Questions To Ask Your Caterer
The food at your wedding comprises a large portion of your wedding budget and is a major factor in how your guests will experience your wedding day, you most certainly want to get this right! Here’s a sample of the kind of questions you’ll want to ask your wedding caterer.
- Does the caterer specialize in certain types of food or service?
- Is the caterer able to provide the couple with sample menus to review?
- What are the menu upgrade options (and what is the additional charge for each such option)?
- If you have a list of certain foods you absolutely don’t want, can the caterer comply?
- Is the caterer able to provide a vegan / vegetarian menu to a high standard?
- Is the caterer able to meet the specific dietary requirements of guests who may be diabetic or require gluten-free options?
- What is the estimated cost per person for a seated dinner / buffet dinner / cocktail reception?
- Will the hors d’oeuvres be pass-around service / buffet stations / a combination of both?
- Is VAT included in the price?
- What is the staff-to-guest ratio? Find out how many waiting staff members are required at your wedding. The average ratio is one waiter to every 8-10 guests. You may want to increase numbers for improved service so enquire how much extra staff will cost.
- What is the charge for each waiter? Waiting staff are not included in the amount charged by the caterer and tips for the waiting staff will need to be paid separately, often provided to the catering manager to distribute, or this may be taken care of for you by your wedding planner.
- What is the charge for the catering manager?
- Is there an additional fee for staff overtime?
- How will the staff be dressed? Within the limits provided, have them dress in the best way to match your wedding.
- Does the caterer provide a children’s meal? What does this include and what is the cost?
- Is the caterer able to provide wine for the meal? If so, how much is this? Compare this offer to that provided by the bar vendor.
- Does the caterer’s cost cover linens, utensils, dishes and glassware? What is the cost?
- Will the caterer feed the photographer, videographer, DJ, musicians? If not, does the caterer provide a less expensive meal option for these vendors?
- What is the guarantee requirement for number of guests?
- Does the caterer have both a license and liability insurance? If so, what does this cover?
- Can you review their standard contract?
- What’s the cancellation policy? Is the deposit refundable?
- What happens to leftover food? Can you arrange for the food to be donated to a local soup kitchen or charity?
- Will the caterer handle all table settings? Will they put out place cards, menus and favors?
Get all estimates in writing; contracts should state what food and drink is to be served, how many waiting staff will be needed and a provision to inform the caterer of the final number of expected guests at least a week before the wedding.
Arrange for a menu tasting to try some options for each course of the meal.
If planning your wedding on your own, this guide should help get you started on the right track. If working with a wedding planning service, they will be able to recommend tried and tested catering services to match your requirements and needs in the best possible way. They will also be in touch with the caterer so they can work out the details without using you as a middleman.
Whichever option you choose, make sure to review the terms and know what you’re getting into in advance.