Questions to Ask Your Wedding Caterer
You’ll spend more money on wedding food than any other aspect of your reception, so you’ll want to work with a top-notch professional. When making appointments to interview wedding caterers, try to schedule a tasting of their wares at a later point. Don’t forget to ask them the questions below, and choosing a caterer will be as easy as pie — just make sure your taste buds have a say in the matter too.
1. Does the wedding caterer specialize in certain types of food or service? (They should provide you with sample menus to review.)
2. Can the wedding caterer arrange for a tasting of the specific foods you’re interested in, prior to hiring?
3. What is the wedding caterer’s average price range? Are costs itemized depending on the foods you choose, or is there an all-inclusive flat rate? What would that include (linens, tax, and gratuity)?
4. How involved is the wedding caterer in a typical reception?
5. Will the wedding caterer provide tables, chairs, plates, table linens, silverware, salt-and-pepper shakers, and more? Ask to see these items to make sure they’re acceptable. Do you have to rent tables, place settings, or other equipment? Or will they arrange for the rentals? If not, find wedding rentals in your area.
6. Who is the main contact? Will the same person you work with when planning also oversee meal service on the day of the wedding? (You want this to be the case.) You don’t want all your hard work to be pushed off to someone else who has no clue.
7. Will the wedding caterer provide wait staff? How many would they recommend for the size of your wedding? What will the waitstaff wear? (Top caterers say they always use their own serving personnel, even if the site’s staff is available, because they understand the caterer’s way of doing business.)
8. Where will the food be prepared? Are there on-site facilities, or do you, the wedding caterer, and the site manager need to make additional arrangements? If the caterer must bring in his own equipment, is there an additional fee?
9. Does the wedding caterer have a license? (This means her business has met health department standards and has liability insurance — make sure this includes a liquor license if you’re having a bar.)
10. Can the wedding caterer provide alcohol? Or can you handle the bar separately? If you can provide it, is there a corkage fee? How and when will you get the alcohol to the caterer? If the caterer will provide it, do they have an flexible wine list, and can you make special requests? How is this list priced?
11. How will the wedding caterer arrange the food on the buffet table or on plates? Can you see photos of previous work displays?
12. Can you speak to previous clients? (Get at least two references that had a similar number of guests and a similar menu style.)
13. Does the wedding caterer also do wedding cakes? Can you use an outside baker if you desire? Is there a cake-cutting fee?
14. How does your wedding cater take payment? You should be able to make payments and have the bill paid for in full so many days prior to your wedding day along with a final count.
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