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.

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.

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.

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.

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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