If your venue doesn’t have in house catering, or even if they do but you have the option to compare outside suppliers as well, you will need to start looking for a reliable wedding catering. Every bride will have her own ideas about how she wants to work with the caterer and the qualities that are important, but here are ten things you might want to look for when choosing wedding caterers:
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- Top quality caterers should be prepared to schedule a menu tasting before you sign the contract, or well in advance of the wedding. Be wary of those that don’t offer this service. The food samples provided at a tasting will be the caterer’s best work, so if you’re not totally sure about those you will need to look elsewhere.
- A confident caterer will be able to give you all the information you need at your first meeting. When you leave you should know an approximate cost per guest (and whether that is a flat rate or dependent on menu items), what is included in the price, and what extra services the caterer can provide.
- High quality caterers usually specialize in a certain type of cooking, so if you want a scrumptious wedding breakfast, find a caterer with a signature dish that complements the style or theme of your wedding. Don’t be afraid to go for something unusual such as ethnic food instead of standard wedding fare.
- Ask your caterer for a recent reference, and when you speak to the bride in question ask her very specific questions such as the number of guests she had, whether the food was served and presented well, whether it was hot and tasty when it arrived, whether the waiting staff were well dressed and polite, and whether the catering was what she expected.
- Creativity is a requirement of a good caterer, so find one that can suggest alternatives and unusual dishes to suit your budget and wedding theme. Perhaps an expensive signature dish that you love could be adapted using less pricey ingredients?
- Look for a caterer that can also provide your wedding cake, or that doesn’t mind you using a different baker if you have already found one. Find out if they will charge you a fee for cutting and serving the cake.
- Some caterers are happy to get involved in aspects of the wedding other that simply the food to make sure your day runs smoothly. Ask whether they will decorate the tables, get guests seated for dinner on time, or announce the cutting of the cake.
If you have very specific requirements, your caterer should be able to meet these.
- Perhaps you want a significant family dish cooked, or you need something special for vegetarians or children in the wedding party.
- Find a caterer that shares your values about food. If you only want free range, organic, locally produced, seasonal, or fair trade produce, find a caterer that can provide this.
- A wedding caterer should be able to provide everything necessary, such as tables and chairs, linen, cutlery, crockery, a cake stand and catering equipment. If they don’t have these items, they may be able to arrange to hire them on your behalf at a discounted rate.
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