Contact several catering services for your wedding ideas ahead of time, so you can interview and choose one that you like. Five to eight months before the wedding day is best. Reserve as early as possible, to avoid your caterer being booked for another event and allow the caterer to prepare in advance. If you’ve already booked the venue, the catering service can work in tandem with the manager or the equipment can be rented locally. Before contacting the caterer, it is imperative that you make a list of all the services required, list of guests, number of children and most important have a budget in mind. Catering would be one of the most expensive items of the wedding.
Be aware that rates vary depending on catering services. Prices are per person all taxes included. Rates may vary depending on location as well and if the location offers kitchen facilities that can be used, such as ovens and refrigeration. Most likely your budget will pass by at least 20% of your initial estimates.
How to choose the best catering service?
It is important to spend time at the option of catering service to verify that what he offers you and because the rates and benefits vary widely. We suggest that you request multiple quotes for several wedding menus to 5 or 6 different catering services. You can compare benefits and prices. Play competitors against each other to get the best price. Ask the caterer about the following:
- How many wedding receptions have they done to date?
- How many wedding events do they do a year?
- What is their food specialty?
- Does he have good references and online reviews?
- Could he provide you sample of his food, such as allowing you to go to another event to see for yourself?
Before making your catering service choice, it is essential that you examine every point. We recommend you to taste the dishes of catering service that you serve your guests (not to mention the wine). Also make sure you get the quantity of each dish right. Some catering services include the tasting of their products in their services. Others may share photographs of the dishes available. You can also buy some portions or eat on the spot … If you do not have the opportunity to sample the menu, then references and online reviews would be the next best thing to reply on.
If you still have trouble finding a good caterer, you may want to see if there is an Association of Catering in your area. This organization would have selected outstanding catering service professionals in your area.
Depending on your taste and also the number of guests you may want to choose either the buffet or seated dinner. Seated dinner is usually good for up to 150 people and buffet is probably better for larger groups.
Once you get exact quote for catering service, check it thoughtfully. Check your contract terms as well. The estimate should include the lump sum for all services provided or made for each (meals, drinks, corkage, furniture if any, delivery, personnel). If you accept this quote and confirm order, you would be required to pay a deposit (usually 30 to 50% of the total). The balance may be required on the wedding night or later, upon receipt of final invoice. Keepn in mind that you may want to also tip some of your waiters and waitresses. Sometimes gratuity for staff is included, neverthless, you may want to tip each waiter/waitress $20, which you could pay to the floor manager to distribute, but make sure that at least one other staff is aware, so the floor manager does not pocket the money.
In any cases, you must ask a series of questions to the catering service selected:
- Are there any limitations to the service schedule?
- What exactly is included besides food (plates, tablecloths, napkins, cups)?
- Are there any furniture included in the quote?
- Is cleanup included after the received?
- Who takes care of the cake?
- What is the deadline to give the number of guests?
- Is there a clause to adjust the number of guests in the last minute?
- What are the terms of cancellation and refund?
All these details may result in a decision to go with one caterer or another. Pay close attention to all to make your best decision for one of the most important events of your life.