Catering state of mind

Useful advice on food/rental items, from chic on the cheap:
  • On planning a dessert reception: link
  • On self-catering a dessert reception: link
  • On buying silverware, glasses, linens, etc. instead of renting: link
I'd been thinking of self-catering but because the reception is relatively early in the day (not as much time to prep and setup ourselves) and the location is far enough from our home bases in either Jersey City or Monmouth County that I'm not sure what we would do about storing all the pre-made food and then transporting it over to Princeton. It may just be worth the cost to hire caterers in the end.

We met with Kelly of Chez Alice last weekend. She seems like she has a great deal of experience in catering and is very willing to be flexible and work with us to keep things within budget. Her proposal included the following:
  • assorted pies & tarts
  • coffee, tea, lemonade,
  • simple sandwiches (meat and vegan options)
We won't be able to do an individual tasting with them but their Yelp reviews seem to indicate that they're more than a competent bakery.

We also got a proposal from Emily's Cafe, who has one 5-star rating on Yelp for a wedding reception. I was really impressed by their detailed proposal, which broke down the different parts (food, beverage, server costs) very clearly and also included their suggestion of rental items as well (under $1000! makes me feel much more secure that that won't have to spiral out of control as an entirely unexpected cost).
  • Artisan Cheese Board
    • chef’s selection of Stilton, Vermont cheddar, brie, boursin, port salut, Parmigginao Reggiano, pecorino, Aged Gouda, Jarlsberg
    • *Crostini, crackers, flatbreads             
    • garnished with seasonal fruit
  • Paired with: 
    • Pastry Encrusted Baked Brie stuffed with Raspberry Preserves
    • *crostini, flatbreads, crackers
  • Tiers of Tea Sandwiches
    • prepared on assorted breads to include: pumpernickel, sourdough, black olive, and multi grain
    • mango chicken salad, prosciutto and marscapone, smoked salmon and crème fraiche, cucumber and dill
  • Assortment of Miniature Scones
    • white chocolate & raspberry
    • chocolate chip walnut
    • cranberry
    • *served with clotted cream and preserves
  • Assorted Petite Tartlets
    • Butter Tartlet Shells with: Lemon Curd, Chocolate Ganache, Maple Walnut, Whipped Cream and Berries 
  • Miniature Cupcakes
  • Chocolate Dipped Strawberries
  • Ice Cream & Sorbet served in cones on artist palettes
  • Additional Beverages
    • Gourmet Coffee & Tazo Tea 
    • Lemonade & Iced Tea Station
With all the server costs, this proposal exceeds Chez Alice's by about $600, so I would need to go back to them to see where it could be cut down a bit more (and of course, remove the nut items. Dan also hates Tazo tea, maybe we could bring our own?)

However, Dan and I have a disagreement about the suitability of a dessert or afternoon tea reception with the wedding pie idea. Dan thinks that the food should just be sandwiches and the dessert is the pies, standing in for your usual wedding cake. He thinks that this way, it's a very clear statement of your awareness in breaking the 'rule' of general cake, and that if you have a dessert reception, the effect of the pies is diluted to the point where it's not worth the extra effort to source out the tower and set it all up, etc.

I'm leaning more towards that the variety of desserts will be more visually impressive with the varied colors/shapes and more appealing to guests since they have greater choice. I don't think a dessert reception would detract from a pie tower, and certainly not so much that the effort of setting up the pie tower won't be worth it.

Dan's ok with the varied dessert reception if it's at a comparable cost and we don't put especial effort into the pie tower thing. I figure I'll discuss the proposal a bit more with Emily's Cafe and see what it looks like when it's under $3000 and make the call from there.


Mrs T said...

I think you could totally have pie and heaps of other desserts. We ended up having a wedding cake (Mr B's mum really wanted one, and paid for it). But if I'd had my way it would have just been cake madness.

The pie tower idea is cool - don't nix it.

I do love those tiers of sandwiches. They sound like something you would eat at a fancy high tea.

Mrs T said...

P.s. In the end we didn't save a load of money doing it ourselves. If I could get these cool things you are getting quoted for I would have totally done it. We had a caterer that pulled out at about thirty days to go - thus the DIY option.

Sometimes it's worth it to pay a little extra for sanity!

Mrs T said...

P.p.s - Added you to my blogroll today!

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