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It’s no secret that catering and venue rental fees are some of the largest costs an engaged couple will encounter in their wedding planning process. They’re also some of the first vendors to book when first engaged especially since it defines the entire ambiance of the wedding and affects every following detail!
Before even walking into the catering company’s office to meet with a Sales Manager, it’s best to do a little research beforehand and narrow down a few choices that might be a good fit for you and your fiancé. This is also the time to make a list of questions and concerns you’ll want to address with the caterer when you meet with them in person. Not sure what questions should be on your list? Here are the top five things you should be asking at your next catering appointment:
1. What Styles of Catering Can You Do?
Believe it or not, not all caterers will be able to service your dream culinary experience. Some caterers will specialize in buffet and food station type catering, while others will do anything from buffet to served to hors d’oeuvres parties. This also includes the cuisine.
Are you looking at incorporating a unique menu, such as international food options? Be sure to ask your caterer about this in the beginning. If they don’t have the resources to prepare the style and type of food you’re looking for, you may need to reconsider using this caterer.
2. Where Can You Cater?
Although many venues allow outside catering, there are just as many that have an exclusive list of caterers you must choose from. And still other venues require that you use one specific caterer. This could really narrow down the options for you which could be a great thing if the listed caterers have positive reputations in your area. Even if you’re undecided on your choice of venue at this point, be sure to at least ask the caterer where they are able to cater.
3. Is There a Food and Beverage Minimum?
A food and beverage minimum is the total cost of JUST the food and beverage at your wedding…and some caterers will require either a food and beverage minimum or guest count minimum in order for them to cater your wedding. If your food and beverage minimum is $10,000, but you were just hoping to do an hors d’oeuvres reception, you may end up with some pretty fancy hors d’oeuvres just to fill this cost. If your wedding will be 50 people or under, asking what the minimum count is that the catering company can service should be at the top of your list.
4. Do You Provide Your Own Service Staff?
You would be surprised at the difference in attentive and detail-oriented service when comparing self-staffed events and outside-staffed events. Catering companies that provide their own service staff likely require them to go through standard company protocols when they first get hired meaning everyone will be on the same page with your event from day one. Catering companies that routinely bring in outside people to staff their event (especially when these people are always changing) is a possible red flag you may want to take into account.
5. What is Your Cancellation Policy?
OK, I get it. No one really wants to think about having to utilize the company’s cancellation policy. At the same time, it is certainly a big detail you don’t want to skim over. Take the time to ask about this company policy and what payments and obligations may come along with it. It’s better to be 100% prepared for any situation throughout the planning process than to be blindsided by a whopping cancellation fee.
Be smart about doing your research beforehand on the catering choices in your area prior to meeting with them in person. Come prepared with questions, concerns, and a fairly good idea of what you’re looking for at your wedding and you’ll be on track with choosing the perfect caterer for your big day.
About the Author
Jenna Stratman is the Marketing Coordinator at Ces & Judy’s Catering and official writer of the company blog. She brings instructional content, event documentation, and trendy industry ideas to readers and followers. Connect with Jenna on Google+ or any of the Ces & Judy’s social media channels: