Most Important Questions to Ask Before Hiring your Caterer

Hey, love!

 

In all of my years as an event planner, I tend to get asked the same questions from couples who simply don’t know the proper questions to ask their vendors before hiring them. Now, yes, that is where I come in as your planner to make sure all the I’s are dotted and the T's are crossed, but I want you all to be better informed should you choose to plan your own wedding and hire a planner only for Wedding Day Management ( formerly known as Day Of Coordinator…. But more on that later!)

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to break down the most common questions you should ask your vendor prior to hiring them as well as the answers you should be prepared to give your planner or the vendor to ensure you are getting the best service possible!  

Today, we are looking at the caterer, which is one of the most important ( and expensive)  aspects of the wedding experience. Good food and drink can make or break your wedding, so the more informed you are, the less stress you will have in planning the menu!

questions to ask your caterer| Events With Ambiance- Chicago Wedding Planner

 

What to know before contacting Caterers

Before deciding what caterer you want to work with, you should sit down with your fiance and decide what type of food service you’d like:

  • Sit Down meal

  • Buffet

  • Afternoon Tea

  • Cocktail/ Appetizer Reception

  • Dessert Reception

 

Once you’ve narrowed this down, you can start to focus on more details:

 

  • An estimated budget for food and beverage ( how much do you want to spend per person?)

  • The estimated guest count ( including your vendors!)

  • The reception location. Make sure to make special note if your reception location doesn’t have kitchen access or if your reception will be outdoors.

  • The theme of the wedding. Your caterer can plan a personalized menu to give your wedding that special flare your guests will love!

  • The time of day your reception will be held

  • Your favorite foods

  • Any food restrictions for health, religious, or cultural reasons

  • Do you plan to host a pre-reception cocktail hour? If so, additional appetizers and beverages will need to be ordered

  • The number of courses you’d like

  • Will any children be attending? Special meals can be included specifically for the kids attending the wedding.

 

When it comes to your beverage service, this is also generally handling through your caterer. Most caterers do have a liquor license and can legally handle the bar set up and service.

A few questions you may want to think about are:

  • Do you plan to host a beer and wine only bar or full hosted bar?

  • Would you like the bartender to create a specialty cocktail for the reception? ( This should always be a YES! It is a great way to showcase your favorite drinks and brings another personal touch to your wedding!)

  • Would you like the cocktail hour to be beer and wine only, full bar or specialty cocktails only?

  • Do you want a champagne toast during dinner?

 

Whew! This looks like a lot of information, but not to worry. Take your time making these choices, the more information you can provide to your caterer, the better they can plan a menu for that fits your unique tastes!

Any questions you have that I didn’t list above? Post it in the comments below and I’ll make sure to get you a reply!

 

As always, share with a friend because like I say……. Friends Don’t Let Friends Plan Tacky Weddings!

 

Comment

amber sanders

My journey to becoming an Event Planner dates back to my childhood, assisting my mother with planning and executing parties at our home and for my dad’s fraternity. I was training to be a professional dancer at the time, so I never thought about being a “Party Planner”, it was just fun for me to help her. After a fabulous and exciting dance career that spanned 20 plus years, I began working as a dance instructor at Arthur Murray Dance Studio in downtown Chicago. Because of my excitement for our studio events and knack for organizing parties, I was soon promoted to Guest Director. This position allowed me to see that Marketing and Event Management was something I enjoyed, and it was then I realized this could be my next career move! I spent the next two years learning as much as I could about the Event Industry, including an internship with Desiree Moore Dent, Owner of Dejanae Events,as well as studying and becoming a Certified Wedding & Event Planner/Designer through Lovegevity’s Wedding Planning Institute. This is how I learned more about the business side of running your own business, which was invaluable information! During this time, I offered my services to family and friends for any event they may have been having to gain as much "real world" experience as possible. In May of 2013, I decided to get my business license and launch Events with Ambiance. It has truly been eye opening that I am now an entrepreneur, but I wouldn’t have it any other way! I am grateful to have family and friends support me, my company has truly become a Family Business!! I am blessed to surround myself with people who are just as passionate about my business as I am; for me, Event Planning is about more than just throwing a great party, it's about creating an unforgettable experience for my clients and their guests!

Allow Me to (re) Introduce Myself......

Hey loves! 

It has been awhile since my last post, and I have some exciting blogs coming up to share with you! Today, I'm keeping it light and fun by sharing a few fun facts about myself!

Five Fun Facts about Me! :

1. I was a professional dancer for years, and I even spent five years dancing aboard Royal Caribbean Cruise Line! 

2. I am the only leftie in my family, and my godmother ( who is also a leftie) taught me to write and tie my shoes! 

3. I am OBSESSED with Law and Order. If there is a marathon of old episodes on tv, you can guess where I'll be all day! 

4. I am a living organ donor- in 2011, I donated my kidney to my mother. I have since become an organ donor advocate for Gift of Hope and the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois. 

5. I am a bibliophile- I have about 75 books on my Kindle app, another 100 on my iBooks app and about 200 waiting to be purchased on Amazon!

If you want to learn more about Events With Ambiance, click here to learn more!

Until Next Week,

xoxo, Amber  

Comment

amber sanders

My journey to becoming an Event Planner dates back to my childhood, assisting my mother with planning and executing parties at our home and for my dad’s fraternity. I was training to be a professional dancer at the time, so I never thought about being a “Party Planner”, it was just fun for me to help her. After a fabulous and exciting dance career that spanned 20 plus years, I began working as a dance instructor at Arthur Murray Dance Studio in downtown Chicago. Because of my excitement for our studio events and knack for organizing parties, I was soon promoted to Guest Director. This position allowed me to see that Marketing and Event Management was something I enjoyed, and it was then I realized this could be my next career move! I spent the next two years learning as much as I could about the Event Industry, including an internship with Desiree Moore Dent, Owner of Dejanae Events,as well as studying and becoming a Certified Wedding & Event Planner/Designer through Lovegevity’s Wedding Planning Institute. This is how I learned more about the business side of running your own business, which was invaluable information! During this time, I offered my services to family and friends for any event they may have been having to gain as much "real world" experience as possible. In May of 2013, I decided to get my business license and launch Events with Ambiance. It has truly been eye opening that I am now an entrepreneur, but I wouldn’t have it any other way! I am grateful to have family and friends support me, my company has truly become a Family Business!! I am blessed to surround myself with people who are just as passionate about my business as I am; for me, Event Planning is about more than just throwing a great party, it's about creating an unforgettable experience for my clients and their guests!

Wedspiration Wednesday | Kinmont Restaurant Style Shoot

Happy #WeddingWednesday loves! 

As Wedding Planners, we constantly have ideas running on treadmills in our heads that we don't always get to bring to life. These ideas are what help give our clients the unique experience they desire, and this Rustic Chic Inspired shoot was no exception! 

Everything about this shoot came together in such a fabulous way, I can't believe I didn't share the images the day I received them! I'm in love with them and I hope you enjoy them too! 

Event Planning| Styling: Events with Ambiance

Venue: Kinmont Restaurant

Dress| Bridal Styling: Mignonette Bridal

Cake: Elysia Root Cakes

Floral Design: VEIL Event Design

Rentals: Chicago Vintage Weddings

Invitation Suite: Magnificent Milestones

Photography: Bonphotage

Models: Arianna Yanes & Josh Faulkner

Until Next Time! 

XOXO, Amber 

Comment

amber sanders

My journey to becoming an Event Planner dates back to my childhood, assisting my mother with planning and executing parties at our home and for my dad’s fraternity. I was training to be a professional dancer at the time, so I never thought about being a “Party Planner”, it was just fun for me to help her. After a fabulous and exciting dance career that spanned 20 plus years, I began working as a dance instructor at Arthur Murray Dance Studio in downtown Chicago. Because of my excitement for our studio events and knack for organizing parties, I was soon promoted to Guest Director. This position allowed me to see that Marketing and Event Management was something I enjoyed, and it was then I realized this could be my next career move! I spent the next two years learning as much as I could about the Event Industry, including an internship with Desiree Moore Dent, Owner of Dejanae Events,as well as studying and becoming a Certified Wedding & Event Planner/Designer through Lovegevity’s Wedding Planning Institute. This is how I learned more about the business side of running your own business, which was invaluable information! During this time, I offered my services to family and friends for any event they may have been having to gain as much "real world" experience as possible. In May of 2013, I decided to get my business license and launch Events with Ambiance. It has truly been eye opening that I am now an entrepreneur, but I wouldn’t have it any other way! I am grateful to have family and friends support me, my company has truly become a Family Business!! I am blessed to surround myself with people who are just as passionate about my business as I am; for me, Event Planning is about more than just throwing a great party, it's about creating an unforgettable experience for my clients and their guests!

What you should and shouldn't expect from your Wedding Planner!

Happy #WeddingWednesday loves! 

I know last week, I gave you some tips for hiring a Day of Coordinator  and today I want to talk about what happens you sign on the dotted line! As a planner, I want to make sure you know to expect and not to expect! 

1. Expect that your planner has your best interest at heart.  It is our job to make sure your vision comes to life, so trust the advice we give you while helping you plan your wedding! 

2: Expect that your planner will guide you through the planning process as seamlessly as possible. You obviously hired a planner because you realize you couldn't do everything yourself, so make sure you allow us to guide you through each step and not rush the process. I get it, you're excited and ready for the Big Day, just relax and enjoy each moment! 

3: Expect open and honest communication from your planner; they aren't mind readers. Make sure you communicate with us with any concerns as they come up, and know that we are equipped with the expertise to tackle any situation and solve it for you! 

4: Don't expect your Wedding Planner to be your slave. Just because you are paying for a service, doesn't mean you "own" us..... enough said.

5: Expect that your Wedding Day will be flawless! We work hard to make sure your day is everything you've dreamed of, so let us take care of any hiccups that may come and you just enjoy your day! 

Make sure you like, comment and share this post with a friend because FRIENDS DON'T LET FRIENDS PLAN BAD WEDDINGS! 

Until Next Time, 

XOXO, Amber 

 

Comment

amber sanders

My journey to becoming an Event Planner dates back to my childhood, assisting my mother with planning and executing parties at our home and for my dad’s fraternity. I was training to be a professional dancer at the time, so I never thought about being a “Party Planner”, it was just fun for me to help her. After a fabulous and exciting dance career that spanned 20 plus years, I began working as a dance instructor at Arthur Murray Dance Studio in downtown Chicago. Because of my excitement for our studio events and knack for organizing parties, I was soon promoted to Guest Director. This position allowed me to see that Marketing and Event Management was something I enjoyed, and it was then I realized this could be my next career move! I spent the next two years learning as much as I could about the Event Industry, including an internship with Desiree Moore Dent, Owner of Dejanae Events,as well as studying and becoming a Certified Wedding & Event Planner/Designer through Lovegevity’s Wedding Planning Institute. This is how I learned more about the business side of running your own business, which was invaluable information! During this time, I offered my services to family and friends for any event they may have been having to gain as much "real world" experience as possible. In May of 2013, I decided to get my business license and launch Events with Ambiance. It has truly been eye opening that I am now an entrepreneur, but I wouldn’t have it any other way! I am grateful to have family and friends support me, my company has truly become a Family Business!! I am blessed to surround myself with people who are just as passionate about my business as I am; for me, Event Planning is about more than just throwing a great party, it's about creating an unforgettable experience for my clients and their guests!

So.....Where's the Wedding?! (Top 3 tips for choosing the perfect venue)

Happy #WeddingWednesday loves! 

Alright, we have discussed the importance of a wedding budget, why you REALLY need a Wedding Planner, and How to create a Wedding Theme

Today, let's talk venue! Here in Chicago, there are SO MANY beautiful and different venues that can accomodate your specific needs, and I want to give you some tips on choosing the best one for your Wedding Day! 

1. LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION!! Now this may seem like an obvious one, however, you'd be surprised at how many couples don't take this into account. I get it, it's "your" day, but you do need to make sure that your guests are going to be comfortable as well. For example:

Are you inviting elderly or handicapped guests? You may want to make sure your venue is accessible to them. 

How's the parking? If the venue doesn't have a private parking lot, do they have easily accessible street parking or do they offer valet parking to their guests? 

2. COST. I'm sure you have had your heart set on that one specific venue since the day you met your soulmate, and now that you've said yes, you can't wait to host your dream wedding to your dream man in your dream venue.

Have you factored in all of the costs associated- Site Fee, Rentals, Valet, Staffing, etc. are some additional fees that brides and grooms don't think about when looking into venues. 

3. PREFERRED VENDOR LIST. Some venues have a preferred list of professionals they only work with, and you must choose from that list and only that list. This can be a great thing, unless you had your heart set on using a particular vendor, so double check before you start committing to other vendor services. 

Now that I've given you a few things to think about, and you want to know more, reach out today and let's chat! As always, don't forget to like, comment and share this post with your friends and family, because FRIENDS DON'T LET FRIENDS HAVE HORRIBLE WEDDINGS! 

Over the next few weeks, I'll give you some helpful tips on asking the right questions before you hire your vendors. Next week, we'll start with Caterers!! 

 

Until Next Week, 

XOXO, Amber 

 

 

 

 

Comment

amber sanders

My journey to becoming an Event Planner dates back to my childhood, assisting my mother with planning and executing parties at our home and for my dad’s fraternity. I was training to be a professional dancer at the time, so I never thought about being a “Party Planner”, it was just fun for me to help her. After a fabulous and exciting dance career that spanned 20 plus years, I began working as a dance instructor at Arthur Murray Dance Studio in downtown Chicago. Because of my excitement for our studio events and knack for organizing parties, I was soon promoted to Guest Director. This position allowed me to see that Marketing and Event Management was something I enjoyed, and it was then I realized this could be my next career move! I spent the next two years learning as much as I could about the Event Industry, including an internship with Desiree Moore Dent, Owner of Dejanae Events,as well as studying and becoming a Certified Wedding & Event Planner/Designer through Lovegevity’s Wedding Planning Institute. This is how I learned more about the business side of running your own business, which was invaluable information! During this time, I offered my services to family and friends for any event they may have been having to gain as much "real world" experience as possible. In May of 2013, I decided to get my business license and launch Events with Ambiance. It has truly been eye opening that I am now an entrepreneur, but I wouldn’t have it any other way! I am grateful to have family and friends support me, my company has truly become a Family Business!! I am blessed to surround myself with people who are just as passionate about my business as I am; for me, Event Planning is about more than just throwing a great party, it's about creating an unforgettable experience for my clients and their guests!

How to create a Wedding theme with AMBIANCE!

Happy #WeddingWednesday loves!

 

 

Today, I want to talk wedding themes; how to choose one, why you should have one and some fun ideas of themes if you are having trouble choosing one!

 

 

First things first: Why should you choose a wedding theme? When I say theme, don’t instantly think I’m talking about “Disney” or “Circus” ( although these are totally doable and FUN!) or having all of your guests dress up in costume; I’m talking about creating an ambiance for your wedding that goes beyond “We Ate, We Drank, We Danced”.

 

 

Because your wedding is the first time you and your partner will host an event as a married couple, this is a great way to show your guests what your couple style is. Your theme can also carry through the entire wedding or simply be sprinkled into specific elements of your special day.

 

 

An adventurous couple may want to host a travel theme wedding and include passports as the invitations, globes and suitcases in the decor and specific foods they have enjoyed together while traveling abroad.

 

 

 

A couple who love the circus can choose bright colors for their reception, hire special entertainment for their cocktail hour and have their guests enjoy corn dogs, popcorn and cotton candy as an after party snack.

 

 

A couple who love tradition can recreate all of the elements used in their parents and /or grandparents weddings as a way to honor them.

 

Now, if you’re reading this and thinking, “ Amber, I have NO CLUE on where to even start in my wedding planning, let alone create a theme” don’t worry. Everyone has something special to them and when going through your ideas and vision with your wedding planner, He or She can pull those ideas together for you and create a wedding day that is reflective of you and your new husband’s taste!

 

 

Next Week, I’m going to give you some tips on picking out the perfect venue for your Wedding Day!

 

 

Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog so you never miss out on these valuable tips and tricks to planning the perfect wedding!

 

 

Until Next Time! 

 

XOXO, Amber

 

Comment

amber sanders

My journey to becoming an Event Planner dates back to my childhood, assisting my mother with planning and executing parties at our home and for my dad’s fraternity. I was training to be a professional dancer at the time, so I never thought about being a “Party Planner”, it was just fun for me to help her. After a fabulous and exciting dance career that spanned 20 plus years, I began working as a dance instructor at Arthur Murray Dance Studio in downtown Chicago. Because of my excitement for our studio events and knack for organizing parties, I was soon promoted to Guest Director. This position allowed me to see that Marketing and Event Management was something I enjoyed, and it was then I realized this could be my next career move! I spent the next two years learning as much as I could about the Event Industry, including an internship with Desiree Moore Dent, Owner of Dejanae Events,as well as studying and becoming a Certified Wedding & Event Planner/Designer through Lovegevity’s Wedding Planning Institute. This is how I learned more about the business side of running your own business, which was invaluable information! During this time, I offered my services to family and friends for any event they may have been having to gain as much "real world" experience as possible. In May of 2013, I decided to get my business license and launch Events with Ambiance. It has truly been eye opening that I am now an entrepreneur, but I wouldn’t have it any other way! I am grateful to have family and friends support me, my company has truly become a Family Business!! I am blessed to surround myself with people who are just as passionate about my business as I am; for me, Event Planning is about more than just throwing a great party, it's about creating an unforgettable experience for my clients and their guests!