Information For Your Caterer

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   One of our hallmark features here at the farm is choices – whether that is the location of your ceremony or the layout of your reception or what you wear or from which door you come out of or what photographer you use or whether you want additional services or not or what caterer you use.  These various decisions not only helps you stay within your budget but it allows these weddings to reflect you and your look – your theme – your vision of this special day. 
   We do have a great Vendor Suggestion page link where we provide you with great vendors of various kind who have been here – proven themselves as worthy professionals to be included on our list PLUS they have received positive feedback from our brides.  This Vendor Suggestion page is a great first start to your hunt especially when selecting a caterer.  By choosing one of the vendors on our list – lets you know that they not only are qualified but that they understand the challenges of catering an event at an unusual venue like we have.  Outdoor weddings are becoming very commonplace but it does present special challenges.  We want you to be able to choose your caterer but it is very important that you inform them of our location – remember – you have toured our facilities but they have not.
   When we get a call from a new vendor and they ask “what kind of kitchen do you have?” we know right off that the bride has not communicated well with them.  Our venue surely presents challenges to them but we have seen many vendors successfully caterer here – from high end full course catering to simple basic barbecue meals.  It can be done but it is to be determined by the caterer whether they themselves are equipped “and willing” to meet those challenges.  That is where good communication with them is important.
   One more tidbit of information for you to ponder.  Consider the time of year when choosing what your menu is and even what kind of cake (or cake icing) or desserts you pick.  If you are a summer bride – choose items that can travel well, be kept cool easier, and don’t present an extra problem for your caterer.  Picking a butter cream icing for a cake that may sit out for a few hours before consumption just doesn’t make sense.  Your caterer should be a professional and a seasoned veteran and such affairs and his advice should be listened to.  Let him know that this is basically an outdoor venue of sorts and have a conversation about good and better choices.  Embrace the farm and its benefits by wisely choosing your attire – your menu – the time of day your ceremony begins – what you drink – and when you cut the cake.  I did say ‘cut the cake’ as a choice too.  If your cake is delivered at 3-4 p.m. for a 6-7 p.m. wedding – and you don’t “cut the cake” until 8:30 – then you may have a problem with the quality of the cake icing if you wait that long.  These are just considerations that you need to weigh when making your plans.
 


Let me review a few of the topics that would be important for you to convey to your caterer – if  they have not already been to our location.
1.  We are an authentic barn which means we are not air-conditioned nor heated.
2.  We have limited extra electricity so this means that any extra appliances (like coffee pots, warming trays, crock pots, etc.) should be VERY limited, used sparingly, and if they have any question about that – to contact us about it.
3.  Bunsen burners are allowed for the caterers even though we have a no-candle policy for the barn. We understand the need for the caterers to keep their food warm  and count of them to be extra careful with any open flame.
4. Currently, we have one refrigerator/freezer that they have access to. We have two large coolers that are often used to store ice in. Most of our brides use our Ice Vendor (also located on the Vendor Suggestion Page) who delivers the ice – unloads it and sets it where ever you need; typically loads some in the cast iron tub for drinks, maybe some in one of the wash tins, some in the large green coolers, and a few in the freezer….again – these are choices that you make – and decide who brings ice/how much/and where to put it.

5. There is a fire extinguisher located in the buffet room.
6. The Buffet Room has one long shelf reaching almost 24 feet long for food set up. If they prefer to serve the plates for the buffet then they need to talk to you about any available extra tables that they can use and then if they need to bring linens for those tables.
7.  We have 6 garbage cans with bags and they are located in the Tack Room or in the Caterer’s Stall. We have extra bags if need be.    Avoid over-packing plastic garbage bags – for your benefit or ours. If I can’t pick them up – then they are too heavy.  HP Farms will automatically dispose up to 6 bags of garbage complimentary with your contract and any extra bags will be charged at $5 per bag and will be deducted from your security deposit.
8. We do expect your caterer to haul off his own grease and food liquids. Under NO CIRCUMSTANCES should your caterer dump tea, coffee, juices, food liquids, etc. on our floor or grasses. Any violation of this will ultimately be carried by you – the client.  I mention this only because we have seen the carelessness of some vendors who have poured green bean juice or left-over tea on our lawn – the same lawn where the next breed hopes to be vibrant and green for her walk to the ceremony.  Even large quantities of ice piled on our grasses will freeze then kill the grass so we are obviously very protective of our grasses and lawn. 
9. The caterer is responsible for cleaning up any messes that they have created – specifically the buffet room and the caterer’s room.
10. Unloading/loading of supplies – by you, your caterer, or decorator – is available on the driveway loop or the Farmhouse driveway. We actually now have one parking spot behind the farmhouse just for you…point is that the caterer’s vehicle should not be on the loop when guests begin to arrive!   If your caterer can come early enough to unload – then coming to the barn loop would be more convenient for him….but no unloading  is allowed on the loop within one hour of the ceremony time. Any late arrivals should follow the vendor parking sign which sends you behind the farmhouse.

11. NO VEHICLES SHOULD EVER BE ALLOWED ON THE GRASSY AREAS AROUND THE BARN – please!  Once the cars have been unloaded – ask your helpers to then move the cars out of sight so that your venue area stays clear of the clutter of vehicles. By keeping others off the grass, it keeps the lawn nice for all of our brides – your special day and others.
12. We have a sink in the Tack Room for washing your hands but since our water supply comes from a well – we do not allow you to use this water for drinking purposes. Make sure your caterer knows this so they will bring in their own water supply for drinks.  Our limited water and sink area also means that this sink area should not be used by your caterer to wash dishes.
  So happy hunting!  Hopefully this information will be helpful to you.  If you have any questions – feel free to drop us an email or call Jill.

Margie