Wedding Caterer Questions to Ask
Choosing a good caterer for your wedding reception is an important part of the wedding planning process. After all, everyone will be eating the food and you want people to remember how good it was, right? This can be a daunting task so here are some of the many things that should be taken into consideration:
Will they be willing to include a recipe you provide, like a special family dish, or an appetizer with some sort of sentimental significance? Can they prepare vegetarian or other special meal needs for just a few of your guests? Some caterers are very flexible, while others have a set menu that they stick to.
Where will they prepare the food? Will they prepare it on-site? If so do they need a tent? This will help you determine if you'll need to rent anything extra for them.
Do they work with fresh (not frozen) food? Fresh food always tastes better!
Do they have all the necessary licenses and health permits, including a liquor license? This question speaks for itself!
Do they provide alcohol or can you purchase the alcohol yourself? If you provide then is there a corkage fee? In most cases purchasing your own alcohol will save you money.
Do they provide the mixers and ice for the bar? It's often much easier for the caterer to provide these things.
How will they arrange the food on the buffet table or on plates? Can you see photos of previous work displays? Taste is very important but so is presentation.
Will they give you references to couples who had a similar number of guests and similar style of menu? Also Google them to find any reviews on them from past clients. Websites like Wedding Wire and The Knot are good resources.
Does the staff provide janitorial service and garbage disposal? What is the bridal party expected to clean up? It's nice not to have to clean up a mess after the wedding. But if you do you want to make sure you're prepared so you have someone to do the clean up.
When is the final head count due? This is important to know when deciding on your RSVP date for the invitations. Make sure to leave a few extra days to call those that don't respond.
How much is a deposit to hold the date? Also find out when the remainder is due.
Are there special prices for children’s meals and/or vendor meals? Many caterers will provide a special children's meal. Some will provide a less expensive meal for your vendors (like the photographer, DJ, and planner).
Is set-up and clean-up included in the final price? Again you want to be prepared for anything that's not included.
What is their leftover policy? Will they let you take home the leftovers? Will they pack them up for you?
You can see additional questions on my blog at The Examiner.