Choosing a caterer for your wedding is probably the most important aspect of any wedding not only because the bulk of the cost for the wedding is in the food but also because, well ….. let’s face it, everyone talks about the food!
The type of caterer you should use will largely depend on where you are having your wedding. Many venues have their own caterers and do not allow outside staff in the facilities but there are other reception halls where you can bring in your own catering company.
If your wedding reception is at home, in a garden or hall then you can use any caterer available. Each caterer will have varying costs and fees depending on your choice of food. Before you visit a caterer you should have a list of what you need to have at the wedding as well as other things that you may want or desire but may not be absolutely necessary.
You should always interview several caterers before making your final choice. When interviewing you should determine what services they provide as some caterers provide food and wait service but may not include alcohol. Each caterer may provide a different set of services. Sometimes caterers will also include other parts of the wedding such as flowers and decorations. They can either make the cake or recommend a baker.
Reputable caterers will provide photos of other weddings they have done. You should carefully look at these photos, check the caterer’s references and taste their food before signing a contract. The contract should have everything spelled out in detail and if you are not satisfied then don’t sign it. If you have to question anything then there is not enough detail in the contract and you should have it rewritten to include answers to all your questions. As a bare minimum, the contract should include the agreed upon services, total price and a cancellation policy.
The fees for catering are generally calculated based on the number of guests. The amount and type of food will also influence the price and a 15% service charge is usually included. The majority of all caterers will require a minimum of 50% of the costs up front and others will require as much as 75%. They also will require a total quest count two weeks prior to the wedding. You should not pay the remainder of the balance until after the reception and only if you are satisfied with the service.
Some of the general questions you should ask the caterer include:
How many menu selections are there?
What are the different costs per person?
Is the caterer a full time caterer?
What types of events do they cater for?
What is the dress code for the staff?
Can they provide references and how much experience do they have with weddings?
There are many more specific questions to ask that will depend on the type of wedding you are planning.