Friday, March 21, 2014

What to Ask When Interviewing Caterers

When seeking the caterer that best fits your needs, it's easy to take pricing at face value without considering the "add-ons".  It's important to note that these "add-ons" are very legitimate charges but it's equally important to know about them in advance so you can compare apples to apples.  

Of course, we're assuming everyone's food is delicious and suits our style.  We're simply comparing service options and cost in this article.

1) Is there a separate charge for delivery?
  -Unless you're using a venue's on-site caterer, there is often a transport charge.
2) Is there a set-up fee?  And does set up include setting the guest tables?
  -Some caterers include this in the delivery fee, but not all.  It's worth the moment 
    to ask.
3) If serving a buffet, how long will it be served?
  -This sounds odd but it's not uncommon that buffets are cleared immediately 
    after the final guest table has been served.  This leaves no opportunity for 
    guests to make a 2nd trip.  If you want the buffet left available longer, the time 
    to negotiate is before making a final hiring decision.
4) If serving plated meals, be sure to know how many servers are included and 
    what additional charges might be incurred if more are needed.
   -You'll want to be sure your guests are served within a reasonable time frame 
    so the remaining festivities can be started on schedule.
5) Are drinks included?  And how long will they be available?
   -It's common for caterers to serve tea and/or lemonade but there is sometimes 
    a separate charge.  Some may also serve soda for an addition premium charge.
6) What dishware, if any, is included?
   -Some caterers offer tiered services with lower levels including disposables and 
    higher levels including glass chinaware.  Be sure you know your options.  
7) Are any table linens included?  
   -High-end caterers may include linen tablecloths & napkins but they sometimes 
    come at a cost and you may need to ask for them to even know they are an 
8) Will alcohol be served by their staff?  And does it have to be provided by the 
   -Many caterers have a licensed bartender on staff.  However, their service often 
    requires the alcohol be purchased directly through them.  Most will not serve 
    alcohol that you bring in and those who will, generally charge a hefty fee that 
    eats up any savings you might have enjoyed by bringing your own.
9) How will clean up be handled?  And is there a charge for clean up services?
   -This may be included if you are using dishware provided by the caterer.  
    Otherwise, clean up may be limited to their serving station(s).  Ask to be clear 
    so you can either purchase complete service or make other arrangements.  
    Remember, your venue deposit can be at risk if proper clean up doesn't 
    happen in a timely manner.

This may seem overwhelming but being informed can be the difference between being a happy customer or a disgruntled one.  No one wants to be disatisfied on their wedding day.

Happy Planning!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Getting Fit-Part 2 "Small Changes"

Hey, glad to see you decided to join us for this trek!  Remember to make slow changes and don't pressure yourself to get fast results.  Here's where we start.  

STEP 1: DO's
Start making small lifestyle changes at least 6 months before your wedding.  Even sooner if possible.  
-Trade in one of your meals each day for a salad or fruit & veggie plate.  Continue to eat the foods you enjoy for the other 2 meals, slightly shrinking portions where possible.  
-Keep fresh fruits & veggies on hand for snacking.  
-Start an exercise routine with just 5 or 10 ab crunches (or squats, push ups, whatever you're most concerned about) and add one more each day.  
-Drink plenty of water.  If you normally drink soda, try to find ways to challenge yourself to trade it in for water.  For instance, requiring yourself to drink a glass of water before having that soda.  
This is especially important if you've started exercising regularly.  Getting into the habit of drinking water throughout the day will make you feel better overall.  Most people notice softer, fresher skin in as little as a week after getting re-hydrated.  

-Skip meals, EVER!  This is always counter-productive.  If you're not in the mood today for a salad or veggie plate, look for another healthy alternative.  Keeping variety in your "healthy meal of the day" is key to sticking with it.  
-Give up the foods you love.  
If you eat cake for dessert, eat half a piece.  If it's pizza night, have a salad with it and enjoy at least one piece, two if you feel like you still want it BUT...only put one on your plate at a time. 
-Force yourself to live off salads & fresh veggies.  You'll only make yourself despise the foods that are good for you.  
-Burn yourself out starting 2hr workouts if you haven't seen the inside of a gym in 5yrs.  A routine you keep will have to be enjoyable and reasonable.  
-Give up soda "cold turkey".  Abruptly stopping your caffeine consumption can cause severe headaches and make you feel generally sluggish.  You'll feel much better if decrease your soda intake slowly. 

If you slip, don't be hard on yourself.  Just laugh it off and start again.  If you keep the journey relaxed and fun, you're more likely to keep up the good work. 

Getting Fit-Part 1 "Timing Is Everything"

Thinking about changing your body image before the big day?   

This can get pretty lengthy so we'll break it down into sections and tackle one at a time.  **Watch our blog for Part 2-"Small Changes" to get in on the first steps.  


While most articles on this are geared toward brides, we all know our grooms think about these things too.  A renewed sense of needing to "buff up" a bit or to "tighten up the six pack".  These same common sense concepts apply to our men AND women.   

I strongly caution against extreme diets, especially in the final weeks prior.  Almost every bride I've seen not feel well on her wedding day has been because the hadn't eaten well in the days or weeks prior.  NOT a worthy trade off.  

-If you're a month or less away from your date, embrace your body, just the way it is, and go enjoy your wedding day.  Trying to make changes at this stressful point is going to do nothing but make you uncomfortable, unhappy and probably a little grumpy.  None of which we want to be on the most important day of our lives.  

-If you're 2-4 months out, the "Small Changes" suggested in step 1 (which is encouraged to be started at least 6mos out)  can still make you feel more heathy and energetic.  Even though you may not be able to see the full benefit on the outside in time to show off a new physique, this is great time to feel healthy and in control.  Just don't try to skip steps to get there faster.  It's certain to work against you in the long run.  

-If you have at least 6 months to make changes, you're in the group that will see the greatest benefits from getting healthy.  While no one can guarantee weight loss (and this is NOT by any means what this article is about), you may still want to wait until closer to your date to get those dress or tux alterations done.  

Keep watching for Part 2-"Small Changes".