Guest Post By Ashley Kinsela
Choosing a wedding reception caterer can be tricky. From choosing a catering company before trying their food, to making sure that their services provided are top notch, the caterer can be the most overwhelming hire on your wedding to-do list. So, here are some tips to help you choose the right wedding reception caterer:
#1. Figure out your budget:
Don’t email any wedding caterers until you know what you’re willing to spend. Having a clear idea about the food and drink budget early on will help you figure out which companies you can afford to hire, and it will also allow them to present their proposals according to your needs. A budget allows a caterer to realistically pull together options — seated, family-style, or buffet — within your means.
#2. Ask your venue for suggestions and requirements:
Most venues will have a list of preferred caterers which can give you a head start in your search. It is comforting to know that the caterer has already worked with the venue and has lived up to their expectations. But that doesn’t mean that you have to go with those caterers. If none of the caterers on their list feel right, ask your venue if they have requirements for other caterers. This is important because many venues require the approval of the caterer and may also require proof of various certificates and licenses that they need to conduct their services on their property.
#3. Get multiple proposals:
Get multiple proposals from companies so you can compare the cost, services, and menu options. And ask for specifics! It’s your job to tell the caterer how many guests you are expecting, but it’s their job to propose the number of appetizers, courses, waiters, bartenders, coordinators, and chefs. Review the cost of alcohol to decide if you should get your bar supplies elsewhere. Many catering companies allow you to buy the alcohol separately and still will provide a bartender.
#4. Ask about linens and dinnerware:
Ask if the catering company would provide you with the linens and dinnerware. Most do, and if they don’t, you will likely need to find a rental company that does.
#5. Pay attention to their communication:
How the food tastes is a key component to any catering company, but how they treat their clients is even more important. If a company is not responding promptly or gets details like your names, wedding date, or the number of guests wrong in their proposal, then that company should be crossed off your list.
#6. Arrange for tastings:
Food tastings can be tricky when you are choosing a wedding caterer. A lot of catering companies do not provide tastings until you have signed any contract. So, if you would really like to taste the food ahead of time, see that if they plan to attend any upcoming bridal expos or special events. If you are ok waiting for your tasting, you can add a clause to your contract stating that if you don’t like the food you can dissolve the contract.
#7. Read the reviews:
Before deciding the wedding reception caterers of your choice, read reviews from the previous clients or talk to friends and family who have used their services. Many negatives reviews is an obvious bad sign.