How to Choose your Perfect Caterer
I love good food and anything homemade just tastes better. I cook intuitively, because I grew up sitting at the countertop observing my dad create delicious dishes while never following a recipe. I appreciate home cooked meals, so when my guy was slicing veggies with a nice set of knives I knew I had found my perfect match. To me there is nothing better than spending an evening in the kitchen preparing a meal, enjoying it with those I love, and making lasting memories.
One of the things I love most about food is how it brings people together around a common table. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate your devotion to your forever partner than enjoying great tasting food with your closest family and friends.Your special meal should be memorable, but where do you start? Most of us have never planned a wedding reception dinner before, and if you have, let’s face it, times have changed. What if I were to say that choosing your caterer and menu could be fun? Because it totally can, and it should be!
Therefore, whether you’re a foodie like me or not, we can at least agree that you want to serve tasty food, not dried out chicken or bland salmon, while at the same time being treated with the respect and attention you deserve. In order to help simplify and take out some of the stress of this daunting process, I have prepared for you a step-by-step guide of how to select a caterer, including a list of questions that you should think and ask about throughout your planning experience.
Where should I look to find a caterer?
Congratulations you’ve saved the date! But have you decided where you want to get married? This is important, because you can’t fill in the details until you know where you are holding your ceremony and reception. Book your location first.
After your venue is checked off your list, ask if they offer a list of preferred caterers. This means you’ll only be able to choose a caterer from their list, however, if that is not the case, then begin your search process at weddingwire.com, theknot.com, ask for recommendations on Facebook, and use a search engine to locate caterers in your area.
You can also try to attend a bridal show where you will be able to sample foods and meet the personalities behind the dishes. Don’t forget to read guest reviews as they may be helpful in narrowing down your list. Also, be nosy and troll their photos on social media, so you can get a taste for their style and presentation. To sum up this section, here’s your checklist:
Is there anything I should know before contacting a caterer?
So you’ve booked your venue and made a list of potential caterers, but hold on one second! Before contacting anyone on your list make a quick note of these few things:
I realize having an exact head count can be tough, but gauge a range like 75-100 people. Also, keep in mind approximately 20% of your invitees will unfortunately not be able to attend your special day.
As far as budget, after your venue, the cost of your caterer will be your next big wedding expense. Therefore, your budget will help determine your menu, serving style, and other details.
What questions should I ask them?
The first question to ask your caterer is if they are available on your wedding day. Next, ask about their booking process and what steps are required to secure your date. This is important, because you don’t want someone else to snatch your caterer!
If the caterer is available, then it’s time to have some fun. Many caterers offer a wide range of menu options, so discuss your desires with them. Don’t be shy to ask the caterer if they can make a desired dish that’s not listed, because most can personalize your menu.
At this time you will also need to consider your serving style. Are you looking for a formal plated experience, an informal buffet, or something else? If you are on a limited budget, ask your caterer what options are available for you, because they should be able to create a menu and serving style to meet your specific needs.
Did you know that a caterer provides more than just food? Be sure to ask what is included in their service. For example, do they supply a bar, servers, cake slicing, chinaware, linens, etc. or are these provided by your venue? Some caterers also design and bake wedding cakes, so be sure to ask:
I’ve found some caterers that I like, but how do I pick one?
This is my favorite part, because you finally have a menu prepared within your budget and now’s the time to arrange for a tasting. Most caterers offer a complimentary tasting, which is important as it will allow you to fully understand and appreciate the quality and love they put into their food and customer service. Don’t be afraid to book tastings with all of your top catering options, to be sure that you will choose your best caterer, because after all this will be your family and friends most memorable meal.
Also, don’t forget that it’s not just about the taste, but how does it look? Be sure to visit their website and social media pages so you can not only check out their food presentations, but also read more reviews from previous brides and guests. Your short and sweet checklist:
Have you found your perfect catering match?
You must be thinking what can possibly be left? But, I have to ask you, has your experience with your preferred cater been fun and stress-free? You need to consider how the caterer has been listening to your ideas and vision, as well as communicating with you in a timely and respectful manner. Receiving outstanding customer service is almost as important as the quality of the food. You would never return to a restaurant where the service was terrible, so be sure to know that the catering team will be enthusiastic and professional when serving your guests on your special day.
If everything on your list is marked off, from tasting a delicious homemade meal to receiving outstanding service from your initial inquiry to your tasting session, then you should be able to rest assured that you have chosen the perfect caterer for your wedding day.
Congratulations and cheers!
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Think about choosing your serving style as you would saying yes to your wedding dress. Are you formal and detailed, more casual and free flowing, or somewhere in the middle? Similar in the way that yo (Read More)...