How to Find the Best Wedding Caterer: 20 Questions to Ask
Few days are as important or symbolic as your wedding day. It's the day when you and the most important person in your life vow to love and cherish one another for the rest of your lives. It's a day that will be forever immortalized in memories, pictures, videos, and the vows you maintain.
To pull off the perfect wedding day, you need to plan some things ahead of schedule. This includes wedding catering.
After all, you should feed your guests well to celebrate this important day with you. But how do you find the best wedding caterer?
We believe it comes down to asking the right questions. There's a lot you need to know before choosing a wedding caterer, and we can help. Keep reading for 20 questions to ask a caterer to make sure you hire the best professional for your wedding.
1. Are You Available on the Date of My Wedding?
One of the most obvious and essential catering questions revolves around scheduling. Make sure the caterer you're interested in hiring is available on your wedding day. Otherwise, nothing else in this article matters.
For most soon-to-be brides and grooms, the date of their wedding is significant. As such, you probably won't be willing to alter your wedding date to accommodate a specific caterer.
2. Do You Have Any Other Events That Day?
Some of the best wedding caterers are larger organizations that can handle multiple events in a single day. Yet, it never hurts to ask what else they've committed to on your wedding day.
For example, if a smaller catering company has an event just before yours, many things can disrupt its timeline. If they don't have enough staffing, this could spell trouble for your wedding.
3. What Types of Food Do do You Offer?
Of course, when choosing a wedding caterer, you need to find out what types of foods they offer their clients. Do they make offer multi-course meals consisting of high-quality meats? What about seafood options?
Additionally, think beyond the entrees about appetizers, desserts, and sides. People have vastly different tastes when it comes to food. You need to make sure you're providing food all of your guests can appreciate.
4. Can I See a Menu?
If you're not sure what types of food you want to serve at your wedding, ask to see a menu. This is one of the most important questions to ask a caterer. It will give you a good idea of the types of foods they offer and their serving style.
For example, please take a look at some of our menus to find inspiration for your wedding. We can also modify our menus to fit your specific needs.
5. Can You Provide Food Options for Special Diets?
When looking for a "wedding caterer near me," it might be essential to find a company with food options for special dietary needs. The best wedding caterer will go out of their way to ensure there is something on their menu for everyone.
For example, if you and your soon-to-be spouse don't eat meat, we offer vegan and vegetarian wedding catering. We also provide foods for gluten-intolerant people, lactose intolerant, allergic to soy, and more.
6. Do You Also Provide Wedding Cakes?
Sometimes, you can simplify the complexities of planning a wedding by using wedding catering services that also provide wedding cakes.
Choosing a wedding caterer with this option can save you time and money. Ask to see pictures of some of their previous wedding cakes to get a good idea of what they have to offer.
7. Do You Cook On-Site or in Another Location?
Depending on your wedding venue, it might be essential to ask your wedding caterer where they prepare the food. For example, if they prepare the food at the wedding site, they may not cater to outdoor weddings.
Alternatively, the wedding venue you choose might not have the necessary facilities for an on-site wedding caterer. The best wedding caterers will provide you with plenty of options and solutions.
8. Do You Set Up Tables for Dining?
Other important catering questions revolve around the dining tables. Will the catering company set up each table? Do they provide all the necessary materials, such as:
Ask if this is something they provide. If so, what are your options in terms of style and decor?
9. Do You Offer Cleanup Services?
Next, when looking for a "wedding caterer near me," find out if they handle any of the cleaning duties. They'll clean up after themselves, but what about the tables? Will they collect the dishes and take care of the food scraps?
10. How Much Space Will Your Crew Need at the Venue?
Depending on the size of your wedding and the size of your wedding venue, it might be important to ask the wedding catering services how much space they'll need to operate.
Based on the specifics of your wedding, how many staff members will be present? What will they do when they're not actively serving people or preparing food?
11. How Do You Charge for Your Catering Services?
When planning a wedding, you always need to pay attention to your wedding budget. Find out how much the wedding caterer charges for their services based on what you're looking for.
Do they charge a bulk fee or per guest? The best wedding caterers will be upfront about their pricing and help you find a solution based on your budget.
12. Can We Keep Any Leftovers?
One of the most overlooked questions to ask a caterer is what happens to the leftovers after the wedding? Can you keep the food that isn't eaten? After all, if you're paying for the food, you should be able to have some say over what happens to it.
13. Do You Serve Individual Dishes or Buffet-Style Courses?
Some people like the idea of their wedding guests being served individual dishes. It can be a little more elegant than sending them through a buffet line.
Conversely, individual dishes require individual orders and a lot more organization. You might also prefer a buffet where guests can walk through the line and get what they want.
Ask your wedding cater which options they provide.
14. Do You Need an Accurate Headcount and Order List Before the Wedding Day?
If you're planning a wedding where your guests order specific meals, find out how the wedding caterer handles the orders. How soon do they need to have a complete list of orders? Will they need a final headcount a few days before the wedding?
15. What Beverages Do You Supply?
When choosing a wedding caterer, ask about their beverage options. Do they provide drinks as well as food?
If they do provide drinks, does this include alcoholic beverages? Whether they supply alcohol or something you need to handle, will the catering company provide bartending services?
16. Have You Ever Handled a Wedding This Size?
If you have a huge guest list, one of the most important questions to ask a caterer is their experience handling similar weddings. Do they have the staffing, equipment, and resources necessary? Will the size of your guest list affect the quality of wedding catering services they provide?
17. Do You Have Positive References and Reviews?
The best wedding caterers will have plenty of positive reviews and testimonials from other clients. You can learn a lot about a service provider based on what others have to say about them.
Read what other brides and grooms have experienced with the wedding caterer you're planning on hiring. For example, look at our growing list of happy clients.
18. Do You Require a Down Payment?
Some of the most relevant catering questions revolve around your budget. Ask the catering company if they require a downpayment to secure the date of their services.
This is standard practice. By agreeing to cater your wedding, they are taking away their availability to other clients. As such, they need to be sure of your intentions.
19. What Is Your Cancellation Policy?
Following the same line of thought, find out about the wedding caterer's cancellation policy. Wedding dates get interrupted all the time.
It could be because of a funding problem or because an important guest can't make the date. It could be because of something else entirely. Regardless, find out what happens if you need to cancel or reschedule.
20. Do You Have Payment Plans, or Does the Bill Need to Be Paid in Full?
Finally, if your funding is limited, ask about the catering company's payment methods. For example, do they offer payment plans, or does everything need to be paid in full before the wedding (or soon after)? If you're working with a tight budget, the best wedding caterer might be the one who can meet your financial needs.
Looking for the Best Wedding Caterer for Your Big Day?
There's a lot to consider before choosing a wedding caterer.
Assuming you're not planning a last-minute wedding, take your time to make your choice. Ask the questions listed in this article to find the best wedding caterer for your special day.
And if you're ready to start exploring your options, we're here for you. Contact us today to find out more about our wedding catering services. We would love to be a part of your wedding day and take some of the duties and responsibilities off your shoulders.