10 Questions To Ask Your Wedding Caterer Before Choosing a Menu
Food plays an integral role in every wedding. It sets the tone for your reception and provides a starting point for conversation if guests don’t know each other too well. It’s also something everyone remembers. That’s why it’s crucial that you have someone who you can trust completely to take care of all the catering. Here are answers to 10 questions to ask a wedding caterer.
Whether you opt for a private chef that comes with their own team, a catering company that specifically does weddings or the in-house caterers that are part of your venue package, there are some crucial factors that enter the equation.
Let’s explore the 10 questions every couple needs answers to before deciding how they want to cater to their wedding guests. Here’s what you need to know upfront:
What is Your Availability for the Day?
A caterer is unlikely to focus on just one job at a time. They run a business and need to have a constant influx of work. It’s important that you feel confident that the caterer you choose will have enough hands focused on your requirements and that they aren’t going to be stretched too thin with other clients.
Have You Catered a Wedding Before?
It’s not a train smash if they haven’t, but it is something you should ask. The caterer may have experience making food for large events, just not a wedding. Alternatively, they may be branching out into a new avenue of business. Take a look at their track record and see if you feel confident with what they’re saying.
Do You Offer Options – Plated, Buffet, or Family Style?
Depending on the size of your guest list, some caterers may insist on a specific style of service. It’s important to know the option limitations from the get-go so that you can plan accordingly at your venue. A buffet needs space for the food to be laid out, while a plated service needs more servers.
Do You Charge Per Person or a Bulk Fee?
Budgeting for a wedding can be the hardest part of planning, and food is generally a major expense. Caterers will often charge per person who they’re feeding. However, if your guest list is large enough, they may consider giving you a bulk rate that brings the charges down. It’s always worth asking.
What are Your Requirements for the Venue?
This question is less important if you’re using the in-house caterer, but it’s still a good one to ask. The in-house caterer may need to take up space in the venue that you were thinking of using for something else. For an external caterer, this question is vital.
You need to know that your caterer and venue are compatible.
What Other Services or Equipment Do You Supply?
Whether you’re going in-house or with an external caterer, you still need to know what is supplied.
Some caterers have servers that they use and are included in their quote, others will need to quote separately depending on how many servers you require. The same goes for cutlery and crockery, which is especially important if your venue doesn’t provide them.
If you’re opting for a buffet, you need to know if the caterer has the right equipment for keeping the food warm or chilled, as well as whether or not there are tables for the food.
How Much Set-Up and Tear Down Time Do You Need?
The logistics of your wedding day are as important as the food’s logistics. Make sure you talk to your caterer about exactly how long they need at the venue before they start serving. Additionally, find out if they must do the actual preparing and cooking of the food at the venue or if they’ll transport the food already made.
Then, you need to know what the caterer’s plan for cleaning up and moving out of the venue is. They may need room to wash everything at the venue or simply pack everything up and move out. You should also ask about leftover food and what the plan for dealing with that is.
Can You Deal with Special Dietary Requests?
In today’s world, special dietary requirements are fairly commonplace. Even in a small wedding, you’re likely to have people who are vegan or vegetarian or people who are on a banting or keto diet. There are plenty of intolerances and allergies to take into account too.
This is why it’s so important to ensure that your caterer can accommodate these requests properly. You don’t want a situation where your caterer doesn’t understand a serious nut allergy or accidentally gives someone who’s gluten intolerant food they shouldn’t eat.
Do You Have a Cancellation Policy?
It’s not nice to think about, but you should always have a contingency in your plan in case you need to cancel or postpone your wedding day. There are so many reasons why you need to change your plans, so it’s always best to prepare for the worst-case scenario.
With a caterer, you’re likely going to have to pay them a deposit. Find out when that deposit is refundable up until, or what kind of timeframe they work to.
When Do You Need the Final Head Count By?
The size of your wedding reception plays a major role in many of your caterer’s decisions. You’ll need to inform them upfront how many guests you’re inviting so that they can plan accordingly.
Then, you’ll need to establish when you need to provide a final head count of guests who have RSVPed yes. This number may differ somewhat from your original figure and your caterers will need to plan accordingly.
Take The Stress Out Of Catering
There are so many elements to planning a wedding. While you may want to do certain parts yourself, like making your wedding bouquet or creating décor, it’s always best to leave the catering to the professionals.
To give yourself complete peace of mind, ensure that you ask these questions and that your caterer is on the same page. Then, you can sit back, relax and enjoy your special day. And don’t forget to eat!