Today’s post is by Ashli Campbell of Blue Elephant Catering. Blue Elephant is one of the preferred vendors for the Agora Grand Event Center — they have outstanding food and service. I asked Ashli a few questions about catering that would be helpful to our brides.
What are the current trends in catering?
New trends are constantly emerging in the wedding and catering industries. Some fun food-related options that have really taken off are food stations (Maine lobster roll station, French fry station, build-your-own tacos, etc.), late night snacks (flatbread pizza is a big hit!), signature cocktails, and dessert bars. Our chefs have even started experimenting with spherification of sauces and other liquids, which is an intensely fascinating molecular gastronomy technique. There are truly endless possibilities for the way we serve food!
What is best: plated or buffet? (See our post on plated versus buffet meals.)
This is a great question, and one that we receive a lot from our clients. The answer is surely dependent on the couple’s venue, guest count, and the menu itself. We could not agree more with the point in your blog that was made regarding the perception of buffet versus plated meals; people have started to pull away from the idea of a buffet being a less expensive or less desirable option, and have begun to note the pros to serving food that way. We consider it our job to help each couple navigate this decision by taking into account all of the factors that influence the dinner service.
What is your favorite style or menu of catering, and why?
Our favorite style of catering is one that reflects our client’s personalities, where they’re from, and/or where they’ve been. As a custom caterer, this is what we are all about. We love getting to know each individual and assisting them in creating a day that is unique to them.
What tips would you offer a bride when she’s looking for a caterer for her wedding?
The tips we can offer on this can be utilized when securing the services of any wedding professional. Whether it be a photographer, band, officiant, or caterer, a couple should make sure that each member of their team is reminiscent of their tastes and style. You should do your homework to ensure the people you choose to be part of your day are experienced professionals, and when you do meet with these folks it’s important that your personalities click.
Can you tell us about one of your favorite weddings, and what made it your favorite?
This might be the toughest question…there are too many to choose! We have met an incredible amount of wonderful people on our journey and visited many beautiful venues. We’ve formed great relationships with couples and all kinds of different wedding professionals, and we’ve seen many amazing moments unfold. Our best weddings are the ones that leave huge smiles on our client’s faces and beautiful memories that they will always remember. We always think we have a new favorite when our clients share kind words like, “you made this day perfect.” At the end of the day, it is the biggest reward for us to know that we have made dreams come true.
What should a bride expect to pay for catering, and what do you say to a bride with a limited budget?
The Knot suggests that the food and bar are “typically the biggest expense in the whole wedding, so changing the guest list size is the surest way to increase or decrease your costs.” There are so many variables in cost that it’s essential to first decide what is really important to you as a couple and what you’re willing to be flexible on. We are always happy to guide folks through the process of planning a wedding budget.
What are some common items that brides forget about during the planning process (e.g., flatware rental, who does the cake cutting, etc.)?
There are so many things that go into the planning process that it’s very easy to forget things. This is where we come in! Blue Elephant offers full service event planning so that none of those endless details are forgotten. We have developed great relationships with countless photographers, bands, DJ’s, officiants, florists, bakeries, rental companies, and venues. We have learned all of the tricks of our trade and place a top priority on attention to details so that each event we produce is smooth and flawless. One thing that’s often forgotten is a cake knife for the formal cake cutting; we, of course, have things like that on standby just in case!
What tips would you offer a bride so that she enjoys the wedding of her dreams?
The most important piece of advice that we can give to brides and grooms is to:
- Choose vendors that make you feel comfortable and confident.
- Communicate clear expectations to said vendors and develop a good timeline.
- Trust your selected professionals to follow through with your plan.
- Relax, relax, relax and truly enjoy yourself in the process.
- HAVE FUN!
If you’d like to find out more about catering, feel free to reach Ashli at Blue Elephant. We also have blog posts on how to choose other vendors, including photographers, officiants, and florists. If you’d like to know more about Maine wedding venues, costs involved, as well as amenities, please let us know!