5 Things to Look Out for When Hiring a Wedding Caterer
5 Things to Look Out for When Hiring a Wedding Caterer
When it comes to wedding planning, one of the most important decisions you’ll make is choosing a wedding caterer. After all, the food is one of the biggest things your guests will remember about your big day! Wedding catering packages can be overwhelming, and it’s hard to know where to start. Wedding planning can be stressful, so sometimes, having a wedding planner help you find catering services can help cut down extra time when filtering through catering companies. Not every couple is blessed with a wedding planner, so we’re here to help you with some expert tips if you are looking into wedding caterers yourself. Here are five things to look out for during your wedding caterer search:
What is their experience?
You don’t want to leave your wedding catering up to chance, so make sure you choose a caterer with plenty of event experience. Find a caterer with multiple events logged under their success book.
Look out for their specialty. Not all caterers are created equal, so finding a caterer with a forte is vital. Catering a wedding is different from catering a backyard graduation party or retirement party. Food choices at weddings typically aren’t finger-food and may have a more excellent presentation. Also, because weddings are such formal events, you’ll want to make sure your caterer is well-versed in table manners and service. Also, just because a restaurant has a catering service does not mean that they should cater for your wedding.
A red flag to look out for is a catering company with a lot of experience in other events but not weddings. Just because they have plenty of photos from catering biker rallies and birthday parties doesn’t mean that they can also cater your wedding. For this reason, it is essential to know how many weddings a “wedding caterer” has done.
When weeding through potential caterers, it is good for a catering company always to be certified or have liability insurance. Any professional wedding caterer worth their mettle should be able to provide you with proof of insurance or food safety certification. If they don’t have this or refuse to show you – steer clear and move on to the next wedding caterer.
Always ask your wedding venue for wedding caterer recommendations. Knowing that a caterer has an established relationship with your wedding venue is one less place for potential snags on your big day. Sometimes, you may even find that one of your venue’s additional services is event catering.
What is included?
When hiring a wedding caterer, it is essential to know what your money is buying – and what it isn’t. Many catering companies have packages and different tiers to fit your budget.
Think ahead about how you want your event to be structured and how many details you want to put into each course. Ask your potential caterer if hors d’oeuvres cost extra or are included, or if there are additional costs for non-alcoholic beverages. You would be surprised how quickly the catering costs add up.
It is important to keep your guests in mind when planning your menu. Make sure you cater to any dietary restrictions and choose dishes that will please a wide range of palates. Examples of this can include kids’ meals, vegetarian/vegan choices, or other restrictions like gluten-free or a peanut allergy. Depending on the needs of your guests, you may opt to create a completely custom menu for your wedding.
It is essential to schedule a tasting before selecting a menu. Not every caterer has free tasting services, so consider budgeting for a tasting. Your caterer should be able to work with you to come up with the perfect menu for your wedding. If they are unable to do this or seem uninterested, it may be time to move on to another caterer.
Many caterers also make smaller wedding cakes. While it’s probably best to get your main wedding cake from a dedicated baker, the option for a smaller dessert or groom’s cake can serve as another cake cutting in a different flavor than the main cake.
Cocktail hour is an important stage before the reception, where your guests will be mingling on-site while they wait for the venue to turnover. If your venue doesn’t have a bartender on-site, some wedding caterers also have a bartending service – it doesn’t hurt to double-check.
Don’t forget the details! If your venue doesn’t provide it, check if your caterer offers table settings. The delicious menu can easily get overlooked if you don’t have any plates to put it on!
After the first wave of Covid-19, many couples learned the importance of understanding a company’s cancellation policy in detail. Most couples wouldn’t want to cancel their wedding, but sometimes life throws us curveballs.
Be sure to understand your caterer’s cancellation policy before signing a contract. If you do have to cancel, will you get a refund? If not, what is their policy on rescheduling?
The global pandemic has also put a spotlight on food safety.
Do they have a plan in place if one of their staff members gets sick? Do they have a way to ensure that all food is stored correctly and serving utensils are clean? These are important questions to ask before hiring a caterer – especially during these uncertain times.
Be prepared for extra guests, you never know when someone may bring a plus-one without asking, or your second-cousin-once-removed forgot to RSVP. The right caterer will understand that your guest count may not be final, even if you think it is. Having an extra meal or two for those surprises is always a good idea.
Once you’ve decided on a caterer, get everything in writing. Doing this will protect you in case of any last-minute changes or cancellations.
Many couples make the mistake of thinking that the more expensive the catering, the better the food will be; this is not always the case. It is important to do your research and look at reviews from other couples who have used the catering company in the past. Just because a caterer is more expensive does not mean that they are the best option for your wedding. Don’t be afraid to shop around a little to figure out reasonable prices for your area.
Wedding catering can be expensive, so setting a budget in advance is important. Get quotes from a few different caterers and decide how much you’re willing to spend on food for your big day.
Once you’ve decided on a budget, it’s important to stick to it. Don’t be tempted to add unnecessary items to your menu just because they’re available. Stick to the basics and choose items that you know your guests will love while avoiding incurring additional fees.
Read the Reviews
Before you commit to hiring a caterer, be sure to schedule a tasting so you can try some of their food for yourself. Just because a few couples reviewed and enjoyed their meals does not mean that you will! Tasting the food for yourself will give you a good idea of what to expect on your big day.
Previous clients’ feedback on a meal service can help you weed out a lousy vendor from your list. Always look at photos, and keep an eye out for how the catering staff looks in addition to the menu. Hiring a wedding caterer involves more than just the meal being served.
The bottom line is that you should always feel confident and comfortable with your wedding caterer. It will only add more stress to an already hectic day if you do not. Do your research, ask around, and trust your gut. With a little bit of planning, you’re sure to find the perfect caterer for your big day.
Here’s a champagne toast to finding the perfect vendor for your special event within budget!
By following these tips, you can find the perfect catering company for your wedding. With a little bit of research and planning, you can have the wedding of your dreams – and delicious food to match!