If you've decided to have your wedding food catered, you may feel a sense of relief.
After all, you no longer have to worry about one of the main items of one of the most important social events you'll ever organize.
But if you've selected a non-Muslim caterer to prepare the food for your wedding, you've got to provide them with some basic guidelines for food preparation.
Below is a sample list of some things you need to inform your caterer about when it comes to preparing food for a Muslim wedding. It would be a good idea to include these in the written contract you sign with him/her.
1. Be clear about meat guidelines
If you are going to have a couple of meat dishes, make sure that caterers only use Zabiha meat when preparing them.
Caterers should be given a list of Muslim butchers and their addresses. You should verify whether or not they have actually bought the meat from a Muslim butcher.
2. Provide a list of ingredients
Halal food is not just defined by the kind of meat you eat, but also by the ingredients in the food.
Caterers need to be provided with a list of ingredients that Muslims do not use in their food so that they avoid them when preparing the wedding meal.
3. Be clear about shortening
Tell the caterer not to use any animal shortening. Instead, s/he should use pure vegetable shortening which has vegetable mono- and di-glycerides as its ingredients.
4. Be careful about stock
Caterers should be informed that they should not use animal-based stock.
5. All types of alcohol must be avoided
This includes cooking wine, sherry or wine vinegar.
6. All food should be prepared with clean hands
There are actually laws in some states which require employers in the food preparation industry to put a reminder in the washroom for employees to clean their hands after using the bathroom. It may seem obvious to you, but it would not hurt to make it categorically clear that all food for your wedding needs to be prepared with clean hands.
7. All servers need to be properly covered
If the caterers are also taking care of the food serving, don't forget to inform them about appropriate dress for a Muslim wedding. Any dress is fine if it covers body and legs properly. It means no shorts, tights, and no low-cut blouses.
8. Islamic protocol in gender interaction
Caterers should tell servers that ladies serve ladies and men serve men.
Remember you are paying for it. You are in charge.