You can have the most expensive flowers and an insane wedding location, if the guests are hungry or don't enjoy the food, this is unfortunately what your wedding will be remembered by. So choosing a good and professional wedding catering is of utmost importance.
Hiring a wedding caterer can be pretty complicated, especially as you’re trying to figure out the budget, guest count, and menu. Whether you’re hoping for a full, sit-down dinner or a cocktail hour with passed appetizers, it needs to go off without a hitch, and finding an awesome wedding caterer is key to the planning process. But the good news is that we have prepared a list of tips and questions to make the choosing process easier.
Tips for choosing a wedding caterer
Start looking for wedding caterer right after choosing the date and wedding location. Best ones are booked out pretty early on.
Use social media for search, as well as recommendations from wedding planner and other vendors, usually they will have a great experience based on past events.
Ask all the venues that you are looking at for their recommended caterer. Usually you will notice a pattern in recommendations, which will be quite a good sign that this caterer is doing a good job.
Choose the caterer that worked at your venue before and is recommended by the venue, thinking about the logistics of the event. This will make the whole planning easier and help avoid any pitfalls.
It is really important to know what kind of food you want, and a rough idea of your budget.
Once you’ve figured out a budget and a few caterers you’re interested in, set up appointments for interviews, and see if you can do sampling of the food at the same time. Come to the appointments prepared with the following questions to help you choose wisely.
Questions to ask wedding catering
- Venue & Availability
Do you have our wedding date available?
Do you have any other obligations that day?
How will your staff balance multiple events that day (or weekend)?
Have you ever catered at our venue before?
Can you accomplish our vision at our venue?
What are your specific needs to be able to cater at our venue?
How much space will you need at the venue?
How much time will you need for set-up and clean-up at our venue?
Food & Drinks
Do you have a set menu, or can you do a custom menu?
Can we sample some of the food ahead of time?
What are your most popular dishes?
Do you charge a bulk fee or cost per person?
What is the difference between a plated meal, buffet, family-style, etc.?
Can you provide kid's meals?
Can you provide vendor meals?
Can you take care of various allergy/dietary requests?
Will food be made on-site or brought in?
When will you need final menu choices?
When will you need a final headcount?
Where do you source your food from?
Can/how will you handle last-minute requests?
What are the portion sizes?
What do you do with leftovers?
Do you make wedding cakes as well?
If not, will you provide cake cutting services?
Do you charge cake cutting fee?
Do you offer other desserts?
Can you provide bartending services?
If so, will we need to provide alcohol, or can you?
Are any non-alcoholic beverages included in the food costs?
Do you offer an open bar and at which price?
What kind of alcohol do you serve? Can we change it if needed and at what price?
What kind of wine do you serve?
Do you offer welcome drink and at what price?
Logistics & Details
How many weddings have you done in the past?
Do you have photos of past events and references from past clients?
Do you provide linens, table settings, and accessories?
What colors and style options do you have for linens, table settings, and accessories?
If you don’t provide linens, table settings, etc., will you handle coordinating the rental?
Will your staff handle setting place cards and menus, if desired?
What is your typical server to guest ratio? (Tip: Ideal would be 10 per 100 guests)
Do you have the proper catering license requirements, as well as liability insurance?
Will we need any special event permits? Will you obtain those?
Will there be an onsite coordinator day-of? Can we meet them ahead of time?
Can you provide a copy of your standard contract?
What is the amount of the deposit due to hold our date, and when will the remainder be due?
What is your cancellation policy?
Do you offer a payment plan?
We can help you out with recommendations, as well as come to the meetings with you. Contact us today for a quote and a non-binding first consultation.
*Photo: Fratelli Tregnaghi