When it comes to wedding planning, one of the most important decisions you’ll make is choosing a wedding caterer. The food and drinks served at your wedding can make or break the entire event, so it’s crucial to find a caterer who can provide delicious and high-quality cuisine that fits your budget and preferences.
A good caterer will not only provide delicious food, but also help create a memorable dining experience for you and your guests. It’s important to do your research and choose a caterer who can accommodate your budget, dietary restrictions, and overall vision for your big day.
You might experience some sticker shock when you first start contacting caterers and asking about prices. However, it’s important to remember that catering involves more than just the food. Caterers also provide services such as staffing, equipment rentals, and setup/cleanup, which can all contribute to the overall cost. It’s important to discuss your budget with potential caterers to find a solution that works for both parties.
Here is an essential guide for choosing the right company for your wedding catering needs.
Set your budget
Many couples make the mistake of believing that the higher the cost of catering, the better the food; this is not always the case. It is important to research and taste test different catering options to ensure that the food is not only delicious but also fits within your budget. Sometimes, less expensive catering options can surprise you with their quality and flavor.
Set aside some money for catering. You can begin contacting wedding caterers once you’ve determined how much you’re willing to spend. Those caterers can give you a reasonable estimate of what they can do for you with a predetermined sum of money.
It’s crucial to adhere to your budget once you’ve established one. Refrain from including items on your menu that aren’t necessary just because they are offered. Avoid extra costs by sticking to the essentials and selecting items that you know your guests will enjoy.
Ask about your venue
Some venues work with local caterers, while others may have their own. Request a list of wedding caterers who have worked at that venue and whom they recommend. This will help you to narrow down your options and ensure that the caterer you choose is familiar with the venue’s facilities and policies. Additionally, it may be helpful to schedule a tasting with the recommended caterers to ensure that their food meets your expectations.
Guest count counts!
It suggests that you slightly underestimate the number of guests you will have, but for good reason. You want this figure to be as close to your expectations as possible so that you can accurately estimate any potential costs. Consider this: If you overestimate the number of attendees, you’ll waste money that could be used to improve other aspects of your event. However, if you underestimate the number of guests, they might leave a little hungry and with fewer appetizers in their stomachs. Therefore, it is crucial to have an accurate estimate of the number of attendees to ensure that you are not overspending or undeserving. One way to do this is by sending out RSVPs and following up with guests who have not responded.
Guest count dictates the amount of seating that will be needed, which can influence how a room is set. It dictates the number of servers and bartenders needed to make the event a success. It helps the culinary staff plan ahead to be sure there are not only enough chefs available for your event, but also helps them ensure they are giving themselves the proper amount of time to prepare for your event. Yet, most importantly, it helps determine the quantity needed for both food and beverage in order to provide enough for your guests.
Many people nowadays follow various diets, have unique eating habits, and/or suffer from food allergies. As a host, you must learn about and be aware of your guests’ dietary needs. It may appear difficult, but it is critical to be aware of any dietary restrictions; otherwise, your guests may feel hungry and excluded. It is always a good idea to ask your guests about their dietary preferences and restrictions before planning the menu. Ask your prospective caterer how they can modify their menu to accommodate these requirements. It’s acceptable to request a tasting session to assist you in making your food selection. In most instances, this ought to be offered at no cost.
To begin, including an RSVP food allergies and dietary requirements area on your wedding response card is one of the simplest ways to start the process of wedding guest dietary requirements. There are several ways to accomplish this and make your guests feel catered to. It can be difficult to accommodate guests’ food allergies and dietary restrictions. But that doesn’t mean you have to plan your entire wedding menu around them. Having food options available allows everyone to enjoy the day to the fullest. Additionally, having a variety of options available can ensure that everyone has something to eat and feels included in the meal.
Arrange for food tastings!
It’s one thing to read the wedding reception menu, but tasting the food is even more important. Because every venue, restaurant, and caterer cooks and prepares food differently, you’ll want to make sure everything tastes exactly how you expect it to on the big day.
Food tasting will assist you in determining who can prepare delectable dishes and serve them with great presentation. To determine the ideal food package and wedding setup, first participate in a food tasting. A caterer can answer your questions and address your concerns during a food tasting. Once you’ve found your dream caterer, all that remains is to select the menu, sign the contract, and schedule a final tasting before the big day!
What are included?
When hiring a wedding caterer, it is critical to understand what your money is buying and what it is not. Numerous catering companies offer packages and tiers to accommodate your budget. Plan out the layout of your event and the level of specificity you want to include in each course. Inquire about the cost of non-alcoholic beverages and whether hors d’oeuvres are included or extra with your potential caterer.
Smaller wedding cakes are also available from many caterers. Even though it’s probably best to have your main wedding cake made by a professional baker, having a smaller dessert or groom’s cake available can allow for an additional cake cutting with a flavor other than the main cake.
Additionally, ask your caterer in advance if they can offer the extras. To be more precise, linen, flowers, table settings, china, cutlery, and bar services. It will be simpler for you to coordinate and carry out your plan if you choose to work with a caterer who can provide all or the majority of these add-ons. Not only will it make the planning process smoother, but it can also save you time and money in the long run by bundling services. Having a caterer who can provide all of these elements ensures that they will work seamlessly together to create a cohesive and beautiful event.
Recommendation and reviews
Once you’ve narrowed down your search, you can begin reading online reviews to get a sense of what previous customers are saying. A single review may not provide much information, but a pattern of similar comments can give you a good idea of what to anticipate. Reading a lot of reviews can give you confidence that you’re making the right choice and can help you guide your food choices.
If you know of anyone who has used a particular caterer you are considering, get their feedback as well. The waiters’ demeanor and attention to detail (as well as ensuring the bride and groom get their food!) are all important factors that can make or break your reception, and feedback from previous clients can help.
When you’ve decided on a catering company for your wedding, request a contract and make sure to read it thoroughly. Ask any questions you may have, and pay close attention to the payment schedule so you can understand when fees are due. When you’re satisfied with the proposal and contract, sign and prepare for one of the most exciting meals of your life!