Great food and wedding receptions go hand in hand, so selecting the perfect caterer is important. And while it may seem complicated at first, we’re here to walk you through the major considerations in picking a caterer that will work perfectly for your wedding!
In your first meeting with a potential caterer, discuss these specific items:
The magnitude of your budget may end up determining what type of food, style of service, etc. you can most reasonably afford. It may even determine when food will be served, as food served in the evening is typically more expensive than food served in the morning or early afternoon. The big question is: Can this caterer work within your budget?
* Quick Note: If you find yourself with a smaller catering budget, there are 4 great options we recommend that may help you stretch your catering budget, as the food served at these times are typically less expensive. Consider a Cocktail Reception, Brunch, Afternoon Tea or Dessert Reception instead of an expansive dinner.
Type of Reception
Based on your personal preferences, the wedding timeline and your budget, which type of reception would best suit your needs and their capabilities?
Style of Service
What style of service most aligns with your vision, and are they able to execute? You can discuss how each service style influences the atmosphere, formality and flow of the reception.
Is the caterer willing to offer variety both from their menu and for your guests? Are they creative? Can they customize the menu to suit your personal preferences and tastes? You can learn some of this information by asking to see their menu and having them tell you of catering experiences they have customized in the past.
If you have any cultural, religious, or dietary restrictions that must be taken into account, be sure to let your caterer know up front. They need to understand the limitations and requirements before agreeing to cater your event.
Discussing these major items will help you decide whether or not you’d like to work with a particular caterer. Once you’ve given them the “green light,” it is good practice to put together a tentative menu for budgeting purposes, but don’t feel like you have to end up with the first draft. Be creative and make some changes once you get closer to the reception date.
Another important note: It’s ideal to plan the menu and conduct the tasting when the foods you will be serving will be in season, so don’t try to tackle the menu tasting too far ahead of time. This also allows for the caterer to give you a more accurate price, as food is a commodity and price can fluctuate over time.
Catering is typically the number one expenditure for most couples, so open communication with your caterer is important and should be taken seriously. Most importantly, be honest with your expectations and give feedback throughout the entire process.
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