Catering And Reception Tips For A Perfect Event

Catering And Reception Tips For A Perfect Event

The Expert Tips & Advice is an interview series with local wedding professionals.
We talk about trends, ideas and advice to make wedding planning easier for the couple.

Dostal Catering Service | | Ad & Contact Info | Facebook

“We take a lot of pride in our food, our staff and our service.”

Every bride and groom hopes for a memorable wedding as they plan their big day. And what do guests think are the most important elements of a great event? Good food and an enjoyable experience.

Cindy and Jeff, owners of Dostal Catering, have many years of experience helping couples get the perfect wedding reception and Cindy was kind enough to share some of her expert advice. Their small, family-owned business has been prominent caterer in the Cedar Rapids community for 94 years. They provide catering for many off-site locations throughout the area including parks, other venue halls and even private homes. They are also the exclusive caterer for Bella Sala in Tiffin and the IBEW Hall in Cedar Rapids.

Important Wedding Planning Advice

“The important things a newly engaged couple should decide first is when and where the ceremony will take place, select a reception venue, followed next by choosing their caterer,” says Cindy. Once these big items are crossed off your to-do list, you can move on to the other big things, like wedding attire, photography and reception music.

When looking for a reception location, a question couples should ask of their venue is, “Are there any hidden fees?” says Cindy. “Venues may charge extra for staff, decoration and clean up. With catering, they should be aware what services are included. Is staff, equipment, table service and the leftover food provided in that price quote? Also, couples should really look over the menu to figure out how much food they’re actually getting for that price quote.”

dostal catering head chef owner jeff mumm

Cindy likes to encourage perspective couples to make an appointment to talk Dostal Catering about their wedding, and they’re happy to answer any and all questions couples might have. (Don’t know what else to ask? Click here for a helpful list!) Dostal Catering has all-inclusive packages that include the use of the hall, staff, food, table service, and clean-up. They’ll even send you home with all of the leftovers! They make all of their food from scratch, with their most popular meals including signature items of baron of beef, zesty herbed chicken and stuffed pork rolls.

Scheduling Your Reception Timeline

About two months before your wedding, you should determine the time you want to serve dinner to your guests. To decide this, you’ll want to consider the time of your ceremony, how long your ceremony will last and when you’ll be doing wedding photographs with family and the wedding party. If you need help figuring out how the timeline of your day will flow, ask a wedding professional to help. This will ensure that you allow enough time for all the events, you’ll stay running on schedule, and it’ll give your guests the best experience on your wedding day.

An inaccurate wedding day schedule can spoil the whole vibe of your reception. Dinner served an hour late means food might not be as delicious after sitting an extra hour, plus you’ll have disappointed, hungry guests. “What people will remember about your wedding is the food and if they had a good time,” says Cindy.

Another tip Cindy suggests is to have your DJ announce that you’ll be cutting the cake right after they introduce you into the reception. That way, you’ll already have the attention of all your guests for the cake cutting and its photo opportunities.

A trend Cindy sees is less cake and more dessert alternatives, such as pie, cookies and ice cream. She also loves individual cakes on reception tables as centerpieces, allowing guests to cut their own slice and mingle with other tables if they want to swap out for different flavors. While Cindy suggests that you mix up your flavors for variety with your reception menu, she suggests having only one to three cake flavors. “You don’t have to overdo it on the number of cake flavors you choose. When you offer six or seven different flavors of cakes, guests get overloaded on decision options and don’t know what to choose. Keep it simple.”

dostal catering food for wedding receptions

It’s easy to see why Dostal Catering continues to be voted an A-List winner year after year. The most important thing to Dostal Catering, says Cindy, is whether they have lived up to the expectations of the bride and groom after the wedding is done. “We take a lot of pride in our food, our staff and our service.” She loves working with wedding couples because she enjoys getting to know brides and grooms, and of course people love food.

Cindy Says: Splurge vs Save:
Save on your reception decorations and extra mood lighting. “Keep the decor low-key and don’t spend a lot of time or money,” says Cindy.
Splurge on photography, your venue and, most importantly, your food.

A’s to my Q’s: Cindy says…
You should never get married without: having good food.
Weddings and friends go hand-in-hand.
Electric Slide, Chicken Dance or watching from the bar? Electric Slide!

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About Becky Appleby

Becky's clients rely on her easy creativity to make them look good, while her attention to details give them one less thing to worry about. She's a freelance writer and blogger for businesses at For over 15 years, she has also run Appleby Photography, photographing hundreds of weddings and creating gorgeous albums for her brides. Visit her websites to learn more.