Frequently Asked Questions
Does your caterer have a license?
Why you want to know: This means the caterer has met local health department standards (always good!) and carries liability insurance. Make sure the caterer also has a liquor license if you're going to be serving alcohol.
Does the caterer specialize in certain types of food?
Why you want to know: If you have a particular type of cuisine in mind, use a caterer who specializes in it. Not only will they have all the right resources but the caterer will also know how to properly prepare the food, meaning better and tastier results. Let's face it, asking a sushi chef to create country-French cooking probably isn't going to end well.
Does the catered meal come full service?
Why you want to know: This just means that the caterer, in addition to food preparation, will handle everything from the table settings to bar service and cleanup. What's included depends on the catering company and the packages they offer. If it isn't full service, you'll have to find (and pay) additional staff.
What's the average price range and does the caterer offer packages?
Why you want to know: A good chunk of your budget will go to catering, so take some time to carefully weigh your options when choosing a caterer. How many appetizer and entree choices come with the package? Are costs itemized depending on the foods you choose or does the caterer offer an all-inclusive rate? Packages can save you some serious money, especially if you plan on having a lengthy guest list. Most catering packages include appetizers, salad, entree and dessert (or cake), plus coffee service and, in some cases, wine. If your caterer does offer multiple packages, ask for sample menus to determine which one works best for you.
When does the caterer need finalized choices?
Why you want to know: Your caterer needs to know your menu choices by a certain date so they'll have all the ingredients ready to go for the day of your wedding. Decide on your RSVP date based on when your caterer needs a final head count.
Is the caterer able to prepare vegetarian, gluten-free, kosher or halal meals for a few guests, and is there an additional fee?
Why you want to know: A caterer may be willing to work with special dietary restrictions, but it could mean additional costs. If offering a special meal to certain family and friends is important to you, but the caterer's fees are hefty, you might have to find room from elsewhere in your budget or look for another caterer.
Does the caterer offer tastings before being hired?
Why you want to know: Reading reviews of a wedding caterer is one thing, but you'll need to taste the food yourself to be sure. Definitely opt to do it beforehand if possible, it will allow you to make an informed decision and prevent you from getting locked in with a second-rate caterer.
Will the caterer provide tables, chairs, plates, napkins, silverware, and salt and pepper shakers? Are they extra?
Why you want to know: If a caterer doesn't outfit their events with these necessary items and your wedding venue doesn't have them on hand either, you'll have to rent them yourself, which can quickly add up. Even if a caterer does have them, ask to see them to make sure they're up to par.
Does the caterer have extra charges, such as a security deposit, sales tax or service fees? What, if any, are the expected gratuities?
Why you want to know: Any extra charges from the caterer are going to affect your bottom line, so it's best to know ahead of time to plan for it.