Chocolate fountains have fast become a centrepiece for many weddings. Over the last three years more and more brides have booked chocolate fountains for their weddings to create that extra "WOW" factor. Not only does the chocolate look & taste good but also makes a great social gathering point that gets people mingling.
The first thing to ensure when considering hiring a chocolate fountain is that the company carries the correct paperwork to operate, this includes:
- Being registered with the local authorities as a food premise (a quick phone call to your local Environmental Health dept will confirm this)
- That all operators carry a food hygiene certificate or are trained in food safety
- That they hold public liability insurance and also have an up to date PAT (Portable Appliance Testing) certificate for all electrical equipment. All these are an essential requirement and some venues may ask to see some of these documents.
Tip: Prior to booking a chocolate fountain for your wedding – check first with your venue as some venues don't allow chocolate fountains. Also book as early as possible to secure a reputable vendor and to avoid disappointment.
When looking to hire a fountain work out how best to utilise your time, (be aware that 4 hours is the maximum time a cold food buffet can be left uncovered above 8 degrees under food hygiene rules). Predominantly many fountains are used as part of the evening reception to accompany a buffet, but you may wish to use it as a desert for after the wedding breakfast or even instead of a wedding cake!
Tip: Chocolate is not everyone's cup of tea. Generally most caterers will cater for about 80% of your total number of guests. Consider this and you may end up saving yourself some additional cost!
On average chocolate fountains, with a full buffet display and illuminated surround, takes approximately 45 minutes – 1 hour to set up. After the wedding breakfast the venue will generally have a "turn-around time" where the evening entertainment is able to enter the room to setup for the evenings entertainment. If there is no 'turn around time' speak to your vendor, an experienced company will have many ideas on how to solve this problem.
All chocolate fountains companies offer different packages on their websites. However, don't be afraid of contacting the company directly, any reputable company should be able to provide a bespoke service according to your specific requirements if what they are offering is not suitable. Check testimonials & feedback of the company you hire from, or ask for details of a satisfied customer who you may contact. Alternatively, ask the venue if they can recommend someone.
Tip: Make sure that the price you are paying includes everything on your list and that there are no extra hidden charges.
Always make sure that whoever supplies your fountain provides at least one member of staff to setup and operate it, this is without doubt the most advisable route to take. Some companies offer what's called a "Dry Hire" service, this is where you hire just the fountain for the night without an operator - if you do decide to go for this option then make sure that the company you rent from has the appropriate insurance to leave the fountain unattended.
Tip: If the venue offer a chocolate fountain as part of their wedding package just be aware that they will often charge you a fee on top of the price you could have hired it for yourself!
Article courtesy of Clayton & Pippa