Food and drink will consume the largest portion of your wedding budget, so it’s incredibly important to choose the right caterer for your celebration. Before you sign a contract, go ahead and pepper them with questions. Here is a comprehensive list of all the questions you should probably ask to ensure you’re communicating exactly what you need.
1. What can you prepare within our budget?
One of the largest line items in your wedding budget will undoubtedly be your food and drink. Before you get started with the finer details let the caterer know your budget, so they can give you an idea of what they can prepare for you within that amount.
2. What services are included?
When you are looking at the caterer’s quote, it is important to know what you are getting for the price. Beyond the food, what services are you paying for? Things like table-side water service, wine pouring, and tray-passed appetizers are aspects of the meal you might not think about, but they contribute to the overall experience of your wedding meal.
3. Will you be present on the day or will it be someone else? Will you take on the role of coordinator, deciding when to serve the food and cut the cake?
Your wedding caterer is a huge part of your wedding day and they need to be organized and reliable. So if the person that you are meeting isn’t the one who will be present on the day itself, make sure you get an introduction ahead of time.
4. Have you ever catered an event at my venue?
Having experience at your venue is definitely a plus, but even if a potential caterer has never done an event at your wedding venue, they should have a plan for how they will execute your meal in a new space.
One thing to remember is that the configuration of your wedding venue can determine what type of meal will work best, so you want a caterer who will have some understanding of the space before the big day.
5. What are you licensed for?
Paperwork is the least fun part of wedding planning, but it has to get done. Talk to your wedding caterer about what they are licensed for (liquor, etc.) and what you need to provide.
6. How many weddings have you catered before?
A caterer who is new to the wedding world is not necessarily a bad choice —they can bring a fresh energy to your event and typically at a lower cost. But this is also a good question to ask if you are thinking about asking your favorite restaurant to cater your big day. Wedding catering is very different from sending out great meals in a restaurant setting, so it is a good idea to find out if they have ever done it before.
7. Do you prepare special diet meals?
If you have guests with dietary restrictions, make sure to inquire about what they can make for those friends and family. If they don’t prepare special meals, you can always get those dishes elsewhere, but it’s good to be aware before you make your decision.
8. Can you provide children’s and vendors’ meals? How much will they cost? Are they included in the price above?
Normally, children’s meals will be cheaper than the adult ones, as would the vendor ones, as they don’t need to be as lavish as the others.
9. What type of contingency plans will be in place?
Back-up plans are always a good thing for things like illness, traffic delays, and staffing issues. Ask them about what they have in place in case one of these unfortunate (albeit rare) incidents occur.