The catering may be the most costly part of your wedding reception, so let’s get this right. We’ve put together everything you might want to ask, so you can sit back and enjoy that spring roll, and that piece of beef. Oh and that chocolate pudding and that treacle tart. So print out these questions and enjoy!
1) Is there a specific cuisine that you specialise in?
As obvious as this might sound, if you and your beloved are lovers of French food, there is little point in meeting someone whose speciality is Mexican cuisine!
2) Do you provide the silverware/ linens/chairs?
If your caterer does provide these items, make sure you see photos of the available options to check that they work well with your wedding theme and colours.
3) How many other weddings will you be catering for on my chosen date?
Ideally, you will want their undivided attention!
4) What does your price include? Does it depend on the menu or do you have a flat rate? Does it include VAT, gratuity, rentals, silverware, tea and coffee for the guests?
We recommend you get this part down in writing, so there are no surprises come W-Day.
5) Will you be present on the day or will it be someone else? Will you take on the role of coordinator, deciding when to serve the food and cut the cake?
Your wedding caterer is a huge part of your wedding day and they need to be organised and reliable. So if the person that you are meeting isn’t the one who will be present on the day itself, make sure you get an introduction ahead of time.
6) How many waiters will you provide? What will they wear/can I provide outfits? Will they be responsible for laying the tables, placing favours and place settings?
Ideally, you would need one waiter for eleven people for a sit-down meal and you will want them to look professional and if possible, their uniforms should compliment your wedding colours.
7) Do you provide a set menu or can I customise my own? What if I have a special family dish I want to include? Can you cater kosher/ halal/ any other dietary requirements?
If there is a particular starter and pudding that you just have to have, then it is important to ensure you hire a caterer who allows you to do this!
8) Do you work with fresh or frozen food?
This is an essential question if your caterer will require specialist equipment to store or cook the food and if you will be in charge of sourcing this, as that can add unexpected amounts to your budget.
9) Can you provide children’s and vendors’ meals? How much will they cost? Are they included in the price above?
Normally, children’s meals will be cheaper than the adult ones, as would the vendor ones, as they don’t need to be as lavish as the others.
10) How will you handle last-minute requests?
In case someone who didn’t RSVP decides to attend at the last minute, it happens more often than you’d think!
11) Do you make wedding cakes? Will you charge a cake-cutting fee?
A cake-cutting fee is charged by either the caterer or venue for serving a cake made by someone not affiliated with them. If this is the case, you will want to know about this ahead of time, to avoid any last-minute surprises.
12) How long will you need for setting up and cleaning up?
Make sure to get clarification on the cleaning up process, as your venue will hold you responsible for clearing away all unwanted food, etc.
13) Do you have a food license?
If they don’t, then run!
14) Is there an extra charge for menu tastings? When can I book my tastings?
Before committing to a 3 hour long menu tasting, make sure you know whether or not you will be paying for it!
15) Is there an overtime fee, in case the event runs late?
If your wedding overruns, normally the waiters will be paid double charge for any extra hour that they stay.
16) Can I get references from couples you catered for?
If a couple loved their wedding food, they will be sure to want to tell you about it, so definitely get a few references before making a final decision!
17) When should I give you the final guest numbers?
The majority of caterers will need to know the total number of guests by a certain date so that they can order the right amount of food. If this changes at all after this date, you may be charged!
More often than not a caterer will also provide your wedding booze. Here are some questions so you can get tasting. Oh hello more bubbles!
18) Do you provide alcohol? Can you accommodate specialist cocktails?
Espresso Martinis for desert? Yes please! Just make sure you ask if your caterer can do this.
19) What brands of alcohol will you serve?
If you have any must-haves, like your Dad’s favourite whisky you want to make sure it is included, or that you can swap a bottle on their menu for the one of your choice!
20) Can we use our own alcohol and your bartenders? Is there a corkage fee for this? What is the service charge?
Sometimes caterers allow you to use your own alcohol, whilst still using their staff. This may be a good option if you have a unique taste in alcohol which you would like to serve!
21) Is the champagne toast included in the overall price?
Many caterers and/or venues will be happy to accommodate a free glass of champagne for the toasts, so make sure to ask!
22) Will we be charged for bottles ordered, or just those that are opened?
The most economical choice by far is to be charged for the bottles opened, as couples tend to buy more alcohol than gets drunk anyway!
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