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When should you serve appetizers? Which vendors do you feed and when do they eat? Open bar or set drink options? There are so many things to consider when planning your wedding, which is why we’ve enlisted Ashley Blake of Cotton Culinary to share her expert insights on the most common catering questions.

Cotton Culinary specializes in site-specific catering service plans, which makes them ideal for covering all the basics you’ll need to get started!

BOH_Cotton-Culinary_Harlow-&-May-Studios-Photography

Photo // Harlow & May Studios

At what point in the reception should apps and dinner be served?

Cocktail hour is the perfect time for appetizers since guests are coming in ready for a bite and some adult beverages. Then, once the bride and groom do their grand entrance and take a seat, it’s time for dinner!

What rentals come with the food?

Catering services come with the basics: white china, silver flatware, stemware, and serviceware. However, depending on your budget and event goals, you might consider upgrading to higher-end items that will elevate the look of the table and introduce your unique style.

Should couples host an open bar or buy an allotted amount of booze?

For most formal weddings, the common thing to do is host an open bar. That being said, it really depends on your budget and the vision you have for your day. We recommend communicating these two to your caterer so that they may come up with a food and beverage package that works for you.

Who should be tipped on the catering team?

It’s recommended that you tip the captains, servers and chefs.

(For more insights on vendor tipping, check out our guide here.)

What vendors should we plan to feed? And when?

Make sure to feed the vendors that are present during your reception, such as your wedding planner, band/DJ, photographer, and videographer. Your wedding planner and caterer can work together to establish a mealtime for each vendor, but we suggest feeding your band/DJ before the reception begins, so they’re ready to go when your guests come in. The rest of your vendors can eat at the same time as you and your guests.

Is bar-service typically included?

It’s common for caterers to offer bar service, but it’s normally broken out as a separate package within your catering contract. This separation allows couples to customize the bar package the way they want it, rather than force them into one option.


A special thank you to Ashley Blake of Cotton Culinary for sharing her expertise on all things catering. Visit Cotton Culinary’s Brides of Houston vendor profile today to see how they can create a mouth-watering menu for your wedding or event!

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TAGS: Spring Summer 2020, How To Plan a Houston Wedding
Other Local Vendors:
Sophie Edwards Design, Harlow and May Studios, Aztec Events and Tents, Little Coterie