Anna Pope, APSU Junior, Public Relations
Food is a big portion of your wedding reception, and your wedding budget, so you need to make sure that it is delicious. You also need to make sure they will come through and be able to provide you with everything you need on your wedding day. Here are 10 questions to ask potential caterers.
1.) What services are included in the package price?
You need to know what you are getting upfront because most caterers offer add-ons for an additional cost. Usually you will pay a set price per person but this cost differs depending on what items you choose to serve.
2.) What services are not included in the package price?
You also need to understand that they might charge additional fees for traveling to your venue, setting up, tearing down and etc. Figure out if this cost is included in the initial quote.
3.) What ingredients do you use and where do they come from?
You need to make sure you understand what you are paying for. If a caterer gets higher quality ingredients from locally sourced places, it will be more expensive than if a caterer gets average quality ingredients in bulk for the weddings they cater. You also need to determine if you are willing to pay more for the higher quality ingredients or if you want to go with a cheaper caterer that can also provide you with what you need.
4.) Do you provide buffet style and plated style dinners?
Most caterers provide both buffet style and plated style dinners. Buffet style dinners are typically casual, while plated style dinners are more formal. Figure out if you want your event to be casual or formal before you talk to a caterer.
5.) How will the food be prepared at my wedding?
The venue that you choose may or may not have a kitchen. Also, caterers may also prefer to cook the food ahead of time and transport it to the venue the day of the event. Both options of where the food is fixed can play a role in how good the food is. If transported, you need to make sure it can be adequately heated or cooled before it is served to your guests.
6.) Who handles the rentals?
Before you meet with caterers, figure out what the venue will provide. They might have tables, chairs, linens, barware, heaters, and tableware. All of these are necessary to serve your guests. If the venue does not have these available you need to ask your caterer if they bring their own heaters, barware, tableware, and tables to set up and serve on. They might have an additional rental charge if you have them bring their own equipment.
7.)How flexible are you about working with me to make the menu?
Some caterers can only fix what they list in their menu for you to choose from. Others are more flexible and are willing to do special items if they are adequately compensated. Usually this means that you have to pay more but it is worth it to get what you want.
You also need to keep in mind all of the food allergies of your guests and make sure that their plates are taken care of. This may cost extra but you have to be considerate and take care of them. I have 2 vegans and a diabetic with celiac disease coming to my wedding, so this means I have to have extra food prepared for them and set aside beforehand. Make sure your caterer understands the severity of their food allergy.
8.) What food items do you suggest?
Trust your caterers. They know what foods are best and what they are best at preparing. They also know what is safe for different types of events. So, if you are worried about pleasing everyone in attendance, ask what your caterer would serve everyone.
9.) Do you have tastings?
It is best to taste your food before your wedding so that you provide your guests with high quality, good food. You also need to make sure that the food you provide will satisfy the taste buds of most people in attendance. That way everyone can stay full, satisfied, and happy.
10.) What will the dishes look like at the wedding?
Plating of dishes, while not the most important, is still important. Make sure that the food prepared looks good so that people want to eat it. If something looks strange, people will not be as welcome to the idea of trying it. Plating can also make your event fancier if it is done correctly.