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What to know when your wedding venue doesn’t cater

First comes the venue and food—and then everything else follows. Or at least that’s how the planning chips fall for most engaged couples.

Sometimes it’s a one-and-done decision: the space and catering coming as a packaged deal. And other times, you snatch a date at your dream spot with no strings attached. That’s when the search for the right off-site caterer begins.

As the name suggests, off-site caterers have no venue of their own but rather specialize in traveling and serving in whatever destination you decide—which comes with its own unique set of logistics. To find out what you should know when your venue doesn’t come with an exclusive caterer, we turned to All Occasions Catering, specializing in off-site events since 2003.

Know your venue’s limitations

Your venue will give you a rundown of what’s available on-site for your caterer but avoid blind trust to prevent unwelcome surprises. Ask your off-site caterer if they’ve done an event at your venue yet. If so, they’ll know exactly what’s workable and what isn’t—like if there’s actually a place to stage a formal plated service. Many, including All Occasions, list out venues they work with often on their website.

“If we don’t know the venue, we’ll try to go there and see what we’re working with,” says Scott Jargiello, events manager of All Occasions. They also cater backyard or tent weddings often and know exactly how to combat their unique issues, like lack of on-location water or electric.

It’s more than just food

Sure, off-site caterers will serve up a meal to remember—but they can take care of more than just that, too. All Occasions offers couples full bar service as well, meaning one less vendor to worry about. Plus, they’re happy to help with (or make referrals for) a slew of other elements, from decor and centerpieces to any rentals you’ll need.

Another often overlooked part of this? Tapping into their years of experience. All Occasions regularly lends their expertise to help couples ensure no logistical detail get overlooked that can cause a day-of hiccup.

“We work hard to make it convenient for couples to use us as a one-stop catering shop,” says Jargiello. “We take care of the food, making everything from scratch, we do the bar and we take time with our couples to help them take care of everything they need.”

Costs break down differently

Given the logistics involved, pricing for off-site catering varies from all-inclusive venues. But don’t let the initial comparison fool you. You’ll likely pay (a lot) less for your venue when you bring the caterer in—and your off-site caterer is responsible for more, including a lot of logistics they’ll worry about so you don’t have to.

To learn more about All Occasions Catering, visit their website or call 716-830-4163.

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