When searching for the perfect wedding caterer, it’s essential to ask them specific questions to ensure that they can deliver the wedding cuisine you desire. Before looking for an external caterer, it’s always wise to inquire if the wedding venue has in-house caterers.
Here is a compilation of questions to ask wedding caterers to help you select the right one for your special day.
Availability and Pricing
The first questions you should ask a potential caterer are if they are available on your wedding date and what their prices are.
You should hopefully already have a wedding budget with a set amount reserved for catering. This set of questions is probably the most important to ask when first talking to a caterer.
- Are you available for our wedding date?
- How far in advance do I need to book your services?
- What is your service charge?
- Do you have any catering packages?
- Do you charge a bulk fee or by the number of guests?
- What do these fees include?
- Are there additional fees for the setup and breakdown?
- Are there any rental fees?
- Are there any extra fees related to the wedding cake, such as a cake-cutting fee or extra plates and cutlery?
- Do you offer food tastings and is that an additional cost?
- Do you require a deposit?
- Do you provide an itemized list with prices for the packages we discuss?
- Are you able to work within my budget and price range?
- Are there any recommendations you have to maximize my budget and guest count?
- Are there any other additional costs I should be aware of?
Style and Experience
One of the first things to ask is about the caterers’ previous experience and possibly if they can provide some examples of their work. The following questions will help you decide which of the person from the list of potential caterers is the perfect caterer for you.
- How long have you been performing weddings?
- How many weddings have you done?
- What is the type of food and style you provide?
- How many weddings do you normally do in one day?
- Do you have sample pictures of past weddings you could share with us?
- Have you had experience at our reception location before with past clients?
- Can you provide some past references?
- What sets you apart from other wedding caterers?
When looking at booking potential catering services you will want to look into the types of cuisine they can potentially provide at your wedding reception.
These key questions are aimed to find out exactly what kind of food choices can be provided for your special day.
- Do you specialize in certain cuisines?
- Do you have set menu options, or can we choose to create a custom menu with you?
- Do you provide plated dinner options?
- Do you provide buffet-style options?
- Do you provide appetizer options?
- Do you provide grazing platter options?
- Do you provide children’s meals?
- Do you provide other wedding vendor meals?
- Do you provide cake cutting services?
- Do you provide other dessert options?
- Do you cater to dietary restrictions?
- Do you offer menu tastings?
- When do you need the final wedding menu choices?
- When do you need the final guest list headcount?
- What happens with any leftover food?
- Do you need any other information from me before the wedding day?
Most wedding venues have on-site bars with the bar staff and a liquor license as part of the event venue hire, however, there are venues that do not have this. In these cases, you may either need to hire a bar company for your wedding or ask the wedding catering company if they provide this service option.
It is typically cheaper to use a bar company, but you can ask the wedding caterer these questions as an option.
- Do you provide bartending services?
- Do you source the alcohol?
- What types and brands of alcohol will be served?
- Do you provide cocktail options during the cocktail hour?
- Can we source the alcohol?
- Do you charge a corkage fee if we provide our own drinks?
- How do you charge for alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages?
- Will your staff serve the wine with dinner and for the champagne toast?
- How long will the bar service last?
- Do you provide a coffee and tea service?
This set of important questions is aimed at you having a better idea of how the experienced caterer will deliver a great food experience on the day of the wedding.
- What time will you arrive?
- How much time do you need to set up?
- Do you have any specific needs to be able to cater at our venue?
- Will you set up the buffet tables and table settings at the reception sites?
- Do you provide labels and signage for the food on the buffet?
- Do you provide the rentals such as plates, cutlery, glassware, and tablecloths?
- If you don’t provide the rentals, do you help coordinate the rentals?
- Is the food prepared off-site or is everything made at the venue?
- How will you work with my wedding venue coordinator or wedding planner?
- Do you handle setting place cards and menus?
- What do you do in terms of cleaning up?
- Do you have food permits/licenses to be able to serve food options at our venue?
Before you sign on the dotted line and book the caterer, it is a good idea to know about the financial policies and payment terms they have. These basic questions are important to ask to avoid any surprises and select the right caterer.
- When is a deposit due?
- When will we receive a contract?
- What does your contract contain?
- Do you provide any payment plans?
- When is the final payment due?
- What is your cancellation policy?
- What is your refund policy?
- What is your postponement policy?
- Do you have liability insurance?
When selecting the best wedding caterer, the last thing you need to do is ask yourself the right questions. While the talented caterers may be able to deliver a lot of what you ask for, you still need to ask yourself these questions so that you select the best caterer for you.
- Did they communicate well with you?
- Did they listen well?
- Do you like their prior work?
- Does their style match your wedding style?
Once you have answers to all of these questions, you will be closer to this important decision in your wedding planning process.
The next steps as a wedding couple are to look at these answers and decide together which caterer is a good match to deliver the food memories for you and your guests
Check out these lists of questions to ask other wedding vendors: