Wedding Preparation Chronicles: Choosing Your Caterer

Since my last wedding-related post,  I've already walked down the aisle, said my vows, and moved into a new nest.

Heck, I've already been married for almost three months now. Alas, I haven't been faithful to this blog; this being my first ever post for the year 2014. Apparently, 140 characters is enough for me these days.

Lately though, this blog has been gaining some activity due to my recent post about claiming parcels from Philippine post offices. I've received some replies asking for tips and/or advice from people who recently ordered online and aren't sure what to expect when retrieving their packages from the post office (BTW, some replies I have no idea how to answer, thus I appreciate all the help I can get from you, dear reader). Having realized that there are still some people who take interest in my writing, I've resolved to return to the blogging world, one itty-bitty baby step at a time.

I admit that social media and micro-blogging is getting the best of me, but the blogger in me will not admit defeat... not just yet.

ANYWAY, enough of the segue.

What I wanted to write about in this post is my food tasting experience on the different catering companies we tried out during our wedding preps. As I see it, the top three suppliers (until now I have no idea why they call them that) needed for a wedding celebration are:

  1. Venue - both church (if solemnization is included) AND reception (for civil wedding, officials are able to do it at the reception venue already)
  2. Catering
  3. Depending on your priority - attire (bride, groom, entourage) OR photo/video coverage
TIP: Usually in bridal fairs, or when inquiring on the other suppliers, one of their main questions are WHEN and WHERE will the wedding take place. This is because they also need to organize their schedule based on the dates of their clients' events--if they take multiple events on one day, they also need to consider the logistics. So before planning anything else, finalize your date and your venue. One of the major considerations we had when planning our wedding is the logistics--traffic in Metro Manila is horrendous, so we wanted the church and reception venue close to each other as possible. We chose Makati as our main venue (being the middle ground for both or our sides), and the reception we chose already had a list of accredited caterers.

FYI: Accredited caterers are catering companies recognized by the venue. Usually this accreditation includes venue-and-catering packages, sold at a lower price. If you opt to book a non-accredited caterer, prepare to be charged with corkage fees (usually per plate) by the venue. 

We were able to sample seven (7) catering companies (free food is always good food), and thanks to Instagram #foodstagram I was able to capture those taste tasting moments.

Note that we were going for mid-range, so the catering companies we tried out weren't too cheap or too expensive.
A photo posted by Miriam P. See (@ako_si_iam) on

This was actually our first choice, as well as the first caterer we were able to sample. The reason why we weren't able to book them is because they weren't accredited by the reception venue we decided upon, and we do not want to spend on corkage.

Their forte is Filipino-Spanish cuisine, and their seafood paella is TO DIE FOR. I also liked the pansit dish and their appetizers. My husband, who isn't a fan of salads, surprisingly liked their salads (so I guess that means something). We didn't have any bad experience during our food tasting experience.

For those who are interested, they are accredited by The Pergola (Pasay - WTC/CCP area). But usually they have their own reception venue, inside Intramuros.
A photo posted by Miriam P. See (@ako_si_iam) on

We had the taste testing during a wedding fair event in The Fernbrook Gardens, an all-in venue that offers a church (well, chapel) venue, a reception venue, and also venue-and-catering packages. Juan Carlo is one of the accredited catering companies of Fernbrook, as well as our reception venue in Makati.

What I remembered from the experience is that we found the food they presented too... complicated. They also serve Filipino-Spanish cuisine, but to maarte to our liking. Most of our relatives come from modest families and some even provincial backgrounds, and we also have a lot of oldies attending. We felt that they won't be able to appreciate the food that well, which is kind of nakakahiya for us because they'll be travelling distances so they should be eating food they will enjoy.

And they gave us tart for dessert. WHO THE HELL WANTS TO EAT TARTS FOR DESSERT??

A photo posted by Miriam P. See (@ako_si_iam) on

For this one we had to go to their food tasting studio (I don't know what they call that place).  Theirs is more of a Filipino-Chinese cuisine, and I remembered that they also have complicated dishes as well--especially their appetizers. They had weird names for the palamans they have for their bread, which tasted weird as well. They also had Asian fusion dishes, which I didn't quite appreciate because I want my Asian food to taste Asian, and not Western-trying-to-taste-Asian (those who've tasted Chinese food in America and Europe will understand this). But I liked their dessert. They also have good reception designs, based on the pictures in their portfolio.
A photo posted by Miriam P. See (@ako_si_iam) on

This one we had to go waaaaay up North (Commonwealth area) to have the taste test. My assessment is that they have have the safest food choices (chicken cordon bleu, grilled fish in butter lemon sauce, glazed pork belly, roast beef, yadiyadiya), but lacked the creativity. Kung ano ang ikinomplikado ni Juan Carlo at Hizon's, 'yun ang ikinulang ni VS&F. Remarkable and boring. Not bad, to be clear. Just... usual. Too usual for weddings.
A photo posted by Miriam P. See (@ako_si_iam) on

Their tagline I think is, "Catering of the Stars" as they usually cater backstage for live events (ASAP etc). One of their advantage is that they also have their own florist department, so you can be guaranteed that the flowers for your reception will look lovely. However, their food and style is a little bit... old fashioned. Even the owner of the company has this 80's villain mustache going on. I think the food will be appreciated by the older generation (and the Kapamilya) but it's just too old-fashioned for us.
A photo posted by Miriam P. See (@ako_si_iam) on

This was what we booked. Our first encounter was during the catering expo in The Blue Leaf Events, where we immediately fell in love with the soup, the pasta, and the desserts. OMG THEY MAKE THE BEST DESSERTS. Then we learned that they are accredited by our reception venue, so we did all that we can to book the best possible package for us.

They are flexible enough to fit in the food we like, as well as the decors we want, to the budget we have, and was generous enough to put in a lot of freebies as well. Nothing bad to say on this catering service, definitely recommended.
A photo posted by Miriam P. See (@ako_si_iam) on

We were able to sample them during the event in The Blue Leaf as well, but we were already enamored by Josiah's so we weren't really able to enjoy the food tasting of Manila Catering. So I think I'll just leave the pictures as is before I say something that is already biased to Josiah's (but look at one of the dishes--Vienna sausage and quail eggs? Why would you serve those at a wedding??).

Additional tips! Here are some advise when choosing your caterer:
  • Work under a budget and under a particular food palette preference. Choose what you can afford, and what you actually like to eat. Food tasting will probably be the only chance for you to eat the food as you will be too busy to eat during your wedding day.
  • It is your guests who will be experiencing most of the food and the service, so make sure to choose the catering service that will not let the food run cold and are experienced enough to make rounds for drinks and/or other attention needed, especially from the older guests.
  • Make sure that your beef is soft and the taste isn't too salty. Those are the usual negative comments you can get from the guests.
  • Useful freebies you can get from the catering company:
    • Welcome drinks
    • Cocktail food (separate from appetizer)
    • Pasta Bar
    • Dessert Bar
    • More than one choice of (unlimited!) drinks
    • Coffee/ Tea Bar
    • Champagne for the toast - if they can extend it to the VIP tables
    • Kids' Menu (a plus if they have a kids' table, too)
    • Crew Meals enough for the wedding coordinators, lights and sounds, and wedding band
    • Chopping/carving service if you opt to serve lechon
    • Affiliated cake companies (Josiah's are affiliated with Hearts and Bells, and Cakeline--we chose Cakeline. Lemon wedding cake FTW)
  • As always, Google, Google, Google. Most useful forum for wedding-related discussion is still FemaleNetwork, and most productive wedding fair so far are the ones organized by Themes & Motifs.

That's about it.  Hoping that I can post another useful blog entry soon. :)

Comments

  1. Love the photos. You're good in describing or analyzing the taste of those foods in every catering services you have shared in here. Thanks for the tips and thanks for sharing all the list of catering services in Metro Manila! :)

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment