Eat, Drink, Be Married: The TLC Catering Experience

By RJ Walters
Developed in partnership with TLC Catering


you ask Terrie Lobb what comes to mind when she thinks about weddings, she’ll likely laugh and then start replaying a series of real life movie clips that flood into her mind.

Like the one time staff of TLC Catering rolled food carts with fine china through a pasture to accommodate an exquisite outdoor wedding.

Or conversations that start out with a bride-to-be saying, “We’d like to do plated meals for 300 in my grandmother’s barn which is gorgeous but doesn’t have running water or electricity…”

Or celebrations that are meticulously planned down to the smallest detail that have to be adjusted just hours before guests are set to arrive because severe weather rolls in unexpectedly.

After more than 25 years in business, the Polk County native—who started decades ago by hosting opulent house parties complete with fine finger foods and polished silver—has seen a little bit of everything. Today she’s still up for almost anything that a bride and groom want to incorporate into their special day, from the food to china to the overall guest experience.

“We have creative equipment and displays. And I think a lot of people have a hard time thinking they can do like that at a wedding, but it really creates a more fun environment.”

– Terrie Lobb 

TLC Catering by Terrie Lobb

• Wedding Packages •

• Corporate Events •

• Social Gatherings •

TLC Catering Cafe is open every weekday 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at 1239 E. Main St. in Bartow.

In 1998, Lobb opened The Docket, a cozy cafe in Bartow, and that set the table for her to create a Polk County food empire, one satisfied customer and one delicious dish at the time.

Today, TLC Catering runs a counter service cafe at 1239 E. Main St. in Bartow and they cater everything from corporate events to social gatherings to weddings all across Polk County, and even across county lines.      

Few people know Polk County as well as Lobb, who was born in Haines City and graduated from Auburndale High School. She has lived in five different municipalities in Polk, including Bartow, where she currently resides with her husband, attorney William Lobb, and their 12-year-old daughter Emily.

Whether it’s planning for an intimate backyard wedding in Eagle Lake or preparing for a grandiose celebration at a large venue like the Bonnet Springs Event Center in Lakeland, trademarks of Lobb’s events include ornate fine china options and unique food stations as distinctive as the partygoers themselves.

“We learned years ago that with weddings everybody wanted china, and throwing away disposable dinnerware was like a dagger in my heart over and over,” Lobb says. “So what we did to set us apart for weddings was to establish packages that already have the cost of the china built in.”

TLC Catering offers three styles of china, gold and silver flatware, and a seemingly endless array of chargers, wine glasses and detail pieces to make every wedding uniquely different.

When it comes to the food, it can be as simple or as extravagant as a bride and groom desire.

On people can easily compare different types of food cuisines included in wedding packages such as: southern, Italian, traditional and classic. 

Lobb said her mission is that food should always be hot, delicious—with just the right amount of seasoning, and match a client’s desired budget. TLC Catering uses fresh ingredients, olive oil and locally grown produce while constantly creating and perfecting new menu items.

One of Lobb’s personal favorite trends to deliver at weddings are food stations, where everything from carving of select meats to customized pasta bowls are brought to life.

“We have creative equipment and displays,” Lobb says. “And I think a lot of people have a hard time thinking they can do something like that at a wedding, but it really creates a more fun environment.”

TLC Catering is glad to try to replicate family recipes or create something unique that a couple found online—it’s all part of putting people first.

“We really do try to meet with the client, understand their needs, and then adapt,” Lobb says, noting that TLC Catering offers group tastings one or two times each month, but are also open to individualized tastings to ensure expectations are met.

Lobb and her staff regularly sift through years of notes and feedback that are collected from every single event as a way to constantly be learning, adapting and growing as a business.

With hundreds of successful weddings to her company’s credit, Lobb is unafraid to help couples understand the best ways to spend their money and make their vision come to life. She jokes that if a couple says they “want to do lobster for 150 people” that she will try to steer them toward a delicious steak dinner for the momentous occasion and tell them to “enjoy lobster on your honeymoon!”

Lobb’s company’s credibility has been built on honesty and consistent excellence, and Lobb said that transparency and clear communication are an essential part of what allows brides and grooms to feel heard and valued.

“We try to build in all of our fees, including gratuity, and our goal is to be clear from the get-go,” she says. “We put it on a very clear proposal so they can see all of that and know there’s a service charge, but we also put a line on the contract that explains what the service charge covers.”

She pairs that practical skill and understanding of what it takes to deliver a consummate experience with a passion that is lifelong.

At age 10 she was busy making finger sandwiches and eating olives off of relish trays she was crafting as she helped her grandmother cater events. Fast forward to her own wedding day, which took place in 1998 at the Sorosis Building along Lake Morton, and she can tell you exactly what appetizers were on the menu.

She will also tell you, that more than anything, she’s grateful to the man she married on that day, as he has been a foundational support to TLC Catering.

“I could not have done this business without his support, and he’s always been there behind the scenes, kind of this invisible man that’s holding all of the balls in the air,” she says. “Without him it would be impossible to have a child and do all of this…this business is all consuming.”

For many brides-to-be and their families, planning a wedding can feel all consuming, but Lobb and her team have made a name for themselves by shifting that pressure to their shoulders and carrying it quite well.

“When I went into this I had nothing, which for most people you have nothing to lose, but I had to survive,” she says. “So it was do whatever it takes and my base for that was doing honest business where we will do whatever it takes to make things right.”