Whether you and your fiancé have your hearts set on a lavish selection of truffle-infused haute-foodie delights or a cozy comfort-food buffet, or maybe even a hip and fabulous food truck (hint.. hint… nudge… nudge!!) you’ll want to start doing your research on the many choices and do it soon. As you may or may not know, a caterer and/or venue should be one of your FIRST choices since it will determine the look and feel of your wedding. So… without further ado.. here are some of our favorite tips on finding your perfect caterer.
- Recommendations should ALWAYS be welcomed: Your wedding, well… it’s a big deal, and unless you are in the special event industry, this maybe the first time you’ve planned something of this size and magnitude. If this isn’t your first time, you may know professionals you can reach out to. If it IS your first time, reach out to your family and friends who have recently planned a wedding. Or, if you have attended weddings where you fell in love with the food and the presentation, don’t hesitate to contact the bride and groom to ask who they used. A good recommendation may just lead you to your perfect caterer!
- Decide on your reception design, guest list, and BUDGET: Not every caterer is perfect for every type of event, and many caterers themselves openly admit this. Before contacting caterers, it’s best if you finalize some important decisions like the style of wedding, the feel of the reception, the amount of people you will invite, and of course, the most important, your BUDGET!! Since these are the questions your caterer will ask you during your interview, to make sure they are right for you and your event. You need to be specific about the type of event you are planning and the type of food and/or presentation you are expecting. Otherwise, you may end up selecting a caterer who simply isn’t a good fit for the type or style of your event.
- Responsiveness is KEY: Your experience with the caterer during your interview process can be reflective of the way they will respond during your wedding planning. So if they aren’t very responsive or enthusiastic when you initially speak with them, this could be a sign of things to come.
- Consider the way you serve the meal. A plated dinner will require more waitstaff than a buffet, thus it will naturally be more expensive to serve a sit down dinner. Serving the food family style is an option that is in between buffet and sit down dinner. It requires waitstaff, but not as much as the sit down option. And then of course, there’s the AMAZING food truck (yes, we’re biased) which can add a different and fun dynamic to traditional catering styles. Your budget will vary greatly, based on the options you choose. So, consider the way you want your meal presented, served and experienced!
- Find out what’s included. As always, it’s good to find out what’s included with your catering package. Do they provide linens and china or will you have to rent these items separately? What about glassware and serving utensils. Knowing these facts will affect the overall food budget.
- Complete explanation of the contract, cancellation policy, and contingency/insurance. A well written contract which goes over all the details is “key” for any professional arrangement. Make sure that there is a clear and written understanding of what is expected of them and of you. This way, there are no last minute surprises!