Top 21 Questions to Ask Your Wedding Caterer

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Food can make or break a wed­ding. If you have amaz­ing food, you’ll have friends and fam­i­ly mem­bers com­ment on it for years to come. If not… Well, we don’t even want to go there.

Even if you don’t have an idea of what kind of food you want to serve at your recep­tion, it’s a good idea to keep your wed­ding style in mind. A back­yard wed­ding does not mix well with an eight course meal, nor do you serve bar­be­cue at your black tie event.

Some venues do the cater­ing them­selves or have a list of pre­ferred ven­dors, but who­ev­er you go with, it’s a very impor­tant deci­sion and you want to be well pre­pared. Here’s our list of the top 21 ques­tions to ask your wed­ding cater­ers.

1. Do you have my date open?

Num­ber one ques­tion, of course. Also, are they doing any oth­er events on the day of your wed­ding? And if so, do they have enough time in between.

2. How long have you been in business? How many weddings do you do a year?

With some­thing as impor­tant as food, you prob­a­bly don’t want to go with some­one who has been on the job for a month. If you want, you can also ask for ref­er­ences.

wedding cake with roses and wildflowers

3. Have you done events at my venue before?

While not a neces­si­ty, it makes set­up that much eas­i­er if your cater­ers have already worked in the space before.

4. Will you or someone else be on-site to coordinate meal service or run the event?

It’s nice to have some­one there to help things run smooth­ly, espe­cial­ly with a sit-down din­ner. Things can get hec­tic in the back­ground.

5. Do you specialize in certain foods? Given my budget, guest count and event style, what food choices would you recommend?

What your cater­er is good at is what is going to taste the best, but you also want to make sure that what­ev­er they serve is on par with the rest of your wed­ding.

6. Do you offer a preset menu or can we customize one?

Often cater­ers will offer sev­er­al pre­set menus for you to choose from, so if you don’t like your options you may have to go with some­one else. Ask them well in advance if there is a spe­cial­ty item you would like served at your recep­tion.

7. Do you offer different packages and what do they include?

Whether their pack­ages just cov­er dif­fer­ent or foods or food and table linens, or what have you. If they don’t do pack­ages, then every­thing will be a la carte and give you the option to pick and choose exact­ly what you want.

8. Can you accommodate dietary restrictions or offer organic foods?

Organ­ic foods is more of a per­son­al pref­er­ence, but as far as dietary restric­tions, even if you don’t have any aller­gies or intol­er­ances, there’s a good chance a few of your guests will.

wedding reception food and flowers

9. Do you provide decor for tables or other items?

Such as table linens, place set­tings, chair cov­er­ings, etc. And what is the cost of using these items. A good thing to know in case you need to buy or rent these items your­self.

10. Can you do menus based around a theme?

If you are hav­ing a themed wed­ding, you def­i­nite­ly what to find a cater­er that can accom­mo­date this. Even bet­ter if they can pro­vide some dec­o­ra­tions for your theme.

11. Do you offer any specialty items?

Like a choco­late foun­tain or oth­er what­ev­er else you may want.

12. The difference in cost between a buffet and sit-down dinner?

Or pass around appe­tiz­ers and appe­tiz­er sta­tions.

13. Do you do wedding cakes?

If they do do cakes, be sure to ask to see pic­tures of cakes they’ve done in the past. If they don’t do cakes, they might charge a cake cut­ting fee, so make sure to ask about that, as well.

14. Can we set up a tasting?

Very impor­tant when a cater­er makes it to the next round. The food might sound amaz­ing but you don’t real­ly know until you try.

tropical wedding reception table decorations

15. What is your cleanup policy?

You don’t want to be left with a sur­prise mess. In many cas­es, cleanup is left to you, but if they say oth­er­wise, make sure you get your agree­ment in writ­ing.

16. What do you do with leftover food?

Is there a way to pack up left­over food for guests or donate it to a local shel­ter?

17. Do you serve alcohol?

If so, ask about what kinds of alco­hol and how much, if they can do spe­cial­ty cock­tails, how they charge, and what oth­er non-alco­holic bev­er­ages will be offered, If they don’t serve alco­hol, see if they can pro­vide bar staff if you pro­vide the alco­hol and if they charge a cork­age fee for wine and cham­pagne you bring your­self.

18. How is your pricing broken down?

Make sure to get a list of this and every­thing their fees include. From the food and drink to the tax and ser­vice charges.

19. How much time do you need to set up and break down?

Every­thing on your wed­ding day is sched­uled down to the minute.

20. How much is your deposit and when is the final payment due?

Just so you know.

21. What is your refund policy?

Who knows, maybe you’ll find a bet­ter deal. Or maybe the worst case sce­nario will hap­pen.

coffee bar at wedding reception

Food is def­i­nite­ly a huge aspect of your wed­ding and with cater­ing (din­ner, bev­er­ages, and cake) tak­ing up about 30% of your entire bud­get, you want to make sure it’s per­fect. Before you even start look­ing, you’ll want to ask your venue if they have any pre­ferred cater­ers, even if they don’t, they’ll prob­a­bly have some sug­ges­tions. Keep your style, theme, and def­i­nite­ly your bud­get in mind when choos­ing your menu and cater­ers. If pos­si­ble, def­i­nite­ly try the food first, and don’t com­mit until you’re com­plete­ly sat­is­fied with the com­pa­ny and the menu.

There are so many small details that go into cre­at­ing your dream wed­ding, but that does­n’t mean you should have to stress. Gen­er­a­tion Tux lets you sam­ple your cloth­ing before the big day, in the com­fort of your liv­ing room. See what we have to offer to make your union extra­or­di­nary.

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