How to Prepare for a Wedding Tasting
Updated: Jul 1, 2022
It's time for one of the fun parts of your planning journey, tasting the food for your menu! A wedding tasting is when you taste items prepared by your caterer for your reception. Most vendors provide a tasting before you sign a contract so you can see, taste and experience the food that will be served. Tastings ensure that your vision matches with the caterer and that there are no surprises on the big day.
Check out our tasting etiquette tips below!
Come prepared with a budget
Having a solid budget in mind can help the caterer customize a tasting that isn't out of your range and will save you heartbreak in the long run. Tell them the must haves that are special to the 2 of you (like a salad you both love) and items that can be cut (maybe a dessert can go). Also discuss in advance with your spouse how flexible you plan to be with your budget!
Keep your entourage limited
You don't want too many opinions confusing the overall vision. A small group of 4 can give you thoughtful and honest feedback. You, your spouse and another trusted person should be on your tasting list (parent or best man/maid of honor). Don't forget to add your wedding planner because they are experienced enough to see beyond the basics and can ask insightful questions.
Don't drink too much
Remember you need a clear head to properly taste your food, so make sure you don't get tipsy off the wine and alcohol provided.
Personally thank the chef
Request to personally meet the chef and show him appreciation for his food. This nice gesture will be remembered by the chef and they may add an extra dose of flair into the dishes on your wedding day.
Tip the server
Even if it a complimentary tasting, it is customary to tip the waiter that attended to you.
Don't come starving or stuffed
You don't want to inhale the food without recognizing the flavors because you came so hungry. But you also want to come with room to try it all from hors d'oeuvres to desserts, so be mindful of your appetite.
Keep seasonality in mind
An educated caterer will know the seasonality of fruits included in salads, entrees or desserts, and will build a menu around what will be in season during your wedding month, but it also helpful for you to have an idea of it in mind or just remember to ask.
Take photos and have a system in place to record your ratings for each dish. You'll think its easy to remember what you liked/didn't, but a few plates and drinks later, you'll wish you jotted down notes of each dish!
Don't select 3 passed hors d'oeuvres with cheese or all saucy items. Try to get a balance of meats, seafood, cheese, fresh, salty, spicy and sweet items when thinking about appetizers and entrée sides to satisfy a variety of guests.
Don't be afraid to ask for something not on the menu, ask for customizations (for example maybe you want a sauce swapped out or something more crispy), ask about presentation, and don't forget to ask about meals for guests with dietary restrictions. As long as you are honest and polite, chefs usually enjoy constructive feedback and customizing dishes.
Other items to consider when selecting a caterer
How flexible is the chef with customizing menu items, what is the transportation/set up process, how many servers are included, are there any hidden costs, what glassware/chinaware/plates are included, and payment schedule