The Catskills are one of New York’s most popular places to hold a wedding, both for New Yorkers and travelers from afar. While the unique and commanding landscape is certainly a major draw for couples looking for an event to remember, because so many weddings are held there, the planning process can be easy for everyone.
One of the biggest needs when planning a wedding is sorting out catering. Menus need to be decided on, food needs to be sampled, and you need to make sure you have enough people to serve your guests. The great thing about the Catskills is that good food is everywhere – and there are the right caterers for every budget.
Make it a grand occasion
While not everyone decides to do a sit-down meal at their Catskill weddings, for many people this is the preferred way of making sure everyone is fed. Plus, these make great occasions for the sharing of toasts, speeches, and well-wishes for the new couple. In these cases, holding your event at a resort like Honor’s Haven that provides in-house catering and serving can be the easiest way to make your event run smoothly.
Particularly for large events, in-house catering by the venue is the easiest way to make sure there are no surprises on the day of the event. While technology has made it possible to serve some pretty impressive meals in some pretty rustic locations, only you can decide how much any hiccups on the day of will affect your enjoyment. Working in-house means that serving staff know exactly how to navigate the room, and cooking staff are at home in their kitchen.
If you are having a destination wedding, being able to have all of your meals in one place can make things easiest on your guests. Whether or not you are planning rehearsal dinners or morning-after brunches, allowing your guests to access food right where they are means that no one gets hungry (and cranky). Often times couples forget to consider these additional meals in their early stages of planning, so figure out early on how many days your event will last.
Find a favorite restaurant
In recent years the Catskills have become a major culinary destination, and so another great option for catering is finding a restaurant that you love! A great thing about this option is that you can serve your favorite food, freshly made for guests from local products, and you’ll typically have a much smaller selection of choices which makes deciding on menus easier.
If you’re unsure of where to start, take a culinary tour in the area and you’ll be able to sample cuisines from all over the world. Most restaurants in the area take full advantage of the region’s agriculture, and so you’ll often find farm-to-table service, no matter what your venue is.
However, the logistics in planning your catering with a restaurant can be complicated. If you are holding your event at the restaurant, then you’ll likely benefit from the same in-house catering services as larger event venues. If you’re holding your event elsewhere but want your favorite restaurant to cater it, they will likely have a means of getting you the food, but may or may not be able to make food at your location. Furthermore, unless you are working with a large operation, you’ll likely have to find your own service staff to prepare and serve your food.
Go with a local favorite
Since there are so many Catskill weddings, the industry is strong in just about any area. There are wedding planners all over the place who can help you with finding the right caterer, and can even take care of running the whole day for you. There are local caterers who are experts in serving up wedding feasts in a number of locales, and many of them have already worked with just about every immediate venue. Checking for recommendations online or from local friends can be an excellent way to tap into resources in the area.
Keep in mind that most catering outfits will provide servers, so working with one can help make sure your needs for the night are fully covered.
Make your own
Because the agricultural industry is so strong in the Catskills, there are even opportunities for meal-making to be part of your wedding festivities. Events held at farm locations can enlist guests to help pick produce that will be served, and local wine tastings can be arranged to involve your guests in choosing a wine list for the night. Part of your activities can include classes – such as bread making – that allow guests to learn something new, and enjoy their hard work.
For a rustic take on catering, even having a potluck can be fun for local weddings. Since there are so many venues that are repurposed barns or other farm structures, encouraging guests to contribute a favorite recipe or meal can be a unique way to involve everyone in your special night. Some people have even opted to swap out the traditional wedding cake for s’mores around a bonfire.
Whether you are working on catering with a professional or on your own, there are definitely some key things to plan for to make sure things run as smooth as possible. One of the most common hiccups at wedding dinners happens when someone didn’t return their RSVP card, or neglected to mention that they were bringing the whole family. Always factor in more food so you can be sure there are no awkward moments; the worst case is you’ll have leftovers to enjoy!
These days it is always a good idea to ask your guests whether they have any dietary restrictions or allergies. You don’t want to have a peanut butter cake only to find out that some of your guests can’t eat it (or even be near it!). An established catering professional or wedding venue will make sure that you are guided through these planning questions, and will be sure you and your guests have plenty of options to choose from.