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Wedding tasting etiquette: 10 things you should be aware of

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The food that is served at your wedding has an important role in determining the overall wedding experience. Most of the guests, if not all, will look forward to the food that is provided on your wedding day. So, you do not want them to be unhappy with the meal offered, while everything else was done to perfection.

Most wedding vendors offer a wedding tasting session before you book your order. With this option, you can actually see, taste, and experience the food that will be served on your wedding day. We suggest that you take your caterer up on this offer of wedding food tasting and make sure everything is just right, so there are no regrets later.

As with anything wedding-related – from the bridal shower gifts to choosing the perfect ring, there is a catering tasting etiquette that you should adhere to. We will be looking at the do’s and don’ts of wedding food tasting etiquette. But before we move to this list, let us first try to understand what you can expect at your tasting session.

What to expect at your tasting

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Tastings allow you to sample the menu you have chosen for your reception. It gives you a real idea of how the service will be, and how the food will look and taste. While some caterers offer complimentary tastings, others charge you for it. Some vendors, however, offer complimentary tasting if you sign the contract first. This is because it can end up being very expensive for the vendor otherwise.

If you are just shopping around and want to taste the food prior to committing to an order, this is also usually possible. The caterer may then ask you to pay for the food that will be served at the tasting. 

If a vendor disagrees to conduct a tasting prior to paying a deposit, you can ask him to make an exception if you would be ready to pay for it. If he refuses, think twice about booking. The service at the reception may go either way, and the last thing you want is to regret booking it without an idea of what you would be receiving.

Prior to your tasting session, you will be expected to discuss your expectations and choose the dishes you want to try, from their menu. Full-size portions are usually served, so you can actually see and experience how the wedding meal will be. The drinks that will be served, will also be included with the meal.

Now that you know what to expect at the tasting session, let us move on to the general etiquette for a successful tasting session. Follow the list we have provided, and you are sure to have a positive experience, whether you choose to go with the caterer or not.

Wedding food tasting Etiquette

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Keep your entourage limited

While many caterers offer complimentary tasting sessions for up to 4 guests, you should be able to include more if you are paying for it yourself. However, as with bridal dress shopping, it is not only good food tasting etiquette, but you can actually achieve the best results if you keep the entourage to a minimum. With more people, you can easily lose focus and this isn’t favorable for neither you nor your caterer.

Bring a small group of three to four people at the most, and they should be ones who can give honest and helpful feedback. If you have a wedding planner, she should be at the tasting. This is because she is experienced enough to look beyond basics, and can spot potential problems in the quality of food and service. She can also relate the service and dishes to how the meal would actually work at your venue, and make suggestions that will help.

Be flexible with your schedule

Remember that there are a lot of factors that go into planning a tasting session. Your caterer will have to put his staff on duty to prepare the meal, however small it may be. Different vendors handle tasting sessions in different ways. While some conduct open-house tasting sessions for a number of couples, others may give you a special session where you can have a personalized sample of what you would like for your wedding day.

In certain cases, your caterer may even ask you to attend a function that they are catering to. This may be so you can see how they conduct their service, and also sample the food as it will be done on your wedding day. Whichever be the style of your caterer, you should be able to accommodate it into your schedule, if you want to consider his services. This is also where you should consider what to wear to a wedding tasting. If you will be attending a function they are catering at, make sure you dress appropriately for the event and not look out of place.

Don’t lose focus of why you are there

A tasting session is about understanding how your reception food will be. Your caterer would prefer that you focus on the food at the tasting, instead of any other things that are going on in your life. Do not consider this as an occasion for family discussions or friendly feuds, and try to limit your conversations to the food and the wedding. Remember that your caterer will be near, observing you throughout. So, don’t be disrespectful or ignore the purpose of why you are there.

Save the serious discussions for later, unless you want to sound rude. Keep the chattering to a minimum and pay attention to what is provided. Attend your session with a notepad and camera, so you can make notes and click pictures for future reference. This will also help you better to make suggestions for changes.

Come prepared for the tasting

Apart from being prepared to take notes and pictures, it is important that you are also involved in the tasting. Plan your tasting session for a day when you do not have any other pressing engagements. Only then can you concentrate and make the most of the experience. Be mentally prepared and attentive. If you have any pressing work problems or other things on your mind, schedule the tasting for another day.

Do not eat a heavy meal or fill your stomach up with snacks, prior to your session. Neither should you starve yourself. You should be hungry enough to enjoy the session, but not too hungry to just gobble it down without recognizing if it is actually tasty. Remember that it is a full course meal that you will have. So, make sure your evening is entirely devoted to the tasting. You’ll probably also have to cancel any other plans later that day, as you will just want to crash into bed and snooze, once it’s over.

Don’t be too intimidating at the service

There are some couples who stare and keep such a close watch, that it can seem creepy to the waiters at the service. Don’t feel like you have to be so attentive, that you intimidate the people who serve you. Stay composed and relaxed, and try to enjoy the experience of how it is. If you aren’t happy with the dried out cheese, wilted vegetables or shabby presentation, don’t look upset or openly cringe. If there are things that you aren’t happy about, don’t worry. This is not the actual thing, there is scope for improvement once you give your suggestions. You can even consider switching to another vendor if you are entirely unhappy with what you experienced at the tasting.

Don’t go overboard with the drinks

You will usually be served wine or another beverage at your tasting, and the same will usually be served at your wedding. Don’t drink too much, so you become tipsy and can’t focus anymore. Just take small sips to identify how it goes with the rest of the meal. Remember that you should have a clear head to identify how the tasting is, and too much alcohol can damage the possibilities. Not only is it good manners to not become inebriated, but it is also essential to the purpose of why you are at the place.

Be discrete when you discuss things

We know that you may want to discuss certain factors with the rest of your group, before making a verdict. There may be other things that you want to draw their attention to. If these are negative factors, don’t be too loud or overly critical when discussing it. Discuss it briefly, and keep it on a positive note. Don’t hesitate to check with your catering in-charge, if its a factor that really bothers you. But don’t get into an argument or be too patronizing about it.

Most people are open to positive criticism, but may not be too happy if you only have negative things to say. As with any other social situation, mind your manners when you voice your opinion. Be courteous and clear, but do not insult or embarrass with what you say.

Be honest with your feedback

If you enjoyed your meal, it isn’t likely that you will have much trouble saying so. Now, if it were the other way around, we know why you may feel a little hesitant to say so. Nevertheless, you should provide honest feedback. If there is anything that you would have liked to be different, make sure your chef or waiter knows. This way, they can rectify it on an actual day and make sure you are happy.

Whether it is about the food, the presentation, or the service, telling your vendor at your tasting session will help him move things around to meet your expectations. Nonetheless, be mindful of the way you say things. Even if it is a negative opinion, try to focus on the positives as well, so you don’t sound like you are reprimanding them. Be diplomatic, offer suggestions on how they can improve it, and appreciate all that you liked. This is just being plain courteous.

Tip the waiter who served you

The fact that you are at a tasting session shouldn’t alter the way you normally behave at dinner. It is in fact pretty similar, considering that there were people who served you and who were attentive to your needs, at your tasting. Even if it is a complimentary tasting, it is customary to tip the waiter who attended to you. So, make sure you do it. Do it as you would do when you eat out otherwise. Consider the total amount the meal would cost, and tip the same percentage that you would do normally for that price.

Personally thank the chef

The main person behind the scenes is obviously, the chef! You will be in touch with the catering manager or venue manager. However, remember that they are not the ones who are actually responsible for whipping up delicious food. This happens in the kitchen. The chef and his team are the star players in creating the flavors that your guests will feast on. So, it is good wedding tasting etiquette to meet them and thank them for their efforts. It is not necessary but is nice if you do so.

Request to meet personally with the chef, and appreciate and thank him for his work. This nice little gesture can do amazing things for your wedding. The chef will remember you for how nice you were, and will add that extra dose of care into his dishes for your wedding day. This can be really worth that little effort of yours.

If everything goes well and you enjoyed your tasting session, that is one thing you can strike off your wedding planning list. However, if the opposite happens, and you hated it, what do you do? If you haven’t signed the contract, you can just walk away from there and keep searching for a better option. If you have already signed the contract, consider the following options.

  • Provide specific details about what you didn’t like and ask them what they can do to change it
  • Be polite, but firm and vocal when you insist you want something changed, as it isn’t up to your expectations. It is right to expect your caterer to make adjustments to please your palate. So, don’t shy away from it and settle for food you aren’t happy with.
  • Do you have suggestions on how they can improve things? Tell them about it and see if they can accommodate these changes.
  • If they offer different menu items, make sure to taste them before you approve the change.

Visit us at Best for Bride for more wedding-related tips, advice, and shopping needs. You can find everything you need, including vendors for your wedding in our list of services. Check out our website today, and move one step closer to having a fantastic wedding day.

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Tips to help you rent your wedding dress

Every bride dreams of a fantastic wedding day. And, it goes without saying that she sees herself as a ravishing beauty in a stunning wedding gown in her dreams.

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However, buying that perfect wedding gown may sometimes not be easy. As we all know, bridal gowns are expensive, and not everyone can afford the wedding dress of their dreams. So, what do you do in such a case? Do you settle for a cheap dress that fits your budget? Not necessarily. If you really want to wear a certain wedding gown, but can’t buy it, consider renting it for your big day. This way, you can wear your chosen wedding gown for a fraction of the price you would have to pay if you were to buy it. Of course, you wouldn’t be able to pass it on as a family heirloom, but you can at least be wed looking as grand as you always wanted to.

It is not just brides who can’t afford an expensive wedding gown that rent it. The article Weddings and the Sharing Economy on the Huffington Post suggests that more brides today are comfortable with wearing a used dress on their wedding day.  These include women who are environmentally conscious and want to minimize their environmental footprint by wearing a pre-loved dress. Another category are those who do not consider it worthwhile investing in a dress that they will wear just once in their lifetime.

For all these women, here are some tips to remember when you have to rent your wedding gown.

Rent from a reliable bridal store

Remember it is your wedding day, and you want your wedding dress to arrive on time. TO avoid any risks in receiving it, make sure you choose a reliable bridal shop. Go with references from friends and associates. Also check out the online reviews and feedback about the service that these shops provide, before you sign the contract.

Start shopping early

The one possible problem with renting a wedding dress is finding the one you want in your size. It is a good idea to start early and check out the different stores that offer the designer collection you desire, on rent.

Check for an all-inclusive package

Slight alterations such as taking in, bustle and adjusting hemline are usually included in the rental service at good bridal shops. Before you set your heart on a dress, talk to the bridal consultant and confirm whether this will be included in the rental charges.

Plan to rent matching accessories too

Since you will not be owning your wedding dress, it doesn’t make sense to invest a huge amount of money in bridal accessories that match this dress. In most cases, the shop will also rent matching accessories, and you can make use of this service at a much cheaper price than if you were to buy them.

Discuss the terms and conditions of the contract before signing it

Check out the clauses on the number of days you can keep the dress, whether it has to be cleaned before being returned and the damage charges you will have to meet. If in doubt, ask the shop and sign the contract only if you are comfortable with all their terms and conditions. Ask when you can pick up the dress, and whether there are any late charges. Once you sign your contract, don’t forget to follow up with the boutique before the wedding, so that your dress is prepared and ready on time.

Best for Bride allows brides to rent or buy their wedding dress. For more details visit our online web store link or call your nearest boutique.

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7 things you should know before you start planning your wedding

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When you are just engaged and about to embark on the interesting, but challenging task of wedding planning, it’s funny how everyone seems to share wedding planning advice. Well, it is the first time you will be planning something of this magnitude, and so you deserve some well-intended help. You may obtain some very useful information, and then again there is the occasional chance of hearing something totally unexpected or even bizarre. Nevertheless, there are always some things that most brides wish they’d known while they were planning their wedding, but had to tackle as an unexpected and usually challenge.

While it is impossible to foresee everything that will happen on your big day, it helps to prepare for whatever is possible. Plan for everything, collate all the information you can possibly obtain, and execute it with gusto—you can then enjoy every expected and unexpected challenge that wedding planning throws at you.

Here is a list of ten things that every soon-to-be bride should know, before she starts wedding planning. Check it out.

1.Checklists are your friend

Wedding planning is a complex task, and you are probably doing it for the first time ever. There are hundreds of details to plan, tasks to handle and arrangements to make. It is only human to make errors and miss out on certain things , when planning everything.

The easiest way to stay on track is to turn to checklists for help. Divide up every wedding aspect into an individual project and create checklists of tasks to be completed for each of them. This will help you organize your time better, sort out tasks based on their priority and most importantly, make sure that you do not miss anything when planning your wedding.

You can always take the trusted pen-and-paper route for planning your checklists, or if you are a tech-savvy bride, use a tool that will help you manage it efficiently. Evernote is a handy option to keep track and manage your lists with precision on your digital devices.

Now, for the checklists that you will require, you can find a comprehensive checklist on Real Simple. This is divided based on the time by which you should accomplish each task. You may also like to take a look at this interactive checklist on Brides.com. This can be customized to meet your individual needs.

2.When choosing vendors, only go with those you are most comfortable with

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If there is one task that you have to research well, it is choosing your vendors. From your photographer to florist, you will have several options. The important thing is to remember that none of them will be the same. In fact they’ll each be as distinct as you can possibly expect. Every vendor is different in the way they approach their work, in how they interact with customers and how experienced they are in handling specific tasks.

You will be interacting with your vendors a LOT! So, don’t make the mistake of settling for someone who you aren’t comfortable with, right from the start. The personality of the person you have to work with will affect the way you feel about that aspect of your wedding. So, dig a little deeper than just trying to get the cheapest deal. Don’t just go with what others have to say about the vendor you have shortlisted. Don’t hesitate to ask for portfolios, samples or explanations, as is necessary in each case. It is also wise if you do not make assumptions, but clarify your doubts outright, so you can be certain that you and your vendor are on the same page. If you feel that the vendor you speak to doesn’t understand your vision, or cuts you off saying that what you want is impractical, don’t let it be and comply with what they have in mind instead. Keep looking. After all, it is your wedding and there will be someone who can get you what you want, or at least the closest to what you have in mind.

Don’t forego this part even if you are working with a friend or family as your wedding vendor. However close they may be to you, you do not want anything ruining your wedding. So, make sure that you are one hundred per cent comfortable with the decision you make, and you will not regret it later.

3.Disagreements are a given evil

You will be touching several details during your wedding planning, and it is only natural to hit a roadblock once in a while. You may disagree with your parents, partner, vendor or even bridesmaids on some factor or the other. Everyone will have expectations and opinions. Your maid-of-honor may condemn the color you choose for the bridesmaids dresses or your friends may try to convince you that a DJ is a better choice than a live band. If your parents or to-be in-laws are paying for part of your wedding, it is only natural that they will expect to have a say in it. You may also have friends or relatives who may pressurize you into handing over a wedding task to them, when you prefer hiring a professional for the same. There is no easy way out, and you should realize where to draw the line. Accept that there will be disagreements along the way, and you may have to reject suggestions that you simply cannot take.

It is impossible to please everyone, or you wouldn’t have the wedding YOU want! Be prepared to say No when necessary, and it will be a lot easier to handle. As a bride, one of the most difficult tasks is to recognize when it is more important to go with your choice and when it is another opinion that would be a better choice in that situation. Our article on “How to Handle it when others try to take over your wedding” should give you some advice on how to tackle tricky situations in the best possible way. Don’t worry about what others may think of your wedding decisions. Finally, you will regret it if everyone had their way, but you didn’t get to do anything you wanted to.

4.Plan to spend on the most important things

There is no rule book that specifies how should get married. Like we said earlier, you will hear suggestions and receive advice. Nevertheless, it is your wedding, and you should get to pick what is important, so this day is special for you. Split your budget accordingly, and splurge on the things that are most important to you. Don’t worry about the rest.

Think of what you will find most memorable about your wedding day. If it is where it will be held, set aside the greater part of your budget for the venue and décor. If it is how you look, it should be your wedding outfits and accessories. If both of you favor food, make sure the wedding menu is given due importance. If you have a penchant for the finer details, it could be the smaller things like your tableware, party favors and statement pieces that you should focus on. Some couples prefer to spend a major part of their budget on the photographer. If fashion photography or elaborate scenic settings are what you want, so be it.

5.Your wedding planning is hard work, irrespective of the style you choose

Whether you plan to host a casual or a formal wedding, it will be hard work either way. Remember that even though you needn’t choose the classic centerpiece flower design if you are having a casual affair, you will still have to decide what you want instead. Every decision has to be yours, and every single aspect arranged under your supervision. This simply means that you will need time, organization skills and effort to plan everything. We think wedding planning is a difficult task, as almost every married woman will agree. When you handle every aspect of it yourself, it becomes even more tedious. A wedding planner can relieve your stress to a considerable extent, and so every bride should at least consider a day-of planner to get some breathing space.

Wedding planners can direct you to the right vendors who can meet your requirements, and they can also follow-up and ensure everything moves as per plan. This in itself, is a huge stress-buster. Nevertheless, there is always a point in time when a bride suddenly feels overwhelmed and tends to buckle under wedding planning stress. The best way out is to realize the extent of effort that goes in and be prepared for it. Time is a valuable entity, so make sure you have plenty of time and divide your tasks so you have sufficient bandwidth to complete it all on time. Also, don’t forget to catch much wanted breaks, when you spend time away from everything that is wedding related.

6.Everyone has their own interpretation of terms

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Almost every term in wedding lingo is highly subjective. When you say romantic, you may have a color palette with peach, gold and gray in mind. You may envision your wedding to be at a casual, romantic outdoor setting such as a resort or garden. At the same time, the same term may give your mother an entirely different idea. She may consider your getting married to your prince charming in fairy tale style romantic. She may expect it to be held in an elaborate ballroom setting, with a four course plated meal to complete it in classic style. The same goes for your dress selection, choice of wedding cake, entertainment and almost every other aspect of your wedding.

In the world of weddings, a word that is thrown around a lot is “classic.” Take a look at this page on the Knot, with some Real classic wedding examples.  You will soon see how one couple’s idea of classic, is entirely different from another. So, the term classic can mean anything by itself.

So, make sure that you elaborate on what you mean, wherever necessary. Specify what you mean, especially to your vendors, instead of using vague terms or those that are prone to varying interpretations. If you have pictures to convey your ideas, that is the best option of all. When the concerned person can see what you mean, there is no scope for confusion. You can thus be certain that you will get exactly what you envisioned.

7.You will have to spend a lot of time reading terms and conditions

Once you shortlist your vendors, it is necessary to sign contracts with all of them, so the terms and conditions of service are documented. This will ensure that both of you know what is expected, and it is done properly. Unfortunately, many couples simply sign the vendor contracts that are drawn up by the vendors themselves, without really going through it in detail. This can cause many unexpected hassles on the day of the wedding.

For example, you may not have noticed the part where your photographer’s contract mentions that you will have to pay extra for every extra hour he spends at your wedding, or that he will be available only for so many hours. Imagine running up a bill that goes beyond what you anticipated, or worse, not having a photographer for the crucial exit moment of your wedding!

Make sure that you read every single sentence on your vendor contract, and have it modified to meet your needs, so you actually get what you expected to. If you are unclear about any of the terms, make sure to ask and clarify before approving it. You can always negotiate and discuss the terms and modify the contract, before you sign it. This will save misunderstanding later, and also allow you to make alternate arrangements when required.

At Best for Bride, we can help you realize your vision of the perfect wedding and help you plan every single detail to perfection. Visit our store online and check out the various wedding services we offer. Trust us to make your wedding dreams come true

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A few things to remember before you hire family or friends as wedding vendors

 

Is your close friend a fantastic photographer? Or maybe you have a cousin who is a florist. Are you considering hiring them for your wedding. It could be because they offered to do the job or you think you can get it done for for less this way, than when you hire a professional. While this may seem the easiest way to go about it, it needn’t work out well in all cases. Sometimes, it is better you pay extra and hire a professional for the job instead.

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Let us look at why you should think well before you hire friends or family for your wedding.

Your friend may not be as good as you expect

You may want to give your friend some business by hiring him/her for your wedding. But do so only if you know how good they are at it. If they haven’t worked at a wedding before or aren’t as good as they say they are, you will be making a big mistake. Your friend or relative may be super nice, and may have convinced you that they are capable of the job. However, you wouldn’t know unless you saw their wedding portfolio, or have actually seen how well they do their business.

They may not execute your ideas perfectly as a professional would

When you hire a friend for your wedding, it is difficult to be assertive with what you want. Your friend may stick to what they think is best and not go with your original ideas. When it is someone you do not know personally you can usually switch to a different vendor if your ideas clash. But when it is a friend, this will strain your relationship and simply create an unnecessary rift.

With no contract, you are taking a huge risk

One thing that confirms you will have the required service from a vendor, is the service contract you sign. When you entrust the job to a relative or friend, it is unlikely that there will be any contract involved. Imagine what you will do if your friend decides to cancel at the last minute! You will be left without any back-up plan, and there couldn’t be a bigger disaster. On the other hand, most professionals will be prepared for unforeseen circumstances, and will arrange an alternative if they are forced to cancel for any reason.

Your friend will be occupied with their job instead of enjoying your wedding

Wouldn’t you prefer that your friend enjoys your wedding instead of worrying about the service they have to provide? If you do, you won’t have to think twice about hiring a professional for the job.

You now know what to expect and what could go wrong unless you make an informed decision. Nevertheless, remember that each situation is difficult and sometimes you may get a better when you hire a friend. Just think your decision through and go with it only if you are certain that your friend is reliable, capable and will give you what you want.

For more wedding advice and tips,visit us at Best for Bride.