Food is probably one of the main reasons (apart from amazing climate), why couples from all over the world decide to get married in Puglia. Thus food plays an important, if not the main role in the wedding (of course, after the bride and groom).
However many couples do not know how to choose and where to look for a good catering company in Puglia.
There are quite a few catering companies in different towns that offer wedding catering in Puglia. In order to choose the best of the best one needs to make sure their questions are answered and I would like to suggest a short list of the main questions you need to ask your catering company for your wedding in Puglia.
1) How long have you been on the market?
Newly built companies may have wonderful websites and a lot of promises (Oscar Wilde quotes), but ten or twenty or even thirty consecutive years on the market are a pledge of success.
Make sure you know this company is not just a one person managed company and there is an actual team working there.
2) Have you got insurance and what is the guarantee for me to have you there for me on the wedding day?
Foreign couples, just like you, find it often quite difficult to trust a catering company, especially not speaking English well and not having a contract in the language they understand or even not having a contract at all. Make sure you request a summary of services from the catering company in the English language or ask your wedding planner to take care of that.
3) How many weddings do you do per year?
This information might not be extremely helpful, especially because you may not be able to check the actual number of weddings they really do, as catering companies rarely put every single wedding on Instagram or Facebook, but knowing if yours is going to be the only wedding on the day or not, is helpful. The catering company must be able to handle multiple weddings on the day and you should not suffer the shortage of staff or staff being late, because they had to deliver materials to the other wedding venue.
4) Do I need to taste the menu before the wedding and when should I do it?
If you have a possibility of coming over to Puglia before the wedding at least once, make sure you do the tasting and do it with at least two catering companies, that will enable you to understand what can be offered to your guests. Do not just go with the thought that Puglian food is good just because it is local, you need to understand not just the taste of the food itself, but also its presentation on the plate, overall look of the tableware, attitude of the catering company management (is the owner there as well to meet and greet you?), and maybe even negotiate on included and non included services.
5) Can I taste the whole wedding menu from welcome drinks to desserts?
This remains at each catering companies discretion, the bigger the company is the more possibilities you have, as they do not have to make purchases for individual tasting and always have the necessary ingredients. Some catering companies working with seasonal produce may only be able to organize tastings of certain dishes around the time the ingredients are actually in season. In terms of dishes though catering companies tend to concentrate on first and second courses. Make sure this is clarified beforehand and you know exactly what food and wine you are tasting.
Normally one tasting is included with a confirmed catering company. Full wedding menu may be tasted with a prior agreement with a certain catering company. Kids menu is not tasted normally.
6) What should a catering price per person include?
When you see a catering price per person for your wedding in Puglia being 150 Euros per person and 200 Euros per person, do not choose automatically something that is cheaper, as you might end up having to pay for an endless list of non included extras, like specific type of tableware or even tables themselves (make sure you are aware of what kind of tables are included – will your table be 0.80m or 1.20m wide, so that a flower garland will actually fit in the middle and wedding favors, and your guests’ mobile phones and clutches maybe, and their elbows, even if they are not supposed to be there?).
Make sure the catering price includes VAT (in Italy it is 10% on food and beverage services), menu printing, full table setup, drinks throughout the dinner, etc.
7) What is an average per person price for wedding catering in Puglia?
There are a lot of factors that define the final catering price, i.e. menu choice, table setup, guest number (please, pay attention to the guaranteed minimum guest number you have to provide), however there is a certain reasonable minimum for wedding catering that you have to expect to pay for a high quality service. Remember that you are not paying just for food, but for many other additional parts that may seem invisible to you at the first sight: transportation of food, furniture, all kitchen equipement inclusive of ovens and fridges (Puglian cuisine is known for fried food and pasta dishes that simply MUST be prepared on the spot), electricity generator (if your venue has not enough KW to use), waste disposal (imagine the quantity of waste in a small household of yours after a decent dinner and multiply that by 50 for 100 guests), cleaning of table cloths, napkins and cutlery, and of course taxes. A good price per person starts from at least 120-150 Euros + 10% VAT.
8) I have a lot of guests with specific dietary requirements and allergies, how do we go about that?
Nowadays literally at every wedding there are guests with specific dietary requirements. There are many vegetarian or vegan guests, as well as gluten or lactose intollerant guests. Certain allergies may be quite dangerous, so your catering company needs to be well-informed about all these situations. Luckily typical Puglian cuisine is based on vegetables and grain, which is perfect for vegans. Gluten free alternatives are available for almost every dish.
Make sure all this information is handed down to the catering company well in advance, otherwise last minute changes may not be accomplishable.
9) Do I have to offer food to photographers, videographers and other vendors working at my wedding?
Doing that shows how appreciative you are of people, who work on your wedding day and is a simple gesture of politeness for those who have to work for multiple hours. Standard price per person is equal to 50% of your wedding dinner price per person. Your wedding planner should ask about the dietary requirements of vendors to make sure everyone is catered for.
10) What other questions should I ask the catering company to better understand the costs?
Here is a short list of questions you may wish to ask your catering company:
Have you done weddings before at my wedding venue?
Will the food be prepared on site? And if yes, do you require an electricity generator at my wedding venue to prepare food?
Do you charge a corkage fee if we provide our own wine or prosecco?
How much wine and prosecco are included per person and what would be the price per extra bottle?
What types of linens, glassware, plates and cutlery do you provide? Are they all included into the price?
Do you take down the dinner table right after the dinner?
Do you leave desserts and wedding cake at the wedding venue to enjoy the next day or do you take everything away at the end of dinner?
What is your booking and cancellation policy?
How many waitstaff are included?
What will the waitstaff wear during my wedding?
You can have a full list of questions from your wedding planner.
And here is actually the eleventh question that many brides and grooms ask themselves:
11) Can I do it on my own?
You can do it on your own, just like you can paint your own house, you can cut your own hair, you can mend your shoes, but if you leave it to a local expert – wedding planner in Puglia – it will be much easier and helpful, and no surprises will sweep you off your feet when least expected.
Please, feel free to contact me any time with queries or requests about your wedding catering in Puglia!