Wedding day is one of the most memorable days of one's life and like everyone else; you must also have imagined a hundred different versions of your wedding day. In order for it to be the romantic and mushy wedding, you must have dreamt of everything, ranging from the wedding dress and makeup to decorations and food. Locking a reputable, skillful, and excellent caterer has to be on top of your “to-do wedding planning” list.
Hence, your first step to finding a good caterer is asking around. Couples with recent experiences of planning a wedding can give you some good advice as well as recommendations that will come very handy throughout the process. Once you have a list of a handful of caterers, interview each one to ensure that s/he is capable of handling all the responsibilities efficiently.
Make the process of hiring a caterer as easy as pie, by asking the following questions prior to sealing the deal:
1. What items and services does the cost-per-person cover?
When it comes to weddings, expenses are obvious collateral. Though it doesn’t mean that you have to shell out on wedding food only - there are other expenses as well. The cost-per-person can be either well under a few hundred bucks or higher, based on the kind of food and beverages served, along with the service charge and tax. Ask the caterer about the charges of every little thing including the food, beverages, linens, serving dishes or crockery, wait-staff, and additional service charges.
2. What is the compare cost-per-person expense of a buffet and a sit-down dinner?
While a buffet is a more casual kind of serving, a sit-down dinner is very classy and sophisticated. It is totally your call, but prior to deciding check and compare the price list of both.
3. Does the caterer provide wait-staff?
Hiring a caterer that provides a wait-staff comes highly recommended, because finding a well-trained and well-behaved wait-staff is a tiring task and since you already have your hands full, this is the last thing you would want to be taken care of.
4. Where will the food be prepared?
Some caterers have their own facilities wherein they prepare food and transport it to the venue. If that’s the case, you are good. If not, you will have to arrange for a facility at the wedding venue.
5. Will the caterer provide dining dishes and other equipment?
Most caterers only prepare and serve food, and for other arrangements, wedding organizers or banquet hall owners are responsible. However, some caterers like to take charge of everything including tables and chairs, dining dishes and silverware, table linens, salt-and-pepper shakers, table decorations, and more. So ask!
6. Will the caterer also manage other weddings on the same day or time as yours?
It’s better to have the caterer working only for you on your wedding day. Other catering commitments will pull away his/her focus, and you along with your guests, may not get the attention you require. Better still, ask him/her to cater to only your wedding as that means exclusivity and seamless operations.
7. Does the caterer charge a corkage fee if you provide alcohol?
There is no celebration without champagne, wine, or liquor and if you were to provide you own, there are chances that the caterer charges a corkage fee. Ask about the fee, better yet, ask several other questions regarding the bar:
•How much alcohol will be required for the suggested guest list?
•Can you arrange for the bar separately?
•If the caterer provides the drinks, does s/he offer flexible wine list and at what prices?
•Can you make special requests for liquor?
8. Will the caterer show his work portfolio?
Most caterers make decorative preparations at the food tables because a delightful display of food items is the first thing that attracts guests. So, don’t shy away from asking for the caterers’ portfolio.
9. Can we speak to your previous clients?
Get three to five references from every caterer, of which at least two had a somewhat similar menu and number of guests. When talking to the previous clients, ask them the following:
•Was the service was good enough?
•Was the caterer was easy to work with?
•Was the food savory, served on time and as required?
•Did any kind of problem pop up and how did the caterer deal with it?
10. Is advance payment required? What’s the payment process?
It is very likely that there are several other weddings on the same day as yours. And if the caterer you like is one of the best in town, others will be eyeing him/her as well. Therefore, booking the caterer in advance is imperative and make a deposit if need be. Ask whether it's refundable. While you are at it, ask questions regarding the final payment such as due date and mode of payment. When you make your decision, sign a written agreement, which guarantees that food and services shall be of the quality and efficiency as discussed.
When looking for that perfect caterer, give yourself enough time to finalize the service provider. Do not rush into a decision, as that will set you up for disappointment.