Choosing a Caterer

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Initial Consultation

What to Bring/Know:

 

  • Wedding date
  • Venue
  • Number of guests on your invite list
  • Timeline of the day
  • Recipes you want included
  • Need for special meals (e.g., kids menu, vegan, allergen-free, etc.)

 

What to Ask:

Will you schedule more than one wedding for our date?
Most caterers can easily accommodate more than one event, but obtain confirmation your wedding will receive the attention it requires.

Do you charge for extra services?
Find out if the chairs, tables, linens and glassware are included. Often there is an extra charge for cake cutting and alcohol service.

How many staff will be there?
This largely depends on what style of dinner you serve.

What is the wait staff uniform?
Undoubtedly staff has professional attire, but if you have a themed wedding, make sure to ask if they will accommodate any special wardrobe requests.

Do you feed the DJ, photographer, band or do I need to include in count?
Typically the bride and groom should include vendors in the overall head count.

What are payment terms?
Make sure you know deadlines and amounts due.

Who cleans up the room afterwards?
Find out if this is something you, the caterer, or your reception facility is responsible for.

How far do you travel?
Companies work within a certain radius, and charge an extra fee for outside that radius which includes the extra mileage and labor for each staff member.

What is included in the price?
Catering services often offer a variety of packages with different service options: higher end packages for formal services that include china dishes; environmentally friendly packages for couples wanting biodegradable, disposable dishes; etc.

Do you set tables?
Normally your caterer is responsible for setting the table, but you should verify this with both your caterer and reception facility, especially if using rentals from another company.

Will there be a coffee station or pot of coffee on table? Will there be ice water?
Have your caterer walk through every last detail with you.

Will the person I’ve been working with be at our wedding?
Make sure you meet the person who will be on site.

Expert Advice

Food:

Sampling appointments usually offer a restricted menu for a small group of people. For a more accurate idea of what their food will actually taste like at your wedding, attend an open house put on by your catering company. They have to prepare food for a large number of people, which is more similar to an actual wedding, and there will be a wider selection of food to sample.

Drink:

When looking to provide your own alcohol at your reception, mobile bartender services provide licensed and certified bartenders, wait staff, bar backs and even hosts and hostesses. The service provides everything from the mixers and sodas to straws and garnishes to cups, glassware, and other bar necessities.