Finding a caterer for your wedding can be exciting and overwhelming at the same time. Luckily, there are some steps you can take to limit the overwhelm and keep things exciting.
Before you do anything, get a budget together. Having a budget will make sure that you have proper parameters in mind before you start talking to prospective caterers. This is also important because some caterers are more willing to make suggestions to fit your budget than others which creates a great litmus test for if a particular caterer is going to be a good fit for you.
Another thing to get a handle of before calling caterers is your date. Having your date or dates handy will allow you to make sure that any caterer you call is available for your wedding before you have too much of a conversation.
A good place to start when you are looking at caterers is to get recommendations from friends and family. They know your tastes and they will know if the caterer they worked with will work for you.
With that said, even if your friend recommends a caterer be sure to call the references a caterer gives you. Better to do your due diligence than to find out they are hard to work with after you commit.
There are a few things that you really want to weigh heavily in your decision of a caterer. They are
- Do they specialize in the food you want?
- Are willing to customize a menu?
- Are familiar with your venue?
- Do they do events similar to yours regularly?
These items are really important since they build the framework of your theme and event.
Once you have asked your initial questions, pick at least 3 caterers and have a tasting. Make sure that what you sample is what you are ordering. This way you can know what you are purchasing. If they are not willing to let you sample your menu, choose a different caterer.
Before committing to a caterer make sure you receive a contract that lays out what food you are getting, for how many people, the event date and start time, any prep accommodations and removal fees that may apply. Another thing to make sure is outlined are corking fees, cake cutting fees, tips and overtime fees. Making sure everything is spelled out in a contract will limit day of surprises.
When you are comparing your contracts, make sure you are comparing apples to apples. Things like freshness of food, number of guests per server and prep accommodations needed vary from caterer to caterer. Some also separate fees out from the contract total so that they appear lower cost. Make sure to factor these things into the bottom line cost before committing.