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Q and A, an e-mail Between a Bride and a Pure Joy Catering Event Planner

Photo by Leah Lee Photographers

Dear Alizabeth,

Ben and I have our catering choice narrowed down between you and another company, so we have a couple (well, more than a couple) questions in order to get a better idea of what Pure Joy has to offer: 

Q1. We are very interested in serving donuts for dessert (in place of a wedding cake). What can you do in regards to thisHave you served donuts as dessert before? What has the setup been like (e.g., tiers of donuts, little plates with dipping sauces)? Approximately much would it be per person? 

>A; We don’t have packages. I would want to know what you actually want for the donuts and then we would do that! Here is a couple examples of things we’ve done with donuts in the past:

Chef Manned Warm Donut Station…mmm

Fresh Made Donuts right at the station!

Choice of Glazed or Chocolate Frosting,

toppings to choose from including coconut and colorful sprinkles

4.95 per person

Late Night Snack

Passed Shots of Iced Coffee with a Fresh Made Donut

3.95 per person

Q2. For the cheese table appetizer, what kind of cheeses do you offer?

>A; Our Cheese Display is out of control. I attached a picture so you can get an idea. There is a variety of international cheeses along with layered soft cheese tortes that spread amazing on our toasted baguettes.  The station is also loaded with dried fruits, nuts, olives, farmer’s market fruits & berries, quince paste, gluten free crackers and a giant fresh fruit urn. It’s a cheese lovers dream.

Q3.  Can you elaborate further on how involved you will be in the wedding planning as a full-service coordinator? What will your specific responsibilities be in terms of contacting vendors, organizing rentals? How often will we be in contact – weekly/monthly phone calls? Do you also act as a ceremony coordinator (the ceremony is also at Rockwood) in terms of cuing people to walk down the aisle? 

>A; Part of our services is managing your entire reception. This includes set up, tear down, timeline management keeping in touch with your onsite vendors, etc. We want to meet with you around 90 days before your wedding to sit down and go over details, then everything is finalized 10 days before the wedding. Typically your officiate runs your rehearsal and ceremony. However, if you would like us to handle this aspect it would be something we can add on. Many locations that normally require a wedding coordinator forgo this rule when they know that Pure Joy is coming in because we make things so easy for their clients and handle all of the details and day of coordination weather they have a coordinator or not - coordinators LOVE us cause we work with them to make sure it all goes perfect; that said if there is no coordinator we will take care of it.

 Q4. What are the next steps if we decide to go with you as a caterer? Do we establish a menu before signing a contract, or do we put down a deposit to work with you and then later develop a more specific menu? What is the payment plan in terms of when deposits/final payment is due? If we wanted to come in for a tasting to help develop the menu, can you give us an idea of what that process entails? 

 >A; Your menu does not need to be finalized until 10 days before the wedding. Most of our brides change their minds over and over throughout the process because they attend backdoor tastings, see our latest posts and keep getting ideas. The 1000 deposit holds your date so you can take a deep breath, but don’t feel like anything else is set in stone. 50% is due at 90 days and the balance at finals.


We do what we call “back door” tastings most weekends; we have you discretely come to an actual event back door one hour after we have served the guests and we pack you a picnic style to go sampling of everything we served there that evening. We feel this is a more honest approach than cooking for two people “on our home court”. What we do, all we do, is large, special events, primarily weddings with guest counts of 100 to 300 people on the weekends. Our methods, recipes, large commercial prep kitchen, everything is geared toward that only. Cooking an impressive meal for a few people is very different than cooking in high volume, under strict time constraints, on location without a real kitchen ~ often in a tent! We’d like you to taste what our guests actually taste, and you are welcome to come to several. The point is to get an idea of the integrity with which we prepare all of our food however the menu that night may be different from the one you end up selecting, of course.

Q5. What are some strengths that set you apart from other caterers in the SB area? What are some specific examples of those strengths? 

>A; To put it simply we’re the best. We’ve been established the longest and are the biggest. That means you have a great team of pros; not just a few people that can get burnt out or even sick when your wedding day comes up. Our reputation in this area is un-touched in this community and our client’s (and locations we work at) love and trust us. :)

Here are some things we are known for:

*All our food is made from scratch. Seriously. I’m still amazed when I go down into the kitchen and they are literally squeezing oranges or pressing grapes.

*We cook the food fresh on site. Your guests get the food as fresh as possible (and they get to smell it cooking during your ceremony and cocktail hour…)

*We have a huge emphasis on local and seasonal foods. All our produce is hand picked by our executive chef on your wedding day at the local farmers market and our fish is delivered straight from the harbor that day!

*Presentation. We have a designer on staff who coordinates the design all the way down to your passing trays to match your wedding style. Check out some pictures on our websites for fun ideas.

Q6. What is something that a client has complained about recently? How did you remedy this? 

>A. Good question! Hmmm. I frequently get feedback from potential clients about the cost when they are trying to choose a caterer. We realize that we charge more than many caterers in town, but when we started Pure Joy Catering, we quickly realized that we could charge less by giving less, as some other caterers have chosen to do. Or, we could charge a realistic and fair price that would allow us to maintain a catering business that offers only the finest quality in order not to embarrass our clients, their guests or ourselves. We need to charge prices that permit us to maintain the professional staff and high standards that brought you to us in the first place. We understand that we aren’t the right caterer for everyone, so in order to remedy the situation I try to dig and find out what’s really important to them and see if we are a match.

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer each of these questions! Because catering is such a significant cost and also has a huge impact on the ambiance/enjoyment of the wedding, we are trying to be as discerning as possible when it comes to finding the right fit.           

>We’d love to be a part of your wedding and help make it spectacular and stress free for you. Please let me know if you think of any other questions!

Alizabeth Schotten

Event Planner, Pure Joy Catering

The next e-mail:

Hi Alizabeth, 

I am excited to let you know that Ben and I officially choose Pure Joy as our wedding caterer for July 26, 2014! Yay!  

We are both looking forward to working with you and the rest of the Pure Joy team :) 

Best,  Megan


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