Watch Out! For These Wedding Venue Fees

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Planning a wedding is a once-in-a-lifetime experience filled with excitement. Part of that process is selecting the wedding venue that is right for you. When that time comes, here are some hidden fees to watch out for.

Overtime Fees
Many wedding receptions extend past the designated time they are supposed to end. In these instances, it is usually at the request of the bride and groom. However, that does not mean the newlyweds will always know what the final cost will be. When selecting a wedding venue, be sure to ask about every overtime charge just in case you make a last-minute decision to extend your wedding reception.

Total Taxes
Many wedding venues will quote you a price, but your final bill winds up being higher than that quote. Why is that? Most times, it is because they did not include the taxes. When spending thousands of dollars, taxes can add up in a hurry. This can bring your total to more than what you might have expected to pay.

Early Entry
A lot of times, wedding vendors will need to get access to the venue before the actual ceremony or reception begins. In some cases, wedding venues could make the claim that early entry prevents them from having another event and could charge you accordingly. Find out for certain what time your vendors can have access without any additional charge.

Cake-Cutting Fees
The whole concept of a venue charging you a fee to cut a cake seems rather absurd. But it is a tactic used when the wedding cake is not purchased from the wedding venue’s pastry kitchen. It is almost a way to penalize you for not ordering directly from their catering menu.

Corkage Fees
Wedding venues usually make a good deal of money on the sale of wine. But if you are supplying the wine, that is a lot less money in their pockets. To compensate, some wedding venues will add a corkage fee. This means the venue will charge you for each bottle you bring that is consumed at the venue. This could wind up negating a lot of what you would save by supplying your own wine.

When it comes time to select your wedding venue, SMS Catering Services has everything you need all in one place. With a spacious banquet hall and the best catering Charlotte has to offer, SMS Catering Services has everything you need to make your wedding day one that is truly memorable.

How to Select the Right Wedding Venue for You

Weddings are more than just one-time events. There is a lengthy selection and planning process that goes along with it. That includes choosing the right wedding venue. Here are some helpful tips couples can use to select the right venue for their wedding.

Make a Checklist
When it comes to start looking at wedding venues, go into each visit prepared. It’s a good idea for couples to put together a checklist of everything they want on their wedding day. Many times, couples get caught up in the moment when visiting wedding venues and they start to consider options that do not coincide with their original plans. Be exact when making your checklist and keep it handy when touring a venue.

See the Season
Most couples are not looking to get married right away, which means each venue will probably look a little different when your big day comes around. Make sure the seasonal fit is the right one. If you are visiting a venue in the fall, it is going to have a different look in the spring.

Ask the Vendors
For most weddings, couples will hire a photographer, DJ, florist and other kinds of vendors. Don’t hesitate to ask each of them their thoughts on the different wedding venues you are considering. Chances are that those vendors have been to each venue and can offer an objective opinion.

Map the Route
Guests are going to need to get to your wedding, so it is important to consider the drive time and traffic patterns to a particular venue. Friday night weddings can be difficult for commuters and traffic could cause them to miss the ceremony altogether. Being mindful of the navigation process can make the process of choosing a venue a lot easier.

Record Info
Taking notes, snapping pictures and asking questions is an essential part of choosing the right venue. Don’t hesitate to say whatever is on your mind and don’t be shy when it comes to taking photos. Collecting as much information as possible is extremely helpful. It is also a valuable way to compare different venues against one another.

SMS Catering Services has a vast amount of experience hosting all types of weddings. Equipped with a spacious banquet hall, ceremonies and receptions can be done at the same site. When it comes time to search for the best Charlotte wedding venues, look no further than SMS Catering Services.

Casual Corporate Event Ideas

Not every corporate affair or event has to be a formal one. There are plenty of occasions that call for a more casual setting and may even allow you to leave the black tie at home. Here’s a look at some more casual ideas for your next corporate gathering.

These affairs may not necessarily be in the mold of traditional picnics. They are held outdoors and often include festivities and attractions such as group sports and fun competitions. Attire is often expected to be sporty and casual, but not too revealing or formal.

These types of functions provide a backyard type of feel. Food choices can range from BBQ pork to hamburgers and hot dogs…. or our famous NC Style BBQ Catering! This can create a different kind of company experience as corporate walls are often broken down by the simplicity and informality that comes with a backyard barbeque.

Pig Roasts
A pig roast is more than just providing a different type of cuisine, it provides a laid back atmosphere where people can mingle without any kind of office pressure. There can also be a Hawaiian theme to accompany a pig roast, which opens the pallet of food options up to some of the more exotic varieties of dishes and cuisines.

A company gathering for brunch combines the elements of breakfast and lunch, just as it combines the elements of business and casual. These types of events often go off without pretentiousness and create a more relaxed and casual feel. They are also recommended to be held on off days.

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Seasonal Events
Holiday-themed parties can have a more casual element as evidenced by the menu. Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with your co-workers and serve a corned beef and cabbage feature dish. The month of October is a perfect time to celebrate German heritage with an Octoberfest menu.

Super Bowl Parties
There could be a tailgate theme to your casual corporate Super Bowl party which centers on the game of football. The use of party trays and buffet trays are an excellent way to create a casual atmosphere at your company Super Bowl party and the big game helps give everyone a way to connect.

SMS Catering provides catering services for all kinds of corporate events. If you are looking for a more casual setting, we have an abundance of alternatives that will make for a memorable experience with either your colleagues or your family. Let us make your next event something special by calling SMS catering services, located in Charlotte, NC.

The Essentials for Catering a Corporate Event

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There is a long list of things to do for anyone planning a catered corporate event. It is unlike other catered events and should require attention to specific details. There are many areas to cover when catering a corporate event and if they are all followed, you have a much greater potential for success.

An important thing to know during any catered event is that a full guest is a happy guest. It’s better to order a little too much food than to risk presenting just barely enough to feed the entire audience adequately. Take this into consideration when placing your catered food order.

Guest lists are another important area to cover. Will this be a corporate event for only managers, executives or other employees? The answer to that question could have an impact on what kind of food and entertainment is ordered and how it is presented.

In the process of coming up with a guest list, there should also be considerations made for any dietary restrictions. With so many food allergies, there should be alternative options as well as vegetarian dishes for those who do not or cannot eat certain things. There are a growing number of people with dietary restrictions so you should plan accordingly.

Entertainment is also a very important part of any kind of catered event. After all, eating can only take up so much time. There is often a need to capture people’s attention. Hiring a DJ, live act, guest speaker or any other kind of entertainment could be helped with some input from a well-networked, full-service caterer. Experienced caterers will be able to recommend reputable local entertainment services you can trust.

Knowing your budget is something that should be determined before you begin searching for a caterer. This will eliminate some catering services in the event that there are strict budgetary concessions to make. A good way to determine your budget is to start a spreadsheet that includes cost estimates and a list of all the services you will need.

Catering attire should also be addressed. Corporate events are essentially a more formal occasion, which requires a more formal dress code for the catering staff. Find out what kind of attire your catering staff will be wearing.

Transportation is an extra option to consider as well, particularly if there is going to be alcohol served at a corporate event. The last thing you want to do is send someone off to drive home after having a little too much to drink. Limousines, buses and shuttles are widely available for these kind of events.

Each catering company will likely have a specialty area. Find out each one’s specialty and try to match it with the needs of your audience. It also helps to search their online reviews as well as visit their websites for pictures of past events.

When it comes time to find a corporate catering service in Charlotte, NC, look to the professionals at SMS Catering Service. We can provide the highest quality services from top to bottom. For the very best corporate catered events Charlotte has to offer, trust the team of professionals who have been getting it right for over 40 years.

How to Choose the Right Wedding Caterer

Searching for a wedding caterer should not be a chore that is taken lightly. Your special day should unfold exactly how you envisioned and hiring the right caterer could go a long way towards turning that vision into reality. To ensure that everything goes smoothly, try out these helpful hints when making your decision.

See for yourself
Don’t just take the caterer’s word for it. Drop by an event to see how things look with your own eyes. The best way to gauge just how a catering company operates is to see them in action. Tastings only shows you so much, but an actual event tells the real story.

Read reviews
Any reputable catering company is going to have a good amount of previous customers, some of whom are going to share their thoughts. Customer reviews will give you a firsthand account of how their event turned out, search online and ask the company if they have any references from recent events.

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Photos, Photos, Photos
Caterers will offer potential clients a variety of options when it comes to decorating the venue. Ask to see pictures of past events as you will want to match descriptions with actual images. That includes everything from table settings to the overall décor to the wedding menu.

Server to guest ratio
To ensure your big day goes smoothly, you will need an ample amount of wait staff to serve your guests. Be sure to get exact numbers on exactly how many servers there will be at your event so you can be sure everyone is covered.

Level of involvement
Some catering services put out the food and that is pretty much the extent of their duties. Other caterers will take on a role more congruent with that of a wedding planner. You need to know how much you can expect out of your caterer on your wedding day.

Final head count
You don’t want to overpay for your wedding so you need to know the cutoff date for adding or subtracting guests. When you are paying a per plate cost, those numbers could add up rather quickly and you will want some leeway when adjusting your final head count.

SMS Catering covers all the basics and provides working solutions to all customer questions and concerns. Every wedding is a top priority to SMS Catering. Equipped with a fully-trained and perfectly mannered staff that will attend to all of your wedding reception needs, you can do it all with one call to SMS.

Does Your Venue Spell Success For Your Event?

If you have taken on the responsibility of organizing a large event or gathering of any kind, you already know there is more to it than just planning a simple schedule for guests and attendees to follow. Professional event planners understand that many considerations come into play for an event to become a success. One of the very critical factors to ensuring this – and definitely a significant element to any happening – is your venue.

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Where you decide to hold your gathering – formal or informal, big or small – plays a key role in how the event will turn out. Here are a few important considerations to take into account when selecting your location:

  • Setting the mood. The destination for your event has almost everything to do with the mood you want to achieve. A formal affair would often necessitate an indoor venue, such that people are seated during meetings or conferences, or moving around comfortably such as in cocktail parties. Non-formal or casual events with family and friends may be held indoors or out in an open area, such as gardens and private grounds. You can achieve any desired setting in ease and luxury with our exceptional banquet hall rental and outside reception area services.
  • To accommodate all your guests. The way wedding ceremonies and reception parties are held vary extensively these days. They can be formal or casual, big or small, and exclusive to friends and family or welcoming hundreds of attendees. Whatever the size of your gathering, choose the venue where there is room for everyone; you don’t want a place too small and uncomfortable for your guests.
  • To ensure comfort and accessibility. Professional event planners know there is a trick to finding the right place for every kind of celebration, get-together or meeting: it should be somewhere guests won’t have a hard time trying to locate. There are exceptions to this, however, for some unconventional wedding or birthday events. Generally speaking, you want to unburden most of your registrants and attendees of having to research the location or drive hundreds of miles for it. Make sure there is ample parking space; we have 8 ½ acres of room available with plenty of parking at SMS Catering.
  • To provide additional services. For the event to be executed as planned, the location should be ideal. This can be made possible with the help of added services that come with renting the venue. Full-service providers like SMS Catering in Charlotte, NC can handle these requirements and assist event planning for both indoor or outdoor weddings, complete with decor and facilities to ensure outstanding experiences. Give your guests something to rave about, let SMS take on the work for your next event.

The Perfect Wedding Venue with SMS Catering

It can be incredibly time-consuming to plan a flawless event such as a wedding; not to mention it can be just as nerve-wracking to try to keep costs at a minimum. With SMS Catering, Charlotte’s trusted team of event caterers, organizing your wedding can be a breeze. The full-service events team offers an elegant banquet hall with extra amenities including a large on-site atrium, extended lawn space for outdoor activities, large covered patio area and our glorious water fountain. This spot is equally ideal for hosting all sorts of private parties and corporate functions for any number of guests.

Start your event the right way by choosing a reliable full-service provider to address all your needs and more; Learn about SMS Catering by visiting

SMS Catering Rose from Humble Beginnings to Become Charlotte’s Biggest Caterer

SMS Catering Services’ unique history dates back to 1971 when Bob Freeman started the company as a small side business. Freeman started off grilling his food at political rallies and fundraisers for then-congressman Jim Martin.

There may have been something to Freeman’s secret recipes as Martin went on to run for governor. That prompted Freeman to pursue a full-time career behind the grill. Now, 45 years later, the Martin family owns the oldest and biggest catering company in Charlotte.

SMS Catering Services started from humble beginnings as Freeman embraced the role of a self-made entrepreneur. In 1997, Freeman was joined by his son.

It was then that Robert Freeman III became a full-time general manager after earning a Master’s Degree. Combining his business acumen with the foundation his father had already built, SMS Catering began to soar to new heights.

The Freeman father and son tandem have always been innovative and even invented a cordless food warmer, which has come in handy over the years and allowed SMS to serve warm food on Charlotte’s coldest days. The idea for that device came to life during a fish fry for more than 1,000 people on one unseasonably, cool day. The Freemans turned to their intuitiveness and came up with a new product that helped them continue their guarantee of satisfaction.

SMS actually stands for ‘Service Means Satisfaction.’ That rings true at every catered event, especially when SMS was able to serve 6,500 people at the NCAA Tournament in Charlotte in just an hour’s time. SMS Catering has also come to the aid of the community, having recently served repair crews all over the area when violent storms knocked out power.

The Freeman family has expanded the business, which led to the development of the current SMS Catering venue, a nine-acre facility that features a top-of-the-line banquet hall.

SMS Catering is also known for its authentic North Carolina barbeque as the Freeman family has perfected its own recipe that has satisfied residents for decades. SMS catered events continue to include wedding receptions, corporate events, retreats, reunions, anniversaries and many other kinds of other special events.

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Mr. Freeman serving food and talking to Chesley Burnett “Sully” Sullenberger III at an event.

SMS Catering Services is available to host all types of events and it can also bring its catering service directly to the client. With more than 45 years of experience, SMS Catering has become a staple in the Charlotte community that was built on the pillars of integrity, quality and family.