The Complete Guide to Choosing a Wedding Caterer: Everything to Know
Updated: Oct 6, 2022
Will you be tying the knot soon? Are you a little nervous about getting the details right?
Elements like choosing a wedding caterer and selecting the venue may seem small, but they are actually critical to the success of your day. You want your guests to feel that they were treated to the finest cuisine and an excellent atmosphere.
It may seem like there are a lot of options for wedding caterers out there. Yet a little research can help you determine the right one for your big day.
Here's what you need to know about finding the best company for your wedding catering experience.
You can do a basic internet search and get lots of ideas for your wedding caterer. It helps to choose someone in your neighborhood, as they will probably be familiar with your venue and the size and scope of typical weddings. You'll also have to worry less about things like traffic slowing them down.
Recommendations can give you real assurance that you're making a good decision. Ask friends or family members who got married recently who they would recommend and why. Social media community groups are also a good place to get recommendations.
Was the food tasty and abundant? Was the staff friendly and helpful? Were there any unexpected costs or problems?
You can also ask your caterer directly if they can give you the names of at least three references that you can talk to about their experience.
Once you've narrowed down your search, you can set to work reading online reviews to get an idea of what former clients are saying. You may not get a lot of information from a single review, but a pattern of similar comments can give you a strong idea of what to expect.
For example, maybe several former clients remark on a particularly good server who you'll want to make sure you get. Or maybe many have commented on the excellent prices or a dish you'll want your wedding guests to try.
Reading lots of reviews can give you the confidence that you're making a good decision and help you to guide your food choices.
Check Out The Menus
It's your day, is it's important that the food you serve is in keeping with your tastes. Maybe you'd like to have party stations available during your cocktail hour. These could involve a carving station, grilled cheese station, or even a mac and cheese bar!
The cocktail hour is when your guests will be ready to chow down, so make sure you've got plenty of options to keep them happy. You'll also want to think about whether you'll want passed appetizers or more stationary options.
You may want to consider a buffet dinner at your wedding reception, as this allows everyone to find something. If you've got a fun crowd, they may prefer a themed buffet with different ethnic or cultural options. These could include a luau, a Chinese dinner, or even a Thanksgiving feast!
If you prefer a sit-down dinner, your guests can avoid the lines involved in a buffet. However, you'll want to find out what options your caterer has available.
Sample It Yourself
Lots of menu options look fabulous in print. But a wedding is a big investment, and you'll want to make sure you're guests are going to be satisfied.
Your caterer may offer a free or discount sampling if you're serious about choosing them. Make sure you get an opportunity to try out the food before making a final decision.
While lots of caterers have predetermined menus, yours should be willing to work with you to create the perfect day. For example, maybe you'd prefer some Vegan options or want to swap out one of your pasta dishes. The right caterer will not be so rigid that they can't accommodate the needs of your party.
Think About Your Budget
While we all wish we could have everything we wanted on our wedding day, your budget will impact the decision you make. Your venue and catering together will probably account for about 40% of your budget. Once you've chosen your ideal location, figure out how much you've got left to spend on food and service.
You may need to adjust your menu based on your budget. A buffet-style dinner, for example, will cost you less than a plated one. You'll also want to think about things like your guest count and your geographical location.
You can get at least three estimates from local caterers before making your final decision. They should be similar in terms of serving style and food choices.
The best caterer for you, however, isn't necessarily the least expensive. You'll want to make sure to take quality into account as well. The right caterer will write down everything that's included in the price before you hire them.
Remember that you're the customer, and you won't want to be surprised on your big day. Go ahead and ask your caterer any questions you may have beforehand.
For example, what is the cancelation policy, and is there a separate fee for beverages? Is there a deposit required? Will the chef who created your samples be the same one who cooks on the wedding day?
Don't be afraid to be very specific when making this important decision.
Choosing A Wedding Caterer
Choosing a wedding caterer is an important part of your big day. With the right research and some careful planning, your guests will be singing your praises in no time.
Don't stop getting smart about your wedding caterer now. For quality wedding packages and service in your area, contact us today.