Your Wedding Caterer
When you start searching for the perfect catering company, various questions should be asked in order for you to get all the necessary information up front, and allow you to accurately compare competitors’ prices.
Questions to Ask – Costs
There are numerous things you need to know before committing to a particular caterer for your wedding. Some of the basics include asking if services are available for the date you have set, and how long the caterer has been in business. Has the company catered weddings before? If so, how many? Have they ever catered your venue before? Can they provide references? What are their refund and cancellation policies?
Below is a list of cost and business related matters to discuss with any potential caterer you consider:
- Ask if the company is licensed, then inquire whether or not they are also licensed to serve alcohol.
- Ask whether they will assist with decoration setup, including centerpieces and linens.
- Find out if the caterer will set up and break down tables, folding chairs, etc., before and after the event, and if there is an extra charge.
- Find out the price differences between serving styles (e.g. family style versus buffet).
- Ask specifically which serving option is the least expensive and most appropriate based on the cuisine you prefer and the style of your event.
- Are there fees for menu/individual plate changes?
- Ask if there are special packages available that could cut costs? What do they include?
- Ask whether the caterer can suggest other vendors you have yet to decide on, such as a decorator or wedding band.
- Ask if a tasting can be provided, and if so, what is the cost?
- What precisely is the caterer responsible for in regards to cleanup and garbage disposal? (Even caterers who provide great service will skip out on a lot of the cleanup if terms aren’t agreed upon beforehand.)
- Is there an additional charge if the event runs overtime?
- Ask how leftovers are handled. (Will the caterer be willing to wrap them up for guests to take home, or perhaps donate the food to a nearby shelter?)
- Ask for details regarding the breakdown of pricing.
- Ask if gratuity is included.
- Ask about acceptable payment methods, and find out what the deposit will be.
- Ask if there is a deposit required to reserve the specific date you have in mind.
- Ask when the final payment is due.
- Are there any additional fees that you may not be aware of?
- What are the refund/cancellation policies?
- Find out how soon you can expect a written contract following an agreement to hire.
- If future alterations have to be made to the service/menu/etc. is it possible to acquire a revised contract and new bill estimate?
- By when must a final headcount be provided?
- Find out if there are any special permits or insurance you must obtain.
Questions to Ask – Food and Presentation
You must be sure to ask everything you can regarding food and presentation. For example, will glassware and silverware be provided? Will the caterer provide tables and chairs if your venue does not, and you are not obtaining these items from another source? Are upgrades available?
Below is a list of items that should be addressed before choosing your wedding caterer.
- Will a coordinator be provided to make sure everything runs smoothly and stays on schedule the day of? Is there an extra charge?
- Ask to see a sample of the glassware, plates, and silverware options. Ask to see table and chair setups, or photos of events the company has catered in the past.
- Ask how many servers will be provided compared to the number of guests you invite.
- Find out how the wait staff will dress.
- Ask if fresh ingredients are used, and where they are sourced. What, if any, ingredients are organic, and can the menu be built around them?
- Ask if table decorations, or specialty options like chocolate fountains, are available.
- Do they make wedding cakes? If so, how much will it cost when added to the bill?
- Is there a cutting fee whether or not they supply the cake?
- Can they do a dessert table?
- Find out the serving styles they offer for appetizers.
- Are children’s meals priced differently than adult portions?
- How are vendors’ meals priced?
- Ask what dishes might be recommend for your event.
- Ask if special dietary restrictions can be accommodated, recipes modified, and which dishes are most popular.
- Is the menu customizable? Is there an existing menu that can be altered or used as a baseline?
Questions to Ask – Drinks
- Finally, we come to drinks. Below is a list of refreshment related inquires to make when interviewing potential caterers.
- Will they provide alcohol, mixers, garnish (e.g. lemon wedges, olives, limes), glassware, and bar service?
- What brands of alcohol do they serve? Can this list be modified, and if so, at what additional cost?
- If alcohol is provided through another source, can the caterer still provide bartenders?
- Are specialty cocktails part of their services?
- What is the corkage fee? What if wine/champagne is provided by another party?
- What precisely is the breakdown for pricing? Is it per person or based on the total amount?
- Ask for pricing of non-alcoholic beverages.
- Find out if the champagne toast will cost extra.
- Can wine be served with dinner?
- How long can alcohol be served?
- Is there the option of a coffee/tea service, and how does this factor into the total bill?
- What brands/types of coffee and/or tea are provided?
Food For Thought
Having trouble finding your perfect wedding caterer? You can trust Food For Thought to meet all your needs. We take care of every major and minor detail, going above and beyond to turn our clients’ dreams into reality. For over thirty years we have been catering all kinds of events, from product launches to weddings and fashion shows. Call us, or check out our website, to learn a little more about our services. We promise, you’ll be glad you did.