Hiring your Wedding Caterer should not be stressful. So we’re going to give you some industry tips to make sure that you can confidently book your caterer for your special event.
Once you’ve booked your venue, ask for a list of their preferred vendors. Your venue should have caterers on that list they have worked with and trust to make sure your event runs smoothly. Their presence on that list likely means that their food is good, the staff is professional, and the venue has worked with them and trusts them.
Pro tip: lean on your wedding venue and trust their recommendations. Use any resources that they can provide you.
Next, think about what food theme you’d like to have for your wedding. Decide on whether you’d like to have barbecue, brunch, an elegant plated dinner, a buffet, or if you’d like to explore fun food stations. Your caterer will help you select the suitable options to fit your specific food wants & needs. Once you’ve decided on a theme, ask your caterer for a sample menu in your price point. For instance, a barbecue dinner menu might be a good fit for a rustic wedding where an elegant wedding would have a plated dinner with wine service. Your caterer should include their serving staff, bartenders, linens, china & glassware in the prices they provide.
Pro tip: Some caterers offer dessert options as well, so be sure to ask about those during your tasting.
With many people dealing with food-specific allergies and dietary restrictions, it’s also essential to ask your caterer about their ability to accommodate such needs upfront. Knowing this information ahead of time can also help you narrow down your search.
Pro tip: Most caterers should be able to find substitutes for your meal selections to accommodate any allergies or offer suitable alternatives at little to no extra cost.
Last but certainly not least, be sure to review your contract carefully! Most caterers require a non-refundable deposit due upon signing, as with most of your vendors. Pay extra attention to any potential hidden service charges. If there is something on the proposal you don’t understand, don’t be afraid to ask for further clarification before you sign. Doing so will help you avoid unnecessary and unknown fees down the line. While it is considered standard practice to tip your catering staff, it’s generally not included in your overall proposal.
Pro-tip: No matter what your overall guests count is, book your caterer for whatever their lowest minimum guest count is. Generally, your final headcount is due two weeks before your wedding. You can always increase your final count down the line, but some caterers will not allow you to decrease your numbers after a specific time has passed.
Most importantly, remember to enjoy the process! Finding the perfect caterer is such a fun part of wedding planning. Enjoy tasting the different kinds of foods with your partner. When it’s all said and done, your guest will remember how good the food was and how much fun they had celebrating your special day!