1. Wedding Caterers - What You Need to Know

 

It's more than just food!  Caterers frequently will take care of your rentals, layout, set up, clean up and of course, staffing.

Cost - catering can seem costly. This is because catering involves several moving parts. A caterer brings everything to you—kitchen, food, drinks, cooks, servers, rentals—and then sets up, prepares, serves, and cleans up.

Wedding Caterer - Types
•    In-house – also known as full service, includes staffing, food and beverage
•    Outside - caterer brings food, beverage, staffing and rentals to location
•    Restaurant or drop off - generally do-it-yourself. Does not include beverage, staffing, clean up or rentals

Styles of service - listed from least to most expensive
•    Buffet - food prepared in serving dishes. Guests serve themselves
•    Plated - multi-course meal served to guests at their seats
•    Family - dinner served all at once to each table. Guests serve themselves
•    Stations - areas of food organized by style around the room. Guests serve themselves

Menu and selection - be sure to check with your caterer as there are always exceptions
•    Menu – a meal generally includes salad, entrée, two sides and bread. Hors d’oeuvres and appetizers are priced separately
•    Selection - chicken and pork are less expensive than beef or fish

Tastings
•    Be considerate – a tasting is time consuming and costly for a caterer so use this as a final decision before confirming
•    Caterers generally charge for a tasting - this fee is then credited to your final bill if you chose to book with them
•    Caterers may charge per person for a tasting - if you invite parents or friends to join you, you may charged for the extra       guests
•    Pace yourself - food tastes better when you’re hungry. If you do more than one tasting a day, don't eat in-between 
•    Restrictions – as a courtesy, be sure to let the caterer know of any diet restrictions 
•    Tasting menu – although you can ask to sample a menu you’re interested in, keep in mind some caterers might have a           pre-selected tasting menu.

EXPERT TIP:

TIP: Honesty is the best policy! Be open and transparent with your professionals about your preferences and budget. This allows them to create something just right for you.

2. Ask Yourself about Catering

What is your budget?  Catering prices will be most affected by your menu choice, your service style and the length of your event.
What is included at your location?  If your location does not include in-house catering you will need to provide outside or restaurant style catering see above
Does your location lend itself to a specific type of food?  Are you getting married at a ranch, on an island?
What is the overall feel of your wedding?  Casual or formal?  Traditional dinner and dancing or party atmosphere? Will a plated meal be a better fit or a serve yourself buffet?
Do you want the food to reflect something about you?  Does your family ethnicity affect your food preference or is there a type of food you love?

 

3. Ask Your Caterer

Do you have recommendations?  After describing what you want and your vision, budget and style, ask your caterer what they recommend. They should have great suggestions for you.
Can you provide and serve alcohol?  If you plan on having alcohol, have them describe their alcohol policy.
What is ratio of servers to guests?
How will staff and servers be dressed?
What decor do you provide for the appetizer or station tables?
How and when do you do food tastings and is there a fee?
Do you provide or take care of rentals? If so, what is included and what will have to be rented additionally?
How do you handle vendor meals?
What's your clean up policy?
What happens with the leftover food?
How much time is required for set-up and breakdown?
Will my quote include tax and gratuity? If not, how much should we budget?
Are there any additional fees? For example, rental handing fee, trash fee, permits of any type?

Note: Choozly pricing is based on a 100 person wedding with a 4-hour reception

EXPERT TIP:

TIP: Select your Top 3 local Caterers within your budget to contact and compare.