Let’s face it, planning a wedding can be a stressful time. But when it comes to wedding catering it doesn’t have to be. Knowing what to ask before you book is essential. Wedding catering companies all operate differently. Some are full service (including the bar), others will just provide the food. It’s important to understand what you are getting up front. This will help eliminate any ‘nasty’ surprises down the track that could see your budget blow out.
Check off our list of what to ask before locking in your wedding caterer and you’ll be one step closer to smooth sailing into wedded bliss.
1) Are you licensed? Do you provide alcohol?
Some caterers are full service, others will only provide food. Make sure you ask this early on in your discussions and if they do provide alcohol, ensure they are licensed to do so.
2) Can I see a sample menu?
Your selected wedding caterer should be more than willing to show you a few options. Ask what their most popular wedding menus are and why they think these are the best options. You want to get a sense that your caterer is interested in you, your preferences and what you want for your special day and that they will listen to you and work with you to make your day just as you envisage.
3)Do you customise your menus?
If your caterer has ‘set menus’ don’t be afraid to ask whether they can make customisations. Often, having pre-set menus works as many people just don’t know where to start. Having some options laid out already often makes choosing a menu super simple. That said, if you see something on a set menu you don’t like, don’t be afraid to ask to swap it for something else. A good wedding caterer will be more than happy to oblige.
4)Do you cater to those with special dietary requirements or food allergies?
You should always ask your guests prior to your wedding whether anyone has any special dietary requirements. Ask your caterer whether they can cater to special requests and how long in advance they need to know details of which guests have special dietary requirements. Also ask them how they handle ‘curve balls’ on the day when great auntie Jean tells you she has just gone vegan!
5)What is included in your fees?
A really important questions to ask. Nothing ruins the run up to a wedding more than finding out that awesome caterer you have booked has hidden fees leaving you scrambling to find more money in your wedding budget to cover those additional costs. Ask ahead of time what is included in the quoted price, and what (if anything) is going to cost extra.
6)More a request than a question but ask for testimonials and to see reviews.
Some wedding caterers will offer tastings allowing you to try before you buy. Others wont but don’t let this dissuade you. Do your due diligence and check their online reviews. Or ask the caterer if they have any customers that you could call to get a reference/testimonial. Those with nothing to hide will be only to happy to share past reviews and testimonials.
7)How and when do I pay?
Make sure you know ahead of time your wedding caterer’s payment terms. Do you need to pay a deposit at time of booking? When is final payment required? Knowing this information up front will help you budget accordingly. As one of the most important companies involved in your special day, make sure you meet payment terms and keep your relationship in good standing.
8)How many staff will be there on the day of the wedding?
It is important to make sure that the wedding caterer provides enough staff to service the menu you have chosen. Don’t be shy in asking how many people will be on site? How many will be cooking or serving etc? Understanding how this side of things works will give you one less thing to worry about on the day. Ask for your main point on contact on the day and get their contact details in case you need to reach out to them.
9)Do you offer wedding cakes?
Great if they do! However many wedding catering companies wont offer cakes. More often than not they will leave that to a baking specialist. BUT you can bet your bottom dollar that they probably know someone who does so this so don’t be afraid to ask for a recommendation if you haven’t organised your cake yet.
10)How do you cater to children?
Ask whether the price is the same for kids? And if it is different what age ranges are classed as children. Do they offer special menus/items for children or will they be offered the same menu as adults?
11)Where and how will the food be prepared?
Depending on the type of catering service you choose food could be prepared off site and then transported to your location or cooked and then served on site. Make sure you understand and discuss with your caterer what this looks like for the menu you have selected and (if food is being cooked on site) that you discuss the requirements for this. Check if there are any additional fees for equipment rental and ensure that you will have adequate space, power etc for the caterer to be able to work effectively.
12)What happens to the leftovers?
Different companies have varying policies on leftover food. At Catering Catering we are more than happy to leave the leftovers with you (you paid for it afterall) but we recommend asking this question ahead of time so you understand what your wedding caterer’s policy is on this.
13)Are tables and chairs provided, what about plates and cutlery etc?
Never assume this is the case. Every catering company varies depending on the wedding catering package that you book. Most caterers will bring their cooking equipment, tables to serve food and crockery/cutlery etc (ie everything to do with cooking and serving the food) and generally leave seating/tables for your guests to you. Just be sure to clarify this before booking.
If you’re interested in having us cater your special day, we’d love to have an obligation-free chat. Feel free to browse the menus on our site or get in touch to make an enquiry. More importantly have an awesome wedding day!