As far as wedding expenses go, your catering or food bill is typically high on the expense list. Therefore, choose your caterer carefully, spending plenty of time with them talking about your budget, the style of reception you’d like and the types of food that you’d like to be served.
If you are unfamiliar with the caterer, always schedule a “tasting” to sample their culinary skills and take note that the food is attractively presented too.
Check their references as the opinion of past couples is always going to be honest! And when hiring your caterer, be sure to ask about the dinnerware or china they will be using. Some caterers will include all the dinnerware in their price – but they may be chipped, scratched and worn out. So, ask to see samples to make sure that the place settings nicely compliment the rest of your wedding decor.
Service is an extremely important element when choosing your caterer. Be sure to ask about the ratio of servers to guests and how they will be dressed. Now, this can vary depending on the type of reception you have (seated dinner versus buffet).
When determining a final head count for your caterer, you should include a meal for your entertainer (DJ or band), photographer and coordinator. But, always confirm with these vendors that they do want a meal before you include them in your head count. And, make sure to separate these from your guest head count because your caterer will usually charge you less for “vendor” meals.
If your caterer is providing meals for your DJ, band or photographer, be sure to ask your caterer where the meals will be served for them and confirm that they will be eating somewhere “out of sight” from your wedding guests.
A good idea is to ask your caterer to prepare a “leftover basket” that is a sampling of all the food at your reception. It’s quite likely that you both will not get a chance to eat sufficiently and enjoy all of the wonderful food at the reception. Even if you’re leaving the next day on your honeymoon, it makes for a great late night snack.
Lastly, be sure to ask your caterer about “guaranteed numbers”. Many caterers will quote prices based upon a minimum or “guaranteed” number of guests. Many base their figures on a minimum number of guests and if your final guest count is less than this amount, there may be an additional fee.