Choosing the Right Caterer for Your Wedding Reception
– References, References, References –
Your upcoming wedding will be one of the most important days of your life and planning a wedding reception and locating all of the perfect service providers for your day can seem formidable. But, no worries, we’re here to help you find that perfect caterer for your reception. As with any wedding vendor, getting good references will go a long way in determining who the right caterer is for your rehearsal dinner and/or wedding reception. A caterer’s food and menu may look good, taste good and be plentiful and affordable, however, if they have a reputation for arriving late or hiring poorly groomed employees (things you won’t discover until it’s too late), the damage has been done. Avoid wedding day horrors like these by asking for 10 or more references, the standard in the catering industry. Any professional caterer should be delighted to provide you with a list of their most recent weddings along with the bride and groom’s contact information.
– Simple, Elegant and Affordable –
It has been said, “Simplicity is the Mother of Beauty.” Ask the caterer what types of accessories they use to enhance their food tables. An experienced caterer can take a very simple wedding menu and transform it into a spectacular spread; therefore, you won’t need additional food selections. If you’re on a strict budget, and the caterer is properly equipped with table-enhancing decorations, you can easily overcome that nightmare budget and experience your long, awaited dream reception.
– Calm Before The Storm –
During your search for a caterer, you’ll soon discover many personality types in the industry. Hurried caterers are typically individuals who don’t seem organized and are not very eager to discuss the finer points of your wedding. However, calm and relaxed caterers surround themselves with a strong staff, which allows them the luxury of spending quality time with each and every one of their clients. Calm is key when you’re planning a wedding reception for the most important day of your life.
– Licensed and Insured –
Ask for a copy of the company business license and proof of liability insurance. The insurance policy should be a minimum of 1 million dollars in coverage.
– Signing on the Dotted Line –
Always sign a contact with your chosen caterer. This guarantees that they will provide the services, labor, food, timelines and all the details discussed pertaining to your wedding. Should the caterer pack up and disappear prior to your wedding, you have a signed document that’s enforceable by law.
-Wrapping It Up –
Some of the best catering companies will prepare a small box of food for the newlyweds to take with them as they depart from the reception venue. It’s a great way of saying, “Thank you, congratulations and enjoy your new lives together.”
Questions to Ask a Prospective Caterer
May I have a list of references?
Does your company cater more than one event at a time?
Will you be present at my wedding?
How much of a deposit do you require?
Is the deposit refundable?
How soon before the wedding do you need the final count?
When is the final payment due?
What are your preferred forms of payment?
Do you provide the wedding cake? Groom’s cake?
What does the price-per-person include? Tables & chairs? Linens? Real china and glassware? Cutting the cake(s)? Punch Service?
Are we required to pay full price for small children?
Would you be willing to meet me at my reception site to draw up a floor plan?
Are we expected to tip your staff?
Can we get a discount if we use all nice disposable wares?
How much time do you need to set up?
Do you take away all the trash when you leave?
How will your staff be dressed? Will they have nametags?
How many staff members would be working my wedding?
What are your bartending rates?
Will you announce to our guests to go ahead and enjoy the refreshments while we’re having last-minute pictures made?
Do you have a business license?
Do you have liability insurance? How much coverage?
Do you have a health department permit?
If we provide the alcohol, can you provide us with a bartender?
Will you pack us a small box of food before we leave?