Photo: Carrie Patterson Photography
Food and drink will consume the largest portion of your wedding budget, so it's incredibly important to choose the right caterer for your celebration. Before you sign a contract, go ahead and pepper them with questions. Here is a comprehensive list of all the questions you should probably ask to ensure you're communicating exactly what you need.
Tip: We recommend printing out this list of questions and bringing it with you to caterer meetings!
The Wedding Date
вЂў Is my wedding date available?
вЂў How many weddings will you cater that day?
вЂў How many weddings do you cater per year?
вЂў Have you done events at my wedding venue?
вЂў Are you licensed, with health permits and liability insurance?
вЂў Are you licensed to serve alcohol?
вЂў Will I need any special permits for my event? If so, will you handle obtaining them?
вЂў Will you provide a banquet manager to coordinate the meal service or an on-site coordinator who will run the entire event? If so, can we meet this person before the wedding?
Food & Presentation
вЂў What is your signature fare?
вЂў Do you specialize in certain cuisines?
вЂў Given my budget, guest count, and wedding style, what food choices would you recommend?
вЂў Where does the food come from? Can you source organic or sustainably farmed ingredients?
вЂў What can you do for guests with allergies and dietary restrictions?
вЂў Will the food be prepared on-site or be brought in already prepared?
вЂў How will you handle last-minute requests?
вЂў Do you provide alcoholic beverages and bartenders? Can you accommodate specialty cocktails?
вЂў What brands of alcohol will be served?
вЂў Can we provide the alcohol and you provide the bar labor?
вЂў Do you charge a corkage fee if we provide our own wine or champagne?
вЂў How do you charge for alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages? Per consumption or per person? Which is more cost-effective?
вЂў Is the champagne toast after the ceremony included in your meal packages or is it extra?
вЂў Will your staff serve the wine with dinner?
вЂў How long will alcohol be served?
вЂў Is coffee and tea service included with the per-person meal charge? What brands of each do you offer and do they include decaf and herbal tea options?
See More: Avoid Sticker Shock with Our Catering Cost Breakdown
Catering Packages and Payment:
вЂў Do we have to work off a preset menu or can you create a custom menu for our event?
вЂў If I have a special dish I'd like served, would you accommodate that?
вЂў Do you offer event packages or is everything a la carte? What exactly do your packages include?
вЂў Can you explain the price differences between sit-down meal vs. buffet vs. stations vs. cocktail-style reception vs. family-style?
вЂў How much do you charge for children's meals?
вЂў How much do you charge for vendor meals?
вЂў Do you do wedding cakes? If so, is this included in the per-person meal price or is it extra?
вЂў If we use an outside cake designer, do you charge a cake-cutting fee?
вЂў If I decide not to serve cake, what are some other dessert options?
вЂў Do you do menu tastings and is there an extra charge for this?
вЂў Do you handle rental equipment such as tables, chairs, etc.?
вЂў What types of linens, glassware, plates and flatware do you provide?
вЂў Do you provide rental upgrades (i.e., chair covers, lounge furniture, Chiavari chairs, etc.)? What would be the additional fees?
вЂў When will I receive a written contract?
вЂў How much of a deposit do you require and when is it due? Do you offer a payment plan?
вЂў What is your refund/cancellation policy?
вЂў How far in advance do I need to book you?
вЂў What information do you need from me before the wedding day?
вЂў When would I need to finalize the menu?
вЂў When will you need a final guest count?
вЂў What are your water, electrical, and equipment needs?
вЂў How long will it take your team to set-up and break down the event?
вЂў What is the ratio of servers to guests?
вЂў What time will you and your staff arrive at the site?
вЂў Will your team handle all table settings? Will they light candles and put out place cards and favors?
вЂў What is your policy on cleanup?
вЂў How will your staff dress?
вЂў How do you handle tips for your staff?
вЂў What do you do with leftovers?