For ages, celebrations have been accompanied by food and beverage. Food and beverage is something that brings people together and creates happiness. A wedding day is the biggest celebration so it needs to be nothing short of flawless and food and beverage is a huge part of that. Whether you are looking to have a buffet meal or a plated meal, it is still important to find a great caterer who can produce amazing food and delicious beverages. Somebody that can provide that happiness for your guests and help bring everybody together.
Though finding a caterer might seem easy, it definitely is not. There are a lot of questions to be asked and a lot of decisions that need to be made. You have to consider your budget, guest count, and try to figure out what type of menu you want. By hiring the right caterer, these decisions will become a whole lot easier.
I bet now you’re thinking, well how do you find and hire the right caterer? I’m sure you guessed it, let’s get into it!
First thing, let’s go ahead and talk about some tips for hiring a wedding caterer:
Book your appointments early on
If your venue doesn’t have catering or a preferred vendors list, then you are going to have to search for one on your own. It is important to speak to at least a few different caterers and narrow it down based on who your favorites are.
Search social media for inspiration
Social media is a great way to look at a caterer’s previous work and what they offer. Maybe even look at a restaurant that you frequent to see if they offer catering. That way you know you like the food already. You should also ask friends or family if they have any suggestions based on previous weddings.
Consider the logistics of working with a caterer
Often times, couples choose a venue before they even begin thinking about a caterer. It is actually recommended that you search for the two at the same time to get rid of any logistical confusion later on. If you are searching for a venue and then a caterer, things may not work out logistically so it is best to choose them together to ensure logistics work out.
Always consider your budget
It is so important when looking for any vendors but especially a caterer to follow your budget. Food and beverage is one of the most expensive aspects at a wedding so if you don’t consider your budget, then you may go over and that won’t be good. A caterer will also need to know your budget to see how they can work with you and establish a menu based on your budget.
Make food tasting appointments
After you’ve spoken to a few caterers about budget, check with them and see if you can set up a meeting and do a food tasting. First of all, you are going to want to taste the food that the caterer produces. Second of all, you are going to want to come to a food tasting prepared with all of your questions.
Questions for your vendors are extremely important to understand how they can help you. Here are some questions to ask prospective caterers:
- Are you available on our wedding date?
- Do you have any other events the same day?
- Have you ever catered at our venue before?
- How many staff members will be included?
- What are your needs to be able to cater at our venue?
- How much space will be needed at the venue?
- How much set up/clean up time will you need?
- Do you have set menus or can you create specialty menus?
- Which menu items are you best sellers?
- Is pricing per person or in bulk?
- What’s the difference between you buffet, family style, and plates meals?
- Do you offer appetizers?
- Can you do other types of meal such as food stations or heavy appetizer meals?
- Do you have kids meals?
- Do you offer vendor meals?
- Can you cater to various allergies (gluten free, peanut, soy, vegetarian)
- Will the food be prepared on site or brought in?
- When do you need to finalize menu?
- When do you need a final head count?
- Are the portion sizes good?
- What do you do with leftovers?
- Do you also make wedding cakes?
- Do you provide cake cutting services?
- Do you offer other desserts?
- Can you provide bartending?
- Will we need to provide alcohol, or can you?
- Are any non-alcoholic beverages included in the costs?
- 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/or 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?
- Do you have a 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 what do the remainder of the payments look like?
- What is your cancellation policy?
- Do you offer a payment plan?
Thought it may seem challenging to find a caterer, they truly are one of your most important vendors and the task shouldn’t be taken lightly. Take your time, meet with them, understand what they offer, taste the food, and make an educated decision!
Tuesday: Cake vs. Dessert Bar