How to Choose a Wedding Caterer
Having the right wedding caterer can make or break your wedding reception. The importance of choosing the right wedding caterer can’t be understated, so make sure not to go into the selection process unprepared.
Decide What You Want in a Wedding Caterer
Before picking up the phone or getting on the Internet, you need to decide with your fiancé what kind of reception you envision. Is it a sit-down dinner or a buffet? Is dessert served? What about appetizers before the meal?
You also need to draw up a catering budget. The industry average for catered meals is between $14 to $39 per guest. Approach potential caterers like you would a car salesman: know the threshold of your budget, but don’t divulge it right away.
Questions for Wedding Caterers
Once you know what you want and you’ve drawn up a catering budget for your wedding reception, you can start to interview prospective caterers (hopefully your married friends will be able to provide you with some recommendations.) Before making a final decision, you should ask about the following:
Start with the obvious. Is the caterer available on your wedding date and will they travel to your reception location? If not, don’t waste their time or yours and move on to the next caterer.
Costs and payment policies
When discussing costs, make sure to ask for the “out the door” cost to avoid getting surprised by extra charges and fees tacked on after the fact. Get the estimate in writing before you sign a contract. You also want to ask about payment plans, deposits, and when the full balance is due
Every event catering service has a specialty. Do they do many weddings? Are they buffets or table service dinners? What are their typical menu items? Can they make something to order that is important to you? It’s best to work with a caterer who is strong in the areas that are most important to you.
Ask the caterer for at least two or three references. Call and ask them what their experience was like. What did they like and dislike about the caterer? Would they hire the caterer all over again? Checking up on their references should alert you to any disastrous caterers you should avoid.
Never sign with any caterer who won’t do a taste testing before the big night. You want to know how the food is going to look, smell, and taste to your guests before signing on the dotted line.
Your budget should be just one of the many factors that you consider when choosing a wedding caterer. Being prepared with your expectations and a list of questions when you start evaluating potential catering services will help you make the best decision possible.
♥ Jenny Evans
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