As you start planning your Las Vegas wedding, you'll quickly realize how important it is to choose the right food. Catering is often one of the largest investments for a wedding, and for good reason. Sitting down to a meal with the most important people in your life will make your big day special.

Planning your reception dinner isn't an easy task. Making all of your guests happy, while planning something unique, may seem impossible. With the right wedding catering service, you won't have anything to worry about.

Choosing a caterer can be one of the hardest decisions when planning your wedding in Las Vegas, NV. Guests won't remember if the DJ plays the same song twice, but they will remember the meal. Before you commit to a wedding caterer, make sure you consider the following tips and mistakes you want to avoid.

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Know Your Venue

Before you choose the caterer, understand what your venue will allow. There are two basic types of wedding venues in Las Vegas, NV: All-inclusive and non-inclusive.

An all-inclusive wedding venue will provide on-site caterers. This type of venue may only allow you to use your own catering service if you pay an extra fee. Non-inclusive wedding venues will allow you to bring in your own caterer.

If you've already chosen the venue, but you have your heart set on Matteo's Gourmet Food Services, you may have an issue. Venues not allowing outside food may allow you to "buy out" of the on-site catering part of your contract. However, this could be rather expensive.

Wedding catering may be more important to you than the venue for your reception. If this is the case, it's often better to choose a non-inclusive venue to ensure you get to choose the gourmet catering services you prefer.

Set Your Budget & Be Honest

Wedding catering will eat up a large amount of the budget for your big day. Since it's usually priced on a per person or per plate basis, the larger your guest list, the higher the overall cost. Before you choose the right caterer for you, figure out how much you can afford.

A top wedding caterer won't be afraid to tell you no. You want this in a caterer. When a wedding caterer promises something not fitting within your budget, it could turn out to be a disaster. Set your budget first, be honest with your caterer about it and you'll be happier with the results.

Go Seasonal

Not only will seasonal food fit better with your overall special day, but it's also less expensive than choosing out-of-season items. When you create a menu full of seasonal items, you'll WOW your guests and make it a bit easier on your caterer, too.

Choosing non-seasonal items means your caterer has to get those ingredients shipped in from somewhere else. It will likely cost more and it might be hard to get what you desire.

The best wedding menus include seasonal items readily available in your location. At Matteo's Gourmet Food Services, we help you plan the perfect wedding menu full of seasonal items. Call us today and find out more!

Don't Skip the Tasting

Wedding caterers may not perform a formal tastings until you've hired them and signed the contract. However, a full-scale tastings needs to be conducted without any corners cut. Even if you need to pay for the tasting, it's too important to skip.

If possible, handle the tasting during the same time as your wedding. An in season tastings means you'll be able to taste the ingredients and dishes the way they will most likely be made for your wedding. Some dishes, such as an heirloom tomato salad won't taste the same in December as it will in August.

Keep Dietary Requirements in Mind

When choosing your Las Vegas wedding catering service, you want to make sure they can handle dietary requirements. These days, it's not uncommon for a wedding to have guests allergic to gluten, practicing vegans and others with food allergies or sensitivities. The last thing you need is a miserable guest or an accident on the dance floor.

Speak with your catering service and make sure they can handle any dietary requirements of your guests. A good wedding caterer will have the perfect solution and may even provide multiple options to choose from.

Book Your Caterer Early

Waiting until the last minute means you'll miss out on the best options. Top wedding caterers book up well in advance and won't have your date free if you wait until six months before the event. Ideally, you want to book your wedding caterer as soon as you have a date picked out.

In addition, taking care of everything else for your big day first may squeeze your catering budget down to an unrealistic number. Feeding 100 - 200 people isn't cheap, but if you go all out on everything else; leaving catering to the last minute, your budget may not allow for much.

Hire your caterer as far in advance as possible and open up the conversation from day one. Make sure you set aside the amount you'll need to make your wedding day truly special before you start worrying about all the other details of the event. The meal is far too important to save for last.

Meet Your Caterer First

Fancy websites and brochures can't really show you what a gourmet caterer will provide for your wedding day. It's important to set a meeting with any Las Vegas catering service you're considering. Get to know them a little bit before you make your final decision.

Some caterers will offer a little something to nibble on during the meeting. While you shouldn't expect a full tasting, an appetizer or something small will give you a chance to taste what they can create.

Meeting your caterer before choosing will also allow you to scope out their personality. You want someone that will mesh with you and your event. Without meeting them in person, it's hard to really get a feel for the person in charge of the meal for your wedding day.

These seven tips will help you choose the right wedding caterer for your big events. Since the food is so important, it's also a good idea to keep the following five mistakes in mind.

Choosing the Wrong Style

Many brides to be think the theme of their wedding should dictate the style of meal. However, serving a five course meal to 200 people will not only kill your budget, but it's will also make for a long night.

Instead of allowing the theme of your wedding to determine the menu, allow the number of guests. An intimate wedding may call for a five course meal, but a larger wedding won't. It's better to choose a buffet style option when the guest list starts to get long.

Not Enough Food

Hungry guests don't make for a fun wedding reception; especially if you mix in alcohol. It's best to make sure you provide plenty of food and take your guests into consideration. While you're out for pictures, provide a few appetizers. You can also space out the speeches in between courses to ensure everybody remains satisfied and fed.

Asking About Additional Charges

While your wedding caterer will often quote you a price on a per person or per plate basis, there may be additional charges you need to consider. These could include items, such as dish rental fees, station chefs, bartenders and servers. Make sure you understand all of the costs of your contract ahead of time.

In addition, many couples forget to plan for any gratitude (tips) for the servers, bartenders and caterer. These may be built into your contract at a certain percentage, but don't be afraid to go above and beyond for a great bartender or excellent servers. Just make sure you plan for this ahead of time.

Killing Your Budget on the Bar

The bar can be a budget killer, if you try to go above and beyond. Couples often think they need to include signature drinks, high-level liquors and champagne toasts. Top shelf liquor is expensive and can quickly double your bar bill.

While you want to provide plenty of good beverages for your guests, you don't need to pay for all the top shelf options. Sometimes, it's best to cover some of the bar, but allow higher priced items to be sold for cash. In fact, some couples will provide beer and wine, but leave the liquor to the guests.

The last thing you want is for the bar to bust your food budget. Make sure to balance out what you will provide with what you can afford. After all, the meal is far more important than the drinks.

Choosing Too Many Menu Options

Browsing options for your wedding menu can be plenty of fun. However, it can also be very easy to get carried away and choose a menu with too many options. The more options you provide, the higher the price will go and it often means more waste.

Whether you choose a served dinner or a buffet style option, offering two protein options and a vegetarian dish is plenty. You don't need to go overboard just to try to please everybody or because you couldn't narrow down your selection.

Use these seven tips and five mistakes to help you choose the right wedding catering service for your big day. The meal will be remembered for a very long time. Make sure you choose a top-notch catering service or you might be disappointed.

At Matteo's Gourmet Food Services we know how to make your big day special. Call us today at 702-263-0136 to find out what makes us different from other wedding caterers in Las Vegas.