Nowadays its quite unusual to find venues that accept outside caterers. Most of the venues already have expensive packages that you are forced to buy to have the venue of your dreams.
If the bride is lucky enough to find one of those venues the next step is to find the best caterer that will suit all your needs as food and drinks are usually the largest portion of your wedding budget. So, if you’re struggling to figure out exactly how to feed your guests, consider these tips for finding a wedding caterer that’s right for you.
- Ask your venue for suggestions and requirements.
Most venues will have a list of preferred vendors. It’s comforting to know that the caterers have worked at the venue before and have lived up to their high standards. But that doesn’t mean you have to go with a preferred vendor feel free to look for the local option. If none of the caterers on their list feel right, ask your venue about the requirements they have for other caterers and start a research yourself.
- Have a clear budget before you begin.
Don’t email caterers until you know what you’re willing to spend. Coming up with a food and drink budget early not only helps you figure out which companies you can afford to hire, it also allows those companies to cater — pun intended — their proposal to your needs. A budget allows a caterer to realistically pull together options — seated, family style, canapes etc- within your means.
- Get multiple proposals.
Get multiple proposals from companies so you can compare the costs, service and menu options. And ask for specifics! It’s your job to tell the caterer how many guests your are expecting and what style affair you’re having, but it’s their job to propose the number of appetizers, courses, waiters, bartenders, coordinators, and chefs.
- Ask about tables and dinnerware.
If your venue doesn’t provide, tables, crockery or glasses, find out if the caterers do. Most do, or partner with a rental company that does. While this may be an extra fee, coordinating these essential rentals through one company will be a lot easier than balancing two or three companies to set your tables.
- Arrange for tastings with your top 3 choices.
A lot of catering companies do not provide tastings until you’ve signed something. There are a few ways to get around this rule. First, see if the company attends expos or holds special events. If your caterer doesn’t hold events, offer to pay a small fee for a mini tasting. A reasonable price would be $40-$50 per person to try 3-5.
- Read reviews.
Before you sign any contract, read reviews from previous clients or talk to friends and family who have used their services before. Quality of the wait staff, attention to detail, and making sure the bride and groom are fed are details that can make or break a wedding — and you wouldn’t know how they stack up without the experience of other brides and grooms.
- Sign the contract and choose your menu.
Sign the contract after creating a finalized proposal, which outlines the total cost of your food and drink, including the menu, the catering staff, and any additional fees. Set up a time for a tasting of your full menu. Pro tip: If you changed your mind about a menu item, replace it before your actual tasting. You should be trying all of the food you expect to see at the wedding then and may not have another chance to try swaps after your final tasting.
Check out a few of our weddings and enquiry about our services and customized menus 😊. Chef Cris Feldens