Getting married? That’s really cool, and I hope you are aware of all the wedding related preparations. Yes, a lot of things are to be done before you say those two words to your significant other. Well, if you’re among those lucky couples who get everything included in their wedding package (Thanks to the Wedding Planners!) then you have saved a pretty good deal for yourself. However, others who do not go for the complete wedding packages then they need to arrange for all the wedding vendors including their caterer.
Food is an essential part of your wedding. You believe it or not, most of your guests will come for the sumptuous meal which will be there at the wedding. And for that the choice of caterer and catering staff is crucial to make sure that the service is top notch. Your wedding food will acquire the largest portion of your wedding budget. Definitely you would want your wedding meal to be perfect.
If you are struggling to hire a caterer for your wedding then worry not! Because in this article we are sharing with you the top tips to find the best wedding caterer for your wedding. Here we go…
1. As a first step you need to decide your catering budget
Well, if you are planning to find the best caterer for your wedding, the first thing you need to do is to decide your catering budget. Obviously, deciding a budget before starting your vendor search will help you find caterers in your budget and avoid any clash later. In fact, your caterer will also be able to put together all the options such as menu items, staff, other arrangement, etc. within your budget.
2. Search Online
We are privileged to be in the era of technologies, which allows us to have internet driven smart phones, laptops and computers. If you want to find out caterers for your wedding, just do online research and you will get n number of options. So, use technology and find out the best caterer there, just at the comfort of your home. Searching online will give you an ease of getting full details about many caterers in the town, that too in one go. Moreover, this will give you privilege to narrow down your list by removing the one who do not serve your purpose.
3. Ask for recommendations
Wedding industry is huge and widely spread. For a good caterer you can take referrals or ask for recommendations from your relatives, friends or known people who had hired someone in recent time. More often than not, wedding vendors through some reference turn out to be best overall. As, the people you take reference from are trustworthy and you will get the right reviews from them about the quality of food and services of the caterer.
4. Take recommendation from your venue manager
Another best option is to take suggestion or recommendations from your venue, they can be a great help while searching for a good caterer for your wedding. More often than not, wedding venues have connections with other wedding vendors and they can provide you the details of one in your budget. But, make sure you do not just rely on your venue people, check personally about the food and services of the caterer before you hire them. Interview the caterer, get the details, and check their license or certificate, read reviews about them.
5. Get at least 4 – 5 quotes
Don’t just finalize the first caterer you meet. Wedding industry today is full of vendors and they are all ready to provide services even in the most competitive rates. So, it is your duty to approach at least 4- 5 different caterers and take quotations from all of them. Taking multiple quotations will help you compare and contrast their services, food options, and the cost. Tell them the number of guests expected at the wedding. Accordingly you will want the manpower also such as waiters, bartenders, coordinators and chef for your wedding day.
6. Check liquor prices with caterer
If your wedding dinner consist alcohol also, then find out the prices of alcohol your caterer is offering. If you find it expensive then you can arrange alcohol supply from elsewhere. Also, check with the catering company if they will provide bartenders when you buy liquor from outside or not. Because if they won’t, then you will have to take care of bartenders also. And do check if any temporary liquor license is required to be arranged when you buy from outside.
7. Ask about the other arrangements
Mostly dining hall décor and seating arrangement is taken care by the venue itself but if your venue is not providing tables, chairs, dinnerware, linens, décor etc. then ask your caterer if he/she does. Also, the best will be to go for the venue which provides almost everything, otherwise it becomes task to handle too many vendors at a time.
8. Read reviews
Seeing somebody’s profile may attract you so much that you may find a particular caterer good enough to go with. But it is always wise to read their reviews. Reviews are customer’s feedback on their pages about their services. Mostly these reviews are very helpful to make a final decision. People leave feedback based on their own experience with the caterer, his staff, his services, and his detailing, etc. So, it is important you read all those reviews before making a final choice. Also, see the number of reviews on the page, if they are just few then maybe the caterer is very new in the market.
9. Meet your caterer personally
Do not just hire a vendor based on reference or web profile. It is always good to meet your caterer personally. It may seem a task for you to spare time from your busy schedule for a meeting. But believe me, it will help you to know more about the caterer and his services. You will be able to make out about his attitude and behavior towards his client.
10. Pay attention to the communication and overall behavior of catering staff
Well, while you hire a caterer it’s not just the food you hire him for. In fact there are several other aspects such as the service and the language of the staff, to be considered while you book the caterer finally. It is crucial to see how the staff behaves. Anybody can cook good food, but not necessarily they serve it the same way. Make sure the staff is polite, well-mannered, decent looking, well-behaved, well-dressed, have basic etiquette, aware of their duties and responsibilities, possess basic training etc., before you finalize your caterer.
11. Check staff availability
Make sure you check the staff availability with your caterer beforehand. You will need staff for serving food, liquor, etc., the size of staff will depend on the size of your wedding. If yours is a big fat wedding then you will surely need many people to see every guest is well attended. However, if your wedding is an intimate event then less number of people will be required. Whatever the case maybe, check with your caterer if he will be able to provide required staff. And if he doesn’t then see what can be done.
12. Avoid caterer who is over booked
There will be many caterers who will be over-booked and still will be ready to take up your job. But you have to see that, it may turn to be chaotic later. Its better you avoid wedding caterers who are overly-booked on the same day as your booking. If you will choose such a caterer, chances are he won’t be able to give proper attention to your work. That may spoil the overall quality of food and poor quality of services, thereby leaving you and your guests disappointed. No point!!
13. Check available menu options
Also, only booking a caterer will not be enough, do consider their menu options and review the caterer’s specialties. Make sure that the caterer you are booking is suitable for your wedding event and his services are matching to your needs. Discuss various menu options with caterer. Also, if any of your guest or guests have some dietary restrictions then your caterer should know that too. So that he can take care of their needs separately.
14. Read terms and conditions of wedding caterer
Before you finally book your wedding caterer, make sure you read all the terms and condition and understand them carefully. Understand the payment schedules, their cancellation policy, condition to change the guest count or menu, and other related policies very carefully. Having a clear understanding of these policies and terms and conditions in advance will help you avoid any kind of dispute which may occur later.
15. Arrange for menu tastings or taste samples
Make sure the caterer you are hiring arranges for the menu tasting before bookings. However, many caterers do not provide for menus tastings. But to know how their food tastes in real is crucial part of your booking. Some catering companies arrange for menu tasting sessions at a very low cost like $40-$50 per person to try 4-5 dishes, and it’s worth paying that cost and know the taste of the food in advance. Because later you cannot do anything except to regret your decision. If your caterer organize no such event then ask your caterer for sample.
16. Ask questions in case of any doubt
If you have any doubt, it is good you ask questions and clear it. Getting all your queries cleared beforehand is indispensable. See you don’t have to fear anything, after all it is the matter of your wedding and you are paying for the catering services. Its better in case of any doubt you ask as many questions as possible to your Wedding Caterer. Even if you want you can prepare a questionnaire and take that questionnaire when you meet your caterer in person. It will avoid any kind of chaos later. Your questions will help you have complete clarity. Ask about each and every service that is offered by the wedding caterer. Also, get details about the pricing of each and every service separately.
17. Finalize your menu with the caterer
If you have read and checked everything, now this is the time to finalize your menu with the caterer and submit all the required details related to your wedding with him.
18. Sign the contract with the caterer
Last but not the least, once you have finalized the proposal with the caterer, it’s time to sign the contract with the caterer. Make sure you sign it even if the caterer is known to you or referred by some close friend or relative. Contract should contain details like menu items, head counts, total cost of food and drinks (if any), the catering staff, bartenders, and cost of other services.
This is it, now you know that finding the best caterer is not a big deal. It just need your time and efforts initially to make things easy for you. Use these simple tips and find your best caterer. Make sure you use your discretion along with these tips while finding the right caterer for your wedding. Remember, each vendor at your wedding can make huge difference in the overall wedding experience. So, choose the right caterer and feed your guests with the most wonderful delicacies at your wedding. Your guests will also not hesitate to admire you for the selection of food items and the taste of the food. Be attentive and careful while you hire a caterer finally, consider every aspect and services offered by him. The idea is not to fall prey of any shrewd caterer and get best services.
Decide the best menu for your wedding, include finger licking items. Let your guest savor on the most delicious and sumptuous food items at your wedding.