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Planning Your Wedding Menu? Here's What You Need to Ask the Caterer

Weddings by KMich - wedding planning - catering wait staff in black and white holding plates with food - image- Willow Grove PA

Wedding + Catering Services

Your wedding feast will by far be your largest expense. It’s also one of the things your celebration will most be remembered by. Start making decisions in this arena early. Your caterer and reception site go hand in hand. Hotels, country clubs, and other large special-event facilities will likely have in-house caterers or preferred-caterer lists. When to start shopping for a caterer.
If you are using an on-site caterer, carefully interview them before you book the reception site. If your caterer is independent, decide what to serve (brunch, tea, dinner/buffet) soon so that you can determine the appropriate time to reserve the site.

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Before you lock in a caterer, see these questions to ask:

Top Questions to Ask Caterers | 13

1. Will the caterer provide wait staff? You need to know this to determine if you need to hire extra help.

2. How many (wait staff) would they recommend for the site of your wedding? For eg: 150 guests seated at 15 tables, you will need 5 wait staff. These are seasoned and experienced wait staff.

3. What do wait staff wear - tuxedo or company's uniform? (Top caterers say they always use their own serving personnel, even if the site’s staff is available because they understand the caterer’s expectations and way of doing business.)

4. Can the caterer provide alcohol, or is/can the bar be your or the reception site’s responsibility? (If you can provide it, is there a corkage fee? How and when do you get the alcohol to the caterer? If the caterer will provide it, do they have an inflexible wine list, or can you make special requests? How is it priced?)

5. Who would be your main contact? Will the same person you work with when planning also oversee meal service on your wedding day? (You want this to be the case if at all possible)

6. What is the caterer’s average price range?

7. Does the caterer have printed price sheets for food selections?

8. Are costs itemized depending on the foods you choose, or is there an all-inclusive flat rate? What would that include?

9. Will the caterer arrange for a tasting of the foods you might be interested in serving prior to your hiring them? (They should. Some caterer have a tasting fee, this fee is waived if you decide to go with their services)

10. Does the caterer specialize in certain types of food or service? (They should provide you with sample menu to look at.)

11. Is the caterer working any other weddings on the same weekend, on the same day, or at the same time as yours?

12. Where will the food be prepared? Are there on-site facilities, or do you, the caterer, and the site need to make additional arrangements?

13.  Does the caterer have a license? (This means the business has met health department standards and has liability insurance; make sure that includes a license to serve liquor if you’re having a bar.)
Related: (previous post) Buffet or Plated. How to Choose?

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wedding advice - wedding planning - Weddings by KMich Philadelphia PA
Updated: January 12, 2022

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