Catering experts share their professional advice with local and destination couples planning to say “I do” in Bermuda.
Andy Detzer, Fourways Catering
Andy Detzer began his career as a chef. He trained in Germany for three years, moving to Switzerland and then Turkey. He later returned to Germany to study hotel management. When he came to Bermuda in 1990, he worked as a waiter. Andy now works as general manager of Fourways Inn, Fourways Catering and Café 4, part of Fourways Catering
Magalie Favresse, Island Restaurant Group (IRG)
Magalie Favresse of Island Restaurant Group (IRG) completed her college education in Dunkerque, France, and then moved to the UK where she gained her first experiences working in hospitality. Working for Island Restaurant Group for over a decade, Magalie has a passion for exemplary service and unique experiences, and is driven to exceed expectation with every client.
Island Restaurant Group
Are there hidden expenses, like sales and service taxes or delivery fees, I should know about?
“Everything should be listed in a contract between you and the caterer, but look out for those details; ensure items you need are listed and check the fine print from the caterer.”—Andy Detzer, Fourways Catering
“No. When we put a proposal together, we work hard to include everything so the client is not surprised by the final bill.”—Magalie Favresse, IRG
Should we spring for an open bar?
“Choosing an open bar gives you an advantage when budgeting for your event as most caterers have a set price per person, per hour. With consumption billing you are only charged for what is consumed, so there could be positives there for a certain group. Ultimately it is you who know your guests best; choosing an open bar could be a negative. Your alternative is a limited bar where you would only offer beer, wine and soda, or a signature drink. Does it save you money? This depends on the price of the wines that you choose. Generally people drink wine more slowly than mixed drinks, so it could work to your advantage. Again it comes down to your knowing your guests.”—Andy Detzer, Fourways Catering
“IRG charges the bar based on consumption; we take an inventory at the beginning of the event and at the end. This way, the client is charged for what has been consumed and nothing else. If you have budget constraints, you can close your bar earlier and switch to a cash bar. “—Magalie Favresse, IRG
Should I do my own bar or book it through the caterer?
“If you do your own bar you need to provide everything, including bar tables, linen, glassware, ice, all the way down to straws and lemons. Another advantage of your caterer doing the bar is that you don’t end up with tons of leftover items. Let the caterer do it and you only pay for what you use. Chilling and opening is the caterer’s responsibility so your overall cost might not look that bad after all.”—Andy Detzer, Fourways Catering
How much food is enough?
“Some caterers will tell you how many pieces you will get per person according to your budget. As budget is a big factor when choosing your menu, don’t overdo the number of choices if you are trying to control costs. The more choices you have, the higher the menu price.”—Andy Detzer, Fourways Catering
“It depends. The amount of food varies according to the length of the event. There are so many variables that come into play, such as how many guests, the length of the wedding (day time, night time or all day). For weddings lasting the whole day, canapés should be passed around before dinner is served. For a small afternoon reception with a simple cocktail hour, canapés and petit fours are acceptable.”—Magalie Favresse, IRG
We’re having a sit-down dinner. Is one entrée enough or should we give guests more options?
“Adding choices per course increases your cost. It is your special day; you should decide what you would like and then the caterer should be able to accommodate any special requests for dietary needs beyond that. Quite an important reminder here: make sure the RSVP of the invitation includes a section where your guests can let you know about their particular dietary needs. This will go a long way to helping you and your caterer plan ahead.”—Andy Detzer, Fourways Catering
“We always recommend that the clients give their guests more than one option. Nowadays people are very health conscious or may have allergies to specific foods. With one entrée only, you run the risk that not all your guests will be able to eat.”—Magalie Favresse, IRG
How many taste tests should we schedule?
“In most instances, your overall spend would determine the caterer’s approach to tastings. Normally, one is sufficient. A tasting is normally recommended for a plated menu (not a buffet) and for the more unusual items the client is not familiar with, and to work with the caterer on the plated presentation. For a small function a tasting is not usually included.”—Andy Detzer, Fourways Catering
“Two, maximum. If you do more than two, it starts to get confusing—just too many options.”—Magalie Favresse, IRG
What are the options for cake frosting?
“Fondant icing or butter-cream are the two most common frosting options, and there are many colour options. Royal icing is normally used to decorate the cake.”—Andy Detzer, Fourways Catering
“Whatever the client wants, we will provide. We have access both internally and externally to the best pastry chefs in Bermuda.”—Magalie Favresse, IRG
Should we serve guests the actual wedding cake or order sheet cake of the same variety for them?
“A common thread here: it really depends on your budget. The larger and more impressive the cake, the deeper you have to look into your pocket. Ordering a sheet cake the same variety as your actual cake is definitely where you could save some money.”—Andy Detzer, Fourways Catering
“If it is a small wedding (fewer than fifty guests), serve them the wedding cake. If the wedding is bigger, order a sheet cake; it will help your budget.”—Magalie Favresse, IRG
How do we save a slice or the top tier of the cake?
“The top tier of the wedding cake is traditionally saved; however, you should always communicate your expectations to the caterer very clearly before the wedding, just to be sure.”—Andy Detzer, Fourways Catering
“Your caterer will do this for you; just make sure to tell them before your wedding day.”—Magalie Favresse, IRG
What are the best options for a tight budget?
“Breakfast weddings can be a great way to economise. A cocktail wedding is the next step, then food stations, followed by buffet, with plated dinners being the most expensive. A good way to control costs is to limit the time of your function. A tip from an expert: giving your caterer a budget can go a long way to controlling finances.”—Andy Detzer, Fourways Catering
“Having a buffet style dinner is always a budget-friendly option.”—Magalie Favresse, IRG
What happens with leftover food?
“Your caterer is contracted to provide enough food for your confirmed numbers. In general, with buffet service, some food will be left over but you are not necessarily entitled to everything that is left. A good caterer will avoid running out of food at all costs, so it’s typical to overcater, just in case.”—Andy Detzer, Fourways Catering
“The food belongs to the client and is left with them at the end of the event if they wish it. If they don’t wish to take it home with them, we arrange to have it distributed to the less fortunate through the Hands of Love Ministry.”—Magalie Favresse, IRG
What are the most popular dishes served at a Bermuda wedding?
“All the usual favourites: Bermuda fish chowder, Caesar salad, Bermuda fish, chicken, peas ’n rice and macaroni ’n cheese. For a cocktail reception, codfish with banana chutney and cassava fritters are always on the list.”—Andy Detzer, Fourways Catering
“Fresh and local products are always available with IRG Catering due to our strong relationships with local fishermen and farmers. We often serve local fish, such as tuna, wahoo and rockfish, along with poultry and even whole suckling pigs.”—Magalie Favresse, IRG
What is the average cost per person for food for a Bermuda wedding?
“Food (only) averages $45–$65 per person.”—Andy Detzer, Fourways Catering
“On average, $50–$75 per person, but IRG works with smaller budgets as well.”—Magalie Favresse, IRG
How does cost per person compare between a buffet and a sit-down dinner?
“Menu-wise the costs are similar. The factors that really increase a sit-down dinner are extra courses, a longer reception so more bar consumption and the additional labour that this time entails.”—Andy Detzer, Fourways Catering
Do you offer traditional Bermuda cuisine?
“Absolutely!”—Andy Detzer, Fourways Catering
Do you offer traditional Bermuda cakes?
“Certainly. However, this has become a less-common request in recent years.”—Andy Detzer, Fourways Catering
How far in advance should I book?
“The sooner the better once you have your wedding date set, as this will secure the date with the caterer. In general, a non-refundable deposit will lock in your reservation. Up until that point the caterer is not bound to hold that date for you, although most reputable caterers would do their utmost to contact you if they receive another enquiry for the same date before they confirm with someone else.”—Andy Detzer, Fourways Catering
“The earlier the better. A year seems to be the norm in Bermuda.”—Magalie Favresse, IRG