Everything you didn't know you needed to know about booze, bars and brie - with Kayla, owner of Boozy Suzie and The Roaming Eagle Caravan Bars.
Q1. Buffet VS. Canapes - is there a big difference in price? And do people do 'cool' buffet style spreads? I keep hearing that grazing tables are a huge waste as they don't get finished. They look incredible, but are they worth it?
KAYLA: A sit down dinner is naturally going to be more expensive than a cocktail style setting. You'll need to factor in the cost of hiring plates and cutlery, plus the serving style of a sit down dinner is more demanding than cocktail so there will be higher staff costs. Grazing tables CAN be a waste, but if done right they don't need to be.
If you're worried about there being wastage then don't cater for your full guest count. If you have 100 guests, get a graze for 70 people. If you've seen lots of leftovers on grazing tables then that tells you that people are getting enough food, plus they'll be fed again shortly so they don't need to go back for thirds on the graze. If the graze clears out then great, you haven't wasted any money and your guests will have room for their dinner.
Another thing to think about when ordering your graze is the 'filler'. If you're attending a wedding before your own and they have a graze, pay attention to the stuff that is leftover, it's the stuff that nobody wants. Ask your caterer to leave this 'filler' out. It makes the graze look good but isn't going to get eaten and takes up budget that could have been spent on the good stuff.
Q2. My friends drink a LOT of beer / wine. And another friend of mine has worked at a mobile bar before at weddings and she said they always ran out of alcohol early, and they would close the bar. So should people just over estimate?
KAYLA: Definitely over estimate. In saying that we have never closed the bar early. A good mobile bar will let you know if something is running out and will give you the option of doing a bottle shop run to top up your stock.
We make note of the nearest bottle shop and closing time and let you know through the night if we think we need to go buy more. Some clients are happy for their guests to switch drinks and finish the rest of the white wine when the champagne has run out, if this isn't you then communicate this with whoever you have hired to look after the bar.
Q3. Do you bother putting a cocktail option on the bar, or should we just give beer and wine? Do people even care?
KAYLA: This is totally personal choice. We usually suggest putting on a cocktail hour to do something fun, we don't charge extra for cocktail service so it's as easy as you buying a few bottles of spirits and some mixers.
It'll maybe end up costing you an extra 150 when you factor in the fact that people won't be drinking beer or wine during this period so you'll save on this stock during the cocktail hour.
Not all bar services do it this way and charge extra for cocktail service so it depends on who you have booked and how they charge. Guests won't notice if there isn't a cocktail option, they'll happily drink free beer or wine.