Questions to Ask Your Caterer
Food plays an important role in the wedding festivities, so
you'll want to take plenty of time and care when choosing
your caterer. Here are some great questions to ask your caterer
to ensure that you have a great "wedding feast"
without any surprises!
Menu Options and Reception Styles - There
is so much variety and choice when it comes to menu selection.
It's no longer "chicken" or "beef". You
can have a traditional sit down dinner, buffet, food stations
or cocktail reception. It all depends on your personal preference
Budget - Let your caterer know your budget
up front. Don’t assume that a buffet or food stations
is less expensive than a sit down dinner. Remember, it depends
more on what type of food you serve that determines the price.
Food Preparation - Does the caterer use all
fresh food and produce? Will any of the food for the reception
be previously frozen? Most of the "top notch" caterers
do not use any frozen foods or anything that comes from a
Taste Testing - Ask if your caterer will
do a "tasting". This is where the bride and groom
can go sample and taste some of the caterer’s dishes.
Leftovers - Ask what is done with the leftover
food. Particularly, if you are having a buffet or food stations
there can be food leftover. Some brides choose to have the
leftover food given to a homeless shelter or similar charity
Many couples don’t get a chance to eat much or really
enjoy the food during the reception because they're so busy
with their guests. So, ask your caterer to prepare a "leftover
basket" with a sampling of all the delicious hors d’oeuvres,
main dishes and even dessert. Late that night, the bride and
groom can enjoy a wonderful, romantic picnic for two!
Family Recipes - Ask if dishes can be prepared that
are not included on the regular menu. Some brides have a special
"family" dish they'd like or a particular type of
ethnic food prepared. This is a great way to really personalize
your dinner and reception.
Guaranteed Numbers - Many caterers will quote
prices based upon a certain number or minimum number of guests.
For instance, many caterers base their figures on a minimum
of 100 guests. If you’re final guest count is for only
80 guests, there may be an additional fee.
Wedding Cake - Do they offer wedding cakes?
Is a wedding cake included in the price? Is there an additional
cake cutting fee?
Tax and Gratuities - Are they included in
the price? Are there any additional fees that are not included
in the quote or proposal?
Ratio of Servers to Guests - Now, this can
vary depending on the type of reception you have. One good
rule of thumb is to have one server for every 8-10 guests.
Dress Code for Wait Staff - Will they be
dressed formally in a black and white tuxedo look?
Decorations - Ask to see pictures of their
table displays. Some caterers that do buffets or food stations
will include floral arrangements and other decorations. As
your wedding plans progress, talk to your caterer about your
color theme so that all decorations and floral arrangements
Tableware and Linens - Does the price include
table linens, napkins, dishes, and glassware? Ask to see samples.
Remember, if you don’t like the tableware or linens
they offer, most everything can be rented, but usually at
an additional price!
Menu Board - A recent trend when doing buffets
or food stations is to have a menu board. This when the names
of the entrees and items served are scrolled elegantly onto
a piece of paper displayed on a board or in a picture frame.
Many guests love to know the names or what’s in those
delicious dishes they'll be eating.
Licenses - Your caterer should be licensed
by the state. Most display their license in their office,
but if you're not sure, ask!
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