When first sitting down to plan and design your big day, one of the biggest portions of your time and budget will likely go towards your wedding catering – and with good reason, too! Good food is imperative for any amazing celebration, let alone the biggest day of your life. That’s why not spending the appropriate amount of time planning this part of your day is one of the biggest mistakes any Tennessee bride could make. After all, for the biggest day of your life, you won’t want just good food and okay service. You’ll want an amazing culinary experience guests will talk about for years, served by a professional wait staff that even your most discerning guests will be impressed with.
With that in mind, I decided who better to chat with about choosing the perfect Tennessee wedding caterer than Greg Hicks, owner and chef of outstanding Chattanooga and Knoxville area wedding and event catering company, Impressions Catering. Read on for three quick ways to tell if your wedding caterer is up to par for your big day!
1. Try before you buy. Ask your Tennessee caterer for a tasting!
In marketing and business, we call “big purchases” high-involvement purchases. This means that the decision is perceived as a big deal by the consumer for various textbook-worthy reasons. If you have a high-involvement purchase to make, you take the time to research the product or service at length and seize every opportunity to experience it in-person before buying. In other words, you’ll be highly involved.
As a bride, you’ll likely find that many of your decisions will lead to high-involvement purchases. Selecting your wedding catering service and what is provided very likely will be the highest involvement of all, save your wedding gown! Knowing this, why in the world would you book a Tennessee caterer prior to tasting their food? Simply put, you shouldn’t.
Greg agrees that this is a big deal. As he laughingly states, “I won’t invest in a new car without driving it first.” It’s the same concept for your wedding catering – you should try it before you buy it. In fact, Greg and his team have provided private tastings for couples ever since he’s been in the wedding catering business! This helps him to know the couple’s likes, dislikes, and plans for their big day. After all, with Impressions Catering, each detail is customized for every couple, taking everything from the venue and décor to your menu and service style into account.
2. Your wedding caterer should always serve fresh foods.
Freezer burn and week-old tastes just won’t cut it for the catering at your wedding reception. Ask your prospective wedding caterers if they freeze their foods or substitute some items for store-bought, pre-packaged options to save time at wedding receptions. If the answer is yes, it should give you pause! Fresh foods and professionally prepared items all create that great culinary experience for you and your guests on the most important day of your life.
This is a huge point for Greg and his team at Impressions Catering. Actually, it’s part of the Impressions Catering mission statement: Impressions Catering exists to be a leader in the catering and event industry. We strive to use and provide the highest quality ingredients, prepared with the strictest of standards, and delivered in an exceptional and remarkable fashion. Our goal is not to meet our customers’ expectations, but rather to exceed them each and every time. Now that’s a company mission to live by, if I do say so myself!
At its most basic level, a culinary experience is created by expert service and final food products that are only as good as their ingredients. If your wedding caterer doesn’t create everything with fresh ingredients for your wedding, you’ll likely not get what you’re looking for in taste.
“We don’t work with ready-made products,” Greg details. “No one wants to attend or pay for an event with food that’s ‘just okay.’ We use fresh produce – fresh everything.” Why, you may ask? “Fresh ingredients create a more dynamic, memorable food. Food that’s memorable in a good way!” Greg exclaims. Not only does using fresh ingredients and making foods from scratch create a better tasting meal, but Greg details that it also allows your wedding caterer to control the food. If someone has a food allergy or latex allergy, Greg and his team can say with confidence that your food is safe for everyone to eat. This is why preparing foods from scratch is about more than just taste. While Impressions Catering can serve anything, anywhere, to any size group of people in theory, they’re so focused on the quality of their foods that they do everything in-house, and they never take on more than they can handle with this approach.
3. Any caterer you choose should be adamant about serving you and your vision.
As we’ve said numerous times on the blog, make sure your personality clicks with your prospective wedding caterer so that good communication is always encouraged, and make sure their focus will be on your wishes – not their own.
Greg details that Impressions Catering views everything from the bride’s perspective, and they assist with making her vision a reality from start to finish. In fact, they can take care of the entire design at wedding receptions beyond the food, from linens to place settings, chairs and more.
“We sell an experience,” describes Greg. “We don’t sell stuff. We sell dreams. We sell wow!” He adds, “We have a quote in our office that we see every day. It says, ‘‘Tastes like chicken’ is not a compliment.’ That’s why we don’t do cookie-cutter menus for every bride and groom. It’s all customized to meet their wants and needs.”
But they’re about much more than just providing food and decorations for your event. Impressions Catering considers impeccable customer service as one of its core values, meaning your wants are their wants for the biggest day of your life. This is why Greg and his team go to such great lengths to get to know brides and grooms before their big day. They learn what you need and want, and they create “as much of a complete package as possible in-house,” as Greg states. That can include anything from a shuttle service to even lighting and draping. In fact, their new client questionnaire gives them the tools needed to start personalizing your event, and if you decide to use Impressions Catering’s in-house décor service as well, they even set up their show room in your wedding colors to show you exactly what your event will look like from start to finish. Whatever the bride and groom want, Impressions Catering will make it happen. You won’t have to go anywhere else! This willingness to serve your needs is definitely a trait to seek in your prospective wedding caterer.
Impressions Catering was founded by Greg Hicks in 2001, and for each of the 12 years it’s existed, every food item has been made from scratch. He and his team focus on adding personal touches to your event to make it memorable, and Greg states that the company operates on the Golden Rule. Your wedding is personal to them because they know how important it is! “I love marriage,” Greg states, matter-of-factly. “I’m celebrating 20 years of marriage myself, and it just gets better!” With that being said, get off on the right foot in married life by screening your prospective wedding caterer carefully with the three tips above!
Want to learn more about Greg and Impressions Catering? Check out their Core Values below, and give them a call today at (423) 614-4051. Be sure to drop by their website and Facebook page today too to connect. Tell Greg that The Pink Bride sent you!
Impressions Core Values:
1. Honesty. Being the best at what we do requires us to operate with complete honesty with our customers, team members, and fellow tradespeople.
2. Integrity. Impressions will not cut corners. From our relationships with our customers and fellow event professionals, to the quality and integrity of the product that we provide, we will strive to do all that we do following the Golden Rule. We will do unto others as we would have them do unto us.
3. Innovation. Impressions will strive to outdo ourselves each and every time. Internally as a company and externally with our customers, we will better ourselves through education, listening, and examination of ourselves, our processes, and our company.
4. Excellence. Impressions will strive to do everything we do with excellence.
Images courtesy of Greg Hicks via email. Video courtesy of Daisy Moffatt Photography. Bottom image of Greg Hicks obtained via the Impressions Catering website.