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The do's and don't's of the wedding dinner

Set a menu with the caterer and don’t change it! That’s just one of the many great tips for how to make your reception dinner memorable and delicious.

Once the knot is tied and the pastor paid, guests turn their attentions to the party, starting with what to eat. To make your wedding dinner the talk of the town, start with this check list of do's and don’ts for digging into the dining details.

1. DO get a list of recommended caterers.

Speak with friends, family and coworkers for suggestions. They’ll be happy to share the good, the bad and the burnt. If you’re using wedding coordinators, they can supply a list, but don’t let your planner box you into using one of their personal choices.

2. DON’T wait until the last minute to start looking for a caterer.

Many caterers won’t even bother making a bid under a time crunch. For a great dining experience, everyone needs time to plan, purchase and perfect. Plus, if you’re only two or three weeks out, the caterer you really want will probably be booked.

3. DO set a budget.

If you don’t put a limit on how much you’re going to spend for food, you could find yourself with a fat final tally. Get a head count of expected guests, set the limit for how much you want to spend per person and stick to it.

4. DO meet with perspective caterers and sample the goods.

Catering is a big part of the entire wedding. Make sure you like the people you’ll be working with and the food they cook.

5. DO stay in touch with your caterer throughout the planning process.

Once you’ve signed the contract and set the menu, keep in contact. You’ll avoid nasty surprises like last-minute menu changes or forgotten times and dates.

6. DO plan for special diets.

Ask guests about any needs or restrictions such as gluten-free, food allergies, vegan or vegetarian considerations. Then get these to the caterer pronto.

7. DON’T keep changing and tweaking the menu — especially as the wedding gets closer.

8. DO let it all happen.

Once the day is here, trust your caterer and enjoy the day.

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