Choosing a wedding menu is no small task, and if you don't have any previous experience working with the food industry or in event planning, it can be difficult to spot things that aren't quite right on a menu. That's where we come in. Here, we outline six red flags you'll want to look out for as you choose your big-day dishes. Trust us: It's best to spot them before you go to contract.
Way Too Many Options
Venues with high turnover and lots of weddings in one weekend tend to offer multi-page menus with a huge variety so they can cater to every type of couple. While it's great to have a selection, it's important to take into consideration whether this standardized style of service will work well for you and your wedding. If you prefer a more customized approach, it may be worth looking at another venue.
Too Much Fusion Food
If your catering team specializes in fusion, that's awesome. Go with it. But, if you've hired a caterer and their menu has over 30 Italian dishes that alongside just as many Asian options followed by a list of Indian fare, chances are they won't be able to do all of these things well.
Inauthentic Cuisine for the Location
A common dilemma of destination weddings is that you end up with a wedding menu that has nothing to do with the local cuisine. It's as though these venues are catering to an international group rather than focusing on what we know they can do well. No need to ditch the venue, but you might want to have a frank conversation with the property manager prior to going to contract in which you explain how much you love the local food and would like to have a menu customized to reflect that. This should be a non-issue for most venues since this is the cuisine they make best.
If the menus look like they haven't been updated since Jell-o was the "in" food, that could very well be the case. This could be a signal that the venue is seriously behind the times and may be difficult to work with, resulting in everything from communication difficulties to inflexibility.
Drinks Packages That Are Charged Hourly
This isn't a deal breaker, but you may want to ask about the possibility of paying for booze on consumption as an alternative. Be careful with this, as packages are designed with big groups in mind and tend to cover your bases if you have a heavy-drinking crowd. There's a lot to be said for being able to budget an exact amount for your catering bill, and drinks packages help you do just that.
It's unlikely that you'll be able to spot hidden fees from looking at a menu, so you should always ask your catering team about additional costs associated with setup, staffing, gratuities, waste removal, and corkage fees. If you're hosting your wedding at a private venue or estate, you'll need to be clear with your caterer about their needs for a kitchen. If they have to bring in an entire satellite kitchen, this could get costly quickly.