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Wedding Caterer: Check!

Dec 05, 2012 08:38PM ● Published by Anonymous

When Roger and I began to plan our own wedding, we had to remind ourselves that our budget was altogether different. We wanted to retain the charm and flow of the evening, though, so we thought our reception should be set up with stations rather than a traditional buffet, or worse -- the predictable sit-down dinner. The last thing we wanted was a lull at the party where we forced our guests to sit next to people they didn't know and listen to endless speeches that would please Roger and me, but largely bore the many others in attendance.

Before we chose a venue, we already had a caterer in mind. (It was an easy choice because both my mother and I had stints working for the company.) We finally met our caterer-to-be on a Friday afternoon with my parents following close behind. Ken Upton, of Ken's Creative Kitchen, has a presence, no doubt. At 6 foot-infinit,y he towers over most, but has the biggest smile and for some reason, to me, he resembles a slim jolly Santa Claus. His office walls are adorned with photos of his clients, many of whom are politicians such as President Clinton and Senator McCain, sports celebrities and local leaders. It's impossible to not be impressed by all the people Ken and his staff have served over the years.

The point in saying all this is two-fold. First, I want you to know that Ken is a staple in town and receives many requests outside of our Annapolis bubble. Needless to say his experience and skill has served him well and in turn has garnished acclaim from his countless clients. Second, Ken's son is engaged and ironically, marrying a classmate of mine.

After Roger, my parents and I had a chance to "ooo" and "aaahhh" over his office, it was time to get down to business. We sat around a table covered in binders of reception photos and Ken locked eyes with Roger and then me. Very slowly, he explained that this wedding was not ours. HANG ON. What?! He said that this wedding is about our families. The party after the marriage ceremony is about serving those near and far who are coming to celebrate the life Roger and I are beginning. He reminded us that it's important to make our guests feel appreciated and welcome. Judging by our puzzled faces, Ken charged on and told us not to get carried away but to realize what marriage means and to enjoy the day but make sure not to disregard all the people that came to enjoy it with us. And that my friends, is when he a made truly compelling argument regarding the reception flow.

All along, Roger and I had been comparing our time in South Carolina to the kind of wedding we were planning for each other. We've had to remind ourselves that we weren't going to hire a large band or have an enormous tent complete with Swarovski crystal chandeliers. The only thing we were dead set on was the meal and having it presented in stations. Well, Ken advised us differently -- and he knows. He said, "If you want to control the crowd, have your reception be a sit-down meal." This is the best way to maximize your time and allow for plenty of dancing and mingling with guests.

The pros:

  • Everyone eats at once.
  • Servers dictate the length of each course.
  • There's no bottle-necking, whereas with stations, the pasta station is likely to be more popular than the vegetable one. This means that all together, it will take longer for your guests to be fed and on the server side, it takes extra effort to keep the stations stocked and either warm or cold depending on the needs of the dish.
  • It's more affordable.
  • There's more time to dance and visit with guests!

Did this anecdote make or break the crucial catering decision for your big day ahead? I'd love to hear from you!

Planning