After the excitement and joy of engagement begins to fade, reality sets in and the wedding planning begins. Between picking a venue, selecting a date, deciding on attire, and all of the other details, sometimes food options can fall on the back burner. However, when hosting a wedding for your closest friends, family, and coworkers, it’s important to keep them happy and well-fed. In fact, food is often one of the biggest things guests remember after a wedding, as opposed to centerpieces, invitations, and other small details that will quickly be forgotten by many guests. When friends and family are traveling to a wedding and spending hours at the event, by dinnertime they’re going to be hungry and they’re going to be wanting some fantastic food.

While some couples may consider providing their own food, wedding catering is always a smart way to go in order to have a seamless wedding day with delicious food. Many people don’t know how to cook for large groups of dozens of people, and it can be difficult to ensure food is kept at a safe temperature without professional-level equipment. It’s definitely best to leave food to the professionals, so the bride, groom, and their friends and family can properly enjoy their day.

Wedding caterers are well experienced in this area and can provide couples with recommendations into different food options. They have provided food for countless weddings and can offer insight into things such as what sorts of foods will stay fresh even if they’ve been sitting out for a while, what sorts of food are the most popular at receptions, and what are some alternatives for meals for those on a budget.

While many weddings would offer a traditional chicken, beef, and steak option, recently more and more couples have been opting for less traditional dining options which many guests love. While plated dinners are typically seen as the most formal way to be served food, many caterers offer different options including buffet style, where guests are released from their seats in order to select their own food from a buffet, which often allows guests more options and gives them more control over portion size, and family-style, where large platters of food are provided to each table and guests can serve themselves. Cocktail style receptions are also growing in popularity, with various appetizers served throughout the reception.

It’s important to take time selecting a caterer. It’s a good idea for couples to start with a general budget in addition to exactly what sort of food they are looking for. Many caterers will set pricing around how many guests will be in attendance, so meetings with caterers should be done after the invitation list is done and there’s a rough estimate of how many guests will be attending.

In addition to the main meal, many caterers offer additional options for food throughout the day, especially if the reception is going to last well into the night. Many couples decide to have a cocktail hour before the main meal, and various small dishes and appetizers are a good way to keep guests happy, especially while indulging in a cocktail. For receptions where guests will be dancing for hours past the main meal, offering a late-night snack can also be a nice gesture. Caterers can work with the couple’s budget to provide the exact menu they’re looking for. Finding quality wedding catering is the best way to take the stress off the big day and ensure everyone enjoys celebrating the big day.