Interviews with New England Wedding Vendors – Bakery & Caterers
The next interview in my mini-series that focuses on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic is with the bakery & catering services. I’m so grateful for the community of my fellow wedding vendors in Massachusetts. Though many of us can opt for DoorDash and Uber Eats right now, I wanted to reach out to business owners who specialize in preparing a wedding, party, and celebration food to see how their business is doing during this time, especially since the current amount of gatherings are little to none.
Special thanks to Jeanne Topham at JT Cakes, Krisztina Perron at The Wooden Spoon Catering Company, Renee Moitoza at Married Mixers, Gigi Halsing at Extra Hands for Your Events, as well as Pam White at The Tipsy Horse for their time and responses.
Meet the Bartenders, Bakers, Servers and Caterers
Jeanne is the owner of JT Cakes, a specialty bakery for delectable cakes and desserts. Typically, they average 200+ weddings per year. They provide cakes, plated desserts, and mini pastries for any occasion you wish to celebrate.
Krisztina works with The Wooden Spoon Catering Company, offering full service catering with a niche for scratch-made food for farm-to-table weddings.
Renee is one-half of the bar tending duo, Married Mixers. They offer bartending services for both weddings and parties.
Gigi is a server and bartender with Extra Hands for Your Events. They provide insured servers and bartenders for events; setting up the tables with decor, heating & serving the food, and even taking care of the cleanup. In addition, they take great pleasure in converting a blank hall or tent into something beautiful, all by utilizing table settings, passed apps, and delicious food!
Pam is the perfect combo of wedding planner, officiant and mobile bar owner. Her mobile dry bar, The Tipsy Horse, delivers the bar to you. However, alcohol is supplied by venue bartenders or clients, but Pam can bring the TIP-certified bartenders.
Formulating the recipe
When asked about the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on their businesses, but if there was at least a positive element to this, Jeanne answered, “Many of our clients were forced to move their event dates. The community has been wonderful about supporting small businesses like ours. I’m grateful to all of our new customers and our repeat customers; they’ve really made the mantra “we’re in this together” something to live by. In addition, my schedule is more ‘normal’, I’m getting home during daylight!”
Krisztina responded, “COVID-19 has drastically reduced the number of events on our calendar. Every wedding has been postponed until next year or canceled with the exception of one October wedding. However, we have a few December holiday parties as well. Similarly, many of the couples who had to postpone their weddings have been very understanding and optimistic about the new wedding date. We are in close contact and assuring them that we will go above and beyond to make their day extra special.”
Renee says, “We have had a couple cancelations but mostly rebooking with the fall holding out strong. We have seen a decline in bookings for next year from people afraid to commit because of COVID-19. [However] we have booked a number of small elopement parties, who we will also be taking care of at the big rescheduled events next year. We are one of the few vendors who benefit from people not using venues but choosing to do backyard style weddings, which seems to be the new upcoming trend.”
Gigi admits, “[COVID-19] totally stopped her business. [However] it’s been a great time to connect with others in the industry. It’s been nice to have a little time off.”
Pam agrees, saying, “I definitely had high hopes for a fun filled calendar, but so far that hasn’t been the case, due to cancellations and postponements. [But] more time to learn more about social media, connecting with new vendors, and definitely expanding my audience on social media.”
Mixing the Caterers Predictions
Regarding the predicted aftermath of the pandemic on the wedding industry as a whole, each vendor had unique answers. Renee says, “We believe large weddings will be a thing of the past. We see smaller, more intimate weddings in the future. We are hoping things go back to as much normalcy as possible once everything calms down. Our hope is that other vendors and venues have extra safety precautions put in place.”
Gigi adds, “I think it’s going to take us until next spring, at the very least, to be able to be back to where we were before the virus hit. I’m hoping that it will be ‘normal’ next year so that couples (and us) can return to work.” Pam agrees, “I think we won’t see more normalcy until mid-summer next year, maybe late spring. Right now I think that smaller celebrations will be the new thing.”
Krisztina reflects, “People seem to be putting on the brakes with planning. The couples who have inquired are looking at smaller, more intimate, receptions. We are discussing passed appetizers and plated meals, over buffet style, to limit contact with the food.”
Jeanne offers, “At its core, the wedding industry is the hospitality industry […] So this is what we do well – we help make memories that last. So if going forward it means that your guests need to wear masks, the industry will respond with custom masks; if you can’t have dancing, the industry will find ways to bring entertainment to your party that minimize that risk. The wedding industry is full of creative, innovative people who can help guide you.” Love this answer!
Cooking to Temp
I then asked one of my favorite questions presented in this series, which is what regulations each of these gals think should be put into place. Pam answers, “I would hope that anyone hosting or going to a function will adhere to the suggestions of wearing masks and washing hands.” (Agreed!)
Gigi suggests, “We always use gloves so now we’ll wear the masks. I think if it’s a celebration and you are choosing to go, then just go and have fun while using common sense.” Renee remarks, “We don’t see any extra regulations or precautions being necessary once everything calms down.”
“We have many food safety regulations we follow regularly, but we have added two COVID-19 Servsafe Certificates that must be taken by all staff. Masks are mandatory for both foodservice workers and serving staff. The number of guests per table has been reduced and the tables are at least 6 feet apart. Hand washing has always been and continues to be paramount. We also offer hand sanitizer stations for guests,” Krisztina says.
Jeanne concludes, “The foodservice industry has always had regulations to follow and restaurants and venues will get guidance from public health officials as to how to seat and serve guests. The information changes as we learn more and more so I think as effective treatments and hopefully a cure is developed, we’ll be able to adapt our industry practices accordingly.”
Ready to Serve
These wonderful wedding vendors are definitely inspiring, and I admire their proactive approach to the pandemic. Thank you all for your great responses!
And thanks to you for reading! Be sure to check out these awesome caterers’ and bartender’s social media that I’ve linked below to see their amazing work. Stay tuned for more upcoming interviews that will be published soon.
Stay safe and until next time,
FOOD AND CATERING SOCIAL MEDIAS
Jeanne at JT Cakes
Krisztina at The Wooden Spoon Catering Company
Renee at Married Mixers
Gigi at Extra Hands for You Events
Pam at The Tipsy Horse
IG: @TheTipsyHorseMA Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheTipsyHorseMA