Talking Wedding: A Chat With Catering Manager Eric Kallestad has a ton of free resources for Brides-to-be has a ton of free resources for Brides-to-be

Our Catering Sales Manager Eric was recently on a live chat session with several brides-to-be answering all sorts of wedding-related questions, and we decided to post some of the highlights of that discussion.

Quick background on, from their homepage

Brides converse with other brides, like yourself, in forums and chat rooms that are 100% dedicated to OBX weddings. We also provide scheduled live chats with OBX wedding professionals on a variety of Outer Banks wedding topics and the best local resources…” – Check them out:

Let’s go to the chat:

On What to serve Vegetarians at Weddings?

Question: Tiffany says Hi Eric, I have a lot of vegetarians but i’m not so I don’t want it to dominate my reception. what can i have for them?
Eric K. says Tiffany, you can make a menu that includes many items, both vegetarian and not, that will suffice the vegetarian needs. If you can identify the vegetarian individuals, have your caterer make up a veggie entree to give to them.
Question: tiffany says you mean like a plated dinner instead of them going to the buffet?
Eric K. says Tiffany-you could have a buffet dinner and offer the vegetarian a plated meal. The kitchen should be more than happy to be attentive to your guest’s needs. Have vegetarian offerings like a lot of veggies, portabello mushrooms are always good, maybe a vegetarian paella that all guests would like.

On charging for catering tastings:

Question: karly says are tastings something that every caterer does, and do we give them a heads-up on what we like before we set that tasting up?
Eric K. says Karly-tastings vary by caterer. Some charge, some don’t. Find out before you go in so there is no awkward moment at the end of the tasting. Some like to make a menu out of the ingredients they normally have on hand in the restaurant, some caterers will make whatever you want. It’s important to communicate with your point of contact before you arrive for your tasting.
Question: karly says is it too much to ask if my parents want to attend the tasting as well?
Eric K. says Parents are definitely an integral part of the wedding and the planning process. A lot of them are paying, after all. Parents should be invited to the tasting. Expect them to be charged a nominal amount to cover food cost and labor. Additionally, if one of the restaurant servers is taking care of you during the tasting, don’t forget to give them a gratuity for their efforts.

(The Red Sky Cafe is currently offering free tastings for brides-to-be)

wedding bars can get costy - watch your contract!

wedding bars can get costy - watch your contract!

On bar packages for weddings:

Question: Mollie says i am new at this chat stuff but i’ll give it a try. we want to provide our own alcohol to save money but i think it could be a huge hassle and so i want to know what you think and have seen at events?
Eric K. says a lot of people are providing their own beer, wine, and or liquor. You can save $$$, but remember that you have to buy it, transport it to the wedding venue and be responsible for it at the end of the night. It’s a matter of how much work you want to do on your wedding day, and accept the responsibility. I would suggest, at a aminimum, that you hire your caterer to provide the non alcohol beverages, fruit, juices, water, etc. Do you really want to get all this stuff at the store, cut fruit, etc etc?
Question: Mollie says no i don’t want to do all of that and it seems like it would take a lot of ice and coolers and stuff like that too. so maybe we could just have it on hand for the rehearsal dinner night and then let the caterer bring it for the reception? Or we could bring the liquor and caterer bring all the bulky stuff like wine, and beer?
Eric K. says mollie-a bar package would normally include ice and coolers, etc. -if your caterer offers this type of package. If it’s me, I would buy my own beer and wine for the rehearsal and hire the caterer to serve it and the other non alcohols. For the reception, get a price for beer and wine per person, including bar set-ups and provide the liquor yourself. Remember, not all caterers will allow you to provide your own beer, wine and liquor, and usually facilities that sell beer, wine and liquor will not allow you to bring your own.

On Questions to ask a caterer:

Question: Julia Roberts says I am only going to have 1 day to interview caterers in person, and meet with them.I am planning on meeting with 4 or 5 prospects, and I’m looking at websites, menues, etc . What are the “must ask” questions, and what should I look for as I have so little time to spend w/them in person.
Eric K. says julia-make sure you like the food, make sure you get along with the point of contact person. Have phone conversations, make appointments (phone and in person) and make sure they are present for them. You don’t need to make your decision on the first impression. Take the time to make sure you get to know who you are dealing with, that they’ll respond to your needs, adapt with your changes and not sell you a “billl of goods”

Eric Kallestad is the most knowledgeable person when it comes to organizing beautiful Outer Banks weddings. His connections with the top local vendors are priceless, and brides continue to contact him years after their wedding whenever they need any Obx info.

You’ll always be in safe hands with the Red Sky!

Secrets To A Successful Wedding Catering – By Chef Wes

This video is the continuation of the chat I had with Chef Wes during a gorgeous wedding in the Whalehead Club (Corolla, NC).

First, Chef Wes explains why the Red Sky catering services have established themselves as the premiere wedding caterer in the Outer Banks:

  • Listening to what the bride and groom want (sounds simple, right? It’s not. Most caterers have strict menus, and only modify it according to # of guests);
  • Customized to fit their needs – accommodating exotic tastes, international cuisine, and cooking the way the guests want it;
  • Beautiful, unique presentation – as you can see from this obx wedding video, far away from boring wedding food.

Then, Cindy explains to us what brides-to-be (or catering planners) should look for when hiring a caterer on the Outer banks:

  • Do your due diligence – call different professionals and check their availability , visit their restaurants, check their Kitchens (if possible)
  • Ask for references – many caterers will provide you with a list of past clients you can call, or simply go online and Google them; if they have no web presence, beware!
  • Hire an experienced caterer that is familiar with your venue – places like the Whalehead Club have no electricity or running water; a rookie professional may not be ready to deal with unforeseen obstacles like having to wash dishes.
  • Look for a caterer that can “live in the solution.”

If you enjoy the tips, leave a comment. What would you like to see next? Do you have a question for Cindy or Wes Stepp?

Send your questions through the comments!

See you soon.

Fresh Wild Tuna Tataki served at wedding on whalehead club

What A Great Outer Banks Wedding Catering Looks Like…

This Saturday, I had the honor of accompanying The Red Sky Cafe catering team to a beautiful wedding in the Whalehead Club in Corolla (NC). Of course, I took my camera with me and took some amazing footage – be sure to have a napkin around before watching it 😉

I’m not a professional video guy at all, but I know great food – and that’s what I focused on.

Notice how even with my amateur video skills, all of the food looks fresh and exciting – there’s no trick there. Everything is prepared and presented in a way that prevents it from going stale, like most buffets.

But the most impressive part were the two chef stations set up with fresh pasta, fresh shrimp, and juicy, succulent steak (cooked and carved to order) . Instead of a big chaffing dish, guests talk to a real chef, and get their meal the way they want it, and they see it being prepared.

According to Chef Wes, the Red Sky is highly requested for their commitment to satisfy every guest in the party, even if that means exploring new menus and cooking styles. He says (you’ll see on the video) that he works closely with each bride and groom-to-be to create a unique Outer Banks Wedding.

We’ve posted here before how the Red Sky differs from any other wedding caterer in the obx and how to make your outer banks wedding truly unique, but you’ll see on the video how remarkable our services are.


How To Hire An Outer Banks Caterer With Confidence

Hire a Local Catering Professional That Will Please

Hire a Local Catering Professional That Will Please

We’ve had such a great response with the tips for the perfect outer banks wedding and to a great obx catering party that we’ve decided to share some more tips.

This time, we’ll offer you a valuable guide when hiring any catering professional, whether in the Outer Banks or not. Following these tips, you’ll be 80% more confident in your catering, we guarantee.


1. Friends’ referrals are your best bet in the initial stages.

2. If you’re at a catered party and you like what you see, get that caterer’s name and number.

3. Before you interview anybody, make sure they have the date of your event available. In the summer, outer banks caterers require a minimum 3 months to properly prepare for your party.

4. Ask each prospective caterer if there’s an upcoming event you can visit to see the kind of work they do.

5. Ask for a list of references. Go online and check their reviews on Yelp!, CitySearch, and see if they’re on Facebook.

7. Call references to gauge satisfaction with caterer’s work.

8. Only talk budget with those professionals that really triggered your interest. But try at least two.

9. Give each caterer your estimated head count and budget. Have them provide a sample menu for your budget. (Chef Wes is currently offering free catering menu tastings here)

10. Ask each potential caterer their policies regarding guaranteed minimums, services they will provide for you, specific hours for the event and any extra costs besides food and beverages (such as table linens). Be specific, ask if they will clean up after or not.

11. Once you’ve selected a caterer, plan a meeting to work out all the details of your event that they will handle including menu and beverages, and possibly facility, centerpieces, decorations and favors. That means coming down to the beach – dont try working out the details over the phone, it rarely works out.

12. Confirm the details regarding number of wait staff, their dress code, taxes, gratuities and payment schedule.

13. Have all agreed upon details put into a contract.

14. Follow-up with caterer the week before your event.

15. Contact the caterer the day before your event.

It’s a Party, But You Still Need To Be Tough

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. You have every right to know exactly what will be provided for your money.

Trust your instincts. If you don’t feel comfortable with that caterer, you won’t have a good working relationship with him or her, no matter how good his references were.

At the Red Sky, we encourage you to ask those questions, because we work really hard to maintain above-average quality levels in all aspects of our services.

Give us a call to get a list of our references or click on the yellow square to the right to schedule your tasting.

See you soon!

Beyond Catering – Tips For A Perfect Outer Banks Beach Wedding

Outer Banks Weddings - Beyond Catering

Outer Banks Weddings - Beyond Catering

The fantasy of a beautiful beach wedding in the Outer Banks is shared by many brides-to-be, and making it come true for them is what our catering team’s main goal.

But an Outer Banks wedding involves more than amazing food – and here are some tips we gathered for an overall unique obx wedding experience:

Location: Think about booking a private beach. This allows you time for your wedding and your reception – so you and your guests can dance into the night under the stars. In the Outer Banks, some hotels will reserve their beaches exclusively for your party, and several of the bigger rental homes have private beach access.  If you can’t find a private beach have a public beach party. But the best is that even though only a small portion of your family and friends can make the trip, and you’re at the beach, you can always invite a few new-friends in the way of other hotel guests and well-wishers?

Invites: How about sending the invites on an old glass bottle for that message-in-a-bottle feel? Or for an easier and less expensive alternative, find stationary with sand dollar or tropical floral designs.

Decor: Make use of the Outer Banks natural beauty and design 3 heart shapes in the sand with shells, pebbles or driftwood – one for the bride and groom, one for the officiant, and a big one for the guests . Or, have your vows written in the sand for all to see. Watch as the entire decor fades aways as the tide comes in and the party goes on!

Flowers: There are several florists in the Outer Banks who can help with wedding flowers perfect for the beach, but why not wear Hawaiian-style lei flowers instead of a bouquet? Or carry a shell encrusted candle. For a more traditional approach but still keeping to the beach theme, why not encrust shells on the bouquet and flower decor?

Bridal Attire: Here’s a very contemporary approach: wear a grass skirt with a bikini and Hawaiian garland. Or, a floral dress or a sarong and bikini is equally “beachy” and it will definitely fit the Outer Banks lifestyle. Look for shell jewelry (or pearls)! Go barefoot (that’s a must at the beach – at the very least, wear one of those simple yet fashionable Hawaianas flip flops .)

Groom’s Attire: Floral shirt and Bermuda shorts with a Hawaiian garland round his neck. Or he could pull a David Beckham and wear a sarong and vest top. Barefoot or sandals.

Catering: Of course, catering for an Outer Banks wedding is our specialty, and we have several different menus. But how about this classic: White and milk chocolate shell decorations make for a beautiful beach-themed cake. Plain sponge cake is light and luscious in the beach humidity. Consider a seafood spread – prawns, lobster and other seaside favorite. For those looking for authentic cuisine, our specialties include more exotic seafood like delicious ceviches, calamari, and even an aromatic paella.

Favors: For a destination wedding, even if the Outer Banks is not that far from home, it’s not uncommon (and thoughtful) to give guests their favors upon arrival. A goodie bag containing sunglasses, sunscreen and flip-flops will be just what any beach-tripper needs. Consider including some classic OBX t-shirts and shot glasses 😉