Spring 2019

40 Jan19640 An Expert in the Industry Shares Their Top Tips for Finding the Right Wedding Caterer for Your Perfect Day Established in 1979 by founder Gerald Littlehales, Ridgway Caterers is a family run business that is backed by a team of hardworking professional creative chefs and front of house staff who now enjoy a truly exceptional reputation. In January, Ridgway Caterers were recognised as Staffordshire’s ‘Most Outstanding Catering Services’ in LUXlife’s 2019 Ones to Watch in the Wedding Industry. Here, Gerald and Natalie Littlehales share their top tips for finding the perfect wedding caterers that are sure to make your day truly perfect. We understand that planning a wedding can be stressful, therefore our experienced wedding catering specialists will guide you through the whole journey. Starting with beautiful food, to high-quality wines and fantastic service, we create a bespoke experience that reflects your personal style and the overall look and feel of your wedding day. Ultimately, our main priority is to gather an in-depth understanding of exactly what you visualise as your perfect day. We jump into this vision and are with you every step of the way to ensure your friends and family will always remember the food served at your wedding. Here at Ridgway. we believe that the food and drink served at your wedding should be as much of a talking point as the dress or decorative arrangements. 1. Everyone has a wedding budget and you need to know if it fits yours. Catering and alcohol will be a significant part of your budget so make sure you know what is feasible for you it is incredibly important to know what you are getting and if it is good value for money. Packages can help to save you a lot of money, especially if you have a big guest list. 2. Canapes are never necessary but are a very nice added touch. If your guests are having to wait a while before the wedding breakfast, canapes are very much appreciated! 3. You will need something fizzy for the speeches and drinks on arrival to go with those delicious canapes, while Champagne is traditional, prosecco and sparkling wine can be equally enjoyable and gentler on your budget. 4. Licences are one of the most important questions to ask the wedding caterer , yet it is often forgotten, this shows that the business has been approved by the local council for food preparation and service, it also means that the premises and equipment have been approved. 5. Make a note on how many of your guests have dietary requirements. If you have more than five vegetarians, you may want to have one of your entree options be vegetarian-friendly. Same goes for gluten-free or kosher guests. This is also a good chance to ask your caterer what type of ingredients they are cooking with. Fresh and seasonal ingredients are often the sign of a chef that is cooking with quality ingredients. 6. Think about any other items that you might be providing yourself or ordering from another vendor such as a cake, photo booth or sweet cart. Be sure your caterer knows about these items in advance so they can help you figure out if they need to be involved. For example, if they are cutting the cake, their staff will need to be aware, you’ll need plates extra napkins and cutlery or spare tablecloths for your prop photo booth table. 7. Consider: Does your caterer have any other weddings or events on the same day? Weddings take some serious organising, both on your part and on the part of the caterer you choose. If they have other weddings the same day this doesn’t necessarily have to be a deal breaker, but you should ask about how they plan to cater at two events on the same day, so you can be sure that your wedding is getting the attention and care that it deserves. 8. Pay close attention to how food is presented at your food tasting. Take photos as each dish comes out. After tasting so many things and talking about options, it’s easy to forget what you’ve already tasted. If you don’t like everything on a dish with the exception of one element, ask if they can switch it out. For example, a different sauce, side or garnish. 9. The tasting is a great time to share your timing for the day of the event so they have a clear idea of what will be happening and when. This can help flush out any possible problem areas or things you didn’t think about. For example, maybe you are re-purposing your chairs for dinner and had assumed the catering staff can move them. At the same time, they need to be moved, the catering staff may be busy tending the bar, serving appetizers, and getting dinner ready. 10. An ideal finalised catering table plan should replicate your actual setup on the day , and indicate table numbers, precise details on where each guest is sitting (including names), and the type of meal each is having. If you are offering a set menu for all guests (i.e. virtually everyone is eating the same), then you only need to differentiate those with specific dietary requirements, such as vegetarian or gluten-free. If you are using tent-fold cards, write the guest's name on one side and what they are having to eat on the other side, guests often forget what they have ordered, and this will prevent confusion when the wedding breakfast is served. Address: Unit 4, Oldham Street, Joiners Square, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, ST1 3EY, United Kingdom Website: www.ridgwaycaterers.co.uk Telephone: +44 (0) 1782 268 200

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