Updated: Oct 20, 2022
When I first started wedding planning, I was very excited thinking about food, because I am inherently a foodie. But what I didn’t realize is there is much more to think about and ask your caterer in the planning process. Here’s a short, but hopefully helpful list of questions you should be asking before you hire the caterer.
1.Do you still have availability for my date? It’s important (especially with how busy wedding vendors have become) to check in with the caterer to make sure they still have availability for your wedding day before you go into details.
2. Do you deliver, set up, and provide full-service? If you’re hiring a caterer, it’s likely you’ll need them to deliver and set up. Depending on if the meals are plated, buffet style, self-serve buffet, or cocktail reception style you may need full-service or some kind of serving team. Inquire with the caterer if that’s a service you can add on and what that costs.
3. Do you have a set menu or packages we must work with or can you work with us to customize a menu? Are you a picky eater? Do you have a certain vision in mind for what you’d like to eat at your wedding? Are you hoping they have packages that take those decisions off of your plate (literally)? It’ll all depend on the kind of foodies you and your partner are, but a set menu may or may not work for you. Some caterers will work with you to customize a menu, whereas others may only offer specific packages.
4. Can you accommodate specific food allergies or dietary restrictions our guests may have? (vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, kosher etc.) This is highly important for anyone who has specific dietary restrictions and allergies. Your caterer should be able to appropriately accommodate you and your entire wedding’s needs and do so without making your life hard.
5. Will we be able to do a tasting before we book? Will the tasting be an extra charge? If you’re worried about the food and want to make sure you’ll be completely satisfied on your wedding day, ask them to do a tasting before you commit and book them. Each business will be different so double check to see if there will be a charge to do a tasting, or if this fee will be waived once you book them after the tasting. It’s always better to go into these types of things fully informed, never assume it’s free.
6. Do you provide alcohol and a bartender, if not can you refer someone? If alcohol is a must and your venue doesn’t already offer alcohol, see if this is something your caterer can help you out with. The less vendors you have to hire and coordinate the easier it’ll be for you. If they don’t provide this service, they may have a recommendation for you. It doesn’t hurt to ask.
7. Do you do wedding cakes or desserts, if not can you refer someone? Like I said before, if you can find a one stop shop and not need to reach out to even more vendors to coordinate, do it! If they don’t do these additional services in house, they may be able to recommend another vendor or two who can help you out.
8. Is there a different meal option for children and the vendors working the event? If your wedding will include children, then the adult meals they offer may not be a good fit for little ones. See if they have options to accommodate children and what the age limit is. These meals will also typically be more affordable since kids don’t eat quite as much. They may also offer different meals for vendors, but check your vendor contracts, because they may require you to provide them with the same meals your guests receive.
9. Are there additional fees, gratuities, taxes, etc.? When are the deposit and final payment due? I always say it’s better to be over prepared than in the dark, so ask about all the additional fees for delivery, gratuity, administrative fees, etc. Will you have to factor in tipping out the staff? Will there be any state or other types of taxes that might be applicable? From there you should ask when you need to submit the deposit to secure your date and when final payment is due.
10. When do you need the final guest/specific meal count by? (this will help you determine your rsvp deadline) Last, but certainly not least, when do they need your final head and meal counts confirmed? Knowing this will help you build in an rsvp deadline for your guests. You should also give yourself some cushion time to chase after the stragglers who don’t respond on time (I know, rude lol but it happens).
And that my friends is the top 10 questions you should ask your caterer. I hope this helps you narrow the search and make an informed decision on one of what I think is one of the most important pieces to your wedding day, FOOD! Bon appetit!
Click here or click the photo above for a printable version that you can take with you when you meet with your caterer!
Photo Credits: Megan Moura
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