letters of recommendations or written comments by previous guests (ask to see the guest book).
Find out what type of foods and ingredients are used. Frozen foods, dehydrated foods and ingredients or do they use fresh, wholesome foods and ingredients? Ask, it makes a difference in taste!
If you are not sure as to what to do regarding the foods for your reception, ask your caterer for suggestions. Keep in mind, you may not be able to please all your guests as far as foods are concerned. If someone is on a special diet (for medical reasons), it is suggested you try to have something for that person (that everyone else will eat too).
One misconception a lot of people have is that appetizers are less expensive than regular meals. Yes, generally they are less expensive per item than a regular meal. However, there is a formula to figure out how many appetizers per person, per hour of the event and at what time the event occurs. In the long run, to feed your guests properly, it could be much more expensive than a regular meal. Again, ask your caterer for advice.